A little pang in the heart: The adaptation of Attack on Titan concludes in an epic finale broadcast on November 5 on Crunchyroll and November 6 on the MANGAS channel. The anime’s voice actors talk with us about the success of this anime that has become cult.
It’s time ! The long-awaited grand finale of Attack on Titan, adaptation of Hajime Isayama’s multi-award-winning manga, is released this Sunday, November 5 in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
Available on the Crunchyroll streaming platform almost simultaneously with Japan, this final 1h25 episode will also be broadcast on Monday, November 6 at 9:10 p.m. on the MANGAS channel, in VOSTFR. After ten years of merciless battles against the titans, heartbreaking sacrifices for our heroes and unpredictable twists and turns, this end of the series promises to be epic!
For the occasion, we had the chance to meet Bruno Méyère and Nathalie Bienaimer, both actors and the respective French voices of Livaï and Mikasa Ackerman.
We discuss with them their experience dubbing Attack on Titan and their relationship with the anime.
AlloCiné: How did you arrive at the dubbing of Attack on Titan?
Bruno Méyère: Quite simply: I tested the character of Levi and some time later, they called me back to tell me that I had the role. I was very happy.
Nathalie Bienaime : I also tried out Mikasa against other actresses and I was chosen.
Were you familiar with the work before you started working on it?
Bruno Méyère: I watched anime when I was younger, but by the time Attack on Titan started, I had already moved on as a viewer. And even though I was dubbing on quite a few of them, I didn’t really watch anime anymore. So no, I didn’t know the work.
Nathalie Bienaime : Absolutely not. I really liked comics, but I knew very little about manga culture. It was thanks to the different dubbings that I was able to do that I became interested in anime.
Did you expect such success with the public?
Bruno Méyère: No way. No one is a prophet in his own country. I had not bet on its success, any more than I bet on that of other of my projects. We don’t realize it because we experience things differently from the public: we arrive in the studio, we do our work, we go home and we forget. It was seeing other seasons arrive and fans talking about them that we realized the full impact of the series.
Nathalie Bienaime : I did not expect that. I wasn’t warned (laughs). But it’s true that it’s an incredible adventure and for my part, it allowed me to work with people who became friends. This is the work that gave me the opportunity to participate in certain conventions and get to know the public. These are magical moments.
We didn’t expect such success at all.
Do you share anything in common with your characters?
Bruno Méyère: A priori not much (laughing). It must be said that Levi is quite taciturn.
Nathalie Bienaime : It’s complicated, because Mikasa is a fairly upright person, but I would say that, like her, I am ready to fight for the people I love.
Do you have a special attachment to them?
Bruno Méyère: Of course. I love characters who are the type to confuse everyone in the morning, as if someone had stolen their breakfast. His sullen side may be very far from what I am in life, but that’s where the pleasure of an actor lies: playing a role that doesn’t resemble us.
Nathalie Bienaime : I have a strong attachment to her, especially when it comes to anime, because I feel like she’s the only one I defend who isn’t hysterical. Even though I love dubbing quirky characters, Mikasa allows me to experiment with something else in terms of interpretation. Having sober playing and a calm voice is very interesting.
From season 4, the animation was taken care of by a new studio and the style has changed quite a bit: is this something that disturbed you for the dubbing or not at all?
Bruno Méyère: No, because as an actor, you have no choice but to adapt to what is on screen. Our job is to instantly slip into the skin of our character, so we do it, whatever the image.
Nathalie Bienaime : Compared to Misaka, I didn’t feel any particular change so it didn’t bother me at all. It must be said that she began to be less and less present from this season onwards. So the few moments I spent with her did not allow me to notice a difference.
In anime, characters shout a lot, and in Attack on Titan even more. After all these years, do you have a technique to avoid breaking your voice?
Bruno Méyère: You have to work on your breathing. But I didn’t have any particular technique, because I rarely do screaming characters. Besides, Levi shouts so little that when he does, it automatically becomes a cult scene (laughs). So I don’t have much to complain about, unlike Ace in One Piece, who was much more energetic, for example.
Nathalie Bienaime : You never know what you’re going to have to play before you get to the studio. So we can’t prepare for the moment T, but regularly, I do exercises to warm up my voice, before and after a recording session. Sometimes even during. This allows you to relax the vocal cords and shout while limiting the risk of breaking your voice.
Do you remember a particularly difficult scene to dub?
Bruno Méyère: Well, actually, I still remember hurting my vocal cords when I screamed “KENNY” in episode 1 of season 3. I had to do it several times and it was quite a striking scene.
Nathalie Bienaime : The screaming scenes are actually quite complicated. But with Mikasa, I didn’t have too many opportunities to do it, so it’s not bad.
Attack on Titan has been 10 years since its first broadcast, it’s 4 seasons, and more than 80 episodes: how do you feel about having to say goodbye to these characters?
Bruno Méyère: Obviously, it’s a little pang in the heart. But since the dubbing sessions were relatively spaced out, it’s not like we worked on it for several months straight. We also didn’t have this troop effect like in the theater, because for planning reasons, we recorded alone. So yes, it’s a little painful but it’s not the first character I’ve said goodbye to.
Nathalie Bienaime : It’s difficult because I really like Mikasa. I became attached to her, I appreciated her personality: her calm, her sobriety, her depth. I’m not used to playing this kind of role in anime. It really is a special pleasure.
It’s a rich universe: if a spin-off on your character was planned, would you be part of it?
Bruno Méyère: Oh well, seriously! And rather twice than once! I take, I take!
Nathalie Bienaime : I jump to the ceiling! I would be absolutely delighted! If she survives in the end (laughs).
Comments collected by Manon Maroufi at Paris Manga & Sci-Fi Show by TGS at the Parc des Expositions in Villepinte, October 29, 2023.