‘My Hero Academia’ Composer Yuki Hayashi Talks Scoring the Newest Movie and Capturing the Themes of Season 5 [Exclusive]

My Hero Academia has become one of the most popular anime around, but the series was still in its infancy when composer Yuki Hayashi began working on it. Fast-forward several years, and fans instantly recognize his themes. Speaking with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Hayashi broke down how his music has evolved up to season 5, scoring morally complex characters, and working on the latest My Hero Academia movie.

'My Hero Academia' composer Yuki Hayashi. He's wearing a dark collared shirt.
‘My Hero Academia’ composer Yuki Hayashi | Photo courtesy www.yukihayashi.net

When Yuki Hayashi first started working on My Hero Academia, it hadn’t become the phenomenon it is today. In fact, for the composer, it was simply another job. He explained to Showbiz Cheat Sheet and translator Maho Azuma that it was one of many he accepted during the early days of his career.

“The interesting thing is, he didn’t pick [it] or he didn’t say that he wanted to work on this series, [but] rather he got the offer and he accepted that, and it happened to become what it is now,” Azuma explained.

Of course, with increasing options, Hayashi began choosing which anime he wanted to work on — and My Hero Academia still made the cut:

“Now that he’s super busy and well in demand, he does choose which ones he wants to do [and] which ones he doesn’t want to do. But when he first started My Hero Academia, he was very young. And at that age, he just wanted to do everything. Anything that he got an offer to do, he would take and he would put 120 percent of himself into it.”

The composer has scored the series for years now, with My Hero Academia Season 5 recently coming to a close. In that timeframe, Izuku Midoriya has grown quite a bit, as have his classmates. And Hayashi has seen his music evolve alongside the anime’s characters.

The music of ‘My Hero Academia’ progresses with the characters

RELATED: ‘My Hero Academia’ Ending: Kohei Horikoshi Reveals His Timeline for Finishing the Manga

My Hero Academia Season 5 sees Deku discovering new Quirks inside of One for All. However, when the anime premiered, its main character could barely utilize the single power he inherited from All Might.

As his freshman year at U.A. High continues, Deku slowly begins mastering his Quirk. The many challenges thrown his way certainly accelerate his progress, and the music tends to capture the ups and downs of his journey.

When asked how the score has evolved from season 1 to season 5, Hayashi explained that the transition feels natural next to progression happening on-screen:

“It’s kind of interesting because this series itself is literally progressing timeline-wise. The characters, at first they’re young, and then they get better and better and better. So, it’s like the music naturally progresses more and more as it reaches more of a climatical peak. The characters and the story… everything is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. In that sense, the evolution is kind of their character progression and the story progression.”

With My Hero Academia Season 6 on the horizon, the anime is likely to reach a crescendo — and the music alongside it. It’ll be interesting to see how Hayashi captures the coming Paranormal Liberation War Arc, especially given his nuanced perspective of the series’ villains.

Capturing the complexity of ‘My Hero Academia’ Season 5’s Villain Arc

RELATED: ‘My Hero Academia’: 5 Questions the Anime Needs to Answer in Season 6

My Hero Academia may see students like Deku and Bakugo leveling up as they reach season 5. However, not all of the anime’s characters see such positive progression. There’s no shortage of villains in the series, and the most recent season explores Shigraki and the League of Villains in more depth.

Specifically, the recent episodes give the audience more insight into why these characters chose this path in the first place. Their backstories even offer societal commentary — and Hayashi strives to capture all of that in the score:

“The short answer would be, of course, he does feel that it’s getting darker because season 5 is mainly about the villains and the villain side of it. However, rather than making something that is just simply, ‘Villains are bad, make it sound bad and evil,’ it’s not really the case. Especially in season 5, they start saying why they became villains. They were fine at first. Something in society [or] something in their life changed them to make that decision.”

And although Shigaraki and his companions have chosen a questionable path, they still see growth in the series — and especially in My Hero Academia Season 5. The Meta Liberation Army Arc shows them confronting their limitations and further developing their Quirks. Hayashi hopes the music conveys that:

“That part he wants to express in his music. So, rather than just making something that’s [darker], he wants to add that element of the growth — almost like the personal psychological growth that goes on between those characters. So, hopefully, that shines through.”

How scoring a ‘My Hero Academia’ movie differs from the series

In addition to scoring the anime, Hayashi composes the music for My Hero Academia‘s movies. My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission made its U.S. debut in October 2021, and the movie soon became the anime’s highest-grossing theatrical release. And everything from the music to the animation elevates the latest film.

The movies are something Hayashi enjoys working on, especially because they require a different approach than a television series:

“So, something that’s conceptually different between Japanese and any overseas [project] is that a TV series — well, normal ones — they don’t actually compose music to match the picture all the time. They compose a bunch of things, and then the musical director puts in [the] theme that he finds fits the best. However, with a movie, there are traditional film-scoring methods, where he’ll watch something and then understand the concept, and then he’ll score something specifically for that scene.”

“So, for him, he was saying — especially [with] the second movie because that process was there — it was a lot more fun for him,” Azuma added. “And every single time he gets a movie offer, he is very excited about it because of that element.”

His passion certainly shines through in the movies, as well as in the anime. Hopefully, fans will get the opportunity to see more of it in future films. And there’s My Hero Academia Season 6 to look forward to in the fall.

Learn more about Yuki Hayashi’s music and career at www.yukihayashi.net.

RELATED: ‘My Hero Academia’: All 3 Movies, Ranked From Pretty Good to Plus Ultra