19. My Hero Academia Fandom with J.N. Chaney

In this episode we discuss My Hero Academia with best-selling Sci Fi author J.N. Chaney! We talk about how we each got into My Hero Academia, a little bit about other anime, and about J.N. Chaney’s Sci Fi books.

00:01:14 J.N. Chaney Joins Us
00:02:32 My Hero Academia
00:03:33 How We Each Got Into My Hero Academia
00:09:41 Anime becomes more accessible with Funimation and Netflix
00:12:47 My Hero Academia
00:18:52 J.N. Chaney, J.N. Chaney’s Books
00:29:25 My Hero Academia
00:35:08 J.N. Chaney, J.N. Chaney’s Books, and some recommendations

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Greg: 00:00  Welcome to the FanDummies Podcast, where we discuss fandoms, pop culture and nerd out on topics spanning superheroes to supernatural. If you like comic books, sci-fi and fantasy, hit pause, click subscribe, and share with a friend.

Greg: 00:15  Today’s episode is all about My Hero Academia. I’m Greg, and because I’m terrible at rolling a 20-sided die, I’ll be the host for today’s episode. Playing the much easier co-host roles are,

Erin:  00:28  Erin.

Greg:  00:29  And?

Jessica:  00:29  Jessica.

Greg:  00:30  And we have a special guest, bestselling author and My Hero Academia super fan, JN Chaney.

Greg:  00:47   JN Chaney is a USA Today bestselling author, the highest ranking independent sci-fi author on Amazon, and has his masters degree in fine arts and creative writing. He fancies himself quite the super Mario Brothers fan, and has reportedly not eaten a Twix in several years.

Jessica:   01:05  But why though?

Greg:  01:06  He migrates often, but was last seen in Las Vegas, Nevada. Any sightings should be reported, as they are rare. Welcome to the show, JN Chaney. What the heck does JN stand for?

JN Chaney:  01:18  So those are just my initials. So they’re Jeffrey Nathan, but you can just call me Jeff.

Greg: 01:22  That’s great. And where should sightings be reported to? I mean, I think people might need to know that.

JN Chaney:  01:27  Well, you can try my Facebook page. We have a Facebook fan group called JN Chaney’s Renegade Readers. Everyone’s welcome in there. We do live Q&A’s and giveaways, and all that kinds of stuff.

JN Chaney:   01:39   Or I’m also on Instagram, JN Chaney. Yeah, that’s about it. I mean, just reach out, and I respond to every message I get.

Greg:                                     01:48                     That is true. Hence why he’s stuck doing this podcast.

Greg:                                     01:52                     So you want people to literally take pictures of you when they see you around your house, and post them in your Instagram and Twitter. That’s what I heard.

JN Chaney:                          01:59                     Well, yeah. Yeah, of course.

Greg:                                     02:01                     Of course.

JN Chaney:                          02:01                     I mean, who doesn’t like stalkers?

Greg:                                     02:03                     Yeah, that’s exactly right. Many people we’ve had on the show and talked about report the same love of stalkers.

Greg:                                     02:11                     We’re going to talk about My Hero Academia today, and about maybe a little bit of anime crossover, and how we got into watching the show. But first, for people who have not seen it since Fan Dummies is a fandom podcast, we talk about a lot of things. Like, last week we talked all about Supernatural.

Greg:                                     02:27                     If you’re a Supernatural fan and you’re listening to this episode, and you’ve not watched My Hero Academia, essentially people are not born equal, the realization that four year old Izuku Midoriya faced when being bullied by his classmates. And they all had special powers. So Izuku was one of those rare cases where he was born with absolutely no unique power. So the My Hero Academia world is essentially this world where superpowers are the norm, and normal people are not normal. They’re abnormal.

Greg:                                     02:58                     So it’s a pretty funny, flipped up world. Basically the plot of the show is Deku, which is what his childhood bully calls him, and turns into his pet name. Deku, basically through his sheer willpower, convinces the world’s greatest superhero to help him become a superhero.

Greg:                                     03:17                     We’ll talk more about that, I don’t want to give away spoilers yet. But there will be spoilers in this episode. So if you haven’t watched it and you want to watch it, I don’t know what to tell you.

Jessica:                                 03:27                     Tread lightly.

Greg:                                     03:28                     Just tread lightly. I mean, you want to hear what Jeff has to say, so listen to the episode. But we’ll take it easy on you. So Jeff, what got you into My Hero Academia?

JN Chaney:                          03:36                     You know, it’s basically, it’s shonen anime, right? So I grew up on Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, things like that. I’ve always liked shonen anime. There were some, I mean the newer stuff … There’s several waves of shonen over the years, over the decades, as it’s evolved. And so My Hero Academia is just more of the headliner of that most recent re-invigoration of the shonen genre. Used to be more of a focus on the fights.

Greg:                                     04:03                     Sure.

JN Chaney:                          04:03                     Right. And it was just, you had that nine episode fight between Goku and Frieza. And even in the revamp one, or the re edited one, DBZ Kai, it was still four or five episodes. So it’s like, it’s so dragged out. Super fun. As a kid you’re watching that and you’re like, oh my God, what’s going to happen next? This is so crazy.

JN Chaney:                          04:22                     But as storytelling has evolved in anime, and it’s become more focused on … I mean, there’s so much more competition now. They have to hold everybody’s attention. It’s not just about a shiny new upgrade for the character, you have to have higher stakes, and you have to have like a better storyline, and better dialogue, better voice acting and all this stuff.

JN Chaney:                          04:41                     So everything’s improved across the board. So when you have shows that really break out, they seem to do that because of the concept, the story, and the world. And My Hero Academia is sort of leading the pack right now, along with a few other ones. But they seem to be doing, maybe not the best job. I’m sure there’s some underrated gems out there, but they’re the prominent one in the spotlight right now.

JN Chaney:                          05:04                     And one thing I will say about that show is, it’s sort of taken the shonen formula of upgrading the hero over the seasons, raising the stakes continuously, and applied good storytelling to it. Keeping everything super fresh. So instead of having like, I think season two, I think that’s when it was, it might’ve been season three. Where they had the tournament arc.

Erin:                                       05:27                     Yeah, season two.

JN Chaney:                          05:29                     Yeah, they did a really good job of making that stand out, and making it different from your typical tournament arc.

JN Chaney:                          05:36                     Dragon Ball Super, I love that show, but it is very much a Dragon Ball show in the old way of thinking with shonen. So the tournament arc, The Tournament Of Power, was like a hundred episodes.

Erin:                                       05:51                     Oh, gosh. That’s so long.

Greg:                                     05:51                     Just, you got to see, you got to see every character fight every other character, and it just went on forever.

JN Chaney:                          05:56                     Yeah. And so, My Hero didn’t really do that. It focused on a handful of characters that everybody liked, fan favorites and stuff.

JN Chaney:                          06:02                     We got through it, I think it was like 12 episodes or something, maybe less. And I don’t think, yeah, Deku didn’t even win.

Greg:                                     06:08                     No, hm-mm (negative).

JN Chaney:                          06:09                     Right? It was his friend. Bakugou won, I think. And then they had to handcuff him at the end.

Greg:                                     06:16                     Wow.

JN Chaney:                          06:16                     When he was given the an award.

Jessica:                                 06:17                     Yeah, that sounds right.

JN Chaney:                          06:21                     Yeah, the way that ended wasn’t like your typical thing. Because, typically, Goku wins.

Greg:                                     06:25                     Right.

JN Chaney:                          06:26                     People were afraid, back in the day to, have anyone but the central character win. So they didn’t really play with the formula too much. But now in shonen these days, you’re starting to see sort of a lot of little changes like that take place. And I think that the way they handled that arc, for example, really showcases a lot of those changes.

JN Chaney:                          06:46                     Now, specifically with My Hero, what I like about that show in particular, is it’s basically X-Men if Magneto had his way, right? Like if Magneto’s …

Greg:                                     06:57                     Yeah, true.

Erin:                                       06:58                     Yeah.

JN Chaney:                          06:58                     The world where it’s all mutants, and it’s this utopian mutant paradise came to fruition. That’s sort of the conceit of the show. And I think that’s what drew me into it.

JN Chaney:                          07:11                     And then the fact that this guy has no abilities, he has no powers. He’s born without a quirk, and then he’s bestowed one, he’s given one.

Greg:                                     07:20                     Yeah. Maybe the greatest one.

Erin:                                       07:22                     Yeah.

JN Chaney:                          07:23                     Yeah.

Greg:                                     07:23                     Yeah.

Erin:                                       07:23                     Yeah, I really enjoy that part of the story.

JN Chaney:                          07:25                     Yeah, and that’s really cool. Because he’s given that because of who he is, as opposed to his abilities.

JN Chaney:                          07:33                     He walks headfirst into a fight without regard of his own safety. That’s a very heroic trait. And Deku’s not like your traditional shonen hero. He’s not…

Greg:                                     07:44                     Like big, and muscular and…

JN Chaney:                          07:46                     Well, yeah, physically. But he’s also a little more emotional.

Erin:                                       07:50                     Oh yeah, a lot.

JN Chaney:                          07:53                     Yeah, he cries.

Greg:                                     07:55                     Yeah, They give him crap about that throughout the whole show, or like turn off the water works, buddy.

Erin:                                       08:00                     And he’s always muttering to himself.

Greg:                                     08:01                     Yeah. The other thing I think is interesting about this show is, we really started to see some more violence than what I think you would normally see. Like the Hero Killer, you see the end result of killing heroes. It’s not just you got beat up and you go recover after you lose the match.

Erin:                                       08:20                     The Pokemon didn’t just go faint.

Greg:                                     08:22                     Yeah. I think that’s interesting. Adding that element of loss.

Jessica:                                 08:26                     Stakes.

Greg:                                     08:26                     And stakes.

Jessica:                                 08:27                     Yeah.

Greg:                                     08:28                     So Jessica, you’re a massive My Hero Fan.

Jessica:                                 08:30                     I’m a decent sized My Hero fan.

Greg:                                     08:33                     What got you into it?

Jessica:                                 08:34                     My brother forced me to watch it.

Erin:                                       08:36                     Forced you?

Greg:                                     08:36                     Forced you?

Jessica:                                 08:36                     No, he was like, “You have to watch this, you have to watch this.” And I was like, “Okay.”

Erin:                                       08:41                     Don’t you usually trade shows, like you take…

Jessica:                                 08:42                     Yeah, we trade. I probably made him watch something in return. I don’t know. I just, I like the powers, they’re really different. Some of them are similar to other shows and characters that we’ve seen, but a lot of them are really unique and weird. And I like that. I like the characters.

Greg:                                     08:59                     Like for us, looking at this from the other side. So Jessica would continually bring up this show over the course of several years, and finally Erin and I decided that we need to watch this. because one is, we want to talk about it on this podcast. But two, it’s very, very popular. And we felt like we were missing out. And I’m glad we did.

Greg:                                     09:19                     The only anime, and it’s not even really anime, but I skipped kind of the anime generation. You had to be a little bit younger to really get into it. So I watched Voltron, GI, Joe, He-Man, that kind of thing. Never Dragon Ball Z, never even Pokemon and all that stuff was kind of after I stopped watching that kind of stuff. So, as an adult I looped back around and I saw some of these shows, and they’re really, really excellent.

Greg:                                     09:48                     You know, we watched Sword Art Online, and we’ve tried to get caught up on some of these very, very popular anime.

Erin:                                       09:55                     Yeah, we watch a lot of them that appear on our Netflix anime list.

Greg:                                     09:59                     Yeah, that’s how it started.

Erin:                                       09:59                     And a lot of them are actually made by Netflix, which are pretty good. So I think we didn’t watch this one because we didn’t have Hulu at the time. And then we found out that Hulu had My Hero Academia. So you don’t have to have Crunchyroll or anything to go watch it.

Greg:                                     10:15                     So Jeff, what’s your take on Netflix anime? This seems to be a hot topic.

Erin:                                       10:20                     Is it?

JN Chaney:                          10:21                     Yeah, I don’t really like most of them. I think there’s a handful of good ones. The Seven Deadly Sins is pretty good. That’s another shonen. I like the world building in that, and the characters.

JN Chaney:                          10:30                     But I would recommend, if you guys are looking for just like a treasure trove of top tier anime, give a Funimation app… The Funimation app I’ve has some of the best anime that’s currently going on. They’re … Do you guys know what simulcasts are?

Greg:                                     10:50                     Oh yeah.

Erin:                                       10:50                     Yeah.

Jessica:                                 10:51                     Yes.

JN Chaney:                          10:52                     And simul-dubs. So, Funimation does a lot of simul-dubs now. My Hero Academia is one of them. So the week that the Japanese version airs, the English one does too, and it goes straight onto the Funimation app. So you’re able to watch it and stay up to up to date with … Whereas before I would take years to get the [English] version. But now it’s coming out simultaneously, and I guess they’re going to do Dragon Ball Super like that in the future when that comes back, that’s the rumor.

JN Chaney:                          11:20                     There’s also, there’s just a lot of really good shows on there. The Rising of Shield Hero is really good, that’s already been green lit for seasons two and three because it was so well received. And I have binged probably 10 or 15 shows just on that app in the last four months.

Greg:                                     11:38                     Wow.

JN Chaney:                          11:38                     Yeah. So for several months, that was just sort of what I was doing every night. I was just watching two hours of anime. And anime is only like 21 minutes long an episode. So you’re able to get through three episodes an hour, as opposed to American television. Which you know, we really go for long form entertainment here, with these 45 minute to an hour long dramas.

JN Chaney:                          12:04                     And I mean, I just don’t have the time. And a lot of that stuff doesn’t pique my interest as much as it used to. I guess I go through phases.

Greg:                                     12:08                     Yeah, that’s what happens to everybody. You go through…

Jessica:                                 12:11                     Yeah, for sure.

Erin:                                       12:11                     I enjoy the shorter time shows, because I have a short attention span. I like watching YouTube and cartoons and stuff, or animes because they’re short. You can watch it, and then it’s done. You can move on.

JN Chaney:                          12:25                     Have you guys seen Black Clover?

Greg:                                     12:26                     I have not.

Jessica:                                 12:27                     No.

Erin:                                       12:28                     I heard about it though, researching this show.

JN Chaney:                          12:31                     Oh my God. Black Clover’s amazing.

Erin:                                       12:32                     Is it?

JN Chaney:                          12:33                     You guys like My Hero and you want some more shonen stuff that takes really interesting concepts and runs with it … And I think the reason that, Black Clover is really popular, and so is My Hero, and I think it’s for the same reason. It’s taking a really interesting world and concept that’s very different from ours, and coming up with a system of rules for each of these abilities, right?

JN Chaney:                          12:57                     Like in My Hero, everyone’s got a different set of abilities and powers.

Jessica:                                 13:01                     Yeah.

JN Chaney:                          13:02                     They’re defined, though, for every person. And so you’re watching Deku evolve and grow with the show, and you’re watching him utilize these abilities and grow with them.

Greg:                                     13:12                     It’s incremental improvement, instead of some unbelievable, huge, giant step.

JN Chaney:                          13:18                     Yeah, yeah. Like he’s not going to go Super Saiyan and suddenly get a whole new set of abilities or anything. He can’t punch his way through planets, nothing like that. But we get to see sort of, he gets to his limits, and he finds ways of adjusting his approach. In season three, I think, is when he finds like a new style of fighting that doesn’t destroy his body.

JN Chaney:                          13:40                     Watching him get around these limitations in creative and interesting ways is a big part of the appeal of the show. And you watch other characters do that too, as they’re in school and they’re growing and learning their own bodies and limits and stuff, and that’s always fun.

JN Chaney:                          13:54                     But they do the same thing in Black Clover. In Black Clover, I guess it’s more of what you would call a hard magic system. Where these barriers … It’s like Avatar, The Last Airbender, right?

Jessica:                                 14:06                     Oh.

Erin:                                       14:06                     We’ll have to have an episode about that.

Jessica:                                 14:07                     Yeah, now I’m in.

Greg:                                     14:07                     Yeah, you’ve piqued Jessica’s interest.

JN Chaney:                          14:11                     Well, So in Avatar, The Last Airbender, they have a hard magic system. And the way that that works is, you have set rules and limitations, and things you can do. And it’s all about finding ways to evolve these abilities that are believable, and can be defined, and makes sense. Right?

JN Chaney:                          14:30                     So like, blood bending. Blood bending being an evolution of water bending makes sense, it’s not just something that comes up out of nowhere that’s just kind of nonsense, you know?

JN Chaney:                          14:41                     Everyone loves Harry Potter, but that’s not a hard magic system, that’s like a soft magic system.

Greg:                                     14:45                     Yeah. That’s magic to respond to the situational magic.

Jessica:                                 14:49                     What house are you in, Jeff?

Greg:                                     14:51                     Don’t ask him that.

JN Chaney:                          14:52                     I think I’m a Ravenclaw.

Jessica:                                 14:53                     Yes, me too.

Greg:                                     14:55                     Oh my God.

Erin:                                       14:55                     I’m a Griffindor.

JN Chaney:                          14:57                     Nice.

Erin:                                       14:57                     That’s what Pottermore tells me, at least. I feel like I’m more of a Hufflepuff.         

Greg:                                     15:03                     I don’t even know what’s happening here, Jeff. Like this is not my thing.

Erin:                                       15:05                     Don’t be such a Slytherin, Greg.

Jessica:                                 15:06                     Greg is a Slytherin, totally.

Greg:                                     15:08                     I’m a Sci-fi fanatic. Okay? Like that’s my game. Using your, we’ll call it powers rules, in the My Hero show, which hero do you think embodies these rules the best or what is your favorite implementation of a power, or quirk?

Erin:                                       15:26                     A quirk?

JN Chaney:                          15:26                     A quirk, yeah. Todoroki. Yeah. I would say his character arc and the tournament arc is probably one of my favorites. Watching his backstory get revealed, his abusive father, the fact that he has both fire and ice abilities and then he learns to fight using both of them. I think that upgrade is a lot more natural to watch unfold than someone just achieving new abilities. Like he had the abilities all the time. He just had to accept that they were part of him and then he learned to use them. And now it’s all about him embracing both sides of himself. The hot and the cold.

JN Chaney:                          16:07                     And I think that was probably the most interesting because there wasn’t so much about power as it was about the psychology of the character.

Greg:                                     16:13                     Yeah, in a world where everyone has a quirk, your problems are still problems, right? Like you still have weird family things you have to work through.

Jessica:                                 16:22                     And speaking of Avatar, the Last Airbender I call him Zuko a lot because he reminds me a lot of Zuko and his dad Endeavor would be like the Fire Lord.

Erin:                                       16:32                     Even has the scar on his face. I don’t know if it’s the same side, but…

Greg:                                     16:37                     Yeah, so in Todoroki’s backstory though, didn’t he have the scar before his mom supposedly splashed him with the boiling water? Because-

Erin:                                       16:47                     I don’t remember.

Greg:                                     16:48                     I need to look that up because you know there were-

JN Chaney:                          16:50                     I don’t think so.

Greg:                                     16:50                     No?

Erin:                                       16:50                     It was because of that?

JN Chaney:                          16:54                     I think that was from his mom because she went a little crazy from the abuse.

Greg:                                     16:59                     And decided to take care of him.

JN Chaney:                          17:01                     Yeah. She was trying to kill him I think. And then they put her away in a home.

Jessica:                                 17:06                     Yeah. So does he ever use his fire?

Greg:                                     17:09                     Well he did in the last… he did when he was fighting Deku.

Erin:                                       17:12                     I think I fell asleep from that episode last night.

Jessica:                                 17:15                     Come on.

Greg:                                     17:17                     Yeah, he used it to beat Deku.

Erin:                                       17:18                     It was like 11 o’clock.

Jessica:                                 17:23                     Well then don’t…

JN Chaney:                          17:23                     The whole thing with the tournament arc is that, you know, he won’t use the fire and so he fights Deku and Deku is like, you know, Deku could beat him. But he says in order to beat me, you need to embrace your true self and that fire is part of you. And so that’s what he does and he beats him. So in the newer seasons he’s using both.

Greg:                                     17:42                     Now, do you think Deku really was trying to help Todoroki there? Like he was really trying to get him to get over his mental hurdles or did he just not want to beat him if he wasn’t giving it his all?

JN Chaney:                          17:54                     I think it was more about, you know, personal friend thing, you know, like helping. Deku is a very selfless character. And that’s why I think we like him was because he’s just naturally a good person and very empathetic person. And that’s what makes a good hero, you know? That’s why he was chosen for this role because he always puts people first, you know, he’ll run in to save his childhood bully of all people.

Jessica:                                 18:24                     Did you read my notes before this podcast? Because you’re mentioning all of the things that I have in my notes.

Greg:                                     18:29                     Damn Bakugo, I mean come on.

JN Chaney:                          18:30                     No, I came into this blind. I had no idea.

Greg:                                     18:35                     That’s why we have the people on because they’re always fanatics of what we’re talking about and it’s been really fun hearing your perspective. Now-

JN Chaney:                          18:43                     I wouldn’t even call myself a fanatic. I just like the show a lot.

Greg:                                     18:48                     Okay, well large fan. So speaking of parallels, are there any parallels that you can point to between My Hero and some of your stories that you’ve written? Because I hear parallels.

JN Chaney:                          19:04                     It depends. I mean, you could draw parallels between anything if you look hard enough with stories. The hero’s journey is a pretty common thing dating back to Hero with a Thousand Faces. And hell, I mean it dates back all the way to Gilgamesh, right? So with my stories, I grew up watching a lot of anime. So the influences are there for sure. Renegade Stars heavily inspired by things like Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Outlaw Star. I have a mecha series out right now that’s going on and that’s called The Messenger. So that takes more inspiration from Voltron than Gundam. But you know, it’s still in that sort of ballpark.

Greg:                                     19:45                     Which is excellent by the way. I’ve read that one and I’ve ordered, I think book two just came out, right?

JN Chaney:                          19:52                     Yeah, book two just launched on Sunday.

Greg:                                     19:53                     Yeah, it was preorder. So I went to order it and I already had it, so I’m excited. I’m excited to read it.

Jessica:                                 20:00                     So it’s like different mechs that join each other?

Greg:                                     20:03                     Just one. Well right now it’s just one. So it’s an ancient mech that they find in an asteroid. You know, the hero of the story is about to die when he finds the mech. I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but that’s kind of where it’s an ancient weapon. Is that the best way you would describe it, Jeff?

JN Chaney:                          20:21                     Yeah. So with Voltron what I mean is that it’s more the feel of it, right? So Gundam is more political and it’s very serious. There’s a lot of like life and death type stuff going on. This is more like Voltron in the sense of you have these optimistic heroes who are trying to save… The fate of the galaxy relies on a select few. They come into contact with these mechs in Voltron that are ancient, right? And the same thing happens in the Messenger. He comes across this mech that is from like hundreds of thousands of years ago from a long dead civilization had built as the ultimate weapon to combat this other ancient threat that I won’t get into.

Greg:                                     21:06                     Yeah. It’s kind of unknown and we don’t want to do any spoilers, but-

Erin:                                       21:10                     We want some spoilers.

Greg:                                     21:12                     No spoilers. We want people to go out and buy this book immediately.

Erin:                                       21:15                     It sounds good. It sounds really good.

Greg:                                     21:17                     Yeah. It’s really good. What’s fun about it is, is when he finds the mech and I’ll just, you know, he finds the messenger or whatever, he has to go on this journey to get it to its full potential. And the journey has obstacles, both physical, mental puzzles, things like that that make it very, very interesting.

JN Chaney:                          21:34                     Yes. It’s a bit of a blend between, I guess like my two favorite things, which is a video game and anime. In a game you would have to get like upgrades and outfit your base and your ship and things like that. And that’s very similar to what the messenger has to do. So he has to go and retrieve these power cores from different ancient facilities to upgrade this, you know, ultimate weapon. And the more he gets, the more features are unlocked and the more upgrades he can achieve. And so as the story goes on, that evolves too. And there’s like other, not just the mech, but like a facility and other things. So we’ve got a pretty good storyline planned out for the next several books with, with rising threats and all that stuff. So I’m trying really hard not to give too much away.

Greg:                                     22:31                     Yeah, no that’s perfectly fine. We won’t get into it too much. But you know, it sounds to me like you’ve built a set of rules and you made your character live by the rules while they’re trying to incrementally increase their powers so to speak.

JN Chaney:                          22:45                     Yeah, I mean that’s sort of a running theme with all my stuff. So like Renegade Star is like that where every book has its own little story. But there’s 13 of those out right now. We’re working on a book 14.

Greg:                                     22:57                     Oh I know.

Erin:                                       22:58                     That’s a lot.

JN Chaney:                          22:59                     Yeah, there’s going to be 16 altogether and then we’re going to end that one. But as that story goes on, you have the crew, or Jace the main character getting more and more upgrades and so both himself and his ship and the crew, he’s like adding more people and he’s building a new society after awhile, and like more and more things are being added in order to match and combat… Like it’s all out of necessity to combat increasingly more dangerous threats to the point where it becomes like a galactic scale thing. But it just starts out with like a guy on a ship. He’s like Han Solo. He’s just like one guy with his AI sidekick Siggy, Sigmund.

Greg:                                     23:44                     Yeah. And I like Sigmund’s story arc also, not to get sidetracked too much on this, but I thought that was really cool how he started as like a low functioning AI and turned into the character that he is today, which I don’t want to give it away.

JN Chaney:                          24:00                     Yeah. He evolves over time and it all makes sense as you read it. Like in all these books, I have a lot of co-writers and stuff and the one thing that I always push when we’re setting up these stories is to follow that hard magic system. But with technology, right? So you have these defined rules, you don’t just hand wave a lot of stuff if you can help it. I mean, no matter what you’re writing, sci-fi or fantasy, you have to hand wave a little bit, but you try really hard to create rules for this universe and then stick to them, and then finding creative ways around them, not repeating yourself with ideas or fights or situations, at the same time growing the characters and having these long form evolutions for these characters. Because all of these are long series, or at least they’re intended to be six plus books for each one. We just started a new one called Soul Arbiter, which is like Blade Runner, Dread, you know.

Greg:                                     25:00                     Yeah. I’ve been scoping that one out on Amazon. I’m thinking of myself because I also do a Greg Reviews Sci-Fi, that’s my kind of side project other than the FanDummies Podcast here. And I think to myself, I have to stop reading J.N. Chaney books because there’s so many of them and I want to buy them all and I’ll never read any other authors for the rest of the year if I continue to read these.

JN Chaney:                          25:20                     Well, that’s the whole plan, right?

Greg:                                     25:23                     I knew it.

JN Chaney:                          25:24                     Yeah. That was my whole goal. I work a lot, you know, like, as you can imagine, releasing a book every Sunday. It’s ridiculous.

Erin:                                       25:32                     Every Sunday?

JN Chaney:                          25:33                     Every Sunday, and it causes me to work probably 12 hours a day, seven days a week. But I enjoy it. So I don’t know if you’d really call it work.

Erin:                                       25:47                     So where do you find them? On Amazon or like where do you release them at?

JN Chaney:                          25:51                     Oh, I release them all on Amazon. They’re in Kindle unlimited. Or you can just buy the eBooks, or you the paperbacks. We had a partnership with Podium Publishing, the people that did the Martian audio book. And so they do all our audio.

Jessica:                                 26:07                     Cool.

JN Chaney:                          26:08                     Yeah. And we have a new contract for something with audible studios for… I mean, they did the Orion Colony series, but now they’re going to do this new sort of lit RPG series I’ve got in the works right now. That’ll come out next year.

Greg:                                     26:23                     I was telling Jessica that you’re cooking RPG books.

Jessica:                                 26:29                     Oh boy. I’m salivating over here.

Greg:                                     26:30                     Yeah.

JN Chaney:                          26:32                     If you like Sword Art Online, you’ll probably be into it.

Jessica:                                 26:34                     Yeah, that sounds really fun.

Greg:                                     26:36                     Yeah, super into it. Before the show I went and we’re going to get back to My Hero here in a second, but since we’re on a tangent and that’s what podcasts are all about, I looked in my Kindle and I have 18 of your books, and I have read 16 of those 18. So I have Resonant Son on my list and the second Messengers still to read. I think that’s pretty good.

JN Chaney:                          27:00                     Yeah man. You know a Resident Son has a sequel Resident Abyss and that is sort of like if you put Die Hard in the Renegade universe, you’d have that story. And then of course it grows after that. Like we have the Last Reapers series with Scott Moon and I’ve heard it likened to Escape from New York with a cyborg for the first book and then it evolves after that. But yeah, I mean we have Ruins of the Galaxy, which is like a massive hit, very surprise hit. And we’re releasing book four in that one on Sunday. So a lot of ongoing series and I’m proud of all of them. We’re just going to keep growing.

JN Chaney:                          27:39                     I’ve got a new one that’s going to premiere early next year called Exodus Arc, once Renegade wraps up.

Greg:                                     27:46                     Is that a Colony book?

JN Chaney:                          27:47                     Yeah, it’s like a first colony kind of book where you have this ship that’s leaving earth. People go into cryo sleep and then it revolves around this sort of like super soldier, a space Marine type character who wakes up halfway through and everything’s gone to hell. And he has to piece together what’s happening, and the ship’s AI is sort of helping him, guiding him along, trying to uncover what’s going on when everything’s falling apart. There’s like monsters and aliens and all kinds of crazy shit happening. So that’s going to be a series and it’s going to be sort of high concept sci-fi with some colony fiction as it goes on.

Greg:                                     28:31                     Sounds really fun. I’ve read maybe five or six books in that style. They either hit great or they’re slow is what I’ve found. So I’m expecting yours to be unbelievable though based on your track record.

JN Chaney:                          28:46                     Thanks. I think you could probably imagine from reading my other stuff that I don’t really write very slow. I get bored. I like to keep things fast paced. The only slow series I think I had was my first series and that’s because it was more literary.

Greg:                                     29:01                     Variant Saga.

JN Chaney:                          29:02                     The Variant Saga. Yeah.

Greg:                                     29:04                     It has a lot of good reviews though. It has more reviews than the Renegade Star.

JN Chaney:                          29:08                     Yeah, the first book has over a thousand. I mean it’s been out for like five years too, so it’s been out for several years longer than the Renegade series has. I think it came out in like 2015 and then Renegade Star came out like two years ago.

Greg:                                     29:24                     If you had a chance to write an episode or season of My Hero, how would you structure it? What things would you do?

JN Chaney:                          29:34                     Oh man, I don’t know. That’s a hard question.

Greg:                                     29:37                     It is.

Erin:                                       29:37                     That’s a really good one.

JN Chaney:                          29:38                     They surprise me like constantly. So I don’t know if I could do better than the people making that. I mean, it’s based on a manga, right? So they’re just drawing from that. But that guy, I mean, he does the… I think he does the art too.

Greg:                                     29:50                     Really? The story and the art?

JN Chaney:                          29:52                     I’m pretty sure. A lot of manga writers also do their own art. Like Akira Toriyama, the guy that did Dragon Ball, he also did the art.

Jessica:                                 30:00                     That’s cool. I like that.

JN Chaney:                          30:03                     Yeah. Hey, I don’t know man. I mean, I’d like to see them get out of school at some point and become full fledged heroes and then face like bigger and bigger threats, like world ending threats. I’d like to see that happen. Maybe some kind of like league. They had a league of villains, but it’s really just like a couple of people …

Greg:                                     30:22                     And a leader.

JN Chaney:                          30:23                     Yeah, well it’s a couple of people in like a warehouse. I’m waiting for that. I’m sure that’s going to evolve. They just got to a … The latest episode, they just kind of expanded on that. That seems like that’s going to go in an interesting direction. They’re addressing, I think, the concerns that I just mentioned.

JN Chaney:                          30:41                     I’d like to see Deku fight All for One at some point and see where that goes and sort of surpass All Might in power. I think that’d be really interesting, but that’s probably like the end of the show, you know?

Greg:                                     30:56                     I hope not, but maybe it’s the … It would be the beginning of a new show, hopefully.

JN Chaney:                          31:01                     Yeah, I don’t know. I guess it depends like how powerful you want to make Deku, because at that point he’s like the most powerful person on the planet. If you can beat him … I don’t know. I don’t know, man. I’m just .. I’m a fan, so I’m just waiting.

Greg:                                     31:17                     Yeah, that’s hilarious.

Erin:                                       31:18                     We’ve only gotten through to season two, like, what, middle of it?

Greg:                                     31:23                     I think, yeah, I think we’re middle of season two.

Erin:                                       31:25                     All Might, he’s around, but he can’t … He can only like keep his form for like an hour. Where is he at now?

Jessica:                                 31:36                     Spoilers.

Erin:                                       31:37                     Spoilers?

JN Chaney:                          31:37                     Yeah, these are spoilers, so I mean, I’ll tell you, but …

Greg:                                     31:40                     That’s fine.

Jessica:                                 31:41                     If you guys are okay with it …

Erin:                                       31:42                     Yeah, you’re talking about it, so now I want to know.

JN Chaney:                          31:46                     All Might loses. He gets in a fight with his rival, which is All For One. The backstory for All For One is very interesting, but he gets in a pretty big clash with him and he defeats him. Then that’s it. He’s extended most, like 99%, of his ability. It’s the best fight on the show to date, by far.

Greg:                                     32:17                     Awesome.

JN Chaney:                          32:17                     It’s really good. I’m excited for you guys to experience that for the first time, because I was watching it and my jaw was fucking open.

Greg:                                     32:27                     That’s amazing.

JN Chaney:                          32:28                     It was unhinged. I couldn’t believe it. That’s why I watch shonen is for like moments like that. After that, he looks at the … Well, he doesn’t look at the camera, he points to the camera and he says, “Now it’s up to you.” Everyone thinks that … Or, “Now it’s your turn.” Everyone thinks that he’s talking to the villains, like he’s coming for them next, but he’s actually talking to Deku and Bakugo. They are the next generation of heroes. After that, that’s it for him. The world loses its symbol of hope.

Jessica:                                 33:00                     He retires.

JN Chaney:                          33:01                     Yeah, he still teaches and stuff. He’s still a teacher, but yeah.

Greg:                                     33:04                     Well, we knew that was coming. I mean, yeah.

Jessica:                                 33:06                     Right. You can kind of see right from the get go that that’s going to happen eventually.

Erin:                                       33:10                     Do the students know like that it’s him now? Before they would see like just a normal guy and they’d be like, “Hey nice to meet you.”

JN Chaney:                          33:17                     Everybody knows. Everybody knows him because his form fades. His muscle form goes away multiple times during the fight and people are like, “Oh, he looks like skeleton man.”

Greg:                                     33:31                     Wow.

JN Chaney:                          33:31                     But no one cares. Nobody cares that he doesn’t look that way. They just care that he’s a hero. It just sort of speaks to the power and the positive, I guess, image that he’s built for himself over the years that people don’t care what he looks like.

Erin:                                       33:46                     That’s interesting.

JN Chaney:                          33:47                     There’s an episode recently where he goes to a convenience store and like the clerk behind the counter has like a fan moment and like gives him a hug and like says like, “Take whatever you want. You’re All Might.”

Greg:                                     34:01                     Yeah, I mean, I thought it was weird that he hid it before because I mean, it’s a quirk. You’ve got to know.

Erin:                                       34:06                     Well, he doesn’t want the villains to know, I don’t think.

Greg:                                     34:07                     Oh, it’s a secret identity maybe.

Erin:                                       34:10                     Yeah.

Jessica:                                 34:10                     Yeah, yeah.

Greg:                                     34:10                     That’s probably true.

Erin:                                       34:10                     If villains know that he can’t fight them, then they’re going to come and …

Greg:                                     34:13                     Well, he can fight them as All Might, early on when he had all of his power.

Erin:                                       34:17                     Yeah, but even then he had a really hard time.

Greg:                                     34:18                     Yeah, so Jeff, how big of an anime fan are you? Do you dress up like these guys and go to the conventions or what?

JN Chaney:                          34:24                     No, I think cosplay is really cool. I don’t have, I think, the confidence to do that sort of thing.

Greg:                                     34:31                     You and me both. I had a chance to dress up as Thor for the first time in my life because in Endgame we were more of the same shape, but I still don’t think I can do that.

JN Chaney:                          34:45                     No, no.

Jessica:                                 34:46                     Anybody can cosplay.

Greg:                                     34:48                     That’s true. That’s true. Anybody can cosplay.

JN Chaney:                          34:50                     I respect people that do it. I don’t think that’s for me, but no, I watch a lot of anime. I have very particular tastes so if something doesn’t catch me in the first like four episodes and then I kind of move on.

Jessica:                                 35:00                     There’s so much of it. There’s so much of it that that’s a good way to like weed it out.

Erin:                                       35:05                     We do that too.

Greg:                                     35:06                     Yeah, same thing, but these conventions, I think this is going to be your future. I mean, there are authors smaller than you up in these conventions signing books and taking pictures with fans. I think people would love to hang out with you on a weekend.

JN Chaney:                          35:22                     Yeah, I mean, I’d love to go to something like that. I just … I’m so busy man. These weekly releases, they keep me really busy.

Greg:                                     35:30                     Yeah. That’s really the most important thing because I need some books. I know that your other fans do as well.

JN Chaney:                          35:37                     Oh, dude. Yeah. I mean, we have a very rabid readership. You would think that a book a week would be too much, but it’s not. They want even more. I refuse to do more than a book a week because quality is very important to me. I don’t want to overextend myself or my writing partners or the editing team that we have or any of the people who help.

Greg:                                     36:05                     Yeah. You don’t want to disrupt the assembly line. You want to make sure it works properly. That’s awesome. I just wanted to spend a little time, for the folks who are listening to this podcast, just to hear about your books and your writing. I’m going to just kind of go through some of your series, right? We have Renegade Star, which has 13 books, which we talked about. We have the Renegade Star prequels, which cover some of the stars of the Renegade series. Ha ha, nice pun, but like Nameless talks about Abigail. Then you have The Constable books, which is Alphonse, which I think it’s so funny when I am in your Facebook group and people are experiencing these books for the first time and they’re like, “Alphonse makes me nervous. I’m not sure about that guy,” which I think is your intention, right?

JN Chaney:                          36:57                     Yeah. I mean, when you first meet Alphonse the idea is like you don’t know whether or not you can trust this guy, right? It’s all told in first person. You’re only getting Jace’s perspective on this stuff, right?

Greg:                                     37:07                     Yeah, exactly. That’s really kind of … Lucia too. I mean, I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but Warrior Queen, that’s another prequel in this universe. Then you have the Orion Colony series, which is also in this universe, correct? I haven’t gotten to those yet.

JN Chaney:                          37:25                     Yeah. Orion Colony was co-written with Jonathan Yanez. That one is only a four book series. It takes place during the first expansion from Earth.

Greg:                                     37:38                     Yeah, that’s awesome. The other books in the Renegade Star universe are The Last Reaper series, Fifth Column and … Is Resonant Son in the Renegade Star universe?

JN Chaney:                          37:48                     Yeah. Resonant Son is. We’ve only had two books and now we’re going to do one more. I don’t know when, because the writer for that is working on Ruins of the Galaxy.

Greg:                                     37:57                     Then we move out of the Renegade Star universe and we have Ruins of the Galaxy, which I’ve read, which is great. There’s three books out now. Then we go into The Messenger series, which I think is as good as Ruins. It’s very, very different, but it’s definitely as good.

JN Chaney:                          38:11                     Yeah. The Messenger was a brainchild between me and Terry Maggert. He wanted to write a mech series and I was like, all right, well, let’s blend in some different … the cores that they have to collect, and let’s sort of pull in this like Mass Effect vibe. I really liked that game series. I think it worked. I think it turned out pretty well. I’m excited to see where we take that series next. We just finished outlining book four. We’re working on book three right now so that’ll hopefully come out in like mid to late November.

Greg:                                     38:44                     Awesome. Then if your readers want to go way, way back, they can take a look at The Variant Saga. There’s four books in that one.

JN Chaney:                          38:50                     That was the first one I wrote. That is sort of like Ender’s Game and Fallout mixed together.

Greg:                                     38:56                     Well, we appreciate you being on the show. The next thing I think we’re going to do is roll to see who the host is of next week’s show. You guys want to roll?

Erin:                                       39:04                     Sure.

Jessica:                                 39:04                     Yeah.

Greg:                                     39:04                     All right, let’s do it. One, two, three.

Erin:                                       39:10                     I got an eight.

Jessica:                                 39:11                     I got a 17.

Greg:                                     39:12                     17. You want a roll off, Jessica?

Jessica:                                 39:14                     Yes.

Greg:                                     39:15                     One, two, three.

Jessica:                                 39:17                     One.

Greg:                                     39:18                     Eight. All right, well, I’m the host yet again because I’m terrible at rolling dice. Jeff, we appreciate you being on the show. Tell everybody again where to find you and give them a call to action. What do you want them to go do right after they listen to this show?

JN Chaney:                          39:31                     Well first, I think everybody should go and watch Dr. Stone, the anime. If you haven’t seen that, check it out. It’s on Funimation.

Jessica:                                 39:38                     Ooh, we’ll have to do that.

Greg:                                     39:39                     I’m writing that down right now.

Jessica:                                 39:40                     We have it on the podcast.

Greg:                                     39:42                     And Black Clover.

JN Chaney:                          39:43                     Yes, both of those. Black Clover has about 100 episodes, but Dr. Stone, I think, is 12 or 13 in. It’s really fun and I highly recommend it.

Erin:                                       39:50                     Cool.

JN Chaney:                          39:51                     It’s about this dystopian future, or post dystopian I think is the term, post dystopian is where the dystopia has already happened, right? All the buildings have collapsed and it’s gone back to a green world. Nature’s overtaken it. If you’ve played Horizon Zero Dawn …

Jessica:                                 40:09                     I’ve seen it.

JN Chaney:                          40:11                     That’s post dystopian, where society is starting to rebuild.

Jessica:                                 40:14                     Cool.

JN Chaney:                          40:14                     Dr. Stone is kind of like this flash of light fills the sky one day and everyone turns to stone. Then 3,700 years later people start waking up.

Greg:                                     40:25                     Oh, wow.

Erin:                                       40:25                     What?

Jessica:                                 40:25                     Whoa.

Greg:                                     40:26                     Come on.

Jessica:                                 40:27                     That sounds super cool.

JN Chaney:                          40:29                     It’s fascinating. The main character is like this prodigy genius with science, wakes up and his goal is to rebuild society using science and kickstart scientific evolution, as opposed to like 100,000 years. That’s about how long it took us to get to where we are. He wants to do it in a lifetime.

Greg:                                     40:52                     Oh, wow.

JN Chaney:                          40:53                     We watch him use real science in the show to do all this. He makes like a light bulb, creates like glass. He does like a lot of really cool stuff that you can replicate in real life. They explain it all in the show. It’s still shonen anime. It’s still a little goofy sometimes, but it’s really fun. I like it a lot. I recommend that and I recommend Black Clover.

Greg:                                     41:16                     Yeah, and 12 episodes is not a big commitment.

JN Chaney:                          41:19                     No, that’s as far as it is now, but I’d expect it’s probably going to be pretty long.

Greg:                                     41:22                     That’s awesome.

JN Chaney:                          41:24                     Yeah, but to answer your question, you guys can find me on Facebook. I have a Facebook author page. I have a Facebook group called J.N. Chaney’s Renegade Readers. I’m on Instagram under J.N. Chaney, where I post cover art and personal stuff every once in a while. You can email me if you want to at JN_Chaney@yahoo.com, or JNChaney@JNChaney.com. I try to answer every email and I might be a few days late, but I’ll eventually get back to it.

Greg:                                     41:51                     Yeah. I can’t stress enough to our listeners that these books are excellent. The Renegade Star books are where I learned J.N. Chaney existed. It’s just been getting better and better with every book I read.

JN Chaney:                          42:04                     I will say this, Renegade Star, before you jump into that, if you are looking for something that is more … it’s slow and it takes its time with world-building, start with The Variant Saga. If you want something fast paced with a lot of action that feels more like an old serial, Renegade Star fits that bill. If you grew up reading those 50s and 60s, 70 serials in Asimov’s magazine, those types of stories, you might enjoy Renegade Star.

Greg:                                     42:32                     Thanks for being on the show. We’re going to have a special page for this episode on FanDummies, where we’re going to put all of these books in kind of order and give you ordered links so you can see what they are and how they’re ordered and which is in what universe. Also on your website you do a good job of that too, which is what, JNChaney.com?

JN Chaney:                          42:55                     Yeah.

Greg:                                     42:56                     Thanks again for listening to our My Hero Academia podcast featuring J.N. Chaney, bestselling author. If you want to find more of FanDummies, you can check out Twitter, Instagram or Facebook under FanDummies. We’re even on TikTok if that’s your thing. Jeff, are you on TikTok?

JN Chaney:                          43:15                     I am not on TikTok. I don’t know what that is.

Jessica:                                 43:19                     It’s better that way.

Greg:                                     43:20                     Yeah. I think it’s better that way, but FanDummies is on TikTok, so you can see our TikToks if you ever go there and check it out. You can go to FanDummies. com and look at all of our previous episodes, look at our merch, if you want to buy 1000 FanDummies mugs, find the links to Jeff’s books and buy 1000 of Jeff’s books so that you can drink coffee and read a book 1000 times.

JN Chaney:                          43:45                     Yes. Help me pay my rent, please.

Greg:                                     43:46                     Yeah, then you can do all that on FanDummies.com. Thanks for listening. Bye bye.

Erin:                                       43:51                     Bye.

Jessica:                                 43:51                     Bye.

Erin:                                       43:55                     Thanks.