Every anime fan and quite a few non-anime fans know how big My Hero Academia has become. If you have been living under a rock (or don’t haven’t found your way to Cosplay TikTok just yet), let me give you a brief introduction. Based on the Japanese superhero manga of the same name, this story follows young heroes in training who are attending a school built around helping them hone their Quirks. The main character is young Midoriya (Daiki Yamashita/Justin Briner), born Quirkless but given the chance of a lifetime after meeting his ultimate hero.
Saying that My Hero Academia has taken the world by storm doesn’t even begin to explain how popular this anime is. It recently kicked off its fifth season and has spawned multiple movies. One, My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission, just so happens to be dropping right around the corner. It is a standalone film that takes place while the students are on summer break and find themselves in the middle of a worldwide calamity. I won’t spoil too much for you, but this is definitely a must-see when it drops into theaters on October 29, 2021.
I recently got the chance to chat with David Matranga (Shōto Todoroki) during a roundtable Q&A with Ryan Colt Levy (Rody Soul) and Robbie Daymond (Flect Turn). For those unfamiliar with roundtable interviews, they’re comprised of multiple journalists from different outlets. They usually run for about 15 minutes. Each journalist is granted at least one question. Knowing this, I knew I needed to understand how Matranga was feeling about continuing to bring his My Hero Academia character to life over the last six years. His response was priceless.
The short answer is it’s an absolute gift. To be able to live with a character for that amount of time is a tough thing to be apart of. It doens’t happen very often in any performing medium. It’s been an absolute gift and its been an honor to be voicing a character that there is such a complexity to. One of the things I think is amazing about this universe in general is that all of the characters are complex in their own ways. Villians, heroes, heroes in training, whatever it is. There is a real human element to all of them. Nothing is really black or white, they live in that sort of human gray area.
With Shōto speficially, the challenge of the first two seasons of ‘here’s a guy who has had some trauma and there is so much bubbling underneath’ but he keeps his cards really close to the vest. He doesn’t nessescarily know how to interact with people. He has been trained for one thing. The challenge there was to make sure that all of that bubbling underneath came through in the way that he delivers it and the way that he speaks. So that then, later on, I think of it as valves, you release a little bit and you see a little bit more.
There is growth in a different way so that is feels like a real story. Like a real human story that makes you say ‘oh right, that was there. Remember back to season one? We saw that reaction and now look where he is.’ It is truly a gift and pleasure to collaborate on this character.