The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

My Hero Academia

Title: My Hero Academia aka Boku no Hero Academia
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: BONES
Format: 13 episodes
Date: 3 Apr 2016 – 26 Jun 2016

Synopsis: A new phenomenon has appeared among mankind. 80 percent of the population possess superpowers known as “Quirks”, and this gave birth to the rise of heroes and villains. Being a hero has always been high school student Midoriya Izuku’s dream, and All Might, the greatest hero of all, is his all-time inspiration. Unfortunately, Midoriya learns that he possesses no Quirks and is fated never to become a hero at all. One day, he gets rescued by none other than All Might himself after being attacked by a villain. Little did he know that on that fateful day, he learned All Might’s deepest secret, one that would change his life forever and what it means to follow All Might’s footsteps.

The Highlights
Characters: Earnest and down-to-earth; Midoriya deserves my respect.
Heart: The one thing that this show has in spades.
Storyline: Slow start followed by speedy climax; hardly original conclusion.
BONES: A studio synonymous with the shounen genre finally gets it right.

Shounen is a genre that I have never been really fond of. The word “shounen” means boys in Japanese, and thus it’s a genre that caters to the young male audience in the ages between 8 and 18. Some traits commonly associated with the genre include a passionate protagonist, an intense rival, a female love interest, an idol that the protagonist looks up to as a source of inspiration, and the common villain. Judging from these criteria, My Hero Academia is as shounen as it gets. However, despite the hardly groundbreaking theme and unoriginal storyline, the series outweighs the cons with the pros thanks to its pure and earnest characters and no-nonsense approach to its overarching theme.

The main theme for My Hero Academia is heroes versus villains, and this is a hackneyed theme for its genre. With such series being a dime in a dozen, it’s easy for one to become nondescript and forgettable. My Hero Academia however, is different; there’s something genuine about the characters in the show that makes even non-shounen fans want to root for them. Primarily, protagonist Midoriya is one character who demonstrates what being a hero truly means. What draws him as a lead character is how he works his way from the bottom to achieve his childhood dream: born without any Quirks, he gets a chance of a lifetime and, out of sheer grit and observation skills, works his way to understand the ways of his idol All Might.

The reason why My Hero Academia‘s characters are so genuine is because it explains the stories behind their personalities. Bakugo is not a uni-dimensional rival because the show explores his relationship with Midoriya since childhood and the motives that underlies his personal jealousy towards Midoriya. All Might, as flawless as he portrays to be, is revealed to have weaknesses both as an inspiration and a teacher. Even the illustrious family background of Iida Tenya offers a glimpse of exposition for his dutiful disposition.

My Hero Academia however, as commendable with the execution as it is, has its share of flaws. Character development is one of the strongest points of the show but the amount of exposure is not even across the board. The sheer size of the cast is large for a one-cour series, and not enough time is available to explore potentially interesting ones. One particular character that deserves more exploration is the main villain; it would have been great if I knew his motives behind his animosity towards All Might. Also, the pacing is a little inconsistent. Focusing on Midoriya’s mettle in becoming a hero, the first half is understandably slow while the riveting second half is about the attack of the villains. While each half is good on its own merit, the different pacing for each makes me wonder if this show had been better as a two-cour instead.

Nevertheless, it is confirmed that a second season is in the works and I am ecstatic about it. There is still a lot of areas that My Hero Academia can look into. For now, the first season serves as a good example of what makes a good shounen series. It exemplifies what good execution can do even when the material is hardly creative, and here pacing issues and uneven character exposure is trumped by strong characters and pure unadulterated heart. BONES is a studio that gained reputation for shounen series such as Fullmetal Alchemist and Eureka 7, and it’s been some time since it last produced one. At long last, another one joins the list and it’s exciting to see how far it will go from here.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: AC

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