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Dragons of Wonderhatch's Mackenyu Arata reveals his favourite anime

Mackenyu Arata also shares with Yahoo Life Singapore his latest role in Disney's Dragons of Wonderhatch.

From Rurouni Kenshin to One Piece to Saint Seiya, it seems there's no stopping Mackenyu Arata from carving out a legacy in anime — in live-action, that is. And now, Mackenyu Arata adds another anime character to his repertoire, Aktha from Disney+'s upcoming series, Dragons of Wonderhatch.

The series is an anime and live-action hybrid, which spans both worlds. In the anime world is the floating land of Upananta, with floating continents, dragons, and dragon riders galore. However, a mysterious phenomenon threatens the peace of Upananta. But when an incident starts throwing the dragon riders (and their dragons) from Upananta to the real world (ie, our world), they must find their way back to protect both realms. That's when dragon riders Thaim (Daiken Okudaira) and Aktha (Mackenyu) meet schoolgirl Nagi (Sena Nakajima), who has a stronger link to Upananta than any of them realise.

My favourite part about playing Aktha? That he rides a dragon.Mackenyu Arata

The anime version of Aktha (Mackenyu Arata) in Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)
The anime version of Aktha (Mackenyu Arata) in Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)

Dragons of Wonderhatch, which drops on Disney+ on 20th December, jumps between both the anime and live-action worlds. What makes it fascinating is seeing the likeness of the live-action actors being translated into anime sensibilities, as they jump between worlds in an attempt to save both. Mackenyu's character, Aktha, gets thrown into the real world relatively early in the story, where he has to make sense of a new reality and a new life.

Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)
Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)

The role of Aktha is wish fulfilment for Mackenyu. "My favourite part about playing Aktha? That he rides a dragon," shared the 27-year-old actor cheekily with Yahoo Life Singapore. "I don't own a dragon. I wish I did. That would be so cool." And just to be clear — dragons also do make the transition from anime to the real-world, using photorealistic CGI to recreate the fantasy creatures in live-action.

Characters designs for Aktha (Mackenyu Arata) in Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)
Characters designs for Aktha (Mackenyu Arata) in Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)

But it's more than just dragon ownership that makes Aktha's role appeal to Mackenyu. "Personality-wise? We're the same," said Mackenyu. When we first see Aktha in the series, he is presented as heroic champion — perhaps speaking to Mackenyu's inclination towards protagonists? After all, the actor has also played villains in live-action adaptations of anime, such as Yukishiro Enishi in Rurouni Kenshin.

So what drives the actor to take up such roles? "I enjoy bringing fans' favourite characters to life and at the same time, being their favourite character," Mackenyu revealed. Given that we're living in a Renaissance of anime series being given life in live-action series, it looks like he's living his best life with the characters he portrays in series.

Watch now on Disney Plus

Mackenyu Arata plays Aktha in Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)
Mackenyu Arata plays Aktha in Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)

Mackenyu does have a favourite anime though — and it's no surprise that he plays a character from there. His favourite anime is One Piece, where he plays Roronoa Zoro. "In One Piece, I wasn't jumping from manga to the real world. One Piece stays within the manga," said Mackenyu of the differences between the two shows.

Live-action Aktha (Mackenyu Arata) in Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)
Live-action Aktha (Mackenyu Arata) in Dragons of Wonderhatch. (Image: Disney+)

If you want to see Mackenyu jumping from manga to the real world (and back again) though, you'll have to catch Dragons of Wonderhatch on Disney+.

Dragons of Wonderhatch premieres 20th December on Disney+.

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