So let's get back to that Anime Expo report! Last time, our heroes were getting ready for the start of the Seven Deadly Sins panel. And come to think of it, this might have spoilers, so let's put it under a cut.
Of course the panel started out by bringing out all the panelists--the MC, the interpreter, and both the English dub and original Japanese voices of Meliodas, the main character in The Seven Deadly Sins. We were a little surprised to see that Yuki Kaji was taller than Bryce Papenbrook. The stars of the panel introduced themselves with the standard hi, how you doing, I'm happy to be here, etc. Kaji-kun did his whole introduction in English, and he did a pretty good job! Then he said, "Yoroshiku onegai shimasu," as if to say, "And that's all I can do in English, so..."
Now I have to see how many of the questions I can remember. Anime News Network printed a transcript of some of the interview, but not all of it. I think the first question was, "What do you have in common with Meliodas?" Either that, or it was, "How did you feel when you got cast as Meliodas?" But anyway, in response to the former (what do you have in common), Kaji-kun leaned into the microphone and said, "Voice." Bwa ha ha. That's true; their voices are remarkably similar. He went on to say (in Japanese now) that he puts himself into all of his characters. Papenbrook said he and Meliodas are both short. In response to the latter question, Kaji-kun said he had been a fan of the manga, so he was really happy to get the part because he loves the series.
I don't remember what the question was, but Bryce Papenbrook mentioned a trick he had that always helped him to get into the right voice he was using for Meliodas, and it was to raise his eyebrows. By raising his eyebrows, he also raised the pitch of his voice about an octave, and there you had the English voice of Meliodas. The MC thought that was interesting, so he tried it out, and his voice went up, too. Meanwhile, the interpreter is explaining everything to Kaji-kun, who you can see is very attentive, his eye on Papenbrook and the MC but his ear perked up toward the interpreter. He decided to get in on it, too, so he tried the eyebrow thing, and his voice went up super high, too, and he was all, "It works!" (Incidentally, the high-eyebrow voice is significantly higher than Meliodas's Japanese voice, in case anyone was wondering.)
I...am having a hard time remembering more questions, so I'll move on to the next part and if something comes to me, I can go back to it. The next part was a live manga reading! Yes!! Live readings are super fun! ...But this one was a little weird, because they pulled a few Meliodas scenes from the manga, but only one of them really had him talking a lot. They used a fight scene, too, which...it just didn't quite work. But it was still a cool idea. First they would have Yuki Kaji do Meliodas's lines from the scene in Japanese, then they'd have Bryce Papenbrook do them in English. And if there were any other characters in the scene, they'd just skip those lines.
The first scene was when Meliodas discovered that the person in the old rusty suit of armor was a woman. It's a good scene to give you an idea of who Meliodas is when he's not in serious mode, but it was a little annoying, because Meliodas does a "scientific" investigation, which does of course involve fondling Elizabeth's breasts. And both actors had to pantomime the action when that line came up, which just made me roll my eyes. But, ever biased, I would say that the English version sounded way creepier. Kaji-kun's version of Meliodas's pervertedness always seems to have a bit of an academic feel to it, and not just "I'm getting away with something because I look like a little kid."
The other main thing we noted about the live manga reading is that the English lines were not very good. But you know us, we're very opinionated when it comes to writing dialogue. It just had us going, "Whatever, just let us translate everything." That kind of became our unspoken catchphrase throughout the convention, but as we all know, we can't actually translate everything. We barely have enough time to translate what we've already been assigned.
They showed us a trailer for the Seven Deadly Sins movie...
That reminds me of one of the questions! They asked about the challenges of playing Meliodas. Maybe that's where the eyebrow thing came up. But Kaji-kun's answer was that the most challenging thing he had to deal with in Seven Deadly Sins was in season two (hopefully we'll get to see it soon... and hopefully they don't pull what they did with Miraculous...), because he plays Meliodas and one of the new villains, so it was a real challenge doing the scenes with both of them. Somebody in the audience was cosplaying the villain in question, so they got special attention.
As for the movie trailer... This is what really solidified our opinion of dubs. All the lines sounded so forced, they kept punching words that shouldn't have been punched, the dialogue sounded translaty... I just wanted to see the trailer in Japanese. But they showed a Japanese trailer, too (I think for the second season), so it was all good, I guess.
Then they opened it up to questions from the audience, which is always a bittersweet time for us, because it's like, "Yay! A chance to be noticed!" and then, "But I don't have any questions." Followed by, "Actually, I could ask..." and concluding with, "But look at how long the line is already." Seriously, though, I never really got the "notice me, Sempai" thing until this Anime Expo. Sigh.
Anyway, there were some fun questions. The aforementioned cosplayer asked who Yuki Kaji's favorite of the Ten Commandments (the villains) was, and he said, "You!" Someone asked, if they could play anyone in the series other than Meliodas, who would they play? Yuki Kaji's answer was that he really likes Meliodas, and all the other members of the cast bring so much pride into their roles that he thinks the casting is as good as it could be, but he did also audition to play Hawk, so he thinks it would be nice to try playing the pig. Someone asked what their favorite special attack was other than Meliodas's Full Counter, so of course before he could answer the question, Yuki Kaji had to shout, "Full Counter!" complete with special arm movements. Then he said, again, that he really related to Meliodas the most, but he also really likes all of Hawk's silly moves, like Rolling Ham Attack.
Somebody else asked what Seven Deadly Sin power they would like to have in real life, and Kaji-kun said he might like to have the power of Sloth so he could lie on a fluffy pillow all day. I think he said another one first, but I don't remember. Logically, it would be Wrath because all of his answers to everything were, "I really like being Meliodas." Now we remember...sort of. He said he can relate to Wrath because he goes around feeling irritated all the time, and we liked that because we were like, "Hey! We're irritated all the time, too! Nakama!" I believe Bryce Papenbrook said he's like Greed, because Ban is awesome, and the MC pointed out that then he'd be able to cook, too, which was relevant because earlier Papenbrook said one of the things he has in common with Meliodas is their cooking ability. (Meliodas can't cook.)
There was the question of which of the Sins would you want to hang out with, and what would you do together. Papenbrook said he'd hang out and get drinks with Ban. Yuki Kaji said he'd like to go on a walk with Diane, sitting on her shoulder (she's a giant). But because she's so titanic, he would be careful not to touch the back of her neck. Unfortunately, the interpreter didn't pick up on the wordplay, so no one got the Attack on Titan reference. Kaji-kun saw that nobody was laughing, and said in English, "Attack on Titan!" But alas, I think it was too late.
There was one girl from Japan who asked, in Japanese, for advice on getting into voice acting, because she'd been to a few auditions and it just wasn't working out for her. He very kindly encouraged her, told her never to give up (he had a hard time getting started, too, as had been mentioned earlier on; he would only get one or two gigs a month), and in the meantime, just take all the experiences she's going through now and learn from them because they'll become a part of...something...that sounded really cool and I don't remember, but it was nice.
Somebody asked about if they hang out with other voice actors from the series. Papenbrook said no not really, because they do all the recordings individually, so there's not a whole lot of getting together, but he did make friends with the new English Sailor Venus, who is now better friends with his wife, and the two women hang out all the time. Yuki Kaji said that he and the cast would go out to eat or out to drink after recordings and stuff, and also, with the World Cup going on, Mamoru Miyano would come to his house and they would watch soccer and eat pizza together.
Someone else asked about funny behind-the-scenes stories, and maybe this is where Papenbrook talked about playing Love Helm? I don't remember when that came up, but he said it was the most annoying voice known to man, so when he was practicing it, his wife, who was pregnant at the time, barged into the room and said, "If you say another word in that voice, I'm having this baby right now!"
Yuki Kaji told about how, at recordings, Miyano-kun, who is very tall, would stand directly over him and stare at him from above, and chant something that we didn't quite catch--we think it was probably something Gilthunder chanted. He also said that the cast got a lot of laughs from Jun Fukuyama confusing danchou (the correct title for Meliodas) with taichou (means close to the same thing, and sounds similar, but is not the same thing). The great part about this is that when the interpreter interpreted, she explained that Meliodas is the "leader," but there was also the word "commander," and Kaji-kun was listening the whole time, so when it was his turn to talk again, he made sure to point out that in Japanese, the words sound very similar. He also noticed when Papenbrook said the voices were all recorded separately, so when it came up in one of his answers, he made sure to explain, "I don't know if this is common knowledge or not, but in Japan, the whole cast records the lines together." I love a person who can pay attention and process information...which is not something I was really great at during that panel. I think I was a little overwhelmed by my very favorite voice actor being five rows and a few feet and a raised platform away from me.
...And I think that's everything. At least it's everything I remember right now. After the panel, we stopped to take a picture of the Seven Deadly Sins cosplay group, which was now posing for pictures in the hall, but then the entourage came along and shooed everybody away, so our hopes of running into people on their way out of the panel were abandoned.
We went back to the dealers' hall, and our first stop was the Funimation booth, because Cecille had managed to snag us an autograph ticket for Yuki Kaji, but it had two times listed on it, and we did not want to choose the wrong one. So we went over there in an attempt to get clarification, but the best we got was, "Um, I'd just come at the first one and hang around, because you can never show up too early." We did exchange a few words with the English dub voice of Deku from My Hero Academia as we waited for a staffer to be available to answer questions. I said, "So I guess you're Deku?" and he's like, "Yes!" and I said yeah, I've seen a few episodes of the show, and I don't remember if he was like, "Well, maybe it's not for everybody," or, "I hope you liked it," but my response was that I liked it better than One Punch Man, and he was surprised, and I would have gone into it more, but then people were showing up to get posters signed, and the Funimation staff didn't seem entirely patient.
We wandered around, and people handed us a bunch of stuff. And we went to the Kodansha booth to talk to our editor some more. This time she was working on the non-Sailor Moon side, so we were commenting on the other things Kodansha had available for purchase. They had Attack on Titan t-shirts for just $10, and I was commenting on the price, so our editor was like, "Do you want some?" and we were like, "Hmm, not really, I was just commenting on the price." And she was like no, seriously. And we were like, well if you're trying to get rid of them... So we got a couple of complimentary Attack on Titan shirts that are a beautiful greenish blue color, and we also bought a Seven Deadly Sins manuscript replica, because we dig that kind of thing, and we wanted an Edens Zero poster.
Now we were carrying a bunch of extra stuff, and it was hot and we didn't like it, so we decided to head back to the hotel for a second. But first! we went to the Bellzi booth to get a grab bag, because they have the cutest plushies. We dropped off our stuff in the room, had a spot of lunch (by which I mean we each ate a king-sized Payday (the lunch of champions)), and made our way back to the Funimation booth to get an autograph. To be continued.
Today I'm thankful for getting to see a great panel with our very favorite voice actor, free t-shirts, Edens Zero posters, Bellzi grab bags, and crab cake (not actual crab cake, that's gross; it's a real cake decorated to look like a crab).