'My Hero Academia' Voice Actors On How Villains Are Getting the Spotlight in Season 5

My Hero Academia might be all about the heroes, but they would be nothing without their villainous counterparts.

In the anime, Midoriya Izuku (Deku) and his classmates have been training hard to become top class Heroes using their powers, known as Quirks, but in the shadows Villains have been plotting to do away with all of them and establish a world free of rules.

There's the League of Villains, headed by the malevolent Tomura Shigaraki, and the Meta Liberation Army, led by Re-Destro, and both they and their fellow miscreants take the spotlight in Season 5's new arc "My Villain Academia".

Himiko Toga and Dabi are two such delinquents in the arc, and their English-dub voice actors Leah Clark and Jason Liebrecht spoke with Newsweek about what fans can expect from the forthcoming season, which is streaming on Funimation.

Liebrecht admitted he's "exceptionally" excited to delve deeper into his character Dabi's backstory, and Clark was quick to agree.

"[Fans] can expect to see more of us which is awesome, it's what I want," Clark said over Zoom. "And hopefully [they will] learn a little bit more about what we're about and see a little bit more about our worlds."

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Himiko Toga in "My Hero Academia" season 5, the character is voiced by Leah Clark. K. Horikoshi / Shueisha, My Hero Academia Project

Liebrecht added: "I think as much as the fans want to know, we are also very, very excited to potentially know about what makes each of these characters tick."

Going on to tease the season's clash between the League of Villains and Meta Liberation Army, he added: "I feel like we had such limited screen-time that anything where we get to figure out a little bit more is very exciting. We've got to take them down so I'm in."

The pair have voiced dozens of characters over the course of their career, but not all of them have been like Himiko and Dabi.

"The character is nothing I've ever portrayed before," Clark says of what interested her most in Himiko, who is obsessed with Deku and has shapeshifting powers. "[She's] very diverse, there's a lot of layers [and she's] got this weird dichotomy of cute sweet, and loveable, and psychotic and scary.

"So, also what makes it challenging to voice is to add enough of those two vocal qualities, to portray it as believable on the microphone."

Of tapping into her character's psyche, Clark goes on: "The way that I approached it is based off what she says about how she wants to be more like the people that she loves, and for me I saw a need in herself to be a good person, like Deku.

"Maybe that's something in her that she wishes people could see, and the only way she can really do that is, I don't know, by becoming them.

"So, that's sort of what I lead with when I portray her, a desperate need to be seen a certain way, or to be loved, or to be accepted."

Liebrecht's Dabi is one of the strongest members of the League of Villains, and his Quirk allows him to use and manipulate fire.

Of the most interesting and most challenging part of portraying him, Liebrecht said: "The voice was not so challenging to clock-in and the characterisation; he's got this thousand-yard stare, he's omnipresent, unflappable and extremely cool. He's cool despite his Quirk being flames.

"But, I think it does make it somewhat challenging to not know where these motivations come from or what made him the way he is, so that said I'm very excited to peel back another layer of this onion and see what made him this way, and that hopefully will just add to my ability to be truthful in my portrayal."

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Dabi with Twice, Mr Compress and Spinner in "My Hero Academia" season 5. Dabi is voiced by Jason Liebrecht. K. Horikoshi / Shueisha, My Hero Academia Project

He added: "As an actor I'm not method per-se, but I definitely tap into my own personal life experiences and my own personal traumas in order to be truthful in my portrayal.

"That said I don't know precisely what his trauma is so what I'm leaning on may not equate precisely to what he's feeling, but I guess we'll see, hopefully. We'll see, right?"

The actors have lent their voices to many different characters, heroes and villains alike, but what drew them to Himiko and Dabi was taking on darker, more challenging roles.

Reflecting on what interested her in the role, Clark said: "I think the complexity of it, the fact that she's a villain. Those are always, for me, my favourite roles to play. I think as an actor it gives us so much to work with and it's exciting, something new every time."

Liebrecht is in agreement, as he added: "I feel like, and its not the case for every hero I've portrayed, but I feel like in general the pool of personalities that a character is made of... for the villains that pool is much deeper, at least in my experience, I know that's not always the case. There's just so much going on underneath and that is really gratifying and somewhat challenging to work with as an actor."

My Hero Academia season 5 is simulcast on Funimation every Saturday.