For as long as anime has been a medium for entertainment, there has been no single genre more synonymous with anime than the shounen genre. When asking a non-anime fan to describe or name a single anime, shows like Naruto and Dragon Ball immediately come to mind, but with shows such as these coming to an end or gaining new adaptations, it was only a matter of time before a brand new shounen anime would take the community by storm. Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) has become the brand new standard for shounen anime, both due to the quality and immense popularity it has garnered since premiering in April of 2016. At Anime Expo 2017, Funimation held a panel featuring both Christopher Sabat (English voice of All Might), as well as Chief Animation Director Yoshihiko Umakoshi, in which they released some new clips from the second act of My Hero Academia season 2, did a couple of character drawings live, and even held a Jan-Ken-Pon (Rock, Paper, Scissors) tournament against the entire crowd!
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My Hero Academia Season 2 Teaser
The panel began with a trailer of the brand new arc of My Hero Academia, certainly a pleasant surprise as the first season contained 13 episodes, with the assumption being that season two would be the same. From the trailer, it can be gathered that the brand new antagonist teased at the end of the Tournament arc, Stain, will be much more prominent, as well as showing off that Midoriya may finally gain control of his quirk! There was also the confirmation that the opening and ending to the new arc would have songs by Amazarashi and LiSA respectively (adding that the opening and ending was being worked on even during the plane ride to the convention itself). The second arc premiered July 8th, taking a week break before diving right back into the action!
A Brief Question & Answer
Following the trailer, Umakoshi and Sabat took to the stage, with questions prepared for them to answer throughout the panel. The first question was about what Umakoshi's favorite characters are when it comes to drawing, to which he responded that he enjoys drawing the facial expressions when characters are fighting the most. He also expressed joy in drawing characters when they are crying, particularly in scenarios that are not sad because the emotions that the crying brings out are contradictory to the traditional sadness one may feel. Sabat also added that being able to see the expressions of the characters is something that dub actors are both appreciative and lucky for, as they can truly grab onto how a character is feeling when they watch rather than some of the incomplete animations that can possibly be handed to the original Japanese actors.
Live Drawing Chaos
The Q&A segment quickly took a backseat as Umakoshi began to draw All Might live for the audience. Despite the distraction/amazement of watching the drawing process, Sabat tried to answer a few more questions about All Might as a character, and how he enjoys that All Might has taken a backseat, while also expressing delight that the adults in MHA are given tasks to do as opposed to other shows where they don't have much involvement relative to the children. The Q&A mostly went off the rails for a brief moment again when Sabat decided he also wanted to make his own artistic rendition of All Might (which went about as well as expected). Perhaps the most impressive moment of the drawing portion is Umakoshi's speed, in which he managed to draw All Might with proper shading and color in the span of about 10 minutes!
The Ultimate Game of Jan-Ken-Pon
Once Umakoshi finished drawing All Might, he was asked what kind of quirk he would want to have, and how he would look while in his quirk form. Rather than describing his form, he decided to take to drawing once more! Umakoshi describes his quirk form as "hulk with glasses... crying and trembling" as a result of being worked way too hard. Afterwards, the two (three, counting Sabat's) drawings were given away in an extremely decisive game of Jan-Ken-Pon! In terms of rules, the best way to decide if someone was out or not was simply through the trust system - which worked surprisingly well - until the final few players were asked to go up on stage. The final three contestants each won a piece of art, and a second round was played with the people who were actually in MHA cosplay! The winner was an All Might cosplayer who received a drawing of Midoriya - oddly fitting all things considered. While we sadly didn't manage to win anything, it was very fun and oddly compelling to compete with the entire panel for a chance to win one of the drawings. The panel ended with a thank you for coming from Umakoshi, and an extremely passionate Plus Ultra from Sabat!
The My Hero Academia panel exuded much of the same sense of passion that the show manages to convey through the performance of the panelists. The trailer was a great look at what’s to come in terms of the show’s future, but the real stand-out moments were watching Umakoshi as he drew quickly and masterfully, as well as the banter between all of the hosts. The crowd interaction was also a very nice touch, as there was a strange sense of everyone being together during the Jan-Ken-Pon game despite not knowing anyone else - a connection between the fans of the property. Sabat put it best by saying that this it was a special moment, and one that can be looked back on when the series is in its later seasons - being able to reminisce over events during season two when the show reaches upwards of season six would truly be special. If you're a fan of My Hero Academia as well, then be sure to go beyond and leave your feelings on the show as a whole and the current season down in the comment section!