The world premiere of My Hero Academia’s fourth season was the most highly-anticipated event at Anime Expo 2019 Fans piled in to have the chance to interact with the series’ exclusive guest panel and witness the first episode dubbed. Season Four will continue to follow Midoriya’s rise as the strongest hero along with Class 1-A as they prepare themselves to fight against stronger villains.
The premiere first featured the return of Funimation’s dub cast starring Ricco Fajardo (Mirio), Patrick Seitz (Endeavor), David Matranga (Todoroki), Jason Liebrecht (Dabi), Justin Cook (Kirishima), and Kellen Goff (Overhaul) along with Japanese voice actor Kaori Nazuka (Mount Lady and Tooru Hagakure). The actors shared their personal tidbits about voice acting along with character insights and thoughts about the upcoming season.
Ricco Fajardo first stood out both on the stage and the Season 4 premiere episode in his portrayal of Mirio Togata’s amiable and passion. Most of the cast members also highlighted the fact that he was a natural when it came to him playing Mirio because of the similarities between Mirio and Fajardo in real life.
Justin Cook also had some insights on voice acting and a simple note on his character Kirishima and his relation to Bakugo:
“When we record by ourselves, we have Colleen [Clinkenbeard] (dub director) as a guide. So hanging out with the classmen Colleen picked out — you guys are breaking my heart, we work really hard to make the shows believable, realistic, and relatable. You guys have another twenty years of my dedication, easy.
“Like Kirishima, I try to be everyone’s friend, but I also have to explain my best friend to everyone.”
As the voice of Hagakure whose quirk is invisibility, Kaori Nazuka admitted that without any facial expressions, she has to imagine what she looks like just by her hands and feet. Hagakure’s positivity is something that Nazuka also has. In contrast, she embodies a condescending aura for Mount Lady and uses that to distinguish her acting between the two characters. She also shared one of the most memorable experiences of working on My Hero Academia:
“One time, when we were recording, the actor for All Might in Japan [Kenta Miyake] shouted his line, ‘I’m here!!!’ He just went for it and collapsed in the studio. We were like, ‘What happened??!’ He has a lot of power, so he was okay and got up. In Japan, seeing the amount of passion they have for these characters, and how far he went to bring out All Might, we were all surprised and inspired by it.”
While Dabi hasn’t had much of a presence so far, Jason Liebrecht was excited to share the first impressions of his character:
“The moment that sticks in mind was when I was dealing with the blue flames enveloping the character. I thought, ‘This is so freaking cool, this is cool.’ I was very, very happy to have that character.”
Another special moment for the dub cast (and David Matranga’s Todoroki in particular) was:
“It’s hard to pick a special moment. I think Colleen put together such a great group of people and continues to cast the show so well with people whose hearts are in it. This one really requires that demand, and it is a gift as an actor to work on a role in a show like that. I’m so invested in the show and character, connecting with people with the same amount of investment and care.”
“Specifically, in Origin where you learn about Todoroki’s backstory, I had an idea but [as an actor] you wouldn’t know what it would look like on-screen, and normally we just jump from scene to scene. I didn’t know we had that scene, and we watched some of it, and it really fed into what I was doing, and Colleen just said, ‘Let’s just watch it.’ It was a moment where all in my years of anime was to watch it, take it, and do it justice.”
As to what the voice actors were most excited about in Season 4, many of the replies varied depending on the voice actor and role. Obviously, there were spoilers that they couldn’t share, but they all were hyped in anticipation for the next season, just like the fans.
The first episode of My Hero Academia Season 4 dives right into an event with the League of Villains, setting an ominous and serious tone to the start of the season. While the League is trying to rebuild their forces to capitalize on the fact that All Might has fallen, Overhaul and his gang make an entrance.
In the short skirmish between the villains themselves, it’s surprising to realize that not all villains are on the same page, regardless of the fact that their goal might be the same. As shown in the second season, the bad guys don’t always fight for the same reason. With this encounter and insight into the League of Villains versus other criminals and villains, it seems like Midoriya and the gang will clash with these characters in the near future.
Previously, Midoriya met upperclassman Mirio Togata, one of the top candidates for receiving One for All from All Might. In season four, Togata starts off as more of a support when he introduces Midoriya to Sir Nighteye, Midoriya’s first choice for his work-study program, and All Might’s previous sidekick. Midoriya’s biggest struggle is proving that he’s worthy of being All Might’s successor. Nighteye, who’s arguably All Might’s biggest fan and the sharpest sidekick, bullies and pushes Midoriya around while he has to show Nighteye his worthiness and success.
Although the first episode mostly feels like a starting point, there is a lot of tension packed into the first episode, teasing for what’s more to come. Up until this point, My Hero Academia has yet to divulge into All Might’s career-long battle against All for One, but this upcoming season will change all of that. It will soon be here in the fall, but if there’s anything to go off of the first episode of Season 4, it’ll definitely continue to follow the high standard that the My Hero Academia series has built up for itself.
My Hero Academia Season 4 premieres October 12th on Funimation. Don’t miss it!