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Our Hiro

Masi Oka, nominated for supporting actor in a drama, brings joy to 'Heroes,' even if it brings him trouble.

September 12, 2007|Ann Donahue | Special to The Times

"For the Golden Globes, the first call I made was actually to my mother," he said. "She was in Japan and she started crying and I started crying. I promised myself with the Emmys that I wasn't going to cry. And so when I heard the news this time, again the first person I called was my mother. She was in Japan, again she started crying, again . . . and I couldn't stop."

Oka and his mother left Japan when he was 6 and settled in Los Angeles. He attended Harvard-Westlake School, then went on to Brown University, where he double-majored in computer science and mathematics. "I figured college was a social education, not just an academic education, so I wanted to grow socially," he said. "I was trying to figure out what was a great way to learn more about the human condition and be more comfortable with myself, so I tried theater." After graduation, while working at film effects company Industrial Light & Magic, Oka landed a few acting roles -- and the next thing he knew, he was a superhero in feudal Japan. A pretty cool place, indeed.

"American kids grow up on spaghetti westerns, and in Japan we'd watch samurai films," Oka said. "My childhood was pretty much studying for this role."

While everyone on set is tight-lipped about spoilers, Oka did drop some hints to the new season: He has to ride horses, wear armor and put his real-life study of kendo swordsmanship to the test "somewhat."

"I'm hoping there'll be some sort of big epic battle," he said. "Come on, writers? Please?"

How can they refuse such a simple request from the MVP of the San Diego Geeks?

--

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Hiro's heroes

We asked Masi Oka to prove his geek street cred and tell us his favorite superheroes in a variety of genres -- and, of course, we made things more difficult

by ruling out "Heroes" as a choice.

(Although, yes, flying like Nathan would be tremendously awesome.)

Favorite TV Superhero

"It may be 'The Greatest

American Hero.' That was

kind of fun. I loved that

song! 'Believe it or not,

I'm walking on air . . . who

can it beeee?' "

--

Favorite Movie Superhero

"Superman. I grew

up with it. I definitely

have a soft spot for it."

--

Favorite Comic Book Superhero

"JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

It's Japanese manga, and

it's a very cool comic book."

--

Favorite Nonfictional Superhero

"My mom. It takes a lot of

courage, as a single mother,

to take your child to a foreign

land and provide him with

a better life."

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