My Hero Academia has taken the world by storm and both the anime and manga have quickly become fan favorites. The story revolves around a boy named Midoriya who is born powerless but ends up inheriting the power of the world’s greatest hero! You can follow his story in the Weekly Shonen Jump. We had the privilege of interviewing the editor, John Bae.
We would love to know a little about you John! Can you tell us when you got started editing manga and what inspired you to become a manga editor?
I originally started out as an editor for fiction and non-fiction books at an independent publishing company in New York. After working there a couple years, I spent the next few years teaching in Japan. Upon returning, it just made sense to apply for a position at VIZ, since it combined a lot of my interests (editing, writing, Japanese culture).
You have edited some seriously awesome manga titles such as One-Punch Man, Kuroko’s Basketball, and Dr. Stone (just to name a few!) What attracted you to My Hero Academia?
I wish I could say I knew this was going to be a hit and begged to be the editor, like I did with One-Punch Man. But this is a much more boring story. I had the available time to work on an extra series, and that extra series just happened to be My Hero Academia.
My Hero Academia has really taken off! Did you know it would be such a success? If so, what clued you in?
No matter what form it comes in, whether a novel or comic, a good story is a good story. And My Hero Academia hits all the right spots as far as shonen manga goes–a lovable main character that the reader can relate to, a setting that we’re all familiar with (school), and a boatload of characters with varying character designs and personalities. Couple this with incredible art, especially the villain designs, and you have a series with the potential to make it big. I didn’t know if this series would make it big, but I did know it had the potential because it tells a great story.
Kohei Horikoshi releases a chapter of My Hero Academia almost every week! How do you manage to keep up with how quickly the manga is released?
If I could toot my own horn, I would. But for this, I really can’t take the credit. If anything, the translator and letterer are the real heroes, working under some crazy deadlines.
The heroes, villains, and UA students have such interesting quirks! If you lived in the My Hero Academia world what do you think your quirk would be?
I’d like for the ability to stop time. Not because I can be more productive and get stuff done. And not because I feel that life is too hectic. The only reason I want this Quirk is so that I can sit back and…DO NOTHING. Literally nothing. For hours. And not feel guilty about it.