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My Hero Academia Season 5 English dub interview: Anairis Quinones (Rabbit Hero Mirko), Justin Briner (Deku), and Clifford Chapin (Bakugo)

Boku no Hero Academia Season 5 anime
The My Hero Academia Season 5 English dub features Justin Briner and Clifford Chapin in addition to new cast member Anairis Quinones. Pic credit: Studio BONES

The My Hero Academia Season 5 anime TV series kicks off with the Joint Training Arc, which sees Class 1-A and Class 1-B’s students pitted against each other in a series of team battles that demonstrates just how much each respective class has grown.

The last time we saw the students of U.A High, we were left with many questions. Boku no Hero Academia Season 5 will bring answers and action-packed stories that viewers won’t want to miss out on, including the iconic series’ 100th episode.

My Hero Academia is a Japanese anime series based on the manga series by Kohei Horikoshi. It tells the story of a young boy, Izuku Midoriya, who lives in a universe where superpowers — or “Quirks” — have become commonplace. Izuku dreams of being a hero, although he was born without superpowers. Through the help of friends, family, and heroes, Midoriya is admitted into THE prestigious high school for heroes in training. This is where his journey begins.

READ: My Hero Academia manga’s ending: Final Act begins in 2021

FUNimation’s My Hero Academia Season 5 English dub release date confirmed

The fifth season launched on FUNimation with English subtitles on March 27, 2021. FUNimation’s My Hero Academia Season 5 English dub release date is scheduled for Saturday, April 10, 2021. The My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 1 English dub will be streaming on that date.

The My Hero Academia Season 5 TV show is streaming on Funimation in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Brazil, and Mexico. Funimation is the premier home for My Hero Academia fans in these countries, whether they prefer subtitles or dubbed content. The series is also available in North America on Funimation’s streaming partner Hulu.

My Hero Academia Interview

Monsters and Critics had a chance to sit down with the My Hero Academia Season 5 English dub voice actors Justin Briner (Deku), Clifford Chapin (Bakugo), and Anairis Quiñones (Rabbit Hero Mirko/Rumi Usagiyama).

Monsters & Critics: What were your initial thoughts going into My Hero Academia Season 5 and how has that changed over time?

Anairis: I actually haven’t had a chance to record for Season 5 just yet. But upon watching the subtitled episodes I’m very excited to portray Mirko in a more fighting environment as opposed to her just talking big. I’m just looking forward to portraying her.

M&C: The Rabbit Hero Mirko was briefly introduced in the previous anime TV season and then she rescued Hawks and Endeavor from Dabi in My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 1. Mirko will take a more prominent role in the upcoming Paranormal Liberation War story arc, which might be part of My Hero Academia Season 6 assuming that Season 5 ends by adapting the manga’s Endeavor Agency arc. Anairis, what are you most looking forward to the fans experiencing when it comes to your character?

Anairis: I am looking forward to them [the audience] seeing her in a more prominent role, for sure. I don’t want to speak too much on it. I don’t expect the anime [muffled]. We have a lot to look forward to when it comes to Mirko.

M&C: Anairis, who is your personal favorite character if not My Hero Academia’s Mirko?

Anairis: If not Mirko, oh….

M&C: It can be Mirko but I’m just saying…

Anairis: She actually isn’t my favorite because… it’s probably actually Deku, to be honest. I had to take time to think about it because I’m not sure but I think Deku is my go-to because I love his story. I love how much of an underdog he is and how he develops from being an underdog to the greatest hero or becoming the greatest hero. I’ve always loved him. I think he’s a sweet baby boy.

M&C: Do you personally identify with Deku or maybe one of the other characters more?

Anairis: I think I identify with Deku more in a way. I guess, maybe, it’s like the anxiety. I understand the anxiety. I understand wanting to be more. I understand, you know, wanting to prove yourself and working so hard for something that you really want. I never thought about it, but I guess he’s more similar to me than any other character. I just love those types that, you know, that are figuring out who they are. Becoming stronger every day, becoming more confident in who they are every day. I always admired that about Deku, so…

M&C: Well, hopefully not throwing yourself into danger [like Deku].

Anairis: [Laughs] No, I’m good on that.

My Hero Academia Rabbit Hero Mirko
My Hero Academia’s Mirko is voiced by American voice actress Anairis Quinones. She is also known as the force for Harriet Bree and Camilla in RWBY as well as Nessa in Pokémon Twilight Wings. Pic credit: Kohei Horikoshi/Anairis Quinones

M&C: Speaking of which, it’s been a dangerous year for the whole world. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many animation studio’s production process in the anime industry. How has the pandemic impacted your booth recording experience in relation to FUNimation’s My Hero Academia Season 5 English dub? I know you [Anairis] haven’t started recording yet so I guess we’ll jump to the guys.

Justin: For me it’s night and day. To go from roughly four seasons of the usual recording process to now I’m going to my closet and scream. It’s definitely different. I think any kind of creativity over this past year is frankly a miracle. A ton of applause to anyone I’ve seen step up and help the community around them get situated with these new circumstances. Yeah, kudos!

M&C: Right, so it’s literally transformed from a professional sound recording booth to your closet. Did I hear that right?

Justin: Well, it’s a professional recording booth in its own right, of course.

M&C: Just like this. [Laughs]

Clifford: His own professional recording closet.

Justin: That’s right! [Laughs]

M&C: Closet Plus Ultra!

Justin: Not quite yet. Soon.

M&C: More upgrades to come. You’re only at 20%, you know. You can get up to 100 in the future. Speaking of characters who are working on it, Endeavor plays a more prominent role right up front in My Hero Academia Season 5 largely because Endeavor is struggling to fill in All Might’s spot as the Number One Hero. Do you guys personally think Endeavor deserves to be considered the Number One Hero?

Clifford: That’s how the numbers roll out, right? If Number One has to go away then Number Two has to step up, right? I don’t know, it’s hard to say because the merits and the values that establish what makes the Number One Hero, what makes the Number Two Hero, and that whole ranking system… those are so established in their own values. Does Endeavor deserve it? Well, maybe mathematically, you know, but maybe not as a person. I think that’s something we’re going to be seeing over the course of this season. And as the story goes forward Endeavor has taken the number one spot but he didn’t take it the way he wanted to. He wanted to earn it and now it’s thrust upon him. Now he has to earn it retroactively. I think that’s the whole appeal of this moment. We get to see, ‘Can Endeavor really live up to the title that he has obtained prematurely?’

M&C: It also speaks to the overarching theme of the story. Whether this hero society they’ve created is the right way of doing things versus something they may end up creating in the future.

Clifford: Exactly.

M&C: What conscious decisions do you guys make when you’re voicing your characters?

Anairis: I’ve only had one session with Mirko so far but I’m very conscious of making sure she sounds cool, you know. Making sure she is a fun character, someone is just very out there. I don’t know how to describe her. She’s just very cool and badass. I definitely try to be mindful of that aspect of her as well as other aspects that I’m sure I’ll get to explore later. Making sure she sounds like a very developed character.

Justin: I’d say from the beginning I sort of identified Deku as going to be a character who means a whole lot of different things to a whole lot of different people. I just wanted to tap into that and make that seem truthful because there’s a lot of folks watching, especially kids who need to hear some of the messages and themes that Deku goes through. I thought of people similar to myself growing up and not have anime be as accepted or culturally relevant. Now, it [anime] totally is. I just look for opportunities to keep Deku feeling like a real kid because there are people very much like Deku who are watching the show and cheering him on.

M&C: I know some actors do method acting. Patrick Seitz, the voice of Enji Todoroki aka Endeavor, claimed during Anime Expo 2019 that he likes to drive up to schools and bark criticism at children to prepare for being Endeavor. [SHOTO!!] I’m assuming he was joking about that method acting, but what actual vocal exercises and actions do you take to mentally prepare to become the character?

Anairis: For my character, I honestly don’t have to do anything. I’m not really the type to do vocal exercises in general. I probably should, I don’t. If anything I’ve been doing in preparation is making sure I know how to scream. I know she [Mirko] requires some screaming. Otherwise, I really don’t do anything. She’s pretty much deeper in my range, a little deeper than this. I don’t do too much.

M&C: So you just hop right into it.

Anairis: Basically.

M&C: Had to do a bunny pun, sorry.

[Laughs]

M&C: From what I understand, most voice actors don’t get to watch the entire episode in context before starting recording in the booth. Instead, recording sessions have a tendency to jump from scene to scene so some context can be missed. After all, the knowledge your character gains just by being physically present even when they’re silent colors their attitudes and thus their vocal emotional range when they do speak later. Have you ever recorded a scene where you eventually saw the finished full episode for My Hero Academia and then wished you could have done things slightly differently?

Clifford: Not for My Hero Academia. Not me, anyway. Maybe some other properties over the years but My Hero Academia is one that I’ve always felt that [ADR Director] Colleen [Clinkenbeard] has done a good job in leading us and making sure that we’re informed. Then I always do a little bit of my own prep work. If I can watch an episode ahead of time in Japanese then I will. Typically, so I know how much screaming I have to do so I can be prepared for that and how much time I’ll need afterward so I can recover. But never for My Hero Academia. I always feel like with My Hero Academia there are a lot of moments, all the moments are like, “Yep! Totally made sense!”

One of the interview questions that didn’t make the cut is what do Justin and Clifford think about “DekuBaku”, the Deku x Bakugo ship. While we’re not sure how they’d respond to that question, we do know the Clifford once was asked about shipping Bakugo with other female characters and he responded, “For what it’s worth, as Bakugo’s voice, I don’t really ship any characters. I let the story carry me rather than invest myself and energy in how it goes. I’d support the Kirishima ship as soon as I would Uraraka.”

M&C: So your method acting is like, “How is my throat today?” [Laughs] That totally makes sense based on that character [Bakugo]. I’ve talked to some of the other dub actors in the past and it sounds like the majority of the MHA dub actors have purposefully not read ahead in the My Hero Academia manga. How is your voice work impacted by waiting to know what’s going on in the story until you are in the sound booth?

Justin: I think that any time you read ahead in any material, or watch ahead, and I do so I have to be on the lookout for this. Whenever you read anything, I think you get sort of an expectation or a vision in your head as your imagination is putting this action together. You start to make preconceptions and that’s just the dangers. I don’t want to totally commit to something or an idea that I have reading and it turns out it’s slightly off and I really can’t shift my focus away from that. I think it’s important to enter any recording session being open and free to play. I wouldn’t say, “Never watch ahead or read ahead or anything!” I try to make it so at least when I’m performing it’s in the moment.

M&C: In the frame of mind of what’s going on currently. That actually leads directly into my next question. Without getting into major spoilers, many manga fans feel the story has become darker by the end of the second saga, which ended in Spring 2021. The middle of Saga 2 is being adapted by Season 5, and the end of the Saga will probably be adapted by either My Hero Academia Season 6 or 7. What’s your reaction to the current events in the manga? Just emotionally, you don’t have to get specific so you’re not spoiling anyone.

Justin: I feel a great many things. Very greatly about all of it.

[Everyone laughs]

M&C: Well, that will spoil literally no one. [Laughs] Let’s just say that things do get a little dark for Deku. While we’re not expecting “emo Deku” to be walking down the street like Tobey Maguire’s emo Peter Parker from Spider-Man 3, do you think your voice acting might change to reflect the new dark atmosphere Deku finds himself in?

Justin: Totally. I think that whatever he is going through will definitely manifest itself in how the performance ends up in any of the audio.

READ: My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission release date: Boku no Hero Academia movie 3 release date confirmed [Trailer]

Izuku Midoriya, Katsuki Bakugo and Shoto Todoroki
They key visual for the 2021 My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission movie released during AnimeJapan 2021. Pic credit: Studio Bones

M&C: Besides My Hero Academia Season 5, there’s the upcoming third movie, My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission, that’s releasing in Japan in August. What can you guys say about that project?

Clifford: It’s cool that there’s a third movie.

M&C: Especially since the [manga] creator was saying, “Nope, it’s not happening!” And now it is! That’s the amazing part. What about you, Justin?

Justin: Nothing much I can say other than that I’m truly excited. I loved the first two movies and now there will be more movies.

M&C: I don’t know, it would be kind of spoiler-ish, I guess, if Anairis [said anything]. I don’t know if you have a role in the movie?

Anairis: I know nothing. I think it is cool that we’re going to see more heroes.

M&C: Awesome. Thank you so much guys. I look forward to when we can eventually do this type of thing in person. It’s a lot more fun that way.


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