With My Hero Academia Season 5 coming to a close and the franchise’s third movie, My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission, smashing its way to cinemas this October, we felt it was the perfect time to catch up with the English voice behind Shigaraki, Eric Vale!
Eric Vale has voiced some of the most iconic and beloved anime characters in the last two decades including Adult Trunks in the Dragon Ball series, Sanji in One Piece and, of course, the deadly Shigaraki in My Hero Academia!
We were lucky enough to have a chat with Eric about all things My Hero Academia!
Let’s start things off with the most important question…If you could have any Quirk, what would you choose?
Vale: I would want the ability to make any meal I’ve ever had appear before me in an instant.
What is the most exciting aspect about voicing a major villain in a massive series like My Hero Academia?
Vale: Being a villain gives you the license to be a little bad in person. When around the fans, they expect the bad guy to be a little evil. Of course it’s all in fun, and we all have a good laugh about it.
For example, at a convention recently, we were doing a villain panel and I told the audience they weren’t allowed to ask questions but rather that I was going to pick people at random and they HAD to ask a question of me. Everyone got a big kick out of it.
What is the biggest challenge when voicing a character like Shigaraki?
Vale: Honestly, it’s making sure the audience is happy. The reason people like villains, in my opinion, is that villains are always struggling with the good in themselves. So you really have to straddle the line between evil and TOO evil, if that makes sense.
The MHA audience knows the show very well, and they’re looking for a specific performance from me. I know I can’t make everyone happy all the time, but I work very hard to make sure I’m delivering a performance that will pop for the fans.
If you had the chance to voice any other character in My Hero Academia, who would you choose and why?
Vale: All Might because Chris Sabat isn’t very good at it. Haha! See what I mean about being evil? Only the bad guy can get away with answers like that.
Of course, I’m kidding. Chris is perfect in the role and I couldn’t ever do what he does. But of all of the characters, I think it would be one of the villains like Dabi or All for One.
It isn’t only the show’s Heroes that are universally loved, but also the Villains. What do you think makes these characters so lovable?
Vale: Simply put, heroes are most always heroes. They don’t struggle with doing evil things. But villains, as I mentioned before, always struggle with their decisions somewhat because they know that being good is the right thing to do. They continue to choose the evil path, though, which gives some depth to their decisions.
And then as you learn their past, you learn why they continue to make the decisions they do. I feel that quality is a much more tangible emotion for audiences because, as people, we all struggle daily between our better and worse instincts.
After voicing Shigaraki for five seasons now, what would you say has been your favourite moment so far?
Vale: Absolutely has to be when Shigaraki takes Overhaul’s arms. It’s so intense and brutal. It really solidified, in my mind, the cruelty Shigaraki is capable of.
Finally, do you have a message for My Hero Academia fans in the UK and Ireland?
Vale: Thank you all for loving My Hero so much, and thank you for making the show the phenomenon it is. Also…keep watching because it’s time to choose sides. You’re going to want to choose carefully.