Chainsaw Man is currently powering through its first season, and the anime adaptation of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s best-selling manga is taking viewers on a wild ride. Dub cast members Ryan Colt Levy and Reagan Murdock, who play Denji and Aki in the series, believe the Chainsaw Man anime is nothing short of “mind-blowing.” The pair spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about what drew them to the show, as well as what they’re looking forward to in future installments.
Ryan Colt Levy and Reagan Murdock on joining the dub cast of ‘Chainsaw Man’
Chainsaw Man is one of the biggest anime to debut in 2022, and the dub cast knew it was something special from the jump. Both Ryan Colt Levy and Reagan Murdock were drawn to the anime — and their specific characters — before they’d even landed the roles.
Levy, who voices Denji, was a fan of Chainsaw Man‘s manga years ahead of its transition to the small screen. Tatsuki Fujimoto’s source material resonated with him for multiple reasons, including the fact that it has all the elements of good storytelling.
“For me, I picked it up a couple of years ago and I read it in full a few times over because it was just so mind-blowing to me,” Levy recalled. “As a story, and executed in the manga in full, it’s one of the most punk rock, funny, emotional, tender, sweet, bizarre, arthouse [tales]. It’s got everything in it, and I just wasn’t expecting that.”
A self-proclaimed “film nerd,” Levy also appreciates how cinematic Fujimoto’s story feels:
“I think what drew me, originally, to the manga is that I got that sense from [Tatsuki] Fujimoto that he also has that cinematic knowledge and all of those flavors. And it just felt so radically different to me from anything else I had seen or read, and it took all of the classic tropes that we know from these things and just broke them or flipped them in a way that I was like, ‘This is what I’ve been waiting for!’”
Reagan Murdock, who portrays Aki in Chainsaw Man‘s English dub, hadn’t read the series before auditioning for the cast. However, once he picked it up, he fell for the characters — especially his.
“When I first got the auditions, I knew basically nothing about the series,” Murdock said. “I knew it was really popular. And so, I was like, ‘Well, there’s no way I’m going to get this, so I can just do whatever comes to me.’ But when I was reading the manga to get an idea of the different characters, I just loved Aki so much, and I loved how very human all of the characters are.”
Murdock also noted that the characters’ goals and relationships with one another are strengths of the series:
“They all have very believable, very relatable motivations. And it’s wonderful getting to see all of their different personalities bounce off of each other. And I think that’s kind of the main appeal is that you’ve got these very understandable people coming from very different backgrounds and watching the way that they… Well, they don’t all make each other better, but they all certainly make each other more interesting.”
‘Chainsaw Man’s dub cast shares a ‘passion’ for the story they’re telling
The dub cast of Chainsaw Man doesn’t record together in the studio, but they had the chance to meet during New York Comic-Con this year. According to Ryan Colt Levy, the event served as “a core family experience” that enabled them to “solidify our dynamic as a family.”
That’s not something that happens with every anime, as voice actors don’t always meet before recording their lines. As Murdock put it, “You have to kind of make certain guesses about the choices they’re going to make.”
With the Chainsaw Man dub, it seems the cast can feel confident in each other’s decisions. They all understand what the show means to one another. Murdock cited that a highlight of working on the anime is the passion they all share for its story:
“This is the first time that I’ve had a series where I have gotten to know and meet the people that I’m working with before we started recording because you don’t get that a lot with anime. And so, it’s wonderful knowing that the people who you’re working with are also super passionate. We love this story so much.”
Levy echoed that sentiment, emphasizing that everyone involved does their best to bring Chainsaw Man to life.
“Mike [McFarland] is such an amazing voice director and really has such a great grasp on these characters and all of us as individual people,” Levy said. “He really cares about servicing this story and these characters in the best way, and all of us are just really trying to give the most care we can to it.”
According to the voice actors, the reception to ‘Chainsaw Man’ has been ‘mind-blowing’
Attending New York Comic-Con gave Chainsaw Man‘s dub cast the opportunity to meet their costars. It also offered a firsthand look at the fan response. According to Ryan Colt Levy, the reception has been “incredible.”
“When we screened the first episode at Comic-Con, it was a room of like 5,000 people seeing that episode on a giant screen,” Levy recalled. “And just hearing the gasps and the screams and the laughing and all of that, it was so cathartic.”
“Seeing so many people enjoying it makes it just even better, and it makes me want to work even harder,” he added. “It’s like every time I go back into the booth, I just want to give more and more and more.”
Reagan Murdock agreed, admitting it feels great to see so many viewers connecting with the show.
“It blows my mind to be part of something that is resonating with so many people,” Murdock said. “That’s what we always want as artists, to be able to reach out and touch and, if we can, inspire people because that’s what art has done for us. And the fan reception has been fantastic. It’s mind-blowing because I’ve never been part of something this big to see all the content that people are producing for it.”
Ryan Colt Levy and Reagan Murdock share what they’re looking forward to in ‘Chainsaw Man’
Both Ryan Colt Levy and Reagan Murdock have read Chainsaw Man, so the dub voice actors know what they’re looking forward to as the cast continues recording. For Levy, there are plenty of exciting developments on the horizon. He’s especially excited for fans to know the characters even better:
“For those who think what’s already happened is a lot in a little amount of time, this is barely scratching the surface of the journey that all of these characters get to go on. There are a lot of humorous moments, and there are a lot of really powerful moments that I’m really excited to play with. Because I think, you know, we’ve only seen a little bit of the spectrum of all of these characters, of who they are, and we’re introduced to them so deeply. But also, you can see the other shoe getting ready to drop somewhere.”
Murdock noted that viewers will see a different side of Aki, specifically. Although the Devil Hunter comes off as incredibly contained, it sounds like he could lose that composure.
“With Aki, in particular, he’s somebody who has this idea, I think, that he has to be in control of himself and every part of his life to a T,” Murdock explained. “Otherwise, what is he? And there are times when you get the little peek behind the curtain. And sometimes, those walls just come crashing down.”
Whether that will happen in Chainsaw Man Season 1 or later remains to be seen.
Ryan Colt Levy and Reagan Murdock reveal what object they’d fuse with
Chainsaw Man is all about a boy merging with a Chainsaw Devil. So, we asked Ryan Colt Levy and Reagan Murdock what object they’d fuse with if given the chance. Both offered relatable answers.
“You know, the easy answer for me is coffee,” Levy said. “If I could just be permanently fused with caffeine, I think I’d be OK.”
“Could I give the same answer with tea?” Murdock added. “If I could calm down a little bit and just not be so anxious all the time, that’d be wonderful.”
Merging with beverages certainly sounds more appealing than becoming part chainsaw. But then, Denji seems to be reaping the benefits of the latter situation.
Chainsaw Man is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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