- Genre : Action, Shounen
- Episodes: 13
- Studio: Bones
In a world where superpowers have become every day and supervillains run amok, one man stands for Justice and Order against the forces of evil! But soon, the time will come for him to pass the mantle. Now a young new hero rises, struggling to prove himself worthy of the heavy responsibility of protecting the world from destruction at the hands of chaos. He will endure the hardships of training at the local dump, attending a posh high school, and eating hair! Are you doing the announcer voice in your head? It really works much better that way.
After I wrote this post but a few days before it was scheduled for publishing, Mel In Anime Land posted her own thoughts on My Hero Academia s1, proving that great minds think alike. You should go read it here
Most of us are pretty familiar by now with the action/fighting shounen. The genre immediately conjures up images of energetic, optimist, recklessly determined young protagonists with a calmer, analytical sidekick to bring them down to earth and a kind lady friend who surprisingly useless despite being super qualified on paper. Maybe these young men also have a childhood frenemy who serves as rival and motivation. Also, some type of unlikely mentor who may seem disappointing and lackadaisical at first but turns out really cool. Of course, they always have a role model, a hero if you will. We all know these tropes like the back of our hand. So how is My Hero Academia different or better? Short answer, it’s not. It is newer.
When I say that though, I don’t mean it in a dismissive way. Newer has a lot of benefits. For one, the show fully takes advantage of the latest advances in the technical field of animation, and it is beautiful. The art style is unsurprisingly informed by American superhero comics to create a wonderful fusion complete with vibrant colors and gorgeous overlaid ink backgrounds. Every scene is a pleasure to look at. Of course, by its very nature, the series is overflowing with action and the animation follows suit valiantly. I did notice some loss of details in scenes with a lot of movement, but for the most part everything was smooth and just fun to look at. The designs are all very individualistic with a wide range of facial features and body types. Since the universe of My Hero Academia is populated with all sorts of mutants, the artists took the opportunity to throw in some completely alien looking characters as well. Oddly though, the characters in their superhero personas were a bit unremarkable. I couldn’t tell you that there was anything wrong or lacking with their designs and maybe it’s simply because I’ve grown up with costumed superheroes, but none of them made much of an impression. The only two that grabbed my attention were Todoroki and Shigaraki.
Story wise the series remains very true to the shounen genre. A young looser underdog protagonist has big dreams of becoming a hero and through ridiculous and contrived good luck gets to go to Superhero Hogwarts. The first season leans very heavily on the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” thing. I could see it getting annoying for some viewers, mind you I’ve seen worse. Although everything is rather heavy handed the show remains well paced and executed, and avoids ever getting preachy or maudlin. Sure it’s shallow entertainment but boy is it entertaining.
One aspect I did really enjoy was the change in ambiance once Midoriya got to UA. It wasn’t just that he finally got some friends – his own Ron and Hermione – or that he finally found a place he fit in, if anything he has even more of an imposter complex now. It’s that for the first time, he’s in an environment where all his dedication in learning about heroes and all the efforts he’s put into reaching his goal are finally recognized and even appreciated instead of denigrated. To me this was a lot like when I finally got to university and being bookish and studious was suddenly admirable instead of embarrassing. I loved that feeling and this show brought a tiny bit of it back, which I appreciated on a personal level
Characters are fairly simple and flat in this first season and we don’t get much in the way of personal growth for anyone. Oddly, it’s probably rage filled borderline psycho Katchan or rather Bakugo, that embodies the most complex character and the one that shows the most evolution. In many ways, he is the one truly unusual element in the series or at least could be if someone slipped him a Xanax. It’s unfortunate that the character has been turned into a caricature because he definitely has potential and I hope we get to see his personality a bit more in future seasons.
All of this is not to say that the show is bad or that the other characters are boring. Every element here is predictable, simple and very pleasant. I kept looking forward to the next episode (I still am as I watch season 2). For me, All Might is Superman done right. Instead of shackling us with some completely unrelatable superhero existential crisis or half debating the inherent morality of humans in general, they gave us a hero who does his job because he thinks it’s the right thing to do and who’s limited by his own physical shortcomings. That is someone we can easily understand and root for.
And you know what else is nice about “new”. You could realistically catch up with this series. At less than 40 episodes for the two first seasons together, you don’t have to sacrifice months on end just to get to where everyone else is. As someone who is always the last to start a show, I appreciate this enormously. I have already started the second season and can’t wait to tell you all about it once it ends!
Favorite character: Eraserhead!
What this anime taught me: Even animated merch gets me excited.
Suggested drink: Superman
- Every time we see All Might merchandise – take a drink
- Every time someone says quirk – have a drink of water
- Every time someone says quirkless – have a drink of juice
- Every time we see All Might’s old rescue video – have a drink
- Every time Midoriya cries – take a drink
- Every time we hear an American city name – take a drink
- Every time Midoriya breaks a bone – stretch
- Every time Aizawa is in a sleeping bag – take a drink
- Every time Bakugo calls Midoriya Deku – take a drink
- Every time Midoriya narrates – take a drink
- Every time All Might spits blood – take a drink
- Every time Bakugo has a super obvious inferiority complex – ake a drink
- Every time someone is cool – raise your glass