Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (2024)

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK


Eri Hatano, Ryoko Yamauchi Writer

The Japanese entertainment magazine Nikkei Entertainment!, which featured Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Hashira Training Arc on the cover of its August 2024 issue, published an interview with voice actors Natsuki Hanae, who plays the protagonist Tanjiro Kamado, and Akari Kito, who plays Tanjiro's sister Nezuko.

It has been five years since Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Tanjiro Kamado, Unwavering Resolve Arc, premiered in 2019. At the end of June, Hashira Training Arc came to a shocking conclusion, and it was announced that Infinity Castle Arc would be adapted into a trilogy of movies.

The protagonist Tanjiro Kamado is voiced by Natsuki Hanae, and his sister Nezuko Kamado is voiced by Akari Kito. We interviewed both of them, still basking in the afterglow of the anime broadcast, beginning with a look back at the mind-blowing final episode.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (1)

Natsuki Hanae: Natsuki Hanae was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1991, and is affiliated with Across Entertainment. He debuted as a voice actor in 2011. His other rnain roles include Ken Kaneki in Tokyo Ghoul, Kosei Arirna in Your Lie in April, Haruichi Korninato in Ace of Diamond, Riddle Rosehearts in Disney: Twisted-Wonderland, Shinpei Ajiro in Summer Time Rendering, and Elan Ceres in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury.

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Tanjiro Kamado: A kind teenage boy who used to sell charcoal, but his family was slaughtered by a demon while his younger sister was turned into one. He joined the Demon Slayer Corps to turn her back to a human. He uses both Water Breathing and Hinokami Kagura. He has a heightened sense of smell.

Natsuki Hanae ("Hanae"): Our battle against Muzan is finally getting started, and my heart is pounding! I've been looking forward to the explosion scene in the final episode ever since we recorded it.

I especially like the line that Kagaya says to Muzan: "Eternity is human feeling." Personally, I feel that this line gets to the heart of what Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is about. The message of the series is that only human feelings are eternal and undying, so it left a strong impression on me.

Akari Kito ("Kito"): Nezuko ... didn't have much screen time in Hashira Training Arc. However, the Hashira, who haven't really been in the spotlight yet, had important roles to play this season, and they got to interact with Tanjiro and the others more. I'd been looking forward to arc for a long time. The Hashira seem like they're invincible, but they actually have so many qualities that make them feel human - for example, I was surprised that Giyu would brood so much over his past. I was glad we got to see that they're not just strong and cool; they're also full of surprises, and they all have their own reasons for joining the Demon Slayer Corps and becoming Hashira.

Looking back on Tanjiro and Nezuko's growth and development

--Since Tanjiro Kamado, Unwavering Resolve Arc, Tanjiro and Nezuko have battled all kinds of demons, maturing together throughout Mugen Train Arc, Entertainment District Arc, and Swordsmith Village Arc. Among all the episodes with scenes highlighting Tanjiro and Nezuko's relationship, which were the most memorable for you?

Hanae: The first episode of Tanjiro Kamado, Unwavering Resolve Arc, when Tanjiro believes that Nezuko wouldn't eat humans, and when she protects him after she turns into a demon.

Kito: Same for me. I had the chance to play a very rare scene where a human becomes a demon. I was impressed that Tanjiro tried to calm Nezuko down after she turned into a rampaging demon, rather than defend himself and save his own life. It's also incredible how we're shown Tanjiro's mental resilience and his love for his family from the very first episode.

Hanae: Yeah, but during their mission to Mt. Natagumo in Tanjiro Kamado, Unwavering Resolve Arc ...

Kito: That was still in the middle of the (COVID-19) pandemic, so I believe we recorded our lines separately, right?

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (3)

Akari Kito: Akari Kito was born on October 16 in Aichi Prefecture, and is affiliated with Raccoon Dog. She debuted as a voice actor in 2014. Her other main roles include Hina Chono in Blue Box, Nene Yashiro in Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, Kyoka Uzen in Chained Soldier, Futaba Yozakura in Mission: Yozakura Family, Hime in Tales of Wedding Rings, and Otonari-san in Sasaki and Peeps.

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Nezuko Kamado: Tanjiro's younger sister. She was turned into a demon, but thanks to Sakonji Urokodaki's hypnotic suggestion and her incredible mental strength, she fights to protect humans rather than attack them. She is targeted by Muzan Kibutsuji after becoming immune to sunlight.

Hanae: Nah, we did it together.

Kito: We did??

Natsuki: We were together (laughs), because I remember you saying "Exploding Blood (Bakketsu *)."

* Nezuko's Blood Demon Art, which allows her to ignite her blood and produce flames.

Kito: Oh, you're right! We did the Bakketsu scene together. In the manga, "Bakketsu" was just written like a sound effect, so I didn't know whether I'd be saying it out loud or not, but it turned out that it wasn't just in her head, and they had me record the line. This was pretty much the only scene where Nezuko speaks after she becomes a demon, and it was so iconic that I remember it really well.

--They both showed more growth in Mugen Train Arc, where they took on a mission with Flame Hashira Kyojuro Rengoku, and in Entertainment District Arc, where they fought Upper Rank demons of the Twelve Kizuki alongside Sound Hashira Tengen Uzui.

Kito: In Entertainment District Arc, Nezuko loses control of herself when her demon form advances.

She becomes stronger the deeper she goes, and she wants to use that power, but she can't lose her grip on herself, either.

Hanae: I felt that Tanjiro definitely gets stronger in this arc, too, thanks to his training. He also gets a little better at using Hinokami Kagura. This isn't one of Tanjiro's scenes, but I was amazed by the battle scene between Gyutaro and Tengen when I watched it in the theater during the World Tour screening.

Kito: Yeah, that was really impressive. If I had to pick my favorite scene, it would be the one where Tengen was poisoned and Nezuko saved his life by using her Bakketsu. Everyone was telling her that it was "way too soon to be cremating him" (laughs). I really liked that such a funny scene was playing out in front of someone on the verge of death (laughs).

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (5)

Tanjiro, who couldn't fight on the day when Nezuko was turned into a demon, trains tirelessly in the Demon Slayer Corps (Episode 1 of Tanjiro Kamado, Unwavering Resolve Arc).

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (6)

Nezuko fights to protect humans because of Sakonji Urokodaki's hypnotic suggestion and her incredible mental strength. Her Blood Demon Art also evolves, and in episode 11 of Entertainment District Arc, she becomes able to neutralize poison created by demons with Exploding Blood.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (7)

Tanjiro began his battle with demons to turn Nezuko back into a human. In the final episode of Swordsmith Village Arc, Nezuko becomes immune to sunlight, but her fangs, which prove she is a demon, remain.

How did you approach the recording for Swordsmith Village Arc?

Hanae: That's a difficult question, since Swordsmith Village Arc had so many impactful scenes ... The dubbing was difficult in general, but because the manga was so amazing, I wanted to give a thoughtful performance in each and every scene. When it came to my actual performance, I had to carefully consider how to convey those specific feelings, and what my technique should be. It was a lot of work.

Kito: I haven't discussed acting or technique with Natsuki that much, but when I hear him act, I can tell how much he thinks about the atmosphere, the flow of the lines, and what feeling he wants to convey. In that sense, I think that we all followed his lead. Everyone in the studio felt that very strongly, including myself. For example, at the end of the battle scenes, we all felt this synergy with him that got us more and more excited,even if we weren't in that scene. I felt that particularly keenly in the scene where Nezuko over comes her weakness to sunlight in the end. It was really moving. Although it was Nezuko's turn in the spotlight, Tanjiro crying so hard made it feel even more touching ...

Hanae: I didn't actually have to try to make myself cry. All the feelings I had from working hard as Tanjiro welled up inside me, so it was very easy for me to put myself in his place. I've been playing Tanjiro for five years, so that kind of scene is actually easier for me. I sometimes find that the shorter lines are more difficult to deliver.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (8)

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (9)

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (10)

Tanjiro devotes himself to training under the guidance of the retired Sound Hashira Tengen Uzui, Mist Hashira Muichiro Tokita, Love Hashira Mitsuri Kanroji, Serpent Hashira Obanai lguro, Wind Hashira Sanemi Shinazugawa, and Stone Hashira Gyomei Himejima. The first episode shows how Nezuko is starting to learn to speak little by little while she stays at the Butterfly Mansion with Aoi and other inhabitants.

The appeal of Tanjiro and Nezuko as characters

--You've been voicing Tanjiro and Nezuko, respectively, for five years now. What do you feel makes them so appealing as characters?

Hanae: Tanjiro is always honest, kind, and caring. He's driven by his love for his family to work hard in his training. I think it's wonderful that his kindness is what motivates him to take action. I really admire that about him, and I hope to learn how he does it.

Kito: Nezuko truly has so many different sides to her personality, both when she was a human and when she lost control of herself after becoming a demon. Even after turning into a demon, she had lots of cute moments with all her shrinking and growing. We get to see yet another side of her after she becomes immune to sunlight, too. That's why I really enjoy voicing Nezuko.

--It was recently announced that Infinity Castle Arc would be adapted into a trilogy of movies.

Kito: There was some comic relief during Hashira Training Arc, but now that we're finally heading into lnfiniry Castle Arc, I think we'll have to work even harder.

Hanae: I've actually wanted to watch every arc in theaters, so I'm thrilled that we're going to have a trilogy of movies. I think it's an excellent choice for Irifiniry Castle Arc.

Kito: My mother went to watch Mugen Train Arc in the theater. At that time, I was so happy that even people who don't usually watch anime were interested in the series, so I hope the same thing will happen for the trilogy, too. I think that the animation and the music will make people want to watch the films over and over again, and I hope to play my own part in achieving this.

(c) Koyoharu Gotoge / SHUEISHA, Aniplex, ufotable

[Hanae] Stylist/ Tomoya Murata (SMB International.) Hair&Make-up / Yui Kato (Hair&Make-up fringe)

[Kito] Stylist/ Hatsune Sato Hair&Make-up / Yurina Sakamoto (Leading)

(Photo/ Kazuhito Fujimoto)

Japan Expo Paris

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Hashira Training Arc SPECIAL CROSSTALK (2024)
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