Eric Vale & Sonny Strait Discuss Tomura Shigaraki & Re-Destro

My Hero Academia has entered its “My Villain Academia” arc, which gives a new focus on the baddies of the popular anime series. Not only are key members of the League of Villains spotlighted, such as the leader Tomura Shigaraki, Himiko Toga, and Dabi, but a new villain is introduced in the form of Re-Destro, who leads the Meta Liberation Army.

“The League of Villains is dead broke and getting nowhere fast,” says the official synopsis. “All For One’s enormous bodyguard Gigantomachia arrives to pulverize them into shape. But before they’re back on their feet, the sinister Meta Liberation Army, led by Re-Destro, comes out of the woodwork to destroy the League and anyone who tries to regulate Quirks. This multi-episode arc is dedicated to the bad guys, old and new, of My Hero Academia and will be an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, including Himiko Toga in a bloody showdown and new insights into Tomura Shigaraki’s tortured past.”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese caught up with My Hero Academia voice actors Eric Vale & Sonny Strait to talk about their characters, the recording process, and more.

Tyler Treese: Eric, you’ve gotten to show so much variety in your performances over your career. So I was curious how fun is it just to be the show’s primary villain and just really let loose?

Eric Vale: It’s everything I had been hoping for and working toward for a long time. So pretty amazing.

Sonny, you left the role of Present Mic after the first season due to vocal strain. I was curious how difficult it was to make that decision to leave and how exciting it is that you are returning to My Hero Academia?

Sonny Strait: How hard was it? Was it hard to leave the hottest new show? Yeah, it was pretty darn hard. It was weird too because I’ve never had that problem before. Like I’ve played characters who do crazy things with their voice, right? And it doesn’t hurt me at all, but something about that voice screaming really just tore my vocal chords in a way I’ve never done before, but to be able to come back and come back as a completely different kind of character who is so nuanced is a thrill.

Yeah. It’s even a bigger role. So, maybe it worked out best long term.

Strait: That was the plan actually from the beginning. I was like, yeah, that’s a nice role, but I’m going to hold up for some bigger. Let me just quit here. That was not the plan.

I would love to get your thoughts on that kind of in-universe debate and how that it kind of colors the character.

Strait: Yeah. Right now I’ve been reading the manga. So I’m trying to figure out if this is something that he really believes or is he’s using it as a really good way to motivate people to do what he wants them to do. But to a certain degree, I think he really does think that. I mean, it’s a good starting off point. Personally, I think yeah, how dare people put limitations on you and your potential. If there really were such things as quirks like that, I think I’d be a little annoyed if people told me what I could do and what I couldn’t do, or how far I could push the power.

Especially when they’re so cool.

Strait: Yeah, exactly.

Eric, Tomura has so many great scenes. What are some scenes that have really stood out or maybe some lines of dialogue that really resonated with you?

Vale: Well, it’s hard because for me, as I was mentioning, the way that performance is done, I don’t get the chance to watch really even the whole scene. I get to play my character’s moments. The way that we record is, I get to play whatever character I’m brought into voice that day. I’m playing those moments only. So I’m having to depend on the director to inform me of everything that’s around that, and life moves so fast. I don’t have a lot of time to go watch. I certainly can’t watch everything that I’ve been in. I’m trying to and I’m getting through My Hero with my daughter, but I’m still very early on right now.

Sonny, you’ve played so many iconic roles over the years and in so many incredibly popular series. Like you said, My Hero is just blowing up. It’s huge, and it’s only growing bigger over time. We’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg here. Can you speak to the mass appeal of this series and how it kind of already ranks up there with some of your other work?

Strait: I think what it has in common with those other works is the depths of the character. You really care about these characters and because you learn so much about them, it’s almost soap opera. You get so invested in them. You want to know what they’re going to do next. In those series you had mentioned before, they also have that in common. These are really rich characters, who aren’t just surface, they’re way more than two-dimensional. So it makes sense that a show like this that has a lot of heart and a lot of depth would keep on going then people would want more of it. It was again, when you mentioned earlier, having to give up that Present Mic role, that was the worst thing. It was like, first of all, I love the character. I was having a blast with this character. Although I would say if you’re going on the depth of character, the character I’m playing now is a bit deeper than Present Mic was, but at the same time, that character is such a blast to play. It wasn’t just the phenomenon that the show was huge, it’s just a fun show to be on, you know?

Eric, we talked about quirks earlier. Shigaraki has the coolest quirk. Decay is such an awesome visual to see, and it just suits the character so well. Can you give your thoughts on that quirk and how that ability just represents him quite well?

Vale: Yeah. To me, and of course, I’m tighter with the character of Shigaraki than with others, obviously, but to me, he looks like his quirk. Does that make sense? Like, he’s almost like a physical manifestation of it. I know that’s kind of common in this world, but there’s something about him that just really speaks to that quirk, and his desire to bring so much destruction just goes hand in hand with his quirk.

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