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This past week was Adult Swim Con where in lieu of a physical event at San Diego Comic-Con, Adult Swim hosted a free con online. It started Thursday and ended late on Saturday night with a ‘Toonami Edition’, held during the regular Toonami block on Adult Swim. All of the features were broadcast either going into a commercial break or coming out of a commercial break, and included show announcements and lots of interviews! These interviews included directors of upcoming Toonami original productions and interviews with Toonami voices Steve Blum and Dana Swanson, the voices of TOM and SARA respectively.
Fena: Pirate Princess
The Toonami Edition of Adult Swim Con started off hot with the announcement of a brand-new anime. ‘Fena: Pirate Princess’ is a collaboration between Toonami and Crunchyroll and is produced by Production IG. The show’s director is Kazuto Nakazawa.
- “Fena: Pirate Princess is set in 18th century Europe and will be a “Fantasy, adventure, and action show” according to Director Nakazawa.
- He also says the show will be “Somewhere between a shonen Manga and a shojo manga”.
- The show will also have a romance element.
- The trailer is quite interesting and we are looking forward to this show when it comes out next year!
Rick and Morty vs. Genocider
Next up was a special anime short. “Rick and Morty VS. Genocider” This was directed by Takashi Sano who also recently directed “Tower of God’. It is an 8-minute short which many fans of ‘Rick and Morty’ will love!
Blade Runner: Black Lotus
After this was an interview with the directors of Blade Runner: Black Lotus, Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama. Like Fena, Black Lotus is a collaboration between Adult Swim and Crunchyroll and will be coming in 2021. Here are some interview highlights:
- Blade Runner: Black Lotus is set in the year 2032, setting it between the original ‘Blade Runner’ and the sequel ‘Blade Runner 2049’.
- The story occurs right after the black-out. The black-out was when the world lost all its public data.
- The show has a female protagonist and she is living an ordinary life as a replicant. They are telling the stories of the characters in the world “without making the protagonist a human blade runner”
- Blade Runner: Black Lotus will be able to give even the bad guys more depth and emotions. They are changing the point of view of the story to give the show more plot lines.
- The show also has to have a “bridge” between the original Blade Runner movie and the sequel, allowing this show to possibly explain events in 2049
- This is definitely a passion project for the directors.
- Kamiyama reminisced about how he was a teen when he watched the first Blade Runner movie. “Its cinematic expressiveness made a huge impact on me.” He believes that everyone who was into animation or film making in Japan was inspired by that movie.
- Aramaki says he saw the movie “right after I’d moved to Tokyo and begun my career” He goes on to talk about the world with incredible detail and says “[He’d] never seen anything like that.” He believes it inspires almost all futuristic sci-fi movies.
- Aramaki says he found himself emulating the world of Blade Runner a lot in his own work.
- Both directors say there was no way they could turn down the project, but they feel tremendous pressure to make the show good.
Next up was a trailer for ‘Uzumaki’. This show is an Adult Swim original anime directed by Hiroshi Nagahama with music by Colin Stetson. The original manga is by Junji Ito. This interview was filmed after the first episode was recorded with VAs and was originally scheduled for 2020 but has been pushed back to 2021, possibly early in the year.
- Director Nagahama describes both the manga and the series as more than just horror. He says there is a “much deeper theme to it”.
- ‘Uzumaki’ will be in black and white and they are trying to recreate the style from the original manga as much as possible
- Nagahama says that since the show is in black and white, he feels as though he is working with “limited equipment.” But even though it’s harder, he feels as though it’s better to stay true to the original source.
- Nagahama believes that series and the manga both draw a fine line between horror and comedy.
- “It’s almost as if the situation around the world has surpassed the level of fiction we are about to make.” He says it’s making people re-evaluate themselves and consider their career choices.
- He says that he locked himself inside during stay at home orders so that he could help the staff with working on the show.
- Uzumaki will be as close to the manga as possible. Nagahama says he does this so that fans of the original will want to watch and do not nitpick at minor details within the show.
Here are some highlights of the hour-and-twenty-minute interview of Steve Blum, the voice of TOM.
- He realized he realized he could become a professional Voice Actor (VA) 5 years after he started.
- He notes this was right after he did Cowboy Bebop.
- He quit his six-figure job as Head of Marketing of a film company but then there was a strike and he was out of voice acting work for a year.
- He started as the voice of TOM. back in 2000.
- He’s said yes to almost every job offer.
- Hentai are the only jobs he rejects.
- He says he only gets 1 gig for every 30 auditions.
- He only gets booked off of his work about once or twice a year.
- His best advice for others is to “Do what you love, then do everything else you need to do so that you can do what you love. Whether you’re getting paid for it or not.
Here are some highlights of the 53-minute-long interview of Dana Swanson, voice of SARA!
- She started working at Adult Swim in 2005.
- She worked as a librarian and got to work in a sound booth a lot.
- She eventually got noticed after doing some musical projects.
- In 2013, she got called in for what she originally thought was scratch (a rough guide track not intended for actual production use) and she did a robot voice because she thought that was what was wanted for Toonami.
- She was shocked to get a callback.
- She has been working as a full-time voice actor for the past year.
- Because of COVID, she has not been able to go out to LA to record vocals and she finds it harder to record by herself.
- One of her favorite Toonami moments was ‘The Intruder II’ which was one of the Toonami Immersion Events (TIE). She felt a personal connection to the story because she had undergone brain surgery before and felt a relation to SARA waking up and acting different.