By Sean Aitchison
FunimationCon 2020 turned up the heat this afternoon with a special Fire Force Voice Actor Q&A and PREMIERE for the first two SimulDub episodes of Season 2!
Hosted by Matt Acevedo, the panel included English voice actors Derick Snow (Shinra), Eric Vale (Arthur Boyle), Justin Briner (Sho), Christopher Wehkamp (Hinawa) and ADR director Kyler Phillips. They all chatted about their favorite moments from Season 1 and the best scenes to watch and record.
The cast agreed that the showdowns are the most fun to watch in Fire Force, but each had a different answer for the scenes that were the most fun to record. Derick said he enjoys the scenes where Shinra is injured, because of the character’s subtleties, and of course his family moments with Company 8.
Eric said he loves Arthur most as the “roleplaying idiot that he is,” Justin likes to find Sho’s lost humanity, Christopher enjoys playing off of Sarah Roach as Maki in their scenes together, and Kyle echoed all of these favorites as series director.
This, of course, led to praise for Kyle’s directing, leading right into the Season 2 premiere!
This mixed-canon (to the manga) episode eased fans back into the series with a fight against a giant Infernal that showed off each of the 8th’s skills, powers and teamwork, serving as a powerful jump back into the series’ unique world—and featuring a new OP theme, “Spark Again” by Aimer.
We then dropped back for a quick debrief from the cast on the episode, and some more moment-sharing. They all laughed at the absurdity of the episode’s nude calendar shoot scene, which we definitely will not spoil for you here.
Though, Eric suggested the male cast recreate the shoot in real life…and everyone agreed that Shinra’s finishing move against the giant Infernal was the coolest part of the episode.
The cast then discussed who they thought had the best pyrokinetic ability—Derick says he’s a big fan of Maki’s Iron Owls, Justin loves how Sho’s power manifests as falling feathers (to which Vale seconded), Christopher is a fan of the bluntness of Hinawa firing a shotgun at a giant Infernal, and Kyle also shares a love of Maki, though he also has a soft spot for Hinawa and the powerless Captain Obi.
Fans were then treated to a special pre-recorded interview with Gakuto Kajiwara and Yusuke Kobayashi, the Japanese voice actors for Shinra and Arthur respectively!
The two discussed how they’ve changed since they first started recording Season 1, including Yusuke’s challenges with voicing a character as dimwitted as Arthur, their favorite scenes to record, how much they both loved an upcoming fight between Shinra and Arthur, their work-from-home habits and hobbies (Gakuto has been eating more and Yusuke has been playing around with temporary hair dye), and what to look forward to in Season 2.
We then rolled into Episode 2 of the second season, and man, was it exciting.
This episode follows Shinra as he seeks out answers from the Captain of Special Fire Force Company 4, Soichiro Hague, who Shinra saw in a vision during his Adolla Link at the end of Season 1. The episode took a turn as Shinra goes rogue, leading Arthur to jump in for an exciting fight and cliffhanger! And that’s all we’ll say.
The episode also introduced us to new characters Ogun Montgomery, a friend of Shinra’s from the academy voiced by Zeno Robinson (My Hero Academia), and Pan Ko Paat, Lieutenant of the 4th, voiced by Robert McCollum (PSYCHO-PASS). We imagine they’ll both play a big role in what’s to come.
And thus, the Fire Force Season 2 panel came to a close as the cast briefly discussed the new characters and their VAs, as well as their take on the awesome Arthur vs. Shinra fight and what they’re looking forward to most in the coming episodes.
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