Tokyo Revengers: Draken’s Voice Actor Explores What Makes the Series Special

One of the stand-out anime of the spring season, Tokyo Revengers follows Takemichi Hanagaki's quest to travel back in time to stop the Tokyo Manji Gang from killing his ex-girlfriend in the future. He viewed the members of the Tokyo Manji Gang, Toman for short, as cold-blooded and cruel, but that's not what he finds when he time-travels to his middle school days. The vice commander, Draken, strikes an imposing figure within Toman, not just for his sheer physical strength but also for his emotional fortitude.

Sean Chiplock as Draken's English dub voice spoke to CBR on what it was about Tokyo Revengers that drew him in and why Draken has been one of his favorite characters to voice this past year. He was also candid about what advice he'd give to his younger self if he could time travel to his middle school days.

CBR: What was it about Tokyo Revengers that drew you in?

Sean Chiplock: There are a lot of shows/games that simply use the concept of the yakuza as easy access to an antagonist group -- something intimidating, widespread and fairly straightforward in motivations. But Tokyo Revengers not only makes them the focus of the story, but goes beyond the surface-level visual of "mean-looking thugs" to explore a much more complex and even vulnerable side; the ethics, sacrifices and danger of being in a group like that. Voicing as Draken has given me the opportunity to have just as many nuanced moments as Big Damn Badass ones, and I really enjoy getting to explore both sides at the same time with a voice that I'm not often known for.

CBR: You have an extensive voice-acting career that spans across all different genres, and you mentioned that you sometimes fear that your characters won’t feel original. Can you describe the process of picking this particular voice for Draken?

Sean Chiplock: Draken was a perfect example of a combination of familiarity, influence and modification through acknowledging what's "different." Knowing that Draken was part of what could be labeled as a 'mafia group' let me draw upon my performance as Guido Mista in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind. However, I also recognized that UNLIKE Mista, Draken was much more of the "serious man" of the group in contrast to Manjiro's hotheadedness. Finally, I took inspiration from other performances such as Jonah Scott's incredibly nuanced Legoshi in Beastars in regard to adding a husky/mature quality to my voice. The process has made Draken one of my personal favorites of the past year in terms of my development as an actor, and I can't wait to be able to share this process with more people over time!

tokyo revengers draken intro

CBR: Draken is a total badass and has the ability to fight off an impressive number of people, but he’s also regarded as the “heart” of Toman who holds the gang together. What was it like to voice a character like Draken who is much more complex than he looks?

Sean Chiplock: Isn't it funny how the characters who tend to say the least often end up being the ones we want to hear the most about? Being entrusted with helping bring Draken to life is a tall order for sure, but I really cherish the chance to explore the "less is more" concept with his more subtle moments and let his mysteriousness be the selling point rather than his attitude. That consistent, stoic calmness exudes a real air of confidence that you can feel as an audience member -- of course, it doesn't hurt that the other characters in the show feel the same way, too!

CBR: If you could time travel back to your middle school years, what advice would you give to your younger self?

Sean Chiplock: WEAR YOUR DAMN RETAINER! To be real, I'm someone who realizes that life is ultimately the result of a lot of very specific moments in time that all happen concurrently, so I'd be too afraid to give advice that ends up changing what actions I took or how I developed as a person. With that said, I can't think of anything negative that could have come from convincing my younger self to actually use the dental appliance his parents were paying for, and saving himself the trouble of having to pay for it himself later in life if he decided to go for it again. Oops!

CBR: What has been your favorite scene to voice so far?

Sean ChiplockAlthough the specifics of the scene context are a little too intense to detail here, I was really proud of my performance during the hospital scene where Draken and Manjiro end up having to face the parents of someone who got hurt because of their actions. That scene really cemented how Draken doesn't treat the Tokyo Manji Gang as just another group of friends (or even just a group of colleagues), as well as how much respect he garners from someone who by all means is his superior in the gang hierarchy. It'll be interesting to get more explanation on what led him to become this type of person.

CBR: Tokyo Revengers isn’t your typical delinquent anime. What’s one thing that you hope people will get out of watching it?

Sean Chiplock: Fighting sucks and hurts a lot, and I wouldn't recommend doing it in real life. Fighting in anime is AWESOME and intense, and I think it's a much better method of getting to see people get beat up (hopefully because they deserve it).

Tokyo Revengers streams every Saturday at 12 PM PT on Crunchyroll.

About The Author