The release date for the second season of the popular anime “Demon Slayer” was announced by surprise this fall. On Oct. 9, the English voice actors for the characters of Nezuko, Zenitsu, Akaza and Enmu released information about the upcoming season in a panel on the third day of New York Comic Con.
At the panel, the cast reflected on how they performed their version of Japan’s highest-grossing movie and promoted the series’ continuation throughout the remainder of 2021. The actors walked on stage to a full auditorium in Javits Center’s Empire Stadium and were greeted by an enthusiastic — if exhausted — sea of cosplayers and fans.
Due to familial and scheduling conflicts, the English voice actors for Tanjiro, Rengoku, and Inosuke, voiced by Bryce Papenbrook, were unavailable for the event, but provided their statements in video format.
Each of the cast members were asked questions about their individual roles. Between the questions, a minute-long clip from the movie was shown as an example of each actor’s performance.
Abby Trott, the voice of Nezuko, was asked, “What was it like to go from lighthearted scenes in the dream worlds to serious battles with Enmu in the second half?”
“We jumped to the dark stuff pretty quickly,” Trott said, “It was really fun to do the dream sequences, to do a chibi version of the character [that can talk]. She doesn’t talk much.”
She told the story of Aleks Le, the voice actor of Zenitsu, and her watching the movie from a rented-out balcony of a massive theater. Le told his perspective in good humor. “I’m always overwhelmed to hear my voice on-screen […] hearing myself scream at me was like a physical manifestation of what’s going on in my head,” he said, to the audience’s laughter.
Aleks Le was asked if there was anything he did that was different between “his approach to Zenitsu now, as opposed to when you first took on the role.”
Le explained that there was no difference between now and then other than experience, and the differences were called for in the script. “We were able to bring a heroic side to his character we hadn’t seen before… exploring this side of his character was super fun.”
Inquisitive fans asked Lucien Dodge, the English voice of Akaza and ADR scriptwriter if he thought ahead of the acting scenes as the script was adapted.
“I wrote the lines trying to figure out if they emanate from the character…I don’t usually think this way, but I thought ‘I could play this character.’” Landon McDonald mentioned that he thought Dodge would be a good fit for the role, early in production.
McDonald voiced the character of Enmu, the primary villain of the film. Fans asked what it was like to step into the role of the villain for such a big movie. McDonald explained that the experience was greatly enjoyable. “He was the most fun I ever had in the booth. Usually, you have a character you like in a show many people don’t see or the opposite, but this was the best of both worlds.”
Fans were also intrigued to hear about how Mark Whitten, the English voice actor of Rengoku, prepared for a role so many people revere.
Whitten answered his question thoughtfully, over video. “There is no difference in how I handle a TV show to a movie.” He says that prefers to focus first on the backstory, and then move on to the script. He summarized his strategy as “looking at moments that were human and relatable to all of us,” after explaining the details he found in Rengoku’s character.
In their answers, a common theme between Whitten and Dodge’s voice acting strategy was that they took influence from their Japanese counterparts. The performance of Ishida Akita, the Japanese voice actor for Akaza, “told me how the English performance should go,” Dodge said.
The voice actor for Tanjiro, Zach Aguilar, was asked about how he captured the emotions that his character felt in the finale.
“I imagined it was my own family,” Aguilar said, “He lost his family at the start of the series, and he got to see them again [in the dream]. In the end, it was a build-up of a whole series of events and frustration…it’s a long road ahead, he’s just trying to save Nezuko. It was absolutely beautiful and devastating.”
The Q&A ended with the whole cast expressing their gratitude to the fans for their support.
During their farewells, it was the voice actors on video who revealed “The Mugen Train Arc” as a TV anime; the host of the event then explained the dates for new installments for the franchise.
The second season was originally stated to release on Dec. 5 with the Entertainment District arc, but a TV rerelease of the Mugen Train movie started on Dec. 10 as the first part of season two.
The second season of Demon Slayer continues to adapt the manga while expanding on the Mugen Train Arc’s content beyond what the source material provided.