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Chained Soldier Producer, Voice Actor Discuss Bringing Sexy Anime Series to Screen

by James Beckett,


Ever since author Takahiro and artist Yōhei Takamura first began publishing Chained Soldier on Shonen Jump+ in 2019, their manga has been a smash hit. The story tells of how humanity has been enlisting soldiers who use the magical powers of so-called “Peaches” to do battle with the destructive Shuuki, monsters who hail from the mysterious dimension of Mato. The protagonist, Yuuki Wakura, finds himself as the willing “slave” of Kyouka Uzen, commander of the Demon Defense Force's 07th Squadron, who has the power to transform Yuuki into a powerful weapon whenever he shows his devotion to her with a kiss. At the beginning of this year, Studio Seven Arcs debuted their animated adaptation of Chained Soldier. Ahead of their upcoming appearance at Anime Boston 2024, we sat down with producer Yuki Watanabe and leading actor Yūya Hirose, who plays Yuuki, to discuss all of the work that has gone into bringing this unique combination of epic action and sexy comedy to the screen.


Speaking of what made the original manga so popular in the first place, Producer Watanabe commented that “[the] female characters created by Takahiro-sensei are so unique and attractive. And the story is clear and paced so well that you can't help but read on…Yōhei Takemura-sensei's drawing skills are simply off the charts. There are not very many manga creators in Japan who can draw both adorable female characters and powerful and dynamic battle scenes at the level that he does. [The fusion] of Takahiro-sensei and Yōhei Takemura-sensei's creativities at such a high level is the key to why this series is so popular.” Yūya Hirose, who made sure to read the manga before auditioning for the role of Yuuki, added, “I read the manga before auditioning, and I thought this series was filled with hopes and dreams of boys. [The battles] are super cool as well, and the balance between the rewards, battles, and the narrative was so perfect that I read the whole thing at once.”


The “rewards” that Hirose refers to are a unique part of the series' appeal. While Kyouka's ability to transform Yuuki into a Shuuki-destroying monster is incredibly useful, her role as Yuuki's Master comes at the cost of her being physically compelled to provide whatever “reward” that his subconscious desires. Naturally, all sorts of sexy shenanigans ensue, especially as the other girls in the 07th Squadron learn to share Kyouka's power over Yuuki. Having learned from his experience in previous series, Producer Watanabe explained how the production team was keenly aware of the importance of successfully depicting Yuuki's unique relationship with his teammates: “In my opinion, to create a hit anime series, we must portray the characters as attractive as possible, while showing that there are different sides to them. We have prepared content for fans to discover new aspects of the characters, such as mini commentaries, after-recording talks by the voice cast, and character songs, although they are only available in Japanese. I hope you thoroughly enjoy the series including related content like those.”


Much effort has gone into bringing Yuuki and the girls of the 07th Squadron to life. Yūya Hirose and his fellow castmates also worked hard. “Generally speaking, we were able to record together,” he said. “The reward scenes could be embarrassing, but we all had fun recording as a group.” When asked if there were any aspects of playing Yuuki that he found especially challenging, he explained, “There are scenes where I needed to scream because the reward was getting stepped on. Finding the right balance of pain and joy was tough! But it's fun to play Yuuki, who gets toyed around and screams!”

As Producer Watanabe alluded to earlier, the key to Chained Soldier's success doesn't just lie in getting Yuuki and Kyouka right; the whole cast is beloved by the fandom, and each girl in the 07th Squadron has the potential to be someone's favorite. When asked if he had a particular character that he was attached to, Watanabe said, “I like Himari. Even though she has a complex about her abilities and the family situation, she grows and matures by facing that, and I can empathize with it. The relationship between Kyouka and Yuuki is that of a master and her slave, but Himari and Yuuki are rather equal, almost like comrades in arms. I like how they help each other and grow together.”


Himari's friendship with Yuuki also came up when Yūya Hirose shared which of Yuuki's different transformations was his favorite: “I love the transformation when he fights with Kyouka and Himari! The wardrobe looks like a Japanese kimono, and it makes him look so strong and very cool!” Yuuki's appeal as a hero who can be just as strong and cool as he is goofy and relatable is important to the team at Studio Seven Arcs. As a final message to all of the fans tuning in to watch Chained Soldier, Producer Watanabe had this to say: “We're putting extra efforts into the battle scenes by the members of the Demon Defense Force such as Kyouka and also the reward scenes, so I hope you pay close attention to them. At the same time, please watch Yuuki's growth, [and] how he changes from an ordinary student to a hero throughout 12 episodes.”


Both Yūya Hirose and Yuki Watanabe will be appearing as guests of HIDIVE for two panels at Anime Boston 2024. New episodes of Chained Soldier stream every Thursday on HIDIVE.

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