Welcome one and all. Today is a very special day for me. I have been looking forward to this season of My Hero Academia since…well the last episode of season 3, and I was actually a little guiddy. Not gonna lie. I haven’t been this excited about a new anime season in a while and I can’t quite explain it.
And you know what else I really enjoy? My weekly episode reviews with Crow. I always get a little nervous at season’s end that he’ll tell me he’s too busy to renew our collabship so I sort of avoid the question as long as possible. This time I thought for sure it would be it and then he goes, we could watch MHA? Wanna start it?
I think I said something along the lines of – Why sure my good chap, as always it will be an immeasurable pleasure to work with you and an honour to get the ball rolling. I’m pretty sure that’s what it was. Ok so my brain was just going Omergred SCORE!!This iz gonna be awsomecakes! But I must have typed that first thing…
Hummm.., Crow? Still here?
< Flipping through my notes… > Yep! That’s exactly what you wrote. You said “chap!” I remember thinking, “Wow! What a cultured response! I am most impressed!” Seriously, the honor’s all mine. I was worried you’d be too busy! So I’m very happy to be collaborating with you on MHA season 4. And after season 3’s multiple of amazing character moments (remember Tsuyu Asui in tears when she thought Izuku Midoriya and the others who went on the rescue mission for Katsuki Bakugou?), my hopes are high for season 4!
Ok enough fooling around. This is serious stuff! Season 4 of My Hero Academia is finally here and I’m not sure about where you are, but for me it airs on Saturday mornings! How perfect is that???? It actually goes up at 7h15 a.m. and I fully intend to get up and watch it in my jammies with a bowl of cereal.
I can’t get up that early on a weekend! But it’s nice to know it’ll be there waiting for me when I do manage to haul my sorry self out of bed.
For all my anticipation, I didn’t really know what to expect from this episode. I haven’t been reading the manga past the anime or anything. Crow, what did you think the premier would be like?
Good question, because I’d been wondering about the same thing! I had a vague expectation that we might start off with the villains as they plotted something, and as they were about to kick off their plan, switch back to the school. What we got, through, was something very different, and I think I liked it.
From the first few minutes there were some really nice visual narrative elements. The OP starts off on Deku’s hand, for instance. I mentioned it before, but MHA really uses close ups of hands as visual metaphors more than eyes. It has done so since the beginning, and I’m starting to see the trend seep over into other shows. Of course, it’s hardly the first show to employ this imagery, but it is one of the more popular, and it has used it extremely consistently.
Even in this first episode it comes up later on as Midoriya and the journalist are talking about the future of professional heroes. It may seem like a random thing to pay attention to, but I think it’s symbolic. Isuzu is a physical hero, like All-Might and his incredible punch. But Isuzu also feels helpless and lost a lot, he had to readjust his power as his arms were never going to be able to match All-Might’s, and he’s already damaged the muscles too much. You see all that in the way he stares at his hands, feebly flexing his fingers. It’s a ritual of self-awareness and season 4 made it the opening imagery of every single episode.
Interesting that you brought up his feelings of helplessness. I can’t imagine Isuzu standing up in front of a crowd and saying, “It’s fine now. Why? Because I am here!” And yet, there’s no doubting his bravery or heroism. He’s already done some great stuff, and he’s only gettings started. Heck, the fact that his muscles are so damaged is a testament to his will — even knowing his actions would result in long term or permanent injury, he stayed in many a fight!
You know, it’s going to be a lot of fun talking about these characters!
The second visual cue I really enjoyed was having that random journalist crying at a video of All-Might’s last stand from season 3. Smart scene all around. For us fans, it situates right back into the MHA universe and reminds us of the climax of season 3; for animators, it’s a pleasant break as they get to reuse footage; and for OCD types like me, it’s a beautiful parallel to Deku crying in front of All-Might clips in season 1. A neat little circle to bring the whole story together and show us that the world needs its heroes. It’s not just Deku.
They did so many smart little things like that in this episode. In this case, up until this point, I was wondering about the journalist’s motives. I’m from a time when journalists were heroes (like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who helped bring down the corrupt US Nixon administration). But nowadays, they’re painted with a different brush, so I was worried! This scene not only put my suspicions (almost!) to rest, but it really humanized the reporter.
Ok, we can’t go on about every minute of the show for a paragraph, so let me try to streamline this a bit. In large the episode was really just a recap and reintroduction to the characters. Considering there are 20 students in class A1 alone, and numerous other students, teachers and villains to take into account, it makes sense to give the audience a little refresher. This is a gargantuan cast.
Using the device of having a journalist snoop around for the next Symbol of Justice was a nice organic way to make that happen and frame the episode. There even a little photo montage in the middle that’s sure to delight fans. At least – it delighted me! It was like meeting all my old friends again for the first time. Does that make any sense?
Yep! Absolutely! As it dawned on me what the writers were doing, I was more and more impressed that instead of a static information dump, we got a story where it made sense to review the characters and situation.
And is it okay to admit that the shot of an emancipated All Might, barely able to stand, pointing and saying “Next, it’s your turn” still gives me chills? Just thinking of the weight Isuzu must feel like he’s under…
They didn’t go into it, and MHA may actually never go into it, but what was left unsaid is that Deku is now under a huge amount of pressure. Ah! Great minds! It was already daunting to think of himself as All-Might’s successor when the latter was still in some respects around, but now that he’s just Toshinori Yagi, it’s all up to Deku. And as earnest as he may be, there is no way he’s ready for that. I wonder if he’ll be able to take the pressure.
His humility gives him a head start. He knows he’s not ready, so he’ll prepare. And did you catch what All Might said to him? “Next, it’s your turn— No, it’s all of your turns.” Was that just a way of phrasing it, or will Deku’s version of One for All somehow be a more distributed power? Maybe together they’ll be the symbol of peace instead of Deku alone? The idea of a singular symbol of peace seems to have sown a lot of conflict. Just look at Endeavor’s relationship with All Might!
We did get a bit of foreshadowing for what I think will be the first arc this season. The “unease” everyone is feeling and the upheaval that All-Might’s retirement has caused upsetting the balance between professional hero and villain. It’s a good premise, ripe with conflict and potential drama. Combine that with a possible unravelling of Deku’s character, and this season could prove to be way more intense than past ones.
That’s saying a lot — it’s not like previous seasons were calm strolls through the park!
All in all, nothing happened during the episode. Not really. And that was great. I think it’s a pretty smart way to set everything up and get your ducks in a row. We got to see everyone a little bit, but not much. Most of the main characters didn’t even have lines. Still it was good to see them. My favorite is Aizawa as always, and he was in fine grumpy form. Who were you happiest to see?
Aizawa was up there! I love how he watched the reporter talk to Deku. It was great seeing Ochako Uraraka; my opinion of her did nothing but go up after her bout with Bakugou. Also nice to see Froppy yeah – always nice to see Froppy!; since she was so solid beside Isuzu when the villains invaded the school, I’ve liked her. The more I think about it, the more I’m reminded of your comment earlier that “This is a gargantuan cast.” It really is! And not only that, it’s packed with interesting and varied characters. So my final answer to which I was happiest to see is cheating: All of them!
Well I’m excited for what comes next. Any thoughts on this first episode?
I think you covered it! Great mechanism to reintroduce us to the cast and get us ready to hit the ground running next episode!
Random thoughts; Has All-Might’s voice always been this nice? I really liked the OP song. I wonder who the unicorn girl is.
Great! Now I’m even more excited to see the next episode!