The attack of the Titans fans have been preparing for the end of Eren, Mikasa, and Armin’s journey in the anime for some time, as have the series’ English voices Bryce Papenbrook, Trina Nishimura, and Josh Grelle.
But now that it’s here, eight years after the anime first aired, the voice actors said Newsweek it’ll be a “bittersweet” farewell when they finish recording the dub for Season 4 Part 2, which premieres on Funimation on Sunday, February 13.
Say goodbye to an iconic franchise
Papenbrook, who plays Eren Jaeger in the anime, said it was “appropriate” for the series to end now, but said while it was sad, he would still appreciate it.
“It’s very bittersweet but fitting for the show,” he explained. “For me, I have no idea what’s going to happen. I haven’t read the manga, my method is to go into the void and immerse myself in the series, and whatever comes out comes out at that time.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen towards the end of this journey, so it’s exciting. You know, I’m really looking forward to finally figuring out what’s going on on this show.
“But of course I’m sad to walk away from the role and see it come to an end. I really love being able to play this character and I love working with these guys, Josh and Trina are just amazing to play opposite. “
Nishimura agreed with her co-star, also calling her “bittersweet” and explaining that she also chose not to read the manga because she’d rather be in the moment she voices Mikasa.
Reflecting on bidding farewell to the series, she said, “I really prefer going on a journey with Mikasa as a character and being able to react in real time to what’s happening on screen and in the script.
“It’s definitely been an amazing journey, and I’ve met some amazing people like Bryce and got to know Josh better over those seven, eight years. It was really amazing.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have been commissioned by Mike McFarland, the incredible director, and to be a part of this world. I would have been happy to be ‘Girl A’ who got run over by a rock in the very first episode!
“But to be able to play such an amazing female character and be part of such an amazing franchise has changed my life, and I’m sad to see it go, but I feel very lucky to have been a part of it.”
Grelle said he could “only echo” Papenbrook and Nishimura, but added that he was “sad” to have to end the show and his time with Armin.
He explained: “It’s sad to say goodbye to a character and a franchise, or a show, especially one you’ve been a part of for a very long time. It’s the longest I’ve ever been. with a character and with the show in my career, as Trina said, it changed my life.
“I’ve met a bunch of amazing people, worked with even more amazing people like Bryce and Trina and the rest of the crew, and got to travel all over the place and see how this show and these characters have impacted people’s life. .”
He added, “Leaving the show behind and ending it all is definitely going to be bittersweet.”
On how Eren has changed since season 1 and the dark journey ahead
Eren started the show as a young boy who swore to kill all of the Titans after his mother died at the hands of one, but as the seasons went on he became more and more different.
Whereas in Seasons 1-3 he was driven by his “anger”, as Papenbrook describes it, Season 4 features an altogether different Eren, one who keeps his cards close to his chest and has more malevolent intentions.
This led to the voice actor taking a different approach to the role, as he wanted to find a new way to convey that darker side to him.
“The first three seasons of the character, he was angry, and there was this anger through every line, every moment, you just feel it radiating from him,” Papenbrook began. “And in this last season, that anger is there, but it’s under that layer of ice, like that coldness.
“So Mike McFarland, the director and I had to re-establish and recreate the character in this new version of himself.
“And, as an actor, it’s a lot of fun to be able to do that, to live with a character for years and years and then rethink where that character is and, you know, explore the range more deep in my voice, which I don’t always have the opportunity to do.
“I feel like personally my voice hasn’t changed since middle school. It’s kind of Benjamin Button’s dubbing disease, I tend to play a lot of younger characters and that’s really great that recently I’ve been able to explore my deeper range and, you know, see where it can go.
“To say things as Eren that I never expected him to say, it’s really great to do as an actor. It’s fun to do that kind of stuff. So yeah, that has been very enjoyable, challenging and exciting and I can’t wait to learn more.”
For Mikasa and Armin, it has been difficult to understand how Eren has changed, or how he could have had such violent plans in the fight against the Marleyans, bent on eradicating the Eldians from Paradis Island.
About how they feel, Grelle said of the characters, “It seems like Armin and Mikasa still hold every ounce of hope they have that it’s just some kind of misunderstanding, some mistake. , and Eren has some sort of grand plan.
“But even then, they’re not completely convinced. They’re not sure what to make of their childhood friend, family basically. I can’t wait to see where this takes us. I imagine it won’t. won’t be somewhere nice!”
How Mikasa Challenged Stereotypes and Anime’s Refreshing Approach to Gender
Nishimura, meanwhile, reflected on how Mikasa was able to defy social expectations of female characters, especially in anime.
Not only is Mikasa the best fighter of the trio, but she’s also the strongest, and she’s not defined by any romantic relationship.
“Not just Mikasa as a character, but the way The attack of the Titans tackles the genre as a whole, is truly amazing,” Nishimura said.
“I’ve been blessed with a long career so far, and seeing gender roles change throughout my almost 20 years of voice acting has been really interesting.
“So being able to play a female character and a female lead for typical gender roles, which is being pretty or being the love interest or being, you know, the smartest, being able to to be a female lead who is physically the most capable of the group and the most skilled fighter has been truly amazing.”
She continued, “Just so I can show my niece at some point that she’s not old enough yet, but able to show that her daughters can be strong too, and you don’t just have to be pretty. , and you don’t just have to be X or Y.
“And similarly, the male characters, like Armin, don’t have those skills, they’re not the most physically capable, but are strategically the smartest, which is usually reserved for the ‘weaker sex’, don’t is this not?
“And on a whole other level, you know, there’s a whole character on the show whose gender is never defined, and I think that’s a really amazing reflection of where we’re going as company.
“The fact that we’re no longer locked into conventional terms when it comes to the genre, and being able to pass that on to generations, or even older anime fans, has been really special.”
Grelle, who chimed in to tell Nishimura to “preach” as she spoke, also liked the anime’s approach to the genre, especially for her character.
“Trina touched on something that I just wanted to add,” he said. “On the other side of the spectrum of gender roles, Armin, in addition to being a bit of a philosopher character on the show on occasion, Armin seems to have embraced the nurturing role over the course of this show.
“Armin is a bit of a mother, he takes care of everyone like that, he always thinks what Mikasa is thinking and feeling right now, and how can I help? And what is Eren thinking and feeling right now, and how can I help him?
“He tries to do that with everyone. I just wanted to add something, I felt like that was a very poignant point to make.”
On their gratitude for the show and its fans
Papenbrook, Nishimura, and Grelle then shared their final thoughts on the franchise and what it was like to reach the end of an era.
The three voice actors were overwhelmed with a sense of “gratitude” to the show and its fans, even though it was sad to end their journey with Eren, Mikasa, and Armin.
Nishimura reflected: “The attack of the Titans has been so helpful to me…and so important in various aspects of my life that I feel so grateful. Because if it wasn’t for the fans, and if it wasn’t for people like you, I mean we wouldn’t be here and I feel incredibly grateful and sad, but happy. So somewhere in there.”
Grelle joked that they were all feeling “a complicated set of emotions”, adding: “I’m in the same boat, happy and sad… I can’t think of any other word but sad right now to leave the show. behind me, you know, finishing the show.
“But I also can’t wait for it to be closed and for it to be whole and complete. This will be one of the few anime I’ve ever worked on where the whole story has been encapsulated, where everything has been animated, and there was no filler. It was so true to the original material thing.
“The patience of the fandom and everyone else involved waiting for all the animation to be done, instead of, you know, having filler, filler, filler.
“We were patient and waited for the next games because we knew it was worth the wait, and it was in every case.”
Papenbrook agreed with Nishimura and Grelle, saying he was “tremendously grateful” to have been a part of the anime.
“I don’t know how I feel yet, I’m trying to savor every moment I have left with the show, with this opportunity and with the character,” he admitted.
“I’m just trying to enjoy this last season as much as possible while we’re at it. I’m sure it’s all going to hit me in the end.”
The English dub of Attack on Titan Season 4 Part 2 will launch on Funimation and Crunchyroll on Sunday, February 13 and will stream weekly alongside the Japanese simulcast.