EM Dangla, more popularly known as her gamer name Kaisaya, has only been casting the popular mobile MOBA Mobile Legends Bang Bang (MLBB) for just two years but already she’s become an important part of the community. Dangla’s moniker, Kaisaya originally came from the names of her two pet cats Kai and Saya. Kai – a Japanese word which means to achieve something; and Saya the name of her favorite protagonist from the anime Blood+.
Later on, she admits that the moniker took on an alternate meaning that quite fittingly sums up a lot of her character:
“As I matured, I also lived by how the Kaisaya name sounds like, which is “Kay saya” (so happy). And I think that’s basically what I do in the industry- to share and give joy to my reach.”
Today, Kaisaya is one of six shoutcasters selected to provide commentary and analysis for the Mobile Legends Bang Bang leg of The Nationals, sharing her joy, opinions and passion to the first ever franchise-based esports league in the country.
Kaisaya first got her big break when Mobile Legends developer Moonton was looking for streamers and casters for their National Arena contest a few years back. Moonton had liked what they saw in Kaisaya and once she passed the interview process she started streaming the game. From there she noticed that their streams had been quite bland with simply the sounds from the game coming out on audio. Kaisaya then tried adding commentary to the gameplay just to make it a little livelier and that set her on the path towards the world of shoutcasting.
Since then, Kaisaya has learned and embraced the art of casting and has become one of the prominent Mobile Legends casters in the industry. She’s even branched out to cast other mobile MOBAs apart from MLBB such as Arena of Valor. However, despite the glitz and the glamour that comes with being a personality in the burgeoning Philippine esports industry, Kaisaya solidly maintains that the community is still the best part of casting Mobile Legends.
The best part of casting, is the community itself kasi sobrang laki niya dito sa Philippines. Minsan nga parang gusto kong sabihin na parang [Mobile Legends] ang pambansang mobile MOBA dito satin dito sa ‘Pinas.
(The best part of casting, is the community itself because it’s so big here in the Philippines. Sometimes I even want to say that [Mobile Legends] is our national mobile MOBA here in the country.)
Kaisaya also briefly touched on the perception of mobile MOBAs when compared to PC-based MOBAs and the schism between fans and players of the two. Community, according to her, comes into play once again in bridging the gap.
Some people don’t really appreciate the game, especially if they come from PC based MOBA games kasi purist sila. But just like my co-casters na bago sa MLBB na-learn nilang maapreciate yung MLBB dahil sa community. When you have a supportive community, you also get more confident and mas na tututunan mong mahalin yung game.
(Some people don’t really appreciate the game, especially if they come from PC based MOBA games because they’re purists. But just like my co-casters that are new to MLBB, they learned to to appreciate the game because of the community. When you have a supportive community, you also get more confident and you learn to love the game.)
As a student of the game, Kaisaya’s commentary style leans towards serious analysis and commentary. Unlike her peers, who tend to go for more of the comedic and hype approach, Kaisaya likes digging into the nitty gritty of the match.
Mas gusto ko kasi nakikita yung mga inner parts of the game. Mas gusto ko naeexplain kung bakit nangyayari yung ganito, bakit ganyan. So I like being partnered with a play-by-play caster, dun naman ako sa medyo toned down wherein I would explain the other happenings in the game.
(I like looking at the inner parts of the game. I like being able to explain why things happen in each match. So I like being partnered with a play-by-play caster, I can be the more toned down caster wherein I would explain the other happenings in the game. )
During our brief interview, I could easily tell that Kaisaya takes casting very seriously. She does her due diligence, reviewing new heroes, items and all the little adjustments in the game. She follows a proper sleeping regimen and takes care of her voice by staying away from cold drinks and preparing different medicines at home. All this shows when Kaisaya is at work at the commentary table.
At one point she makes the statement: “Siguro, as a female caster gusto ko rin iwasan yung…” (Maybe, as a female caster, I want to avoid…) and trails off before switching gears to answer a question. In a largely male-dominated industry such as esports and gaming, being a woman working in the industry influences certain aspects of her job. In a follow-up, this writer wanted to know just how much. Kaisaya had this to say:
It’s tough. It’s challenging. In an industry dominated by men, sometimes, you think about having to fit in just to be accepted by the people or do have you to be yourself?
In my early days, being a caster to a very popular mobile game MLBB, the audience weren’t so fond about listening to a female caster/analyst. Somehow, when they see a female caster/analyst laying out points about a certain topic or discussing about what’s happening in the game, the audience shows an impression that they don’t want to believe this female talking in front of them. Why? Was it because the audience are so judgmental or they just got used to men talking?
As hard as it was to fight for equality and legitimacy in her chosen field, Kaisaya admirably rallies to the challenge and finds hope looming on the horizon:
But I realized, I can’t stop from there just because there were haters. I told myself and I did: I will not stop – for as a woman who got the opportunity to start from there, we can make progress to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. And I believe that now, that difference is happening.
Though the gaming and esports industry is still dominated by men, there are now more female casters/analysts stepping up to have gender-balance and equality in the workplace.
With the Mobile Legends Bang Bang leg of The Nationals currently on its way, Kaisaya works tirelessly on gameday and serves as one of the league’s essential voices. Calling out plays, digging deeper into the gameplay and bridging the gap between the frenetic action and the die hard fans.
True to her caster name, Kaisaya was overwhelmed with joy when asked about the potential and opportunity of the first franchise-based esports league in the country:
“My main thought: I’m super happy. Happy not only for the esports field but also para sa lahat ng masa, especially since were going on TV and makikilala na siya.
(My main thought: I’m super happy. Happy not only for the esports field but also for the masses, especially since were going on TV and the industry will finally be recognized.)
“We want to prove to the parents especially to those na ‘di pa naappreciate yung games and those that think that if it’s games it’s something bad. I’m just very happy na may The Nationals.”
(We want to prove to the parents especially to those who don’t appreciate games and those that think that if it’s games it’s something bad. I’m just very happy there’s something like The Nationals.)
When I asked Kaisaya for her final thoughts going into The Nationals, the sophomore caster gave a rallying cry to her peers, her fans and to all gamers and supporters of esports:
“Umpisa palang ito. This is the first step, kahit mag-baby step palang tayo, tuloy-tuloy lang.
(“This is just the start. This is the first step, even if its just a baby step we’ll keep going forward.)
“And sa lahat ng fans ng esports and naniniwala sa esports, do support The Nationals and the SEA Games 2019. I’m pretty sure di lang dito yan matatapos. This is an opportunity and every opportunity you have to take.”
(And to all the fans of esports and believe in esports, do support The Nationals and the SEA Games 2019. I’m pretty sure this will not end here. This is an opportunity and every opportunity you have to take.”)
Catch Kaisaya and the rest of the Mobile Legends casters, as well as the wildest and most exciting esports action at The Nationals, the biggest esports tournament in the Philippines.
Catch the action on 5 Plus, the home of esports on free TV every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can also watch the livestream via the 5 Plus website, and on OneSports via CignalTV for paid TV.