Disney Twisted-Wonderland Panel – Anime Expo 2022

The Disney Twisted-Wonderland panel was greeted with a packed room of cheering fans, who could barely contain their excitement from start to finish. The panel was hosted by Aniplex Senior Marketing Specialist Lauren Jeongwho hyped up the crowd by asking everyone to cheer for their favorite characters. Disney Twisted-Wonderland is a mobile game created by Aniplex and Walt Disney Japanwith an original concept, character designs and script by Yana Tobosoknown for creating Black Butler. The characters are inspired by Disney Villains who attend a magic training school called Night Ravens College. The player serves as the protagonist, who gets whisked away into this fictional world, and must find a way home.

Joining her on stage was special guest Natsuki Hanaethe voice actor for Riddle Rosehearts, who greeted everyone with the question, “Do you like Heartslabyul?” referencing the dorm that his character his is the Housewarden of. Hanae is well known for many of his roles his, including Tanjiro Kamado from Demon SlayerTakumi Aldini in Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, and others. He told the audience he had a great time exploring Los Angeles for the first time yesterday, visiting Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and going shopping. “I’m very happy,” he added.

He had a special present for fans, which was a written message from Toboso talking about how the game came to life during a challenging time in the world. She wrote that she was delighted to learn that fans around the world have had a chance to play “this unexpected and eccentric game” and thanked everyone for their support her. The note, which can be viewed at the Aniplex booth for the rest of the convention, included an illustration of Malleus Draconia.

Asked if he had had any special interactions with Toboso, he declared, “She is the GOAT” adding that she loves Disney and is very fashionable. “I haven’t met her that often, but I do follow her Twitter, and she even tweeted something about today’s panel. She really loves this title.”

After showing the audience a short trailer for Disney Twisted-Wonderland, Jeong asked Hanae what his favorite character was. “Ace interacts with Riddle the most,” he said, after some thought. “They butt heads with each other, so I think Ace appeals to most to me. They look like they’re fighting at first, and they don’t get along, but in the end, they come to terms with each other and end up getting along. That comes full circle, which I think is really great.” Then speaking to the crowd, “Does everyone want to join Heartslabyul dorm, even with the house warden? I don’t want get my head chopped off, so I personally wouldn’t want to join. There are so many rules. If you break any of those rules, you know, off with your head!”

Hanae was also asked if his feelings changed about any of the other characters when he was finished recording, to which he answered, “I do think Riddle is the one who changed the most at the end. He cries! He was pretty condescending the entire time, but we were able to get a glimpse of his childhood, and how he changes. We see what he feels and why he feels that way, and hopefully our thoughts and feelings toward him change as well. What’s interesting about this game is, because it’s inspired by Disney, there’s areas where there’s dialogue from Disney works. They take a lot of direction from it, and that interests me as well. When I was recording it, I tried to take some hints from the original work that it was inspired by in the Disney movie and the animation, like when Riddle got angry and growled, I took a hint from the (Alice and Wonderland) animation too .”

Jeong then took a break from the conversation with Hanae to talk to any newcomers in the audience about Disney Twisted-Wonderland‘s gameplay features. She paused to laugh and note how fans audibly groaned when she brought up the game’s musical rhythmic challenges. Turning to Hanae, she asked him what his favorite parts of the game were, to which he admitted, “The 2D character images are very cute, but personally, I like the rhythmic parts of the game!”

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The panelists then shared a special video message from Nobunaga Shimazaki, who plays Silver from Diasomnia dorm. In it, he said that he wished he could be there with everyone, and added that he wanted to visit Disneyland and experience its long history. Regarding his character his, he said that Silver was cool but charming, and some of his good attributes his included how she interacts with the rest of Diasomnia. He concluded by saying that he couldn’t believe that Disney Twisted-Wonderland had a panel, and was honored that overseas fans loved the game.

Asked his relationship with Shimazaki, Hanae said, “Shimazaki-san is two years older than me. In the first anime work I did, he worked with me as a regular cast member. Since then, he’s been like an older brother to me, and we’ve been friendly ever since!”

The panel then went on to talk about some of the current and upcoming events in the game, starting with the current “A Beautiful Tyrant” story lines inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. July 8 will mark the release of the next event, “Phantom Bride: Love at First Fright.”

Regarding the characters who will be featured in the story, Hanae said his favorite was Idia, because he likes the Disney character Hades. “He may be a villain, but he’s charming, and he can be comical, so you can’t help but love him. When he talks, he talks in really fast spurts. Whenever I get excited, I talk really fast too. So there’s definitely some things I think I have in common with him.”

For fans who would be sticking around for the rest of the convention, Aniplex will be holding a special Twistunes rhythmic competition tomorrow. The first 8 fans at the booth at 10am will be selected for the competition, which will be held tournament style. The winner will receive an autograph board signed by Hanae.

As a bit of a surprise, Hanae was asked to demonstrate his own proficiency at the rhythm challenges, and show the crowd how well he could play “Start the Prep Work” on Hard Mode. He initially demurred, saying, “If you see my play, you’re going to get discouraged from playing tomorrow!” but he caved in, taking the iPad that Jeong magically whipped out. Although when there were technically difficulties logging into the game, Hanae took the chance to joke and deadpan, “What a shame… I wanted to play… hurry up… ” Fans were delighted to learn that he indeed was good at the game, scoring an S-rank on his first attempt.

Ending the panel, Hanae was asked to share any final thoughts he had with the audience: “I had no idea that so many overseas fans were so passionate about Disney Twisted-Wonderland. I’m so excited and so happy to be here. If we’re going to do a panel next year, I’m going to keep my calendar open. Next time I want to go to Disneyland! Thank you everyone for coming!”

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