Nakaba Suzuki‘s Four Knights of the Apocalypse is a sequel to his popular manga, The Seven Deadly Sins. The series focuses on the young boy Percival, who discovers he is destined to be part of a group of four knights prophesied to destroy the world. An anime adaptation was announced in 2022 and is slated to come out later this year. At Otakon 2023, Anime News Network was able to sit and talk with four prominent figures who helped bring the series to life, including Yuya Matsuda, the manga’s editor at Weekly Shōnen Magazine, the anime’s producer Takuma Kishida, alongside lead voice actors Shou Komura and Kanna Nakamura. After talking with them, we gained insight into what fans and newcomers can expect from the upcoming anime adaptation.
I understand you’re an editor at Weekly Shōnen Magazine and the current editor for the Four Knights of the Apocalypse manga series. Could you share what it’s like working as the editor for this series alongside your other responsibilities at Weekly Shōnen Magazine? What is it like working with so many talented writers and artists on a week-to-week basis? I understand work between an author and his editor is collaborative. What does a typical meeting look like between you and the creators you work with?
Yuya MATSUDA: Because this is a weekly magazine, meetings with the creators will happen about once to twice a week, mainly about what happens next. So we would talk about what happens next in terms of their rough draft or the storyboard they may have and how we would see it as a manga. After I see it as a manga, I would provide feedback on what parts were difficult to read or provide that kind of feedback. And those things will then go on to the finished manga. So after that, we’ll talk about what happens next. It’s a constant process of what happens next.
Speaking of what happens next, that’s one of my follow-up questions because Four Knights of the Apocalypse is seen as a sequel/spiritual successor to The Seven Deadly Sins. Was it always the plan to follow up that series with a sequel focusing on the next generation?
MATSUDA: So while I don’t know how much was planned, Nakaba-sensei initially thought about a manga series focused on exploration, and The Seven Deadly Sins was planned to express that. I believe that inside Nakaba-sensei’s mind, there were probably ideas about the Four Knights of the Apocalypse even before going on to The Seven Deadly Sins, but that’s my guess.
My next questions are for Shou Komura and Kanna Nakamura. I know you two are still very new to the industry. I was hoping you could share a bit of your voice-acting journey. What made you want to get into voice acting, and what was it like applying for these roles specifically?
Shou Komura: Yes, this was my first main character and the first audition that I took for a main character. So acting for those traits is something I feel really excited about. Percival is a character going into new worlds unknown to him. He’s an explorer, in a sense. So in that sense, I believe that Percival is very similar to me because I learn new things every day as a new voice actor, and I feel that a part of me really empathizes with Percival. That’s what makes Percival an entertaining character to play.
Kanna Nakamura: Hello! As a new voice actor, I was looking to play a cool girl that would have battle scenes, and the timing of the audition as well as when I got the role was very significant for me because that was just when I thought that I wanted to do some roles like that. At the same time, the Four Knights of the Apocalypse was something that integrated elements of comedy as well as action. I found both things that I wanted to do inside the character, and those elements make the role very fun for me. So this was all very important for me because I was able to meet a character that matched the characters that I wanted to do and do my dream job since I was a child.
My next question is for Takuma Kishida. For fans of the original manga as well as fans of the original Seven Deadly Sins, what can we look forward to with this upcoming adaptation? Is there anything, in particular, you’d like fans or just general audience members to keep an eye on?
Takuma Kishida: I guess the first thing I want fans to see is that the main characters, the voice actors, and the team behind the anime are all new people. They’re all new blood in the industry. So that’s something that I want people to keep an eye open for. I believe that the anime has very interesting visuals, good world-building, and character development. It integrates ideas of everyday life scenes and funny scenes with the friendships between the characters. So there are lots of things that fans could expect from the anime. In fact, the action is one element that we’re trying very hard on. The action scenes will be excellent, and the character development within this series is something fans could probably hope to see in the anime. You could also expect scenes from the original manga to be heavily respected in the animation. So I’m pretty sure that manga fans will probably see the scenes they like in the anime too.
This last question it’s more of a general question for everybody, so for those who might not be familiar with The Seven Deadly Sins, how would you convince them to go check out The Four Knights of the Apocalypse?
KISHIDA: So in the Four Knights of the Apocalypse, you have five characters. What I want people to do is first please watch it until you see all five characters, and then I believe that by then, you’re probably going to be sucked into the world.
NAKAMURA: I, too, was in a place where I did not know The Seven Deadly Sins well when I first took the audition, and yet I believe that it’s a franchise that you can get into without extensive knowledge. You could get introduced into the series through the Four Knights of the Apocalypse and then go into The Seven Deadly Sins so that you’d be able to experience both of them!
MATSUDA: So while Nakaba-sensei originally made the Four Knights of the Apocalypse for the fans of The Seven Deadly Sins, Nakaba-sensei also cared a lot about making the Four Knights of Apocalypse inclusive for new fans, too. I think you can start with the Four Knights of the Apocalypse and move backward into The Seven Deadly Sins, too, because it is made accessible.
KOMURA: You don’t need to know The Seven Deadly Sins before getting into the Four Knights of the Apocalypse. Since you have the new characters and everything is fresh, it is something that you could get into without previous knowledge. However, if people do know The Seven Deadly Sins before they go into the Four Knights of the Apocalypse, they can see certain characters meet. Then you’d be able to make connections there because you’d be able to say, “I know what’s going to happen with this! I see where this is going!” So you’d be able to have a better idea of certain scenes if you do have the context.