When it comes to different anime, the studio producing the anime can be one of the potential make-or-break factors in the anime’s success. An anime or manga can have a great narrative, but the way it is depicted can cause audiences to lose interest. At Anime Expo 2023, we met with Netflix to interview two of the voice actors from their upcoming anime Delicious in Dungeon (Danjon Meshi); the upcoming is set to release in January 2024 and is being produced by Studio Trigger (Cyberpunk Edgerunners, Darling in the Franxx, & the season of New Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt).
For the Delicious in Dungeon interview, we had the opportunity to ask Kentaro Kumagai, the voice of Laios, and also Sayaka Sembongi, the voice of Marcille, a variety of questions about the upcoming series with the help of a translator, Lisle Wilkerson.
Delicious in Dungeon Interview Questions
Can you talk about the voice acting voice casting process for Delicious in Dungeon?
Kentaro Kumagai – So Kentaro Kumagai says for him. He actually did an audio file first, his agency sent that in, and then from there, they came up with a couple of samples that they were really interested in. And so with that, that was when he went to the studio audition. And then that was when he was picked.
Sayaka Sembongi – so as far as Sayaka Sembongi, she said that actually this time it was like really interesting because her character, Marcille, was already decided. So that was her and there was another character that had already been decided through a voice sample and everything and then when they were deciding on Laios they actually went and they did it with Kumagai and with some other people. So the people that were decided for the studio audition, they went and they, because they wanted to see the chemistry between the characters and so she’s so it’s a very unique way of casting. She had already been decided and then the male actor was decided after them based on their chemistry.
For clarification, that means that she was in the studio cast audition and she was there during the voice
Preparing for the Roles
How did you how did they prepare for their respective roles in the anime?
Kentaro Kumagai – So after the audition, when he found out that he got the part of Laios, he was like okay, how can I relate to this character? What things do we have in common with his character? His character has a younger sister, right? So with him, he has a younger brother. So from the older brother’s perspective, that was how he first started preparing. But he said his character, Laios is really a bit of a unique strange character. So from then on, he’s gone on to be quite flat. In other words to just really go into it from a more flatter perspective and just kind of go with the character.
Sayaka Sembongi – she said that for her character because of course with the eating because the animes a lot about eating. She said first of all, she did read the manga, so she used that to prepare, but also slime is involved. Right? So her character eats a lot of slime. So she’s like, okay, what can I find in the Japanese food world or even like in foods that are similar to that so I can kind of understand that eating of slime and so stuff like content or like jelly and whatnot. So she would use eat that to kind of get a little bit more perspective on her character.
Is there any other character they’d like to portray?
So along the lines of both in their role and outside of roles in Delicious in Dungeon. Is there a different character that they would have liked to portray if they weren’t cast in their roles?
Kentaro Kumagai- He said that as for me I could only play Laios when I read the script when I read the manga like I was looking at the characters and I was like this character is for me like there’s no other character I can’t see myself playing it any other character so it was really fate like I’m really happy that I was.
Sayaka Sembongi – I really wanted/that was the character I really wanted to play was Marcille because she’s very playful like she really likes that part of her and also very girly. And so as she’s doing the audition, she was like oh, this will be so great if I could get this part and so she’s like I’m very honored that I was picked and I’m so happy.
Comedy in Delicious in Dungeon
So what would you say differentiates this anime’s comedy from other anime and manga?
As a group – So they’re both saying that they also so the humor as you were saying like you really enjoy the humor. So it’s not it’s much more subtle, like with how the humor is done and how Kumagai was saying it and then Sembongi was saying it as well. Kumagai was saying that he doesn’t know that he was being funny. Like, you know, he’s super serious. So you’ll do something, you’ll see something and he’ll be like, very serious. And then everyone else is like, you know, you kind of laugh almost, you know, so it’s like, a lot of subtlety to the humor, and instead of how a lot of anime and manga will have like, gags or they call it Ganga but it’s like very much more not slapstick, but much more out there humor, but with this it’s a lot more subtle where it’s not necessarily like a joke but you kind of like snicker you’re like Hahaha, that was kind of funny. Yeah.
How would you like to see your character develop throughout the series? With the character development, how would they be in an ideal world how would you like them to be or grow in the storyline?
Kentaro Kumagai – Have you read the manga? I don’t want to take the enjoyment away from you. So you have to read the manga first and then decide. He says that he doesn’t want to give anything away and since you are going to be reading the manga after this, he said he would like for you to either read the manga or watch the show, and then you guys can watch together as he grows but for one thing, he wishes his character Laios would be a little bit nicer to his friends and with the people around him.
Sayaka Sembongi- First of all I want you to read the manga but she also said that you know I think one thing that you will find at the very beginning with her character with Marcille that very food focused right so Food Food Food Food Food and she said but she really hopes that her character will start to also be interested in other things and will kind of fill out more so will not just be a very food focused character. Hopefully, she will be into a lot more other things as the story continues and that’s what she’s hoping for. Yeah, remember manga, you need to read the manga first. You have 12 mangas to read, so get started very quickly.
Has Their Perspective on Food Changed?
Given that this series is a lot about where the food comes from has your perspective on food and interest in cooking changed since the series?
Kentaro Kumagai – He has been taught ever since he was a little kid, his parents would always teach him to make sure that you say itadakimasu. Which is I am going to eat this, thank you for this food that I’m about to eat. And it’s something that is such a big part of the Japanese culture obviously, but it almost becomes routine you know? I’ve been doing that for 27 years, it almost becomes something that you just do and you don’t really think about you know, and you don’t realize the importance and kind of the underlining meaning behind it. However now that he is working with this character in Delicious in Dungeon, its meaning becomes more real. So things that they actually say for instance, kill, they have to eat and they are taking a life so there’s that aspect of it that really adds a whole new definition to this phrase that they just become so used to and so its really given a new perspective on that.
Sayaka Sembongi – Okay, I’m just going to spell it for you. So you guys can write it down. It’s Cybister, it’s a beetle though. It’s a species of diving beetle native to East Asia. So it’s a Beetle; It’s also in the Amazon. What has really changed is actually the director brought beetles and scorpions. Until then she would never really eat anything like that but she decided after eating it and it was a good experience with the beetle. Once she did that she said to herself, ‘”You know what, maybe I should be a little bit more open like not have these; you have these images and stereotypes of what something will taste like and you don’t try it you know?” So instead of doing that, I’ll just be more open to things. I’ll be open to trying things.
Kentaro Kumagai – Yesterday I ate a lot of steak. And one thing hI learned was not to have any leftovers, nobody wanted that night. So he said I ate a lot of steaks and I didn’t leave any on the plate. I ate everything!
Fogo de Chao?
Kumagai – Yeah, it’s kind of hard. In that case, even if I have any left I’ll bring it home and I’ll eat it, so I will not leave it.
Experimenting with Food
If you could try any one dish that you guys have had in the show or that was depicted in the manga what would it be? What would you be willing to try?
Translator – Does it need to be what their characters have eaten or can it just be anything in the manga?
Kumagai – I would probably have something that my character Laios has had and that’s the Nabe, the Japanese version of a hot pot, it’s a soul food; it is sort of like a jambalaya. it’s a very coming-together food. It’s a comfort food really, and because there’s that Japanese culture to that as well, but I would probably eat that and the official name of that is the huge scorpion and walking mushroom hot pot, and that’s what I would eat.
Sembongi – I would really like to try the nabe, however actually there are more things I would not want to try. In the anime and the manga. One thing I would definitely do not want to touch or have anything to do with is the parasites.
Impressions of Anime Expo
What has been your impression of Anime Expo so far, and the American fans?
Kumagai – It is my first time at Anime Expo and my first time in America, and it has been a very fresh perspective for me. The whole experience has just been a new experience.
So since this is your first time here in America, what has been maybe the biggest thing that has been a shock to your system?
Kumagai – I would have to say the fact that everyone drives on a different side here. So every time that a car turns, I’m like oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Oh no no no no, this is right this right. So it makes me nervous. Another thing I would have to say about being here at AX, in response to the fans of Anime and fans of Mysef, is that American fans, I never, never could have imagined so much passion towards Anime and video games, umm manga and cosplaying. This whole thing has been such an incredible experience for me, especially being a part of that industry. To be able to be a voice for someone in an anime that you guys are responding to in such a really wonderful manner, I can feel it in my skin; it’s been an incredible experience, and it makes me very very happy.
Sembongi – this is my first time at AX and in America as well. The thing that has stood out most to me is the lack of humidity. Those of you that have been to Japan before probably are aware that in Japan, the humidity is absolutely crazy, and as I got off the plane and left the airport I was like “Ah! It’s dry I don’t know how to feel, I’m not sweating. It doesn’t matter how hot it is, or how the sun beating down, it’s just that humidity that does you in., That is one thing I have really really enjoyed since being here. As far as the AX experience and American fan experience, I feel very similar to Kumagisan, where I feel so honored and so impressed with how much love and support the American audience has given me; the fact that I am part of an anime that you guys are responding to so well to is amazing. I would love to do is sit down one on one with some of the fans and ask them questions like, so who do you like, what do you like about this character, and dive into it if I could, but what I’m going to do is take all this experience and the love and support you guys have given and go back to Japan and do an even better job, even with the humidity in Japan. This is going to be fuel for the future. I am very honored. Thank you, thank you.
Feedback from the Director
During the voice recording session, sometimes at the very beginning, the voice director or staff gives feedback on how to portray the specific characters. Did they give you any feedback on how to portray the characters Laios and Marcille? If not were there any fun moments that you could share?
Kumagai – So obviously, the first recording session for the first episode is extremely important right because you do have that synergy and that back and forth with the director. So I’ll go back even further. So before we even started the first episode actually everyone got together in the lobby area including some of the members from Studio Trigger and they all got together and said we look forward to working with everyone on this new show. And then after that, we got to the recording booth.
How was the Recording Process?
In English voice acting, voice actors record their lines individually, but in Japan, it is a bit different. How many of you were in the booth for the first recording?
Kumagai – So there were four. The four main characters were in there and we went into the studio with the director and engineer; meanwhile, the client was on the other side. So as we were working on the voices, the director would go in and ask if there were questions or if the director had comments, he would go into the recording studio where they were, and they would have a back-and-forth. So that was how the first episode was done. Keeping in mind of course the original manga as well, and also with my character it’s extremely important to keep that distance. That distance the character Laios has with people and so with that being a very big part of the character, so I wanted to keep that in mind as I was portraying him.
Sembongi – The thing I really remember the most is after being cast as Marcille, they brought in the other characters, and all four of them worked together, the director said I want you to bring it down a notch. He said, “If you have a higher voice it will make you sound younger, and he wanted it to sound a little bit more mature.” That was the direction that I really remember and that stays in my mind; he wanted a little bit more of an adult image or mature image.
Expected Feelings from the Show
What do you hope audiences will experience or feel after watching Delicious in Dungeon?
Kumagai – First of all, with my character, there are a lot of comical parts, parts that will make you laugh, as part of his character. Then there’s also an underlying thing that’s a lot more complicated, and I looking forward to taking this journey with the viewers, as you watch the anime; I want to see his journey as a person and as a human. I am very excited about watching how he grows as a character. I hope that you will really enjoy that as well.
Sembongi – Obviously with my character, the biggest aspect of my character is that she is very into eating; so the whole aspect of taking a life to receive life. The depth that kind of goes with that, and also the fact that this is a journey of four members, four characters, and how not only they interact as a group, but also how they continue to develop and rely on each other as a group; that is going to be extremely important. There is a lot of humor and comedy in the anime as well that you will find but there are also these themes such as you can’t live alone; you need other people in order to live this life, so that’s going to be really important. I look forward to seeing that as well. As they journey on, how they will rely on and depend on each other throughout the journey; it’s going to be extremely important
Cosplaying The Character
So if you came to another anime convention, would you consider coming dressed as your character?
Kumagai – I would love to but I would need to work out a little bit more first. Then I’ll think about it.
Sembongi – Yes, very much yes.
During recording did you find a scene particularly hard or challenging to record?
Kumagai – First of all my character is just difficult, so there was a lot that was really hard. There is one episode that comes to mind. The first episode, it’s the episode where his character eats the huge scorpion and Laios says “blah”, so I had to do that many times. So that was probably the most difficult.
Sembongi- A lot of gags, and a lot of jokes being told, and with that, there’s a lot of reactions, her character has, it was really hard because I had to keep in character as well, you can’t go to high, you have to come up with a balance that works for the character. So I really delved into different voices, including using my natural voice to kind of come up with that balance for that, so that was very hard and probably the most difficult thing.