My Hero Academia Writer Reveals Why US Film Is Not Translated

The global shōnen phenomenon My Hero Academia returns to the big screen later this month in My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission. Making its way to US theaters both dubbed and subbed, the production features a returning cast of Japanese and English voice actors. At a sneak preview of the film at New York Comic Con today, the English cast and crew tackled an important question to fans of the series: how close is the dub to the original translation?

“We obviously can’t take the straight translation and adapt it,” said series and film scriptwriter Jeremy Kraatz. Kraatz is a dub writer for Funimation. Having worked on writing the English scripts of My Hero Academia’s seasons and films since 2016, his other credits include Funimation’s dub of Dragon Ball Super: Broly! and Seraph of the End.

Experienced in bringing new and long-running series to the US, Kraatz said that he’s worked from the My Hero Academia manga a great deal while writing for the show. But World Heroes Mission is an original story that posed new challenges for the writer. The first thing on his mind while working, however: “stay as close to the spirit of the Japanese [script] as possible.”

Kraatz was joined by several members of World Heroes Mission’s English voice cast where they answered questions about the series and working on the new release.

When asked about how he approaches writing scripts on the series, Kraatz said

“The key with any scriptwriting is you stay as close to the spirit of the Japanese as possible. We obviously can’t take the straight translation and adapt it, the flaps don’t match, stuff like that. So that’s always the first thing that’s on my mind. Otherwise, I go through and I try and do a fast draft and pick out the emotional beats — which I can’t wait for you guys to see this movie there are so many good emotional beats in this movie, there’s some tear-jerking moments — it’s like trying to figure out how we can amp that process up and really point to what the character are feeling and what we want from the audience to takeaway.”

“It’s a lot of moving parts. You have to be a writer, you have to be a problem solver, and then you have to be an actor. We have to act out all the lines. And so I think my neighbors during quarantine thought that I had approximately 30 Japanese schoolgirls living in my room because if Uchako is yelling something I have to yell like Uchako. It gets very loud very quickly.

The worst was Bakugo because he’s got that growl in his voice, so if it’s a Bakugo heavy episode I just can’t speak for the next few days.”

My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission releases October 29th in the US and in other English-speaking markets throughout November.