Attack on Titan fans know that the manga and the anime both feature intense characters who are forced to make extremely tough decisions. But what they might not realize is how the intensity of the show affects the very people working on it. As Attack on Titan’s English dub hits the ten year mark, English voice actors Trina Nishimura (Mikasa) and Bryce Papenbrook (Eren Yeager) stopped by New York Comic Con to reflect on the journey with their characters and the dark places that the show forces them to go to.
Papenbrook was a fan before he was even cast for the English dub, so he knew what he was getting into. He was excited to dive into a character as complex as Eren Yeager because it forced him to push himself to create a great performance. At the panel, Papenbrook recalled that the first time that Eren bites his hand to transform into a Titan, he actually bit his own hand in the booth so hard during the recording session that he bruised it. In another session, he unhinged his own jaw to be able to convey the pain that Eren was going through at that moment.
“It’s worth it for this show to go to those dark places,” said Papenbrook. "I love that I get to play Eren so many different ways."
Nishimura and Papenbrook didn’t get to record together at first so she was nervous to meet him after hearing about his intense dedication to the role. But that intensity has also inspired her own performances. She remembered a scene where Mikasa is torn over who to save with the Titan serum. Nishimura sobbed through the entire session, as she felt the weight of the decision that her character was going through. But she felt free to get to that place as an actor.
“It’s the safety and comfort of the team that allows me to go to those dark places,” said Nishimura, and she’s learned a lot from her character as a result. “It’s important to be strong and to be brave but it’s also important to be vulnerable and be open and be honest.”
Attack on Titan The Final Chapters Special 2 airs in Japan on November 4, 2023 but in English in 2024.