MY HERO ACADEMIA [AX 2019 Panel / Season 4 Premiere Review]: The Dark Light.

Anton “Aristotle” Tilgren

The thing I was most excited about this weekend at Anime Expo 2019 was the My Hero Academia panel, which included the highly anticipated U.S. premiere of Season 4. When I arrived this morning to get in line, it wasn’t hard to guess I wasn’t the only one.

After three Hot Topic-shaking successful seasons, My Hero Academia is easily one of the biggest anime hits worldwide…

This phenomena has captured the hearts of so many fans due to the show’s ability to combine intense action, humor, and tearjerking emotion all in one punch. Every character, whether primary or secondary, is memorable and makes an impact; Boku No Hero is an addictive story of up-and-coming heroes learning what it is to standout and earn the right to move up the ranks to pro status. On the other side of the coin are the villains, who are equally memorable as the anti-hero, each with their own dark backstories that admirably give reason why they’ve become so twisted and evil.

The panel consisted of English voice cast members Jason Liebrecht (Dabi), David Matranga (Shōto Todoroki), Justin Cook (Eijirō Kirishima), Patrick Seitz (Endeavor), Kellen Goff (Overhaul), Ricco Fajardo (Mirio Togata), and from the Japanese voice cast, Kaori Nazuka (Tōru Hagakure). What struck me the most about the cast was how grateful and humble they were to be part of the anime hit.

Say.. why does God Hate Weebs again?

Goff, a relatively new addition to the cast, had a moment on stage when he started to choke up. He added that he was star-struck sitting/working alongside some of the more seasoned voice actors. But the guest who stole the show during the Q&A portion was Seitz. For those reading who don’t watch the show (and shame on you, really), Endeaver, the father of Shōto Todoroki, is the hero who lacks people skills. His arrogance often overshadows how bad-ass he is when it comes to the range of his power and his fire quirk capabilities. Unfortunately for Shōto, his father’s expectations are so high that no matter how well he does, it’s never good enough.

One of the stand-out questions asked was what the actors did to mentally prepare before they headed into a recording session. To this, Seitz answered that he’d “like to drive to an elementary school, find some little kid and scream out ‘You’ll never amount to anything!’” The audience erupted with laughter, so much that Matranga pulled the microphone away and said, “I just drive to work and listen to Patrick scream that on a continuous loop in my car.”

Not that I want to tease. But, politics, you know?

Perhaps the most notable news from the panel is the fact that all the of actors record their parts separately; yet with the chemistry witnessed yesterday on stage, you’d think they’ve all been best friends forever. In short, the Funimation My Hero panel was a memorable experience and definitely the top highlight of my Anime Expo. And then it happened. The lights dimmed, and everyone’s patience was finally rewarded with the Episode 1 Premiere of Season 4. For the sake of any spoilers, what fans are sure to eat up on October 12th is an extremely dark yet hilarious, action-packed episode.

The cast members confirmed that, with Season 4, we will see the biggest hero battles yet. In just 24 minutes of screen time, the Main Stage crowd got surprises and laughs that I’m willing to bet no one was prepared for. The episode surely left everyone wanting more. There are new characters that will play a huge role, both for the good and the bad. No hyperbole, man; I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation, minute by minute. If you haven’t started watching yet, get on that Funimation app and catch up with Seasons 1-3. Go Beyond, PLUS ULTRA!!! 5/5 Bibles.

-Anton Tilgren

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