I will preface this post by saying that I have indeed read the manga and watched Season 1 of My Hero Academia. I thoroughly enjoy this series, it is currently one of my favorite anime right now and possibly will be one of my favorite anime of all time.
My Hero Academia came out at maybe the best possible time it could have. The superhero movie, once thought of primarily as a niche subcategory of the action genre and something only reserved for comic books, has blossomed into its own genre of film with entire universes worth of characters and story lines being put on the small and silver screens. With a media form as varied and creative as anime I’m surprised that there aren’t more that use superheroes as a means of storytelling. With the exceptions of One Punch Man, Tiger & Bunny, and Gatchaman Crowds, I can’t think of too many anime that do this, so that makes the aforementioned series and My Hero Academia quite the gems.
Before I go any further, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “But what about reviewing season 1?” My answer? I didn’t even have a blog when the first season was coming out, and as a season, there’s not very much to talk about on an individual episode basis nor on an overall season review basis. The most that can be said for season 1 is that it is a very good opening. The introductory world building is good and it does an adequate job introducing the important characters and premise, but with the exception of the premiere episodes exposition and the last three episodes action, it is almost entirely skippable. This is not a drag of the series, it’s just that you can get oriented very quickly and easily.
I may do a full Season 1 review at a later date, but for right now? Watch Season 1. It’s delightful, you’ll have a lot fun. If you don’t want to watch all of it, there’s a recap episode on Crunchyroll and Funimation to catch up the newcomers.
~ ~ ~ RECAP ~ ~ ~
Or you could just watch the opening few seconds of this new episode and get even more quickly up to speed.
Izuku Midoriya was born Quirkless in a super human society where 80% of the world’s population has some sort of superpower, and one random day he meets All Might, the “greatest Hero in the world”, discovers his secret, is eventually given All Might’s Quirk, One for All, and enrolls in All Might’s alma mater, U.A. High School along with his childhood “friend” and rival, Katsuki Bakugou.
That’s basically the gist. On to the episode!!! For real this time.
The episode begins with All Might voice-over reading a letter he’s writing to someone catching them up on the development of his relationship with Izuku (this is where a knowledge of the first season would come in handy).
Then we see the teachers have a meeting with Detective Tsukauchi to discuss all the information they have on the League of Villains thus far, which is not much. All Might comments on the weirdness of the whole situation: the boldness of the attack on a place as heavily secured as U.A., Shigaraki’s child-like anger when the plan didn’t pan out, the Noumu, everything about this League of Villains is strange. Still, they find it more than a bit distressing that a “man-child” like Shigaraki managed to recruit 72 people to join him.
At the Midoriya household, Inko is preparing dinner while Izuku muses over what happened at USJ. Classes were cancelled the day after the invasion, but Izuku’s having a difficult time relaxing, and who can blame him? The kids are barely out of middle school and already they came face to face with the evil that had only been as close as their TV or computer screens up until that point. Seeing their teachers, who are Pro Heroes themselves no less, get fucked up isn’t going to do much to alleviate that anxiety either. That feeling of helplessness would surely get anybody down. Luckily, Mama Inko made katsudon for dinner, so maybe our hero will cheer up.
At school the next day, we get a chance to hear how the other kids feel about the situation. They can’t not talk about it; it was all over the news! Tooru’s a bit bummed because she feels like she couldn’t stand out because being invisible makes it kinda hard to do that. Shouji very bluntly agrees – because he and I are the exact same person. Sero remarks that he can’t imagine what would’ve happened had the teachers not been there, and Mineta REALLY doesn’t want to think about that. Bakugou wants everybody to just shut the hell up, as expected. Mina asks Tsuyu who’s going to teach class since Aizawa’s recovering in the hospital, and in he walks two seconds later, body full of bandages.
Sexiest mummy I’ve ever seen.
While the kids are collectively like…
Aizawa announces that the time of the U.A. Sports Festival is drawing near. Suffice it to say, the hype is real! Well, 50% real. Not everyone’s too keen on having such a huge public event right after a major security breach, but Aizawa says that it’s basically a PR stunt to show that the school can handle such a major event that would’ve otherwise crippled any other institution. He doesn’t say it in that many words, but still. Security is going to be five times greater than that of previous years,
Cue the exposition…!
Where the Olympics would have been the sports event to watch in the past, with the advent of Quirks they’re sort of become obsolete, so now it’s been replaced by the U.A. Sports Festival, at least in Japan. It’s the most watched sporting event in the country and Pro Heroes from all over come to scout students. That’s a shit ton of pressure.
I’d rather be thrown into a wood chipper than have millions of people watching my sorry butt on TV. But that’s just me…
It’s made abundantly clear that this is the time for students to go all out if they want a chance at a Pro career. The Sports Festival is hosted once every year, so they get three chances to make an impression. Best not to waste it.
The music is hella intense.
At lunchtime, everyone is letting all their hype out – Jirou stay clownin’ Kaminari – but little Izuku is a bit more nervous than most. Ochako, however, is kind of all over the place. She’s yelling “I’m gonna do my best” and pumping her fist in the air and talking in this really gravelly and it’s quite unnerving. Izuku later asks her why she wants to become a Hero, and she answers money. She thinks it’s a shallow thing to say, but Iida assures her that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be able to support yourself.
As it turns out, Ochako’s family owns a construction company, but they haven’t been able to get any work, so they’re pretty much broke. Ochako decided to become a Hero so that she could help support her parents. It’s not something that she usually tells people.
Iida gives her a round of applause, and then All Might shows up. Izuku joins him for lunch in the teachers lounge, so they can have some quality mentor/student time. Apparently, All Might’s down to just fifty minutes that he can maintain his muscle form now. The fight with Nomu really took a lot out of him, so he can barely manage an hour-and-a-half now.
Moving on from that, All Might asks Izuku just what it is he plans to do during the Sports Festival since he still can’t quite regulate One for All. Izuku admits that he doesn’t really know, but he recalls when he attempted to punch Nomu that he didn’t injure himself. He surmises that it was because it was the first time he’d tried using OFA on a person – if you can even call Nomu that. He may have unconsciously put on the brakes, as All Might puts it, preventing him from breaking his arm again.
All Might shifts the subject of the conversation, and with it so goes the entire tone of the scene. All Might confesses that he doesn’t have much time left as the Symbol of Peace, and there may be those with villainous intent who are starting to take notice, so now’s not the time to fuck around. All Might wants Izuku to make people take notice of him, he’s the successor, the next Symbol of Peace, and the Sports Festival is prime opportunity for Izuku to let the world know that he has arrived.
~ ~ ~ REVIEW ~ ~ ~
I liked this episode a lot, and I’m so glad that My Hero Academia is back. The Sports Festival arc is my favorite arc in all of MHA, I re-read it at least twice a month, so I’m super excited that we finally get to see it animated.
There’s definitely something about seeing the characters move and hearing them talk that adds a much more spirited feel to an otherwise already energetic series. Seeing Kirishima getting hyped certainly reinvigorated my spirit, too.
If we could get an entire episode of Jirou just roasting the shit out of Kaminari I would die happy.
I think the things I’m most excited about are the introduction of class 1-B and the additional scenes that aren’t in the manga. There were quite a few moments in this episode that were added, even if they were rather short, and they played off of the energy of the kids really well.
That’s another thing about MHA that makes it stand out so well. Not only do the kids look like kids, but actually act like kids. They yell, they act goofy, they roast each other. It’s a welcomed departure from the sharp cheek bones and well-built, slim figures that are customary for a lot of other anime and manga teenagers.
Overall, this is a good reintroduction to the series. I guess that’s one of the few positives about Season 1 being so short and ending where it did. Now that I’ve read MHA it would make sense to make every arc it’s own contained season because the series is so dense with information, action, and character and world development that you wouldn’t have to do too much stretching to get your money’s worth. The series so far has avoided a huge issue I find in books and graphic novels alike which is a trade-off between either being fast-paced and easily accessible or being information dense and slow to build. My Hero Academia has somehow found a good balance between the exposition and fast-pacing and doesn’t aimlessly meander around it’s plot.
Lookin’ forward to the rest of the season.