Coverage of the My Hero Academia concert from Anime NYC
The My Hero Academia soundtrack not only slaps, but it punches, kicks, and of course smashes. So when I got the opportunity to attend a live concert playing these songs at Anime NYC, I jumped at the chance. That being said, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I’ve been to a ton of concerts, but nothing that really compared to what I was getting into. The Video Game Orchestra took the stage, who have credits for creating tracks on various video games including Final Fantasy XV, and I still wasn’t sure what to expect. “You Say Run” hit and there was a palpable energy in the intimate special events hall of the Javits Center, hairs were raised, some eyes got misty, and a crowd of anime fans shared an epic experience.
The band absolutely killed it, though two of them stood out above the rest. Louis Ochoa, the bass player, had such an awesome and energetic stage presence. It was hard to keep your eyes off him as he danced and head banged across the stage while playing. He even rapped the “Hero A” parts. Shota Nakama, guitarist and front man, provided so much heart to the show, even getting choked up at one point as he explained this was their first live show since before the pandemic. The crowd, some of which had been at Anime NYC for close to twelve hours at this point, was collectively invested and energized by the story this band was telling on stage. Not to be out done, the New York orchestra playing alongside them was fantastic. At one point, the very reserved older gentleman in front of me launched into a flailing kind of dance as the sax player blared out a phenomenal solo. Seeing this music live really gave me an appreciation for how well the rock and orchestra elements meld into an epic super hero soundtrack.
The concert also had a litany of really fun guests. Zeno Robinson (Voice of Hawks) and Anairis Quiñones (Voice of Mirko) came on stage and talked about how they got their jobs as voice actors on the show. Robbie Daymond, who plays the villain, Flect Turn, in the new My Hero Academia movie World Heroes’ Mission, came out and made a joke about how he was pretty sure he’d beat up Deku in the new movie. He then launched into a fantastic segue, and set up the band to kick into the villain theme songs. Probably the coolest guest of all though was the composer Yuki Hayashi. I say that having no real idea of who he was beforehand. He was extremely charming on stage, even hitting the crowd with an “I am here” complete with the pose. He confessed a secret to us he claimed to have never told before. Apparently, one of the tracks on the first My Hero Academia movie is called “New York.” The reason being is that during the pre-production process they showed him a picture that had the Statue of Liberty in it, so he assumed the movie took place in New York. At the premier, he was confused when the Statue of Liberty was gold, which is when he realized that the statue in the movie was a Vegas knock off and that New York wouldn’t be part of the movie at all. These guests all worked to pull the crowd deeper into an already really intimate feeling show.
As the band left the stage, every one of the exhausted Anime NYC goers was on their feet vigorously applauding, calling for more. The band had a special treat ready to answer the hungry crowd. For the encore, we were treated to Yuki Hayashi jumping on stage and playing with the band, who was also joined by AmaLee who sang the vocals for the song “Hero Too” from the band episode of the anime.
At the beginning of the show we were told that this was a celebration of the release of the new My Hero Academia movie. At one point Yuki Hayashi even joked we need to watch it ten times (by the way you can check out our review of the movie here). But, the concert felt much more like a celebration of our collective fandom and of Yuki Hayashi’s amazing work.