When a shonen is titled "Chainsaw Man," it's expected of the anime to be as violent and visceral as it ended up being. Based on Tatsuki Fujimoto's manga of the same name, "Chainsaw Man" debuted in the fall anime season to rave reviews, with /Film's own Rafael Motamayor calling it "irreverent, hilarious, and full of exciting and rather gory action." Equal parts hilarious and darkly brutal, the anime translated the striking visuals and concepts of the manga to a stunning level of detail. The English dub cast that brings the characters to life helped to shed new light on the fights in the anime, giving them a crueler, edgier feel when compared to reading them on a page.

As is typical of most Shonen, fight scenes more often than not lead to a large amount of screaming to demonstrate the force of willpower. For "Chainsaw Man," the insanity of the battles led to a different, more maniacal approach to the vocal performance. With every Katana Man, Violence Fiend, or giant Bat Devil, there was an insane voice behind it to give the hellish designs a whole new life. Ryan Colt Levy, the English voice actor for Denji, was prepared to bring a chaotic and vicious angle to the fights of "Chainsaw Man," creating a unique new version of the conflicts that accentuate the madness of the manga while showing the true power of an anime adaptation.

'I Learned How To Do It To A Threshold'

In an interview with Buzzfeed, Levy talked about his past experiences as a vocalist that helped to prepare him for the animalistic nature of Denji when he transforms into Chainsaw Man. Interestingly, he found his tolerance for screaming in childhood bands, saying, "I screamed a lot in hardcore bands and stuff as a kid, so I learned how to do it to a threshold and understand my physicality where I can't hurt myself."

More than just his experience, Levy also had faith in his director, Mike McFarland. Along with directing duties on anime like "Chainsaw Man," McFarland has also done his fair share of voice work, most recently as the voice of Jean in "Attack on Titan." The director is empathetic with the toll voice acting takes — especially with a role as violent as "Chainsaw Man":

"Mike takes good care of me — he doesn't make me do ten takes of a single scene. If it's a big fight sequence, we may split that over a few days because he'll be like, 'You know, you're going to 11 here; let's have you rest a bit so that we can come back and hit it again fresh.'"

A positive working relationship between an English dub actor and their director is crucial to making an anime work. While it's easy to assume that the animation from Studio MAPPA does most of the heavy lifting, it's the voice work that adds a whole new layer of emotion into the mix.

Feral Characters And Animalistic Voice Work

A prime example of the unique voice work in "Chainsaw Man" is displayed in the "dream battle" of Episode 4. After an intense fight against the Bat Devil, which saw Denji retract his chainsaws because of lack of blood, he was soon challenged by the Leech Devil in a battle that turned dirty. Ryan Colt Levy's voice work shines in this scene, as the deranged Denji (due to severe blood loss in the previous fight) slurs his speech but keeps the same animalistic rage, although he has no strength left to fight. In this instance, "Chainsaw Man" sets itself apart from the competition with an unhinged and grotesque spin on the usual "never give up" approach that comes with characters in a Shonen.

The twisted nature of this scene and Levy's performance no doubt came from McFarland's direction, as Levy would recall the notes he would receive on capturing the essence of Denji: "Sometimes it's really fun because Mike's direction will be like, 'Give me this but make it even more disgusting. Make it more feral, make it grosser.'"

All facets of "Chainsaw Man's" production have helped elevate the anime above the rest. Its protagonist's simplistic and carnal goals and terrifying monster designs make for a highly entertaining watch that wouldn't hit as hard without the talented voice cast behind it all.

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