Reporters got the chance to talk with several members of the cast of “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising” before its red carpet premiere in Los Angeles. Timothy Rosales of Anime Diet, Josh Jackson of Geekscape and Jose Balderas of The Rage Gamers and I interviewed the voice actors of Shoto Todoroki and Ochaco Uraraka, David Matranga and Luci Christian.

I do apologize in advance to certain parts of the interview due to the poor audio quality of the room. For those that are not caught up in the manga or anime series, there are spoilers, especially of Season Two.

Faith Orcino: In the first movie, you guys were more in very supportive roles and this time the whole class is very involved in the film. How do you feel about your characters participating more [this time]?

Luci Christian: I think it’s awesome. The first movie, we were so excited about it but this second movie, I’ll tell you, I feel is better. And certainly Class 1-A does get a lot more playtime. But the big deal was that everybody really gets a chance to shine. There were moments where we were recording the second movie “Heroes Rising” where I was like, (gasp) “Ochaco can do that?!” Like I didn’t even know she grew that much. And that is super exciting to see and that so many people just kinda get their moment to show what they can do. It’s really cool.
David Matranga: It’s kinda like in this movie, we get to see them as potential full heroes. I lean they’re on this island and they’re on their own, you know. They can’t go back to a teacher. They can’t You know, it’s not a drill. It’s not practice. So yeah, it’s exciting that here they are thrust in this. It’s still training in a way but it’s like on the job, real like you can make mistakes. There are consequences, consequence-type training. I think it satisfies that need as a viewer and as someone who’s voicing a role.”Alright, we’re all together. Let’s do this!” This is like the dream from Season Two, you know, where we were all in the Sports Festival and now we’re all doing this together.
LC: Exactly.
DM: It’s exciting. It’s exciting. No doubt.


Josh Jackson: Kinda touching where you said about Ochaco’s powers. Anything particularly stood out while you were recording that maybe you didn’t expect while going into it?

LC: Yeah. (Laughs) Yes! Without getting too specific, I definitely can remember from the beginning of the series when Ochaco is, you know, holding some things up and lets them out and she barfs rainbows.
DM: (Laughs)
LC: I’m just saying her skill level has grown. That’s what I love about this. We were talking earlier about that it’s sometimes hard to remember that these are just kids in highschool. And they’re coming in at a level where their skills are gonna be tested and they’re gonna grow. And a lotta times, we don’t see, a person like Ochaco, don’t see her necessarily growing everyday. And you get these moments that goes “Whoa! Wow!” Time has passed and these kids are not only learning how to just sort of live life as heroes and growing up, but that their skill level is really becoming super impressive. They can really by pros not a long way off. It’s cool.
DM: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I don’t have a ton to add. You just- For me, I felt that there was more of a confidence with Todoroki, what he can do. But I still think there’s still, obviously for all of us, more to come. Using quirks in different ways. You know, especially with Todoroki’s two sides. I’m really interested in seeing like what’s gonna happen there. There are all kinds of theories about how to use like fire and steam and steam explosions and what that could be. And I don’t think we see a ton of that, that type of growth but you see more of a confidence. I’m excited. I was saying at a couple of questions, I’m just excited to see where it can go. You know, where it continues to go.


Jose Balderas: In this movie, are we going to see any relationship bridges between Todoroki and his father?

DM: I, from what I remember…
JB: If you can say.
DM: Yeah, I don’t want to say- I don’t think there’s significant improvements or what’s the opposite of improvement?
LC: (Laughs)
DM: Uh, conflicts? So no, I don’t think we’re there yet as far as with the world that this film takes place in.
JB: So the relationship is still…
DM: Yeah, I think we’re gonna have to see how that goes. And, you know, who extends an olive branch and who’s able to accept and forgive and/or can that happen? There’s so many theories out there about it. I mean I am excited. You know sometimes I’ll be at a convention and people will come up and just start vomiting theories on what could happen. And I’m just like, “Yes! Yes! This is amazing! Keep going!”
LC: Sounds awesome. That sounds great!
JB: Do you start searching for theories online?
DM: Oh man, I actually- not normally, but last night, I watched like a 13-minute YouTube video about someone’s theory on how the entire series is going to end. And I was like, “Oh, this is amazing, man.”
LC: The theories are fun.
DM: The theories are fascinating, you know. Ultimately, we’ll see.


JB: So Ochaco, is she going to open up to Deku to finally fall in love or-? ‘Cause the sparks are flying.

LC: Oh man. I know. I feel like, truthfully, I feel like that’s one of the more realistic aspects of this show is that you have this girl who has a great quirk and has good instincts, like hero instincts. She’s smart and she’s a fighter. She got a lotta grit but she cannot verbalize how she feels (laughs) to save her life. So that definitely, I believe, still an area of greater growth for her. Gonna have to work on that.
DM: Anytime anyone asks me questions about relationships, I’m like, “There aren’t many people in this show that have the verbal acumen to be able to express their feelings.” I have no idea how they will be like in a relationship.
LC: That’s right. That’s exactly right. (Laughs)
TR: Especially Todoroki.
DM: I know. People ask me about Momo Yaoyorozu and I’m like, “I don’t know if you really want to be in a relationship with Todoroki right now. He’s got some stuff to work though.”
LC: (Laughs)
TR: He’s like a loner. You got two sides of the coin.
DM: Yeah. Yeah.
LC: That’s right. That’s right.


JJ: Class 1-A for the most part, they don’t really have too much of any like any kind of tragedies amongst the class. But Todoroki, his story is really heavy and we see glimpses of it in the anime, some of the things he went through. Do you feel like it was challenging at all to bring that gravity into the character out into your performance?

DM: The challenging part about it was to bring all of that weight and pain and trauma with the way he expresses himself, which is very-
TR: Monotone.
DM: Yeah. I mean it’s- monotone is the best way to describe it. But it’s not because there’s so much underneath. So yeah, that was the real challenge. When I saw all of that in the origin episode and you know you get bits and pieces of it, I felt a huge responsibility to that. It’s something that people really identify with. Even if it’s not exactly that, we all suffer some type of struggle some way. So I felt a huge responsibility to that but the challenging part was, as a voice actor, trying to get all of that to be there when he has like four notes that he talks in. You know what I mean? And I find that challenge when I go in the booth almost every time. Once we get rolling in a season, like now, I lock in. But at the beginning of each season, I have to refind where that sweet spot is how he communicates. It’s a huge part of it, I think.


TR: So for Todoroki, he’s really huge on pushing people. When Bakugo’s getting so upset with Deku growing and you’re just mentioning to him and he’s really yelling at you. How do you feel about the duos? What duo would you like to see maybe in the next movie? Maybe you would like you with one of the girls or perhaps-?

LC: Mmm!

TR: Because Bakugo and Deku have one. So we would love to see more of you.

DM: Yeah. Yeah.
LC/DM: (Laughs)
LC: How about Todoroki and Momo?
DM: I don’t know. You know it’s so funny and hard.
LC: I love Yaoyorozu.
DM: It’s hard to identify with that because he is like you said. He keeps himself on the margins. Even in funny episodes where they’re decorating their dorm rooms, he’s like, “Yeah, this is my dorm room. Okay. Bye.” And then there’s that episode where he teams up with Yaoyorozu and he completely ignores and they’re fighting Aizawa, and completely ignores her contribution. And I think he pushes people because he was pushed so hard his entire life that his reaction to that is almost a default reaction of that’s how you do it. Which I think it would be interesting if we do see him grow and whatever happens with the relationship with Endeavor. How will he realize that he’s like his father in some way? You know what I mean? Like because how can you not be?
LC: Yeah.
DM: Then how does he respond to that? I don’t know duo-wise. I mean-.
LC: What if it was like Todoroki and Endeavor and Deku and All Might?
DM: I mean that would be a great- that would be an amazing movie.
LC: That would be cool.
DM: I don’t know. What about Todoroki/Iida?
LC/DM: (Laughs)
DM: That’d be cool. Like revisit the Stain arc a little bit. They worked well together.
LC: They sure did. That was great.
DM: Yeah. (Laughs) That’s a great question.


JJ: Regarding Ochaco, in the most recent episodes, we really got to see how well her power works both protecting herself and being able to work alongside her teammates.

LC: Yes!

JJ: What are kinds of interesting ways of her using her powers going forward that maybe we haven’t seen?

LC: I think with her, the growth of confidence in herself and in her abilities is so key. I love she’s been teaming so much with Froppy. They make a great duo. I really love too that- recently something that she has, that they all have, but she has certainly is faith in the heart. Even if someone says, “There’s no use! It’s done! You can’t do anything about it!” Then her response to that is, “But the mark of a hero is hearing that and trying anyway.” And in fact recently, I got a line that is along those lines and I was like “(Gasp) Coleen! This is the best line ever and I get to say it!” And of course Coleen was like, “Awesome, don’t ‘F’ it up.” Like-.
LC/DM: (Laughs)
LC: She is the best director ever! I laughed forever. I’m gonna be telling this story now. But that’s what I hope for. It’s more of that for her, it’s just that sense of “I belong here. I belong with the boys. We fight. We are fighters and we are heroes and we-.” And for her recently too, you have to decide what you want. And for her, it’s “I wanna be a hero.” which I feel like for her is a shift. I mean, the beginning, she was like “I’m gonna be a hero to make money and help my family.” Very pragmatic person. I think that for her along the way, she has decided that she can expand what she’s able to do into, “I wanna take care of people. I want to take care of more people than just my own people.”
JJ: In that episode when she fought Bakugo and-.
LC: Ugh! I love that episode. She had to pass out for that fight to end. You know, she’s really scrappy and I think up until that point, you can kinda go, “Oh, she’s the good girl. She’s a good girl who Deku has a little crush on.” Kind of and who knows.
DM: You see some grit.
LC: You see her in that episode and how she fights and she bounces back afterward. Because when Deku goes to find her, he’s gonna give her a pep talk and she’s like, “No, no. I mean, I see what I need to do now. I guess I learned my lesson.” And then when he leaves, she calls her dad and (cries).
DM: That’s what I think is so amazing about the show in general is that you see these people with all this potential but they don’t just have these successes. They really come up against failure and struggle and you see how they get to respond. And I think that’s why we love the characters so much ‘cause we can identify with that in a big way. I know who I want my duo to be. Gran Torino and Todoroki!
LC: (Laughs)
DM: I feel like- you know that episode with Bakugo and Deku when they’re fighting and then All Might comes in and is like this amazing father figure to them. Like I feel like that’s what Todoroki needs and craves. You will see if he ever gets it. I feel like for him to full release into the hero he could be, I think he needs that kind of support, like heavily. So we’ll see if that happens.
LC: We’ll see.
DM: (Laughs)


JJ: Heading into the movie, what’s one thing that you want fans to know or expect regarding your character?

LC: Mmm…
DM: Oh man.
LC: I feel like, again, the beauty of this movie is you kinda get to see everybody shine. And you don’t have to see, again, you don’t have to have seen all the seasons, the four seasons and the prior movie to enjoy this one. And now fans, I feel like, are going to be born out of this movie alone. I told this story earlier but it’s so perfect about how people relate to this show. I was watching the show with my kids who are nine and seven. And we were in the second season in the Sports Fest where everybody got through the doorway and they fought the robots and now they’re at the minefield. And it’s not even me, it’s Todoroki, Bakugo and Deku [who] try to get through the minefield and cross the finish line. Deku, he launched himself into the air and there’s this thing where they’re all looking and figuring [it] out. And my nine-year old goes, “I love anime.” And I got chills and was like, “YES!” You know that’s what it does. That’s what this show does. And this show in particular just kinda captivates people and this movie is- it does that. It’s gonna do that and we get to be part of it!
DM: Yeah, I can’t really add anything to that except I hope people-. I think this movie is a standalone with the strength of the characters, the strength of what they do and what they do together that will, if someone just ran across it, it will indoctrinate them into the world pretty quickly. And I imagine people [will] run back, if they haven’t seen it, run back and watch Season One and binge the whole show. That’s what I expect to happen. That’s what I hope happens with this movie.

 

We thank Luci Christian and David Matranga for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk with us.

For more information on “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising”, head to Funimation Films and find the nearest theater showing.

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