Attack on Titan‘s English voice dub of Eren Yaeger, Bryce Papenbrook, has shared his thoughts on the character’s villainous descent.
The rumbling continues to rage as Attack On Titan‘s Final Season will get a Part 3. The summary of the first two parts of the series’ final season focuses on the Eldian’s brutal war against Marley. However, the final season also focuses on the series protagonist Eren Yaeger’s dark turn in becoming a primary antagonist.
When the Attack on Titan began, Eren Yaeger was a boy who wanted to explore the world outside the walls. Unfortunately, tragedy has befallen him as he witnessed his town get overrun by humanoid cannibalistic giants, known as titans. Tragically, he also watched his mother get eaten by one. This traumatic event caused Eren to have intense anger and rage. He made a vow to eradicate all titans and liberate humanity from them. To achieve his goal, Eren joins the military.
We see Eren grow from a cadet into a full-fledged member of the Survey Corp throughout the first three seasons. We also see him face other traumatic experiences along the way. These traumatic experiences include betrayal, corruption, shocking revelations, and prejudice. With all the tragedy and trauma Eren has faced, it isn’t hard to see why he has lost so much of his humanity.
Veteran voice actor Bryce Papenbrook is the English voice dub of Eren Yaeger. He is also known as the voice of Kirito (Sword Art Online), Caesar Anthonio Zeppeli (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), and Inosuke Hashibira (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba). We at the Illuminerdi had the opportunity to interview Bryce at Wondercon 2022. We asked Bryce about his process of changing Eren’s voice from the hero in the first three seasons to the villain in the final seasons. We also asked Bryce if there were any anime villains that inspired his villainous Eren voice. Bryce also shares if he actually considers Eren a villain.
Attack On Titan’s Bryce Papenbrook Explains The Process of Transitioning His Naive Heroic Eren Yaeger Voice To A Weary Antagonist
The Illuminerdi: Can you tell us what the process was like for doing the voice of Eren from the first three seasons to changing his voice now for the final two seasons. It’s because in the first half, he was young, naive, and heroic. But now, he had a villainous turn. Can you explain the process of doing that?
Bryce Papenbrook: Yeah, absolutely! So I think all of the performances as Eren in Seasons 1 through 3 was driven by anger. There’s this anger that comes through that’s just emanating through every single line that he has. In this latest season that anger is still there, but it’s kind of buried under this coldness. Which makes him absolutely terrifying. So as far the voice goes he’s much younger before and he just ages.
Not only ages but he goes through a lot between Season 3 and Season 4. So that experience, we tried to factor into the voice. I just love the way it turned out. Mike Mcfarland (Voice of Jean Kirstein in Attack On Titan and ADR Director) and I really collaborated on how we wanted it to sound. What we landed on and came up with it’s just awesome. I am really proud of what we did.Bryce Papenbrook | Wondercon 2022
Bryce Papenbrook Reveals If He Considers Eren The Villain of Attack on Titan
The Illuminerdi: Were there any anime villains that you took reference to while doing the voice of Eren for his final two seasons?
Bryce Papenbrook: No, I didn’t really take inspiration from other villains or other characters. In fact I have not read the manga, so I don’t know yet as a viewer and someone who loves the characters so deeply. I don’t know if he’s a villain or not. I’m not sure who’s right and who’s wrong. I think that’s one of the thing’s Attack On Titan does extremely well it creates this gray area. Where you are not sure which side to take.
You have this pulling of back and forth. In one moment I think “Oh how could Eren do this”? Then the next moment, I think “wait maybe he’s right or he’s onto something”. I think that’s what what’s really special about the show. As an actor and as someone who loves the show, not knowing where it’s going to go is really exciting. I don’t know until I can go back and watch the entire show from start to finish, I won’t know if I would consider him a villain or not.Bryce Papenbrook | Wondercon 2022
Bryce’s statements made me realize just how complex is Eren Yaeger as a character. Eren did intend to kill all titans, but his main focus was to liberate humanity. Eren thought the rest of humanity was extinct outside the walls. But instead, he not only discovers there is life outside the walls, but that they also want him dead. This, combined with the tragedies and traumas he’s faced his entire life is likely why he is on this genocidal path.
His goal is to save humanity, but humanity appears beyond saving. Eren sees genocide as the only means to preserve what little of humanity there is left. What makes it so compelling is that Eren does not see his heinous acts or endgame as wrong. He is the hero of his own story. But does that mean he is still the hero of this story? We will have to wait and see until Attack On Titan: Final Season Part 3 releases next year.
Are you caught up with Attack on Titan? Do you believe Eren Yaeger is a villain in the series or more complex? What are you expecting for Attack On Titan: Final Season Part 3? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or let us know on Twitter.