In celebration of the second movie from the popular series My Hero Academia, Honey’s Anime was invited to a special interview with the voice cast of the film My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, in theatres in the UK and in the US February 26, 2020.
In this interview, you will read about the voice acting experiences of the new talents for the movie, Dani Chambers and Maxey Whitehead and their roles voicing the siblings Mahoro and Katsuma Shimano, the co-stars of Heroes Rising. Some of our favorite voices from class 1-A were also there to share their thoughts about the upcoming film, including Justin Briner the voice of Midoriya, Clifford Chapin the voice of Bakugo, David Matranga the voice of Todoroki, Kyle Phillips the voice of Kaminari and Luci Christian the voice of Ochaco.
Can’t wait to find out how was the experience with voicing the English movie and series for our beloved heroes? Keep reading to find out!
*Warning!! Spoilers for My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising Ahead!!*
Interview with Justin Briner, Clifford Chapin, David Matranga, Kyle Phillips, Luci Christian, Maxey Whitehead and Dani Chambers, the voices of My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising.
What is it like to be the voice of Midoriya Izuku knowing that your voice is one of the major contributors to the feel of the show and movie?
Of course I feel the pressure a little bit and I’m fortunate to be living with this character for a few years now so it feels a little more comfortable but what really struck me about Deku most of all when I was starting out is that basically there were superpowers everywhere and everyone has crazy powers that can do anything but then he is dealing with common things that we deal with growing like self-worth and struggling to find our place in society so I thought that if I could keep that as honest as possible the rest would come through.
What were your thoughts on Nine, the main antagonist of the movie Heroes Rising, and how do you think he differs from the villains that we have seen in the series so far?
Nine is interesting. He sort of has that part of hero-villainy that All for One has. All for One has many powers, so for a long time that was seen as this big paragon of evil and we locked him away, he’s in some kind of X-men prison, you know? So I think things got a little complacent, you sort of think “All right, the rest of these (villains) only have one quirk and we got to deal with that one power” so when I think about this island, especially because it was presented as a place where there are no villains, everything is going to be nice and peaceful and we’re going to do some good work…
So Nine is not just a villain, it’s a group of villains that have a ton of crazy powers that they can’t suss out without fighting them and he has the advantage nearly the entire movie. So I think that’s what it all boils down to, how do you beat this unbeatable force of nature? and how do you think on the fly? and how do you work to take the advantage to save these innocent people?
Could you talk about what were your initial thoughts about Deku during the moment when Deku gave the One For all quirk to Bakugo during the movie?
Ohh, I don’t know if we should really talk about that! I think that’s a moment where we should let the audience decide what to think.
We know it’s a big moment!
But we really need to know what you personally thought about it!
It really was a big moment and I was very excited! I’m going to leave it at that, I was very excited but I want to let the audience think about it for themselves.
Could you talk about what were your initial thoughts about Bakugo during the moment when Bakugo received the One For all quirk from Midoriya during the movie?
I loved it, I genuinely loved it because we’ve seen Bakugo’s growth to this point so much that it was very overwhelming for me and then to see him sort of readily jump to fight alongside Deku is an incredible moment.
That was Bakugo’s first time in a big moment, the first time he’s had actual hero duty, how do you feel about that?
I saw the movie a little before Justin did and I went and found him and said: “You can't even IMAGINE how cool some of these moments are!” I was super excited to see them actually complement each other in battle. It was almost breathtaking, to be honest, to see them reach to this point, to figure out this challenge that was Nine together because pretty much the entire movie is Deku and Bakugo fighting Nine and only that, which is cool to see that they are constantly being pushed back but they get up again... It’s such a gratifying moment. I can’t hype up this movie enough!
Q&A with: David Matranga (Todoroki Shoto) and Luci Christian (Uraraka Ochaco)
You were the voice of Shoto Todoroki from the start of the series. When you voiced Todoroki for the movie Heroes Rising, how do you feel he has grown as a character since the beginning of the series until the movie?
I think he’s more confident in his hero work and the choices that he makes. I think it’s been proven that he can do this on the fly and that he can do this under pressure and you see that in the Stain arc; the main thing that comes to mind is that there’s confidence there. But he’s still sort of hinged with not being fully released, you know? He’s still full of doubt. I think that Todoroki was on his way in season two and then in season three he kind of took a step back with the provisional license, failing at it got in his head. He made some choices that were not ideal and he has to suffer those consequences. I think in the movie he is doing what he knows to do but he’s still under this cap like he still hasn’t broken out.
Do you think the villain Chimera, from Heroes Rising, was a good challenge for Todoroki?
Yeah, I think so! I think that he was a challenge. I think that the fight asked him to do things he was uncomfortable to do, which was the only way to beat him. I sit there when I'm recording and I think “When is it going to happen!? When is he going to really break out and fully release” He keeps himself on the margins. I’m so invested in the character that I'm sitting there on edge asking “What’s next? What is Shoto going to do?”
Here’s a question for Lucy-chan. What do you think you bring to the character Uravity as a voice actor?
I’ve been doing this for a long time! I’ve been in this industry for almost 20 years and I'm well aware that I have been given opportunities that I could have never dreamed and I feel and I hope that what I bring to Ochaco is all my experience in the industry and appreciation. We’re cast because of our vocal quality, and in fact, for this show, I wasn’t auditioning for it because the show was in Dallas and I live in Huston.
If you were not planning on auditioning to be a part of My Hero Academia, how did you end up voicing Uraraka?
I got a whiff of this show when I was up there (in Dallas) and said “Can I audition?” and Colleen said “Would you? Would you!?” and as soon as I saw Ochaco, I went “ Ohh! Look at the heart of her, it’s like you can see it in how she’s drawn” And I hope I bring that, I hope I bring the English equivalent to what the Japanese portray and… she’s just got such a great heart and such a great spirit!
And the same question to you David-san, what do you think you bring to the character Todoroki as a voice actor?
I think I have been doing this for the same amount of time, around 20 years or so. The reason why I continued doing this even though it’s not the easiest business is that I've been given the blessing of doing so many different voices. This show in itself is a beautiful thing and I think the reason that I stayed around as long as I have is because of wanting to be part of telling this great story. Whether it’s anime or theatre, film or television; it’s compelling being a part of telling a great story. The way that I do that as an actor is trying to illuminate the truth of a character, and I do that with the Japanese voice actor, I mean they were the ones who created it and I’m taking the truth that I hear from them and try to emulate that feeling in my voice.
The thing that drives me is that I feel like everybody’s story deserves to be told, even if it’s complicated and even if it’s ugly or even if it’s not the norm, so when you get someone like Todoroki with his backstory and everything that’s going on, it’s a dream! To get to say “How can I service this? How can I take it further?” That's always my goal, I'm so invested in the character’s story, so in this case, voicing the truth of Todoroki at that moment, in that episode or all the time is the goal. I get help from all the other actors, Colleen the director, all the Japanese voice actors, and creators. But that’s what keeps me going, to be able to do it with this character is great.
I’m going to start with a question for both Dani and Maxey. What do you find interesting about Mahoro and Katsuma Shimano as new My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising characters?
Mahoro is adorable! She looks up to Bakugo and she has kind of a crush on him and that’s adorable! She is this fiery little kid that is very protective of her little brother because her mom’s gone and her dad’s not there so she has to take care of Katsuma. Though she's not a huge fan of heroes, she wants to be Katsuma’s hero in a way, making sure he doesn’t do things he isn’t supposed to and making sure nothing bad happens to him because he’s all she’s got. She’s just this fiery little mean thing but I love how stubbornly affectionate she is, she’s just doing it all to protect her brother.
Katsuma… he’s kind of the Pollyanna of the show. He’s extremely optimistic about everyone around him and he loves the roles that heroes play into his world. He likes to talk about how you have to step up to that hero role, and I’m wondering now; and probably that would have been good to know before recording, I’m wondering right now, today before the premiere, if perhaps his infatuation with heroes plays a part in them not having parents present.
Who is Pollyanna???
It’s someone that is eternally optimistic, it’s from a movie probably in the 60s maybe? But it’s really like this eternally optimistic character.
What was the most rewarding part of voicing Mahoro and Katsuma for the movie?
Getting to know the staff and being part of My Hero Academia! Being part of something that’s already so established.
It was nice to be able to be part of the experience and work among all the other characters because you kind of get to work with a stable team and go along the story with an already established world instead of having to make it. It’s nice.
It’s really fun and it’s really exciting.
Besides the character you girls voice, is there a certain character that you like from My Hero Academia?
There’s a right answer here you guys!
Katsuma has a very serious crush on Deku, and in real life, I’m like “OMG you’re AMAZING!” and yeah, I think at the moment my choice is totally towards Deku.
Froppy! She’s so different and she’s so cute, just everything about her is so chill like “I’m just here… being me…” as soon as I saw her on TV I was like I LOVE HER. I want her to be my friend… please, PLEASE! Hahaha. And I love Monica Rial. She has to be my favorite hands down.
This question goes for Kyle! Are you and your character Denki Kaminari similar in any way?
Did you have to study closely the personality of the character through the Japanese voice actor and manga or did you mix in a bit of yourself and your interpretation of Kaminari?
Oh no, I just looked at him and I was like “This is my voice”. I auditioned for Bakugo, Shigaraki and Kaminari and a common tactic for directors is to cast someone matching to the original voice so when they were like “Do the Kaminari voice” I was like “I’m doing it right now!” It’s a natural, but it’s a common tactic for directors to go like “I want Dani’s voice or I want Maxy’s voice” I’ve seen rarer than not having to put on a voice to pull it off, so Kaminari’s just kinda me and that makes me excited! And that’s kind of how I did it, he’s just a lovable goof like me.
You mentioned that you auditioned for Bakugo and Kaminari, but why go for Shigaraki?
Because I like villains! I love villains and I want to play villains so bad but I’m just too nice of a guy and I think it comes out. And Bakugo, I like yelling but it’s hard to compete with Cliff for Bakugo, but I think that if anyone else would have gotten the role for Bakugo it would have been me.
After this interview, we were more excited than ever to join the My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising Red Carpet North American Premiere being shown at the Regency Village Theatre later that day. Hearing how the voice actors felt about the movie, it was an honor to be able to enjoy the film alongside them and experience what they so eagerly tried to portray in their character and explain to us in this interview.
After reading this article we hope you’re all as excited as we were to watch the film this coming February 26, 2020. After watching the movie, make sure to leave a comment for us with your experience here at Honey’s Anime as well as in our My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising movie review!