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‘My Hero Academia’ Convention Brings Anime Superheroes to Town

Irving—The My Hero Convention: Texas Smash, a convention dedicated to celebrating the anime ‘My Hero Academia,’ was held at the Irving Convention Center Jan. 21-23. Though the theme of the convention centered on ‘My Hero Academia,’ other animes, video games, and various forms of pop culture were celebrated at the event.

The convention took place on the first and third floors of the convention center. The first floor contained a dealer room where vendors and artists sold merchandise, and voice actors had booths were fans could come up and meet them. On the third floor panels were held in different meeting rooms.

Greg Hanks, one of the owners of the company that managed this convention, explained why the company decided to create a convention dedicated to ‘My Hero Academia.’

“We do about a dozen or so events across the south every year, the [Texas Smash] is one of them,” Hanks said. “Two or three years ago, we wanted to try a themed anime show, and saw that ‘My Hero’ was family friendly, and it was kind of easy to explain to parents. It isn’t one of the weirder anime. It is basically super heroes.

“We knew a lot of the voice actors already. We wanted to see how it would go, and now this is our fourth [convention] and second one [in this building]. This is the biggest gathering of voice actors from ‘My Hero Academia’ in the world.

“The celebrities are here to do autographs, meet the fans, and take pictures with them. They do panels, and talk about their careers. There’s a costume contest, there’s gaming, there’s a screening of episodes of the show all day. There are other panels run by fans who talk about everything from cosplaying to how to make a wig. It’s a lot of things under one roof related to anime.”

Xazier Lunn volunteered at the convention.

“It’s the standard voice actors, panels, stuff like that, and afterwards there’s karaoke, and a rave. That should be fun,” Lunn said. “Basically one of the main things is all the merchandise is being sold here. There are not a lot of anime stores here in Texas specifically. This is a really good way to get that kind of stuff. It’s just really awesome to be able to meet [the voice actors].”

There were many voice actors and actresses from ‘My Hero Academia’ with booths at the convention.

Voice actor Charlie Campell, voices the character Gran Torino.

“I’m a voice actor guest and a director guest,” Campell said. “[I’m] talking to fans. I love getting to talk to people, because in the studio you don’t get to meet anybody, so it’s really nice. I’m signing autographs, doing some panels here and there.

“I love this venue, and I love the people who put it on.”

Katelyn Barr, voices the character Ryuko.

“I am here to meet fans and sign autographs,” Barr said. “I have a Funko Pop Figure of my character, so I am signing those as well.

“We also did a panel where we answered questions for fans earlier. This is my first ‘My Hero’ convention. I’ve done a lot of anime conventions before, but this is the first one I’ve been to that is just focused on one franchise. It’s been really exciting to see the fandom turn out.”

Megan Shipman is the voice of the character La Brava.

“I’ve been a voice actor for about eight-ish years now, it’s kind of hard to remember,” Shipman said. “I voice act. I also do directing. I do ADR directing, which means I just cast shows and make them all sound great.

“I love how [the event] is going. Everyone here is super great. The whole organization putting it on is super awesome, and it looks like everyone is having a great time.”

Barbora Hogan was cosplaying the character Mt. Lady.

“I like being around like minded people,” Hogan said. “I like the costumes, admiring other people’s craftsmanship, and the attention I get. I love the panels with the voice actors, because they’re actually so great and down to Earth.

“I was excited about the costume contest. [MHA is] a very feel good show, and the kids achieve their dreams and realize they can be whoever they want to be.”