Amazing Kids! Magazine

My Hero Academia: A Breath of Fresh Air in the Shonen Genre

By Sehen Gamhewa, Comic Hub Co-Editor

 

Boku no Hero Academia, meaning “My Hero Academia,” is a really good Anime series that you definitely don’t want to miss out, even if you don’t watch anime. It is also a perfect starter anime for those of you who protest against watching anime with religious perseverance because it is a kids’ cartoon. This is one of the more childish Anime out there, so I sincerely hope that you can watch it and understand that you are, for all purposes, the proverbial horse with the blinkers.

(By the way, a tiny word of advice: Be careful when you say that Anime is a kids’ cartoon because you might just end up having your fingers chopped off like Kaneki or get killed in your sleep by some mysterious Otaku serial killer.)

All jokes aside, My Hero Academia is a really fun, excellent anime. I would easily give it at least an 8 out of 10.

It, in fact, might just be the bridge that will finally connect both the art of the East and West. You see, My Hero Academia was the brainchild of Kohei Horikoshi, who was inspired by American Comics to create something that would be a mix (of sorts) between the Superman-ish themes of America with the Naruto-ish—or rather, the One Punch Man-ish—themes from Japan.

Because of its mixed ancestry (I guess you could call it that?), MHA has multiple elements to it that many people are accustomed to. At the same time, it has new, mixed, and completely original ideas that complement the older ones perfectly. These all combine to give a tasteful experience of the Shonen Battle Genre rooted in many of the classic Shonen clichés while at the same time giving it a couple of new, unique twists that make this anime all the more refreshing.

MHA’s first season centers primarily around Izuku, a teenage boy who dreams of becoming like his idol, All Might, the most powerful Superhero ever; but unfortunately finds himself in the 20 percent of the world’s population that are Quirkless (have no special power). But, after a lucky encounter with his idol, All Might, Deku somehow manages to get into the prestigious U.A. High School, which is a hero school known for producing some of the biggest heroes ever, and goes on a journey to fulfill his dreams.

With Deku (Izuku) being the clear underdog amongst everyone, you can almost immediately empathize with the boy, especially in relation to his childhood friend/rival Bakugou, the biggest all-time jerk who is hellbent on being the stuff of Deku’s nightmares.

Surprisingly enough, wait for a few episodes, and you’ll find yourself empathizing with the egocentric bully as well. It’s clear he has anger management issues, but his drive to be the greatest and his goodwill, although a bit twisted, makes him much more enjoyable than the average one-dimensional hothead.

Similarly, the other heroes and heroes-in-training are all multi-layered, and each is interesting in his/her (Gender Equality FTW) own way. Take the sweet, innocent, and most adorable Uraraka, who makes things levitate, or the tightly wound Iida, who has really cool engine-powered legs, or Aizawa-sensei, their homeroom teacher, who can erase others’ quirks by looking at them, etc.

What I’m trying to say is, MHA has a huge host of wonderful, diverse, and well-written characters whose stories and backgrounds are really well-explored.

Of course, the same can be said for the world’s “No. 1 Hero” All Might, who is far more than just a big Superman x Thor rip-off with a beautiful, pearly white smile. Even the best have their weaknesses and need other people’s help, and All Might’s secret is a prime example of this fact. Besides, his bond with Deku is a heart-warming rollercoaster between a hero whose days are long gone and a trainee whose time is yet to come.

However, if I want to be a critical jerk, which is the essence of being a reviewer, the villains do make me a little unhappy. Shigaraki is not that well-developed, but he has the potential to become something much, much greater. However, I don’t blame MHA for doing so. Because they’ve developed the main protagonist and co. so well during this first season, that easily leaves space for the villains to blossom and grow into the loathed and loved “true” villains that they can become in the time to come.

With such a well-developed cast (except the villains, of course, because you really have to rub it in when everything else on the show is benign), you simply can’t pull away, and every time you see any of them, a smile will start tugging at your lips.

There are adorable yet hilarious hints at a romance between Uraraka and Deku. The latter’s struggle to win the respect of Bakugou, despite the unrelenting anger he faces from him, makes for plenty of tension and drama as well. But the most telling bond of all would be the one between Deku and his mother.

As his mother realizes the path Deku will have to take and accepts her old mistakes and as you see Deku’s insecurities and fears playing out on the screen before you, you just can’t help but look for the darned onion angels who’ve come to torment your poor, innocent eyes. Their relationship so importantly demonstrates the strains one can see between a parent and a child and the importance of family and their support, especially regarding dreams that seem really hard to reach.

MHA’s character design is also just excellent. From that piercing stare of Bakugou’s, to the sweet look on Uraraka, to Deku’s innocent and kind smile, to Todoroki’s seriousness, all the characters are distinct, and they all fit their traits so well.

The casting is also really good, and although I am inclined to watch the Japanese version with English subs, I must say the Dub is really good, too. But watch the subs anyways—that is, unless you want to be called a lame weeb.

Besides the beautiful story and the characters, however, the art, animation, and music are just excellent. Bones being Bones, they’ve done what they always do, and they’ve given us a feast for the eyes with their beautiful animation, yet again.

So, in short, this first season was just beautiful. It weaves an amazing story that just leaves you wanting more, and then Season 2 comes in.

It starts relatively slowly, but it speeds up into a comfortable jog with a few breaks here and there, starting with, the BATTLE ARC! BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T LOVE A BATTLE ARC! TOURNAMENT ARC! FIGHT! FIGHT!

*Ahem.

So, as I was saying, it starts with the UA Sports Festival and then moves on to students’ internships before ending with their final exams.

The first half of Season 2 is focused entirely on the UA Sports Festival, which while giving us the awesomeness that is the beloved Tournament Arc (once again, a shounen cliché that has been rewritten beautifully in MHA) gives us a deep dive into some of the personal struggles of the heroes-in-training, especially some who weren’t explored as much in Season 1.

Issues of identity and pride bubble to the surface as fights with and against others pop up, adding whole new dimensions to many members of the cast.

Funnily enough, even though this is Deku’s story, many of Season 2’s most tear-jerking or epic moments are around some of the other, less-explored characters like Todoroki, Iida, or Uraraka. Even total nobodies like Shinso are giving Deku a run for the money. Not to say Deku isn’t getting his fair share of the spotlight, of course.

From being All-Might’s adoring baby fan, he grows and matures into someone that just makes you go, “Aw, man, remember this dude was like that, and now he’s growing…oh, I feel so old…oh, God, just…” and so on.

He slowly transforms into a stronger person while learning to control his cannon-like powers, but most impressively, he always has that kind innocence and his humility of his with him.

Several amazing and fun new characters are introduced, with Gran Torino and Stain being some of the most memorable ones. Gran Torino’s past experiences as well as Stain’s worldview and ideals will give you a lot to think about.

Moving on, during the internship arc, you get to see more of this Quirk Paradise that is Earth in MHA. Quirks and their effects on society, and how pro heroes function, all of it is splendidly brought out to you to enjoy. And then, after that, there are the final exams, which is, in short, where the students get to learn their place. I’ll let you ponder what that means because, hey, what fun would it be if I spoiled all of this for you guys?

Tldr: Go watch MHA. You won’t and can’t regret it.

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