MY HERO ACADEMIA: Voice Actors Of Deku and Bakugo Are Here To Talk About The Rivalries Of Their Characters

My Hero Academia voice actors Justin Briner and Clifford Chapin have something to say about the rivalry between their characters, Deku and Bakugo; hit the jump to hear their thoughts!

Interviews Opinion

Shonen is a genre in manga that can be found in various magazines across Japan and is typically geared toward young boys and now even girls and tells stories that revolve around big fights, big heart, and unique characters that have to amass power and mental fortitude to overcome an enemy. The lessons that great shonen series teach are countless and can stick with fans for the rest of their lives. 

One of these more recent properties that is a fine example of that has been Kohei Horikoshi's My Hero Academia. Following a team of young heroes, the series exemplifies some of the best tropes in shonen and then takes it a step further and makes it their own. The first trope that comes to mind, easily, is that of the rivalry. 

The biggest and, so far, most fleshed out rivalry since Goku and Vegeta has been between the main character, Deku, and his bully turned partner, Bakugo. Since the series began, these two characters have grown and evolved into a partnership where both help each other grow as heroes; even if they may not see eye to eye, and since the series has made its way to the west, their English voice actors, Justin Briner (Deku) and Clifford Chapin (Bakugo) have some comments of their own in regards to it.

In a recent interview, the two voice actors discussed how their rivalry ranks in the world of shonen and, more specifically, what makes their rivalry unique compared to their contemporaries. That and more is uncovered in the written portion of hte interview but if you're interested in the full discussion, make sure to check it out in Literary Joe's Inner Child Podcast below! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

4m 36s
Nick Brooks

Deku and Bakugo have the best rivalry in anime, in my opinion. Do you think that there are some rivalries that theirs is easy to compare to?

4m 51s
Justin Briner

They are similar to many of the famous rivals. What actually sets them apart is there's this element of humanity and childhood memories. It makes their rivalry feel real and lived in as opposed to, say if someone came from far across the world or the universe and now I'm going to fight against you forever! It feels natural. I think that's why it's so rewarding to see that initial hostility being worn down and replaced by trust and honesty. It's really fun and dynamic. Already we've seen how it has matured into something greater than it used to be.

5m 43s
Clifford Chapin

I completely agree. If there's anything that I think sets us apart, it is the back-story and the growth from that back-story. There are some fantastic rivalries throughout anime and not to take away from them because they all are the icons of that for a reason, but what makes Deku. Bakugo's relationship and rivalry so powerful and poignant is that it has gone through so many different waves. They were friends, and then one of them excelled, and one of them didn't excel at all. And then sudden growth and challenge, and all these things are so real to experience. Like, wait a minute, how did we get here all of a sudden, the confusion of It. All of that is based on realism that even when it's a show about people who have superpowers, it still feels like these are real people, and what they're going through is real. I completely agree with what Justin said.

7m 3s
Darth Lexii

What is your favorite fighting style of your character or any other character?

7m 12s
Clifford Chapin

It's interesting because, with Bakugo, I find the most exciting moments for me are when he works with someone else. For lack of a better term, Bakugo's fighting style is bombastic. He's able to rush in, lay down a barrage of attacks, and what not; that when you see him coordinate with someone else, it's much more spectacular than what he can do on his own. Even in the first movie in Two Hero's, there's the moment where his nitroglycerin sweat gets on another guy, and Todoroki lights him up; that moment's awesome. In Hero's rising, it's that to the nth degree, with all of the amazing team-ups he has with Deku, seeing the X catapult for the first time, and all of these other amazing moves. I do like it when his fighting style is elevated further by the assistance of another person.

8m 33s
Justin Briner

I think it's nice to watch Deku's personal growth because where he started was all that he knew was being a clumsy replication of All Might, which it just didn't fit for him. He kept hurting himself and getting people in trouble around him. Now I like to see that he's adapted it to his own. I finally feel like the One For All quirk is becoming his tool to use properly. I think that's pretty rewarding.


9m 1s
Nick Brooks

My Hero is all about legacy and potential; at the end of the day, where do you guys see your characters in the next ten to fifteen years as they become full-fledged heroes?

9m 15s
Justin Briner

Based on how things are going for them now, I think they will go on to be heroes, and not necessarily team up, but they'll be able to alleviate the stress that is around their relationship.

9m 30s
Clifford Chapin

I've joked in the past, but I would love to see My Hero Academia progress into My Heroic Higher Education or My Heroic First Job Application. To see how all of those things continue onward. I would love to see the world continue to grow and see the characters grow within it. Where will they be in 10 years? I don't know. But, in the real world, My Hero is proving time and time again to be a special show to the audience, and I think its impact will be great in the world as a whole on anime and in general.

10m 19s
Darth Lexii

 I know your characters have been "shipped" together - what do you think of the prospect of Deku dating Bakugo, and do you think that would work?

10m 35s
Justin Briner

I would say I'm far from the arbiter of that sort of thing. What's fascinating to me is to hear about everyone else's interpretation. The beautiful thing about a text of any media is that there are so many different decoder rings you can use to find out what it means to you and how you understand these relationships burgeoning between the characters you would enjoy. I think that all the community's passion is a testament to how loved these characters are by everyone.

11m 16s
Clifford Chapin

Not really. It's mostly all going to be the same as that. My job as the actor is to tell the text as faithfully and accurately as I can. What people interpret from it is their interpretation. To go into it with an unbiased is the only thing I could hope, and hope I do it justice. Wherever the story may go, that's the direction I will follow it. And the movie's out on the 27th on Blu-ray and home video. I hope everybody gets a copy because it's amazing. I can't wait for you all to see it. 

*This interview is edited for clarity. Darth Lexii and Comic Brooks co-host.*


The number one hero anime is back for a battle beyond anything fans have ever seen! Class 1-A visits Nabu Island where they finally get to do some real hero work. The place is so peaceful that it’s more like a vacation … until they’re attacked by a villain with an unfathomable Quirk! His power is eerily familiar, and it looks like Shigaraki had a hand in the plan. But with All Might retired and citizens’ lives on the line, there’s no time for questions. Deku and his friends are the next generation of heroes, and they’re the island’s only hope. 

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising hits Blu-ray, DVD, and digital today!


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