TV anime “My Hero Academia” is on broadcast from 5:30 PM of every Saturday on Yomiuri TV and 29 Japan TV channels. The 2nd cour of Season 5 is about to reach its climax, while “villain vs. villain” warfare gets fiercer between the League of VillainsVillain Alliance and Meta Liberation ArmyParanormal Liberation Front. Now, the hidden past of Shigaraki Tomura is to be revealed…!

Here at Anime!Anime!, we conducted the interview on Uchiyama Koki, who plays Shigaraki Tomura in MHA. Five years have passed since the beginning of the TV series, and we asked how Shigaraki Tomura was created through the process of becoming “the ruler of villains”.

[Interview and shooting by: Yoshino Konosuke]

Forming the character from the manga that is in the middle of serialization

—Five years is about to pass since the beginning of the TV series Season 1. Do you have any impressive scenes or scenes of change for Shigaraki Tomura compared to the beginning?

Uchiyama: I believe there are changes in him, including his appearance, but I prefer the idea that he is in current position by experiencing various event, rather than experiencing one important event, so I both can agree with those feeling change and not feeling any change.

The Villain Alliance characters appeared in the story with the important episodes, so I had to do my best every time he appeared. Their appearance is the same as climax. Shigaraki and his comrades first appeared in USJ attack incident from Season 1, and they took a long break because of the episodes mainly focused on U.A.Yuei High School, including the athletic day. That is why every scene with him is memorable.

—If we would focus on the change in target and activity, “retirement of All Might” is the turning point for Shigaraki.

Uchiyama; Exactly. He eventually finds out that everything of him is related to All Might after analyzing about himself, and the retirement of All Might was the big event for him, since All Might’s existence was the motivation for him.

—How did you created Shigaraki through acting?

Uchiyama: Direction I received in the beginning was “he is talking to someone, but his response should sound like as he is talking to himself”. Maybe it meant some unpleasant feeling that he cannot communicate with others.

—I know that you have opportunities to play “the villain with tremendous power”, including Melem from “HUNTER x HUNTER”, and where do you feel abnormality of Shigaraki compared to your previous characters?

Uchiyama: Melem is “the Ant King”, not human, and he is the special being from beginning so he feels a rapid growth from his birth to the climax. He is often focused on noble atmosphere of a king and pureness of a child, but that should be different from Shigaraki because Shigaraki is a human.

Shigaraki’s past is about to be broadcast on TV. He experiences “an accident” in the environment he grew up and that leads to his current situation. On the premise of his family situation, thinking about how he would think and talk is the normal thing to do in acting.

However, the manga in the middle of serialization does not allow me to do it. MHA anime started when Shigaraki’s past was completely hidden, therefore, update was required with information given at the certain moment.

—I see. Information is limited to the serializing manga and there are things that assumption is not allowed.

Uchiyama: For example, some characters first appear as the villains but turned out to be the nice supporting characters, while others decide to side with the protagonists. I could fail if I started to playing him as a complete villain. On the other hand, being neutral was not my choice. Playing the character from the serializing manga is “a task without answer”.

That is why I have to find the best choice at each scene and is important to take in ideas of staff. I was “creating the character with all members”. It is a form of enjoyment because I cannot predict the future. This is the importance of the manga in the middle of serialization.

Performing the story beyond the prediction now on TV

—From the perspective of Shigaraki, how the relationship of the Villain Alliance members could look like?

Uchiyama: Compared to when he was fighting with Kurogiri and Nomu at USJ attack, the new members have entered, including Toga Himiko and Chabi, and the size of the Villain Alliance got larger, but they don’t look like the best friends. They belong to a mysterious circle.

—He also look like grew up as a hero. How did your recording session progressed when playing the past of Shigaraki in the upcoming episodes?

Uchiyama: Shigaraki’s past being revealed this time is not a heart-warming story, and it was difficult and painful to forming the lines with his sad past. This kind pain is usual in my job but is still hard.

—May I have the message to your fans with the important points in the upcoming episodes.

Uchiyama: I understand that the fans are waiting for Deku’s stories after watching multiple “My Villain Academia”-like episodes, but please keep enjoying a few more episodes.

I never expected this kind of story is progressed at the beginning of the anime. This is the fun part of the manga in serialization and please enjoy the story beyond the prediction now as the TV anime.

© Horikoshi Kohei/Shueisha, My Hero Academia Production Committee