Chainsaw Man's Voice Cast Knew There Would Be High Expectations For The Series

The fall 2022 anime season was filled with some incredible television — but one new anime stood out because of the hype and anticipation surrounding it. "Chainsaw Man" debuted its 12-episode first season to great reviews, with /Film's Rafael Motamayor writing that it delivered "energetic animation and stunning visual choices." Based on Tatsuki Fujimoto's manga of the same name, "Chainsaw Man" is a brutal and darkly hilarious shonen that subverts all expectations of the genre. Considering the manga's impressive sales records and the massive popularity of its characters, it's no wonder that expectations were so high. 

For the English dub cast of the anime, the pressures that came with bringing "Chainsaw Man" to life were palpable. Featuring the likes of Ryan Colt Levy, Reagan Murdock, and many others, the actors brought all the manic energy of the source material while also providing their spin on the dialogue. In an interview with ScreenRant, Levy (the voice of Denji, aka the titular "Chainsaw Man") spoke about the lofty expectations for the series. Being a fan of the manga before being cast, Levy was aware of the pitfalls of trying to please fans:

"I felt like, being a fan myself and being a fan of so many things, I know that I'm not going to make everyone happy no matter what. So my immediate thought is, I can't do this to service anyone other than the character and the story; I have to be true to Denji."

Less of a pressure, more of a responsibility

Chainsaw Man is a shonen protagonist who doesn't have the same drive that characters in the genre usually do; he's more interested in getting his first kiss than becoming the strongest. Levy's intention with the series is to explore every subtle detail while remaining faithful to the madness that is "Chainsaw Man":

"I have to be true to the story and know where it goes and all these things. We're going to play all of those little nuances. And I'm going to do everything I can to give this boy as much love, truth, and insanity."

Although Levy has made his commitment to the character his first priority, that doesn't mean he is entirely ignorant of what fans think of the series. It's quite the opposite, in factl the voice actor is paying close attention to the "Chainsaw Man" fan community:

"I check every week when the episodes come out, I look online, and I read all the comments, good and bad, and in between, because to me, it's all informative. Everyone's opinion is valid and something to learn from and grow from."

Loving the character you play

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Reagan Murdock (who voices Aki, Denji's self-serious devil-hunting partner) was unfamiliar with the material before being cast. In an interview with /Film, the actor said he "knew pretty much nothing about the series going into the auditions," but he "knew that it was popular, and ... knew it was very crazy and unique." Once Murdock became familiar with the story, he had a similar realization to Levy. As he told Screen Rant — it's all in service of the character:

"My initial reaction to getting the role was like, 'Oh my god, I'm in Chainsaw Man.' But, over time, I kind of realized that it's about the character, and it's not about people looking at me or anything. I can think of it as not putting the most inner parts of myself on display for the entire world to see. I just started thinking of it as loving this character of Aki."

"Chainsaw Man" season 1 has come to an end, but there's a lot more story left from the manga for the voice actors to explore through the anime, and hopefully Ryan Colt Levy and Reagan Murdock's passion for their characters will make the emotional moments that are still to come hit even harder.