One of the biggest anime debuts of the year, Chainsaw Man is based on the hit manga series of the same name by Tatsuki Fujimoto. The series follows Denji (Ryan Colt Levy), a teenager who bonds with his Chainsaw Devil Pochita and gains incredible powers that allow him to battle the nefarious devils that threaten Japan. Enlisted by an elite government team, Denji finds himself paired with Aki (Reagan Murdock), a more socially reserved devil hunter who immediately takes a dislike to Denji even as he is forced to share his small apartment with him between episodes. bloody devil hunt. around the country.
In an exclusive interview with CBR, Chainsaw ManEnglish voice cast actors Ryan Colt Levy and Reagan Murdock spoke about the show’s blend of humor and heart. The couple revealed what they appreciate about their respective characters and shared their own love for Chainsaw Man as the animated series unfolds on Hulu and Crunchyroll.
CBR: Let’s start with the big question, and there’s no tricky way to ask it, but how was the recording of an extended scene where Denji pulverizes Aki’s sensitive parts?
Ryan Colt Levy: I don’t know what you’re talking about, it was the Testicle Devil! [laughs] It was one of the most fun days of my life. [laughs] Just doing scenes like that, no matter what medium you’re working on, stuff like that is so rare to find and [to] playing with it is such a gift. When someone gives you the best piece of cake, you don’t throw it away, you eat it. [laughs]
Reagan Murdock: I was working with Mike [McFarland]the director and Manny [Sanchez]the sound engineer, and we were cracking up the whole time we were doing it. [laughs] Like Ryan said, you really don’t get to do a scene like this very often, so just stretching out a bit is always so refreshing.
Sampling: I remember the first time I saw it in full. The sounds Reagan was making were so authentic I felt it. It’s one thing to do it and another thing to hear it. I was like, “I’m so sorry!” [laughs]
This scene lasts a little longer than you think.
Levy: Yeah, they were like, “We’re gonna give him all the time he deserves.”
You mentioned Mike McFarland, who comes from Dragon Ball Z dubbing school. What was it like working with him in the booth as voice director for Chainsaw Man?
Levy: Incredible. He is incredible. He’s so sensitive, caring, kind and really precise and nuanced – doesn’t let anything go and really cares as much as we do. We always meet in the middle of things, like if this line feels right or if we should go to [something] Again. If I ask him for another take, he knows I have an idea for something, and [it’s] not just “we have it” [from him]. I feel so safe that he’s leading the thing. It was so much fun.
Murdock: In many ways, it’s wonderful to work with a guy like him who has such wonderful creative vision. He doesn’t really let you go until he gets what he knows he can from you, and it’s so refreshing because you’re not walking out of the cabin saying, “I should have do it differently there.” You did everything you know you can, and it’s always such a rewarding feeling as an actor.
How did you find the voices of your characters? Was it looking at the artwork, hearing the Japanese voice, finding it for yourself, or a combination of the three?
Levy: It’s a bit of everything but ultimately what I think it comes down to the audition itself, for me was being a big fan of that for a long time, getting those sides and to say, “I know this scene by heart, in my heart, how I would play it already, so I’m just going to be authentic with who I think Denji is at this exact moment.” That was really the basis of everything.
Murdock: Tatsuki Fujimoto has just done a phenomenal job of writing and drawing these characters, especially with a character like Aki, who is so reserved and non-expressive. The little emotions that Fujimoto feels were really all I needed to understand what was going through Aki’s head at the time. Extracting that little subtlety from this very reserved guy is hard as an actor, but the way he’s drawn, especially in the manga, is so helpful.
To double that, Aki is such a funny character. How do you find those moments of humor beneath that baseline of stoicism?
Murdock: You just have to play everything right. He’s someone who built that idea on his own, and watching that being challenged by characters like Denji and Power is both a source of so much comedy and, ultimately, it’s going to be a source to see him grow as a person and to see how they influence him through their interactions.
Everything is new for Denji. He enjoys everything we take for granted, from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to warm beds. Ryan, how is it to play a character with this perspective?
Levy: That’s exactly what I love about him so much. I am inherently a very optimistic person. I’m a realist, but I also like to hope for the best in people under circumstances, and I’ve always had genuine excitement and enthusiasm to see other people have great experiences, find happiness, or feel creatively fulfilled. I think I resonate really deeply with Denji’s understanding of the value of those simple things, where so often we can take things for granted.
I’ve been through some pretty tough years and been through my own version of a Denji lifestyle to some degree where I’ve really been able to value the simpler things in a way that I wouldn’t have this mentality otherwise if things had been smooth. I think there’s something really important about everyone realizing so much about our day-to-day lives. If we could just slow down to appreciate it better, I think our sanity would be better. I think he’s incredibly sane because of his approach. He’s just new to dealing with all of this.
Along with having a healthy mindset, Denji also has a healthy libido.
Levy: As many 16 year olds should, I think a doctor would tell you! [laughs]
It’s just! How does he capture the energy and humor of his exuberance?
Levy: It’s similar to what Reagan said. I think the beautiful thing about how Fujimoto crafted all of these characters is that the humor, the sadness, and all the great feelings come from very real moments and very relatable things for each of them. I think it’s just about playing them in the most real and authentic way possible. Even though some of these lines sound really funny, to him it’s a really deep and important thing.
Even though we’re laughing as we say some of these things when I’m in the booth, I’m not going, “Isn’t that so silly.” I really channel the value he has on it, which he thinks will fulfill him emotionally or as a person, which is even more important. It lacks elements of itself. He’s not sure what it is, and now that he’s in this world. It’s her way of trying to discover that and complement herself.
Reagan, as someone with special knowledge of the character, what do you think is the main source of friction between Aki and Denji?
Murdock: I think it’s that Denji is so raw, and Aki is so refined. Denji is all cards on the table, “This is who I am. I don’t care what you think.” Aki is, “I’m in control. Everything I do is done with precision and grace, and that’s how a person should live their life.” The way these two clash at the start is hilarious – and the way Denji really challenges Aki’s worldview and how they influence each other over the course of the series. They have such a wonderful and beautiful friendship that develops over the course of the series that I really can’t wait to see everyone.
The first time I met you was at New York Comic Con right after the premiere of the first episode of the series, and Chainsaw Man became one of the biggest anime shows of the year on Hulu and Crunchyroll. How was the fan response?
Levy: It was amazing! Even before the release of the first episode, people were already arriving every day with support, kindness, enthusiasm, rooting for us and wishing us well. Now #ChainsawTuesday is like a national holiday, it seems. It comes out on Tuesdays, and within half an hour there are memes and comments and people coming out everywhere, and it lasts almost the whole week until the following Tuesday.
It’s so cool to see people excited about this story and these characters and the enthusiasm that they have. People who are experiencing this for the first time, it’s so exciting to see them take it in and process it in real time.
Who’s your favorite devil we’ve seen on the show so far?
Levy: I’m going to say the Fox Devil of the ones we saw because what a beautiful, badass, and incredibly powerful idea, especially going up in smoke. It’s so cool.
Murdock: Yes, I have the same answer. The Fox Devil is so wonderfully crafted and has such a presence. She just snaps on the screen and grabs everyone’s attention. She is voiced by a very dear friend of mine, Natalie Van Sistine, whom I have known for years.
Sampling: I didn’t know you were so close! It’s incredible !
Murdock: I jumped in place when I heard it was her in the recording booth.
Sampling: It’s so awesome! She looks amazing!
Murdock: She does! She has such an amazing voice.
The Fox Devil was also Sarah Wiedenheft’s favourite. I’m a fan of the leech with teeth, if only for the nightmarish quality.
Levy: When we were recording, Mike and I kept talking about how freaking it out. [laughs]
Now that we are four episodes in, what can you say about the upcoming episodes of Chainsaw Man?
Levy: Even from episode to episode, I think people can just strap into an emotional roller coaster that will take them places I don’t think they’ve been before.
Murdock: Have a box of tissues handy. You will need it on the road. [laughs]
Based on the manga series created by Tatsuki Fujimoto, Chainsaw Man is directed by Ryu Nakayama and Masato Nakazono. New episodes release Tuesdays on Hulu and Crunchyroll.