Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War premiered in 2022 after the original series ended more than a decade prior.
The show, which is gearing up for its Part 2 finale, is bringing longtime viewers closure by adapting the original manga's final arcs.
But that's not the only reason fans were excited about the return of Ichigo, Rukia and the whole Soul Society. Along with iconic characters and locations, Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War also brought back the entirety of the original show's cast – including Ichigo's English voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch.
The star is well known to 90s kids generally (he was an original Power Ranger, after all) but 2022 also saw him return to another iconic anime role – Vash the Stampede in the Trigun reboot.
Ahead of Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War's Part 2 coming to an end, we spoke to Johnny about reprising two of his most famous voices, how his approach has changed, and (of course) we had to sneak in a Demon Slayer question.
You returned to voice two of the most iconic anime characters of all time last year – Vash and Ichigo. How did the experience of returning to those characters differ?
Returning for both was amazing! Vash still had that iconic peaceful heart he's so known for, while Ichigo still had that passion to protect the ones he cares for and kicked butt doing it.
And who was it easier to return to? Is there anything you do specifically to get into the mindset/find the voice of Ichigo?
I have to admit that working on Ichigo was easier because we were essentially continuing from where we left off. To regain his voice, all I had to do was say his name.
However, with Trigun, I didn't know what to expect, so I revisited the original material to set my bearings. Despite its unique tone, I'm extremely satisfied with the outcome. The new season had a beautiful ending.
What was it like learning you'd be returning to the character? Lots of fans were saddened by its sudden cancellation over a decade ago.
I felt the same, I was bummed when it ended. So obviously I was super excited to pick back up again.
And what has the fan reaction, at conventions and online, been like to your return?
The fans' response has been extremely positive, and I believe all of us are genuinely excited about it. I can understand the nostalgia that fans feel for the character, I feel it too.
Do you have a favourite moment, as a performer and fan, of Thousand Year Blood War Part Two?
Every moment of the story unfolding has brought me one step closer to kicking some more butt. It's been a joy to be part of it and I'm loving the animation.
Vash in Trigun: Stampede feels like a different interpretation of the character than the original, a bit more serious and more emotionally complex from the get-go, how did that impact your performance?
While I still snuck in some old school Vash, you're right, it has a much more serious tone overall which in my opinion made the wrap up to the first season hit harder.
I'm really digging it, he's still got the same heart and soul that he's known for though just with a new coat of paint.
We also really enjoyed your performance in Blue Period last year. Do you have a preference around the kind of characters you play, and has that changed over the years – for instance, do specific voices come more naturally to you as you've gotten older?
I'm hoping we get more Blue Period, it's a really good story. That's the most important part of any project. As I've gotten older I've realized it doesn't necessarily have to sound natural, it just has to sound right.
Todd Haberkorn directed that one and a lot of time was spent making sure the words felt right, the emotion had purpose and whatever we did was in line with the direction of the story.
Finally, you play fan-favourite Giyu Tomioka in Demon Slayer, which is basically the biggest TV show in the world. Is it intimidating working on a series that's such a phenomenon?
Nope. It's exciting! And I'm grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a remarkable series.
Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War is available on Disney+.
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