When it comes to dubbed anime, Bryce Papenbrook is a household name. The voice actor has been working in anime for years now, and his debut in 2000 has led him to tackle some of the industry’s biggest roles. From Sword Art Online to Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Papenbrook knows what it is like to work under pressure, and the actor took time to speak with ComicBook.com about his career these days.
With several anime gigs on the horizon, Papenbrook spoke to us about his busy schedule and new gig with the ticketing company known as Tixr. The actor has been brought in as the Director of Pop Culture at Tixr to reconnect stir-wild fans back to events and conventions. Obviously, the challenge is big given the pandemic’s impact on the convention circuit, but Papenbrook says he’s ready to take on the job. And of course, the star couldn’t help but talk about the final season of Attack on Titan along the way…!
Question: For you, as an advocate for Tixr, how are you kind of handling all of this work that you have on your plate? You’re doing this, you’re overseeing tons of anime work, whether that’s in the booth or elsewhere. Talk to me about how you kind of balance your schedule?
Bryce Papenbrook: Time management is a very interesting thing and I’ve gotten very good at it over the years. I love being part of a lot of different things. The really unique thing about being a voice actor is it’s very different from being on set when you’re working on a film. Because of COVID, and what has happened now, is everyone is working remotely. I’ve built a studio at my house, so no longer do I have to sit in traffic and do my vocal warmups of screaming in my car on the way to sessions, I just walk into my booth at home. Because of technology like Zoom, I’m able to connect with event producers all around the world, right from my house. I’m able to balance those things and organize those things and really be effective at all of them with just a little bit of time management which is awesome to be able to do.
I’m also very excited to be back attending events in person. Those start for me again coming up later this month. I’m very, very excited to start that again. It’s just a time management thing on my side. The great thing about being part of a fantastic team like Tixr is there are so many passionate people on this team, from the founders to the client success team, which are dedicated to all of the partners that join Tixr. To the engineers, to other folks on the team like myself. There’s just a lot of people that absolutely love events and love supporting them and are great to work with.
Question: In anticipation of the flood gates reopening, being able to go back to massive events like Sakura-Con or Anime Expo, as I’ve mentioned before, what is your favorite thing about anime conventions, both as a voice actor, as somebody in the industry, but also as a fan?
Papenbrook: It’s that energy. It’s the energy I kind of mentioned earlier. It’s really unique. Just to be in a place where everyone is celebrating their love for this. These anime and these stories that are just so special is really, really exciting. I’ve fallen in love with it. I absolutely love attending these events and that’s really why I want to continue to see them grow and do new things and innovate and keep up with the times. Tixr, I believe, is the right tool to do that.
Question: I know as conventions come back, things are going to get crazy. As an actor, there are three major series right now that I know that you’re associated with, so when it comes to those three fandoms, what do you think is the biggest difference if any, that you feel when meeting with fans?
Papenbrook: I think with all three of those franchises, there’s a level of excitement that comes with each one. Each show just has its own kind of unique energy, right? I don’t know if that stands out in the fandom. I think people love all three of those shows, you don’t just have to like Sword Art Online or just like Attack on Titan, or just like Demon Slayer. Celebrating all of them is what I’m all about. I don’t know if it’s kind of different for someone who just likes Sword Art Online, because most of the time people like all of those shows.
I’ve been absolutely hooked on all three. With Demon Slayer season two, and Sword Art Online movie, and the final season, the second half of the final season of Attack on Titan, I have some really exciting things coming up and that’s just kind of the franchises I’ve been part of for quite some time. There’s a handful of other things on my side that I’m working on that are just so exciting. It’s a great time in my career and it’s going to be an exciting time back at events very soon.
Question: As the years are coming by, the next year, the next two years, the next three years, I want to ask how you would like to see your career with anime evolve, whether it’s behind the scenes or specifically with events. Do you have any projects that you can talk about?
Papenbrook: I’ve been a voice actor for a long time and I’ve found that you cannot predict what’s going to happen in that career. It is totally random. I have no idea what’s around the corner. I’m auditioning multiple times daily for all sorts of different projects. I have zero control, what role I’m cast in. So all I can do is put out the best work I can, head down, continue to work hard, continue to grow as an actor, and hope that I continue to land incredible roles as I have in the past, and that the roles that I have been attached to keep going so I keep getting to embody these awesome characters. On the events side, I’m excited to get back out there and meet fans again and just attend some incredible events all over the U.S. and all over the world again. I’m excited for that to start.
I’m really loving being able to work with events on a different level and see them from a different angle from being part of the team at Tixr. I’d love to invite any event producers, whether it’s a large event or a small event to reach out to Tixr. I’d love to talk to you and show you this stuff so you can see what’s resonated so deeply with me, why I believe that Tixr is the right company to push pop culture to the next level. I can show you some of this stuff that we’re doing now, and some of this stuff that’s coming soon. It’s really exciting. I’d love to invite anyone who’s reading this to reach out and line up a time to chat with me. I can’t wait to show you some stuff.
Question: So, can you kind of give me the introduction to Tixr? What would you want to say about this company and what its mission is?
Papenbrook: My official title at Tixr is the “director of pop culture.” Coming from the world of anime and comic conventions, my mission in taking on that role was really to support the growth of those types of events using Tixr’s technology. I’ve been really fortunate in the world of voice acting to have been connected with the roles that I have and been invited to anime and pop culture events all around the world. For voice actors, especially, who are guests of those events, they’re just really special. I’m inside my studio now, this is where I spend most of my time. I’m in this soundproof room solo. When I’m working on these games and these shows, I pour my heart into the microphone and just hope those performances are heard and resonate with people.
When I get the opportunity to go to these conventions, it’s just really special to connect with people who have watched my work. I’m able to talk to them and they explain how it’s connected with them and what worked and what they liked and it’s just such an amazing experience. I’ve fallen in love with these events. I really joined Tixr when I saw what the technology was and what it can do. I just wanted to spread the word.
Question: Here in the United States, Anime conventions are becoming massive. Anime Expo, for instance. How important do you feel it is for Tixr, as a brand, to be able to evolve with fans in the U.S.?
Papenbrook: Tixr is a modern ticketing company. The buying experience is extremely streamlined, and it’s what you’d hope to see when you’re buying a ticket to an exciting event. There’s this feeling, there’s this energy that happens at these events. I’m sure you’ve felt it being at a lot of these things as well, but it’s really unique.
These events, especially anime events, are all about community. It’s really about bringing together all of these people who love and are so passionate about Anime and this culture. What rewards does it give those attendees to spread the word about the events of friends and others they think would love the event also. In turn, these events can now show appreciation through discounts and upgrades and a money-can’t-buy experience.
Got any questions for Papenbrook about his career in anime? You can find his Instagram, Twitter, and website here. And if you’ll be watching Attack on Titan‘s midseason premiere, let us know!