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SYFY WIRE My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia cast on the show's international appeal: 'a hero for everyone'

By Jacob Oller
My Hero Academia Season 4 trailer

My Hero Academia, the superhero manga from Kōhei Horikoshi, became a crossover hit as soon as the anime adaptation hit stateside shores. What other school features classmates who can manipulate shadows, create objects from body fat, or grow adhesive, weaponized balls from their heads? None, right? Now that it's just ended its fourth season (in Japan, at least, with the American episodes still in the middle of the run), the voice cast of My Hero Academia -- or, at least, those behind Tokoyami (Josh Grelle), Mineta (Brina Palencia), and Yaoyorozu (Colleen Clinkenbeard, who also serves as ADR director) from Class 1-A at UA High School -- stopped by C2E2 2020 to discuss working on the anime.

If fans notice some crossover from the One Piece panel from earlier in the weekend, that's because, yes, Clinkenbeard and Palencia star on the dub of both shows! The pair talked briefly about the show -- and its draws -- before opening it up to audience questions.

"We have a lot more diverse personalities than in most superhero book and movies in America right now," Clinkenbeard said. Since the characters are young, still finding out who they are, it's easy to find one to relate to across the school, the actress and director said. “I think the biggest thing is, there’s a hero for everyone,” Grelle said. "I think it’s not just that there’s a superhero for everyone, there’s a person for everyone,” Clinkenbeard replied.

After various "what if" questions about swapping characters or quirks -- and joking about the live-action cast for a My Hero Academia movie, which saw Grelle put forth Liam Neeson for Tokoyami while the panelists agreed that Mineta would be best served with Kevin Hart -- things moved on toward character specifics.

Palencia touched on the perversion of her character, mentioning that she thinks it's best that a woman voices him as he grows out of his childhood flaws. In fact, she pointed out a hypocrisy among these characters: "When a female character's a pervert, everybody loves her!" Grelle drew a distinction between his student and his quirk-empowered shadow, saying that Dark Shadow gets to embody all the emotions that the stoic Tokoyami suppressed.

Palencia also mentioned that "The cast likes my character more than the actual fandom. At the movie screenings we go to, whenever my character talks, you can hear the cast laughing and none of the rest of the audience responding." In fact, one of those movies just came out. The anime hit recently saw its second film, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, open stateside on Feb. 26 -- at number one at the box office over The Call of the Wild and Sonic the Hedgehog.

That movie continues its theatrical run while the My Hero Academia series continues its dubbed American run with the episode "Smoldering Flames" on March 7.

Fans can read all of SYFY WIRE's C2E2 2020 coverage here.