I will be spoiling the first season of My Hero Academia. So don’t read if you haven’t watched the show (unless you don’t plan on doing so)
“You can become a hero!”
– All Might
I have never been massively interested in the “Shounen genre”. Partly because many of them are extremely long, but the main reason for this is because I’ve always wanted to watch another show before. I’m relatively new to watching anime (around a year), so there has always been classics that I’ve wanted to watch beforehand. Meaning that I didn’t have the time to watch shows like HunterxHunter or Full Metal Alchemist. But an exception to this was My Hero Academia. I can’t tell why this is, but I think it had a lot to do with relevance. When I first watched My Hero Academia at the beginning of last year, the second season had gotten a ton of awards on the Crunchyroll anime awards, so everyone was talking about it. So of course, I needed to watch it. And boy was it a ride!
The first season of My Hero Academia follows Izuku “Deku” Midoriya, a 15-year-old boy who lives in a world where it is common for babies to be born with superpowers, or otherwise known as “quirks” in the world. A world we would all like to live in, at least me.
But unfortunately, some people aren’t born with these “quirks”, and Midoriya is one of those people. Even then, Midoriya tries to become the hero he so much wants to be. And when he arrives at a crime scene, he does the most heroic thing he could do and runs in on the scene where All Might, the number one hero in Japan, sees everything. All Might saves the day, and as Midoriya walks home, All Might shows up and tells Midoriya that he can inherit All Mights secret power, One for All.
And that was the best scene of the season. The first 3 episodes of the show are so amazingly written, that I’m kind of astonished. We know about Midoriya wanting to be a hero even if he doesn’t have a quirk, the main message is set up and we already sympathize with Midoriya. It’s so incredibly well set up that it’s hard to believe. It is to this date one of the best beginnings of a show I have seen, no shit. Seeing Midoriya look up to All Might and then seconds after hearing that he shouldn’t expect to get a quirk, is powerful. And then in episode 2 where All Might, Midoriya’s biggest role model, tell him that he can be a hero even if everyone has told him that he can’t. Those moments where the music fits perfectly. It is amazing. I don’t know what to say.
I can’t say that the rest of the series is nearly as good though. The next 6 episodes feel more comedy focused rather than the more emotional focus I loved so much (it was still good. All Might and Yuga are both really funny characters), but had a lot of moments where we really get Bakugo which was desperately needed for a character that could’ve easily been very one-sided. And the last four episodes are quite honestly bad at times. The antagonists only show hints of development but not enough to make them interesting and most of the fight scenes were kind of bland even if the animation saved it at times (All Might VS Nomu comes to mind. I’ll get back to that later). Still, I enjoyed all of it. But it really is the first three episodes that elevate it to a new level and make it something bigger than just another shounen.
But since this is an animated show, does it take advantage of that? I would say, YES!
I have mentioned My Hero Academia here visually, but not in a very positive light. Mentioning that most of the enjoyment I got from the visuals were the “sakuga” moments. But now that I’ve rewatched the show, I think that’s not giving the show a chance. Those big moments are easily where the animation is at its best, making even some of the most bland action scenes very exciting to watch. But I think the rest is very underrated, especially by me. The very gritty lineart works fantastically and gives the show character that a lot of shounen don’t have. The way the animators always put something exciting on the screen so to not bore the viewer, even if it’s something small.
It is what makes the emotional moments, where the coloring and direction are just perfect for the tone.
So yeah. Even though I had many problems like the last four episodes not being that impressive or the action scenes not having that interesting action and mostly relying on the great animation, the show has so much heart and it is what makes it so special.