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'My Hero Academia' cast on bringing anime to a wider audience at C2E2 2021
"It's really changing the mold."
The English voice cast of My Hero Academia stopped by the main stage of C2E2 Friday afternoon to discuss their unique superpower: bringing the world of anime to a much wider audience in the United States.
"We didn't really know if it was going to be something big," admitted Clifford Chapin (the voice of Katsuki Bakugō). "We heard the rumblings of it. Like, 'We think this might be a popular show,' but we'd heard that a lot. There are a lot of shows that you hear: 'This could be big, this could go for a lot of seasons. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. We don't know.'"
The actor recalled that the series "exploded" once the second season was out and the show was available to stream on Hulu. "That was the first time I remember being at a convention and everybody was talking to me about My Hero Academia and Bakugō and whatnot," he said. "So, it was a crazy time and especially after that — we see it now — a lot more people that we meet at conventions are like, 'I wanna be in that show, I love that show, I watch that show.' Actors, who are screen actors on TV shows are like, 'I WANNA BE IN THAT!' ... It's really changing the mold. I feel like a lot of people who didn't really pay attention to anime before now are very aware of anime and are very aware of My Hero."
Ricco Fajardo, who dubs for the character of Mirio Togata, added his two cents on the matter, explaining that the show (produced by Funimation) is so popular because it delivers a host of relatable themes.
"The idea of someone passing on power to a younger generation, I think, is a beautiful analogy I've never seen before in anime in my recent memory and I've been watching anime since I was a little one," he said. "But the folks that have come up to me today have been talking about all the different characters they like — whether it's heroes or villains — for a variety of reasons. There's something for everyone!"
In turn, the fans have given back to the actors — proverbially saving the day for them — especially now when conventions are just starting to come back after nearly two years of a crushing pandemic.
"We're all happy that you're all here," said Kyōka Jirō (voice of Kyōka Jirō), speaking through a face mask. "I know that, personally, the past almost two years [have] been a dumpster fire for myself and my family. But it means so much to me to be able to come to a convention and see people like you and kind of feel a little bit normal again. I know that My Hero helped a lot of people during the pandemic and anime helped a lot of people during the pandemic and you guys watching anime kept us employed during the pandemic. We all have our things that we watch, but thank you for coming. It really does mean the world to me."
"When you guys come up and talk to us about what impacted you about the show or a certain story arc or characters, it has an impact on us," added David Matranga (Shoto Todoroki). "It really does and to get to be a part of a show that has that kind of weight and effects people in different ways, it's truly an honor to be a part of it. So anytime you guys express that to us, it's a gift to us. Thank you."