Anime NYC 2022 – Sword Art Online 10th Anniversary Panel

It’s been a decade since fans were introduced to Sword Art Online. Anime NYC celebrated the milestone on stage alongside voice cast Bryce Papenbrook and Cherami Leigh. Fans got to hear from them about their experience working on the series since its debut back in 2012. Bryce and Cherami, who voice main protagonists Kirito and Asuna, share their journeys with these characters over the first three seasons of Sword Art Online. Along with some stories from behind the scenes, fans were also treated to a few surprises in store during the panel at the annual anime convention in New York City.

The panel kicked off with how both Bryce and Cherami first met one another during the audition process for Sword Art Online. According to them, their first meeting was during Anime Boston during the premiere of the series when it was out in Japan. It was from fans when Cherami first learned about the popular series at the convention where the anime debuted. It was also through the fans that Cherami said was given the push to take on the role of Asuna in the series. With Bryce, his discovery of the series was through auditions, and said he became a fan of it once he watched a couple of episodes. 

The voice actors shared some important life lessons they learned from working in Sword Art Online. Cherami said she was going through a personal loss when she got the role, but she always loved the relationship that both Kirito and Asuna have on the show. The voice actress’ love for Asuna grew after getting to play her again in the film Sword Art Online Progressive: Aria of a Starless Night. The film was a retelling of the first season through the perspective of Asuna. What Cherami liked about the film was learning some new details about Asuna that were never shown before in the series. Her performance also impressed Bryce after getting to see her perform in it.

Bryce shared some things about what he liked about playing Kirito in the series. The voice actor said that throughout the first season, the stakes were high and Kirito had to fight through all that, which was something he loved experiencing. The panel shared a few scenes from the first season and the recent film as the actors provided some commentary on working on those specific scenes. With the characters’ first meeting, Bryce was glad to have reprised the role for the film. For Cherami, she said it was great to record for Asuna during her vulnerable scenes and felt a connection with her. Both of them shared what each of their characters was thinking after their first meeting, providing some different perspectives from them.

Cherami also offered her insight into the growth that Asuna goes through after completing a big fight with Kirito. The actress saw how much Asuna has changed as she followed Kirito by example to be the best version of herself. With the new film Sword Art Online Progressive: Scherzo of Deep Night releasing in the US next year, the voice actors look forward to fans seeing it as they have already finished recording for it.

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