Yash, finally I decided to just write about this show, Boku no Hero Academia. That being said, I’m truly sorry to you who are waiting for my next adventure of the Ghost in the Shell franchise, since I told people in the previous post that I will be talking about GITS, but I feel like it will happen in the next review after this one. As for newcomers to this blog, welcome to #moe404! I hope you’ll enjoy your stay~
So, with the recent articles that I wrote were all kinds of gloomy, talking about how bad those certain shows were and dissected the things that made those as bad, my very last post even picked the theme of the boredom with watching anime. But today, I turned my face away from all that and randomly thought about HeroAca, a series that many people think it’s over the top with many clichéness occurring throughout the show … even though that was what the minority of people thought. For the majority of people on the other hand, the show’s quality is banging up to this week’s episode (for your information, the anime is still on-going) and it delivers itself with a package of underwhelming emotions, which lead the fans not being able to stop themselves from spreading awareness and tweeting an awful lot about the show.
The thing is, one of the most critical points for evaluating an anime is the diversity of our personal preference. But for HeroAca, I kind of get that many people are loving the franchise so much even though they thought the show isn’t for them. Including me, who didn’t watch the first season of the series when it was airing but instead, I watched it when the second season just came to an end. I thought; for the amount of love given by the community, this show is worth watching. Surprise surprise, I couldn’t look away since the first episode was started, and I heavily invested in watching this show from that moment onward.
So, welcome to our blog! Put your review googles on, and let us uncover the things that made this show as amazing as it is!
starting with the synopsis.
In short, this is a story about a boy with no superpowers, wishing to become a superhero.
It all started when the ‘quirk’ phenomenon happened, when it’s appearance is discovered as an act of humanity’s evolution … the superpowers. The world is now based around the fact that 80% of the population is born with it, the various types of powers that will manifest people who were born in this generation. This phenomenon has led to the rise of both superheroes and supervillains, so much so that special universities are invented to teach students how to use their powers and become heroes.
Too sad for Midoriya Izuku, a bright-eyed kid who dreamt of becoming the greatest superhero, yet was born without any powers. Children like him are called as the quirkless. Crushed by one solid problem standing in his way, it still wasn’t enough to crush the dream of this superhero otaku. Thus, he dedicates his time to study all the professional superheroes in hopes that he can join the prestigious high school for heroes.
All men are not created equal, this was the reality I learned about society at the young age of four.
— Midoriya “Deku” Izuku.
In the face of discouragement from people around him, especially his childhood friend, Bakugou Katsuki, Deku’s determination catches the eye of his ultimate idol. He is the symbol of justice, the number one hero known as the All Might. From there, Deku no longer has to compile endless writings in his nerd notebook and instead, he’s now under the special training from the All Might himself. The underdog and quirkless Deku may finally have a shot at achieving his dreams.
The 2014 manga by Kouhei Horikoshi, Boku no Hero Academia, has adapted into a TV show since the April 3rd, 2016. The crowd predictions that arose from every chat between fans on the internet were right on the target, the lines of people’s first impressions being similar to, “… this show will be more than just another heroic series,” were often chirping on social media. Once I thought HeroAca is just another shounen show that was exaggerated, but it proved me wrong ever since I watched the first episode.
And I know that many people have thought the same, the show even once received a huge amount of hate just for being another superhero-themed shounen show and some people even called HeroAca a rip-off. But please, let us just say that 90% of today anime are all based on old-school concepts, and what matters the most is how good/bad these new shows execute the old concepts which they’re based on. And by that, let me also just say real quick that HeroAca does a great job for ‘being’ different and delivering a whole new vibe from it.
And what’s true is that the hype was real, and it still is! HeroAca is legit crazy and can place you at the edge of your seat. You should watch the show right after you finish reading this review … and you can thank us later. 😆 But let’s not spoil you with my final score of this show until you read the full review.
Back to Horikoshi-sensei and his show that being a rip-off, I kinda can’t blame people who say things about this because it’s not really a secret for the real fans, the fact that Horikoshi-sensei is actually a fan of western superheroes. In one interview, he even said that he literally had a Japanese translated version of a U.S. superhero comic book in his left hand while he’s drawing using his right hand. He’s a massive fan of Spider-Man too, as he mentioned it in multiple panels he attended. And don’t forget about Star Wars, every fan of this legendary movie franchise would notice this matter once the character of Gran Torino is introduced for the first time (later) in the second season, who literally is a Master Yoda inspired-character.
This topic can go on further and we can create a long listing credits for sure, but what I really want to prove is the point that I told you earlier; about how great is HeroAca for being different no matter what. Because if you start watching this show without any critical thought and negativity, you’ll see that all these characters as original as they all are. You may now notice that All Might is none other than the Japanese Superman, and there are even Japanese Cyclops and Japanese Peter Parker in this show … but every one of them is unique in a way, such as Cyclops who is way sillier in this show; he can shoot beams of energy not from his eyes, but from his stomach instead.
Okay, remember my ramblings about efficiency in anime, when I took Steins;Gate: Egoistic Poriomania as a case study? Well, HeroAca is even further proof of how an anime that’s efficient can do better in telling its story —you’ll get the idea and see the result right off the bat, especially in the first and second episode. Even better, the anime did a great job in adapting its source material from the manga; everything never goes sideways, you could say the story in the show is 89% identical just like the story in the manga. Makes it more awesome, there’s certain chapter- one manga chapter that adapted into two anime episodes! This is definitely some detailed and efficient storytelling!
But let me stop myself here, you need to know also that I only read a few first chapters of the manga until I stopped, because I’m not really a manga person and I prefer to watch the anime instead. That being said, I can’t guarantee you if this continuation of the anime adaptation would keep taking the same quality and pace as the few first chapters that were adapted. If you’re both a manga reader and anime watcher of HeroAca, you can tell me the current quality of adaptation in the comment section below this post.
Now let’s get back to the anime.
As I said before, this show didn’t start gradually, everything is tight since the first minute I started watching it. And as the story goes, HeroAca’s presentation as a shounen anime wins in almost every way when it gets compared to the other most hero themed series. It’s not just those bullet scenes that can make your eyes glued to the screen, but also the structuring of the storyline that always pleasantly give your heart a shock every now and then. I literally was rewatching the first episode of this show last week, and I cried —again, for the umpteenth time.
When you come into the third episode, the timeline starts to speed up forward; starting with “two days later” declared on screen, until it then ends with our main character trying his best in the exam orientation of U.A. High School’s hero course, ten months later. But no need to worry if you think the show is rushed, because it actually isn’t at all. Every plot point is arranged neatly and with this being told in the couple first episodes, the transition is almost like from a prologue to a new beginning that doesn’t really feel new.
From that point onward, a certain character’s voice becomes a narrator and explain a lot of things including the introduction of the supporting characters. It’s all executed efficiently and pretty straightforward whenever the less important plot points are happening on screen. HeroAca is very far from boring.
Yea-yah yeah, the worldbuilding is solid and pretty straightforward, but what’s better is the characters. Hear this; one particular matter that I think it’s worth to mention is that while every one of them is solid too, what’s unique is how honest they all are. This has made me as a viewer understand easily what kind of attitude this or that character represents, and I personally found this honesty element pretty unique for some reason.
I don’t know if it’s because I’ve watched too many shows that are rated R, or the fact that I’m more into the psychological dramas where double standards and double-faced characters oftentimes exist … because that is not the case in HeroAca. More to think again, having those characters that are already solid and developed while maintaining them as interesting as they are throughout the show, and still developing them even further at the same time, is definitely another plus point for HeroAca.
But not everything is great too, there’s always a flaw. But this time in this department, the show’s deficiency is not that big of a deal; it’s pretty simple and you can always unsee this if you decide to ignore it. The lack of development of supporting characters. Now don’t be wrong about this, there are also some cases where a show doesn’t require any supporting casts’ intervention in telling its story, it’s similar to animation that sometimes doesn’t really need to have an awesome background but instead, it lets us focus on the foreground.
So yes, as you’ve guessed it; with the limited screen time (only 13 episodes) and a huge amount of supporting casts —which 90% of them are our main character’s classmates— the show did a great job in leading the viewer’s focus to a certain one, and the name’s Deku as you have read the synopsis. While the show actually can —if it wants to— make a dozen of these supporting casts as the main roles as well, the show didn’t do that. And with that decision, we as an audience will be too busy adoring and developing interest towards the foreground to the point where we can just ignore the pale and boring background … if you know what I mean.
But “boring” is still not the word to describe all these supporting casts, because whatever you want to say about how lifeless their characters are, they still are interesting enough to explore and succeeded in turning the show as colourful as it is. This is a shounen show about heroes after all, so there must be an element of rivalry, and these supporting casts did a pretty good job in —well, literally supporting and— helping our main character develop. And even more, since they are so many, the element of variety is also important to avoid our boredom watching them interacting throughout the show … but I will discuss this later under the visual and arts section.
casts – deus ex machina.
I think one of the biggest advantages that this show has, is the fact that Deku was not started as a typical main character wannabe, likewise all the characters around him; here, they all are students who learn how to become a hero. And so, this eliminates the constant apprehension of ‘this is not even my final form, look ma, I could get even stronger’ that is typically applied to most shounen characters. But at the same time, All Might who already becomes a professional hero, is matured as someone who’s sick, or even possibly dying.
With this, the characters are pretty much succeeded in putting up an invisible line of limitation, especially in this first season where everything is introduced for the first time. And this is a huge plus point, in case you haven’t realize it yet, that one of the biggest problems in shounen shows usually is how transparent the limitation that its characters have.
In the world of writing, this criticism is called “desu ex machina” where a seemingly an unsolvable problem in a story is abruptly resolved by an unexpected and seemingly unlikely occurrence. The same problem goes with so many characters in shounen shows, so many characters in this genre seem like always having this tolerance when they are getting the upper hand of their opponent, and then somehow succeed in doing that just because we as an audience have watched their tragedy backstory. Which then, oftentimes is so unjustified.
But that never has been a thing in HeroAca, or at least not in this first season. With Deku and friends who are layered for being a student in this story, no matter how diverse they are with their awesomeness —and lameness for some characters— every changes and progression always seems very natural and satisfying. And as for the fight scene in the last episode, All Might who also comes into play, is matured as someone who has a huge flaw. And so by this, I had so many risks at stakes even though what I was watching is a fight between the kind of overpowered characters Superman alike.
Even more amazing, HeroAca achieved all this with the less comedy given throughout the show, especially every time a fight takes place … every scene has so much weight. *i just want to say, “Good job HeroAca!” This is definitely a living proof of a show that has a focus and does everything so efficient —the disappointing Tokyo Ghoul:re and Darling in the FranXX really should have learned from this show’s execution. 😏 But don’t get me wrong, this show is still filled with a huge amount of comedy. Here I’m just saying that the comedy doesn’t make the weight of suspenseful —build-up— scenes and important plot points decreased.
visual and arts.
In terms of artwork, HeroAca had pushed the limit of studio Bones and rose up its popularity to the top once again. But more than the effort given by the studio, the key to success in this department is Umakoshi-sensei; the animation director and designer of all the characters in HeroAca. And well, if you’re familiar with the characters from Saint Seiya Omega regardless of how bad the show is, then you know what you should expect from the variety of characters design in this show too.
As for the animation; everything is fluid, sharp, and most importantly, it’s on point at representing the tone of the whole show. My only critic here is the little amount of brightness in a couple last episodes. There are some amazing punches and fabulous animation, but almost everytime the fight between All Might and Nomu (one of the villains) takes place, the show had to make the scene so dark to the point where my eyes couldn’t follow the fight because the chroma and saturation of the scenes are mostly gray and vague. I understand that this happens inside a training facility while the weather outside is cloudy and rainy, but I think the show executed this idea too poorly. Or I dunno, maybe there’s a reason behind this … probably the show’s budget or a too tight schedule?
Anyhow, the opening theme of the series is a track titled “The Day”, a song from the famous rock band among us anime connoisseur, Porno Graffitti. And as for the ending theme, the song is titled “Heroes” by Brian the Sun. The whole soundtrack album is arranged and composed by Hayashi Yuuki, which is the person behind the strong vibes of Death Paradeand Haikyuu!! franchise; so the tones of HeroAca is no need to be questioned no more —it’s in the best hand.
The rows of seiyuu from each of the main characters in this show are so suitable, especially Deku who’s held by the amazing Daiki Yamashita’s thin yet strong voice, which is so applicable to a main character’s accent like Deku. After all, Daiki was often been given the role of characters similar to Deku, so I think he’s already a pro in doing all this characterization.
For the voice figure of All Might, it held by the frightening voice of Kenta Miyake, which is so unique considering that All Might is not a daunting character from wherever you see it, he’s an inspiring character instead. But then he did a great job as a true voice actor regardless, so no issue with it.
As for Bakugou, the tone was owned by the loud and penetrating voice of Nobuhiko Okamoto, which you’ll see how fitted is his voice when paired with Kacchan’s tempered nature —it’s happening since the first episode of the show. I personally saw his character as someone who has a deep and mature voice when I read the manga, just like the typical bullier’s voice who has abs and whatnot, but the change that is happening in the anime doesn’t ruin Bokugou’s character at all. His image and voice are still perfect nonetheless.
closing – nesha’s final verdict.
Now, if you’re a fan of shounen shows and haven’t heard about My Hero Academia, then shame on you. The same goes if you have heard about the show and decided not to even watch it, shame on you too. Because as I have told you in the very beginning, that despite HeroAca initially never had a spot in my heart, it changed quite drastically after I watched its first episodes. So please, just give it a shot. As no matter how good HeroAca is executed, the stereotype superhero story like this might not be the one for you, but at least you can give it a shot … I’m begging you! 💖
I couldn’t stress enough about how good is the character development in HeroAca, it’s definitely the strongest point of the whole franchise. This is not a show that thrown so many boys and girls just so us the viewer can choose our best boy/girl —if you know what I mean— but they really have helped the world building and really lived up the show’s narrative. What’s best that will happen when you watch HeroAca is that relating yourself with Deku is the easiest thing to do; you’ll want to scream every time he screams, you’ll want to cry every time he cries, your chest might hurt when his chest is hurt.
There’s drama, there’s beauty, and there’s a lot of weight laid out in this show. I can see myself giving HeroAca the score of 9/10 if I’m a pure shounen addict, but unfortunately I’m not. So just because my personal preferences that affect my overall enjoyment of watching the show, I lowered my rating —well, just a bit. 😉
additional pieces of information.
- Boku no Hero Academia
My Hero Academia
- first time aired in the spring, 03.04.2016 till 26.06.2016
- nesha’s review of an anime tv
- from the studio of Bones
- tagged under the genre of #action, #comedy, #school, #shounen, and #super_power
tagged under the subgenre of #drama, #science_fiction, #developing_powers, #school_life, #special_abilities, #superheroes, and #manga
- the age-rated as PG-13
Postscript; I actually would give this show the better score if the fight scenes are more choreographed. Don’t get me wrong though, all of them are still fantastic and almost every punch had delivered its intended weight. But just for your information, this first season of HeroAca hadn’t given me that ‘lit’ feeling similar to when I watch Monogatari Series —which is a show where every fight that occurs doesn’t only have so much weight, but also choreographed very well at the same time. But spoiler … you’ll get this sakuga feeling in the second season, so don’t you too worry about it!
I really hope this post has been a good read for you, even for you who’s already a die-hard fan of HeroAca, I really hope I give you more perspective towards the show! If the answer is yes, please do follow #moe404 so you can get our weekly anime reviews and recommendations. And if you like what we do and interested in supporting us, consider being our patron in Patreon or buy us a coffee on Ko-fi.
Anyhow, thank you for reading! Keep watching anime, and I’ll see you again in the next anime review! Plus Ultra!
© written by nesha5971 proofreaded bye sliceofalfredo