r#123 – my hero academia 2nd season

Previously on #meo404, the first season of HeroAca has been a blast. Everyone must have seen it coming, and what’s good and what’s bad from it —if it’s still not clear to you yet— you’re more than welcomed to read my full review towards My Hero Academia. But to the summary, the show is great and I scored it an 8.5 out of ten, which means it’s a solid recommended to watch.

Here in the second season, the world of HeroAca is still unchanged and in fact, it doesn’t start off too long after the previous incident in the last episode of its first season. Deku is still a character with a huge flaw, and his relationship with Kacchan is still the same, even his relationship with his mentor All Might is the same. But wait, soon the atmosphere is going to be changed as the new saga will be kicked off right away, there’s even a background character that emerges to the foreground.

Without further ado, let’s break this down..,..

synopsis.

In a world where most of the population is gifted with superpowers known as quirks, we follow a shounen who was born without any. But his encounter with the number one hero has made him not completely out of his league. He had seen what he could do with his new power now so even though he had to pay the price by getting hurt to achieve his ambition, becoming a number one hero no longer seems impossible.

Taking off after the last episode of the first season, the school is now temporarily closed due to the security measures. The unlucky Midoriya Izuku is still enrolling in the prestigious hero academy and now he’s ready to make his debut at the world-renowned U.A. Sports Festival. It is a highly anticipated all-around tournament that will decide who is the top student in training. An individuality versus other individualities, even students who never intended to use their quirks are now forced to use them to compete.

When U.A. restarts, the villains are still roaming around Japan, and the considered top hero academy had to prepare many ways of precautions considering the situation that is still unknown; the answer to “how come” the League of Villains could obtain the secret information of the Unforeseen Simulation Joint facility where the students of class 1-A were training their rescue skills even Tsukauchi Naomasa —a police detective representing the police force— doesn’t know anything about the criminals who attacked the USJ … except for one name —Shigaraki Tomura— that All Might convinced he is the ringleader of the League of Villains.

set.

On the first episode, we’re drawn back to the previous season as the show gives us more flashbacks about the emergence of the quirks, together with the case of point on how much the struggle that Deku has given for himself to be able to inherit the One For All quirk which once was only All Might who possessed it. Not only that, the very first important plot point in this second season is the announcement of U.A. Sports Festival —an annual event held by U.A. High School where students from all grades and courses have the opportunity to showcase their abilities in different competitions in order to be scouted by Pro-Heroes. In short, the build-up for the whole arc is started right away since the first episode.

Jump to the second episode, we’re introduced to the students outside of class 1-A —and more exclusively class 1-B— who later will become the competitor of Deku and his classmate in the sports festival. Bless you who think that the villains in the first season were too typical and undeveloped, here in the new story you’ll get to know your antagonists right off the bat.

Also for those people who think that the world surrounding Deku was too narrow, here you’ll get to see U.A. students who aren’t majoring in heroism; those who are not going to be a hero in their future such as Hatsume Mei, who is majoring for a spot on the support-side department. Which by the way, the concept serves to refresh the audience by letting us see the other side of this world besides just about heroism. And for your information, here you’ll learn first time about the four branches of U.A. High School; those are Hero course (class 1-A and 1-B), General Studies and Education (class 1-C, 1-D, and 1-E), Management and Business (class 1-I, 1-J, and 1-K), and Department of Support (class 1-F, 1-G, and 1-H).

In the second episode still, you must have realized by then that someone who once was only a supporting character is now going to steal the show; Todoroki Shouto, he emerges onto the surface of the show at the same time as the second best hero, Endeavor, who happens to be his father. Executed effectively, Todoroki expresses to Izuku that he will defeat him and show his true power in the sports festival. The second episode ends, and the development structure is set.

The third episode starts, and anyone who has a shounen soul in their body will have their heart start beating very fast. In short, what I’m trying to point out is that HeroAca 2nd Season has managed to set roots and is ready to start growing from here on out. It only takes two episodes and HeroAca is solid and moreover, all that had to happen is unexpectedly qualified to act as the basic reasoning for everything that has yet to come.

And by the way, I’m not writing this sentence in any sarcastic way, in case you got it all wrong. I still am genuinely impressed that this show has managed to execute the story in such an efficient way, and it works stunningly. And so you have read this far, now you probably know that I will give many praises towards the show … and there I said it, just giving you a heads up.

script.

Just like the previous season of HeroAca, the second season is also directed by Nagasaki Kenji and adapted from the manga of Horikoshi Kouhei. It was produced by the studios of Bones, consists of 25 episodes, and it aired for the first time in the spring of last year. From what I heard, the second season of HeroAca was still managed to adapt the source material from the manga perfectly with only one filler episode, and the rest of the show managed to adopt a wide array of iconic HeroAca stories amazingly —whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but the fans are so happy as far as I know.

To be blunt, from the writing department, this season has been a blast for me to watch! A lot of characters are introduced, and when it happens, the pacing and narrative are still going strong. There’s also a lot of contesting and fighting scenes, since the arc is all about sporting competition after all. And yes, if you’re wondering, the term of “every fight tells a story” still exists in this season too. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s find out what makes everything right with HeroAca step by step..,..

The second season of HeroAca is constructed by not only one arc, but three instead; the arc of U.A. Sports Festival, the arc of Hero Killer, and the Final Exams. Here as you may already know, the main weight of the entire season lies on the first arc, U.A. Sports Festival —or you could refer it as how everyone else calls it; the tournament arc. There’s no hidden meaning behind that description since the plot is again, pretty straightforward.

But then again, the straightforward plot doesn’t mean that the show is boring. Just like I described, the story is revolving around an interesting world and interesting characters on it. And this time, the most interesting subject to discuss is the new best boy, Todoroki Shouto, who attempts to steal the show since the very first episode. I’d describe all these as “interesting” because if your ready enough to invest yourself in these characters, their struggle and development would actually feel so real and true in many contexts, they even will force you to root for them.

On the surface anyhow, the first new arc is all about climbing to the top and gaining a high score before everybody else, and this doesn’t leave behind the still improving approach of Deku as an underdog. The show still executed that concept in such a shounen way and even more after the third episode, the concept of ‘sacrificing’ a part of his body to use the power of One For All is presents and stands out so much as Deku’s approach of being an underdog becomes everything that the beginning of the arc represents.

Generally, the storytelling in this typical superheroes kind of shounen show, especially when it manages to run in their second season, is always feeling so repetitive … and honestly, this is the main reason why the newcomers are afraid to jump into the franchise. But here in HeroAca, there are no strings attached to the general sameness that every other shounen show has. HeroAca is actually NOT, at any point, repetitive at all.

Okay, there’s no easy way to explain this but here I’ll try in short..,..

The sooner the viewer realizes that we are dealing with something relatively new, with a different approach and a bunch of creativity involved, the more we are engaged in the story. The pacing is fast, every character is reliable, and they don’t even try to mess with the other elements that are too far from the genre, such as mystery that dominates the atmosphere of Attack on Titan and Fullmetal Alchemist. So there’s that. We all know that the basic theme is still the same, nothing is too complex for a superhero story and it’s never come close to originality anyway, but the approach here is solid and that’s what I like from HeroAca.

However, even though they already did a really good job with this kind of storytelling in the first season, there’s always a twist to keep the viewer engaged. And this time, after we get enough of Deku to the point where his character is matured enough, the spotlight is diverted to our new best boy, Todoroki Shouto. But before we talk about the characters, first, let’s finish this writing segment real quick.

At this point for me, I still see HeroAca as the show that delivers a consistent pacing and storytelling, especially how the show handles the tournament arc. Again, the element of this honesty surprised me once again in this season (in case you don’t know what I’m talking about, go ahead and read my review of the previous season) still couldn’t believe an anime in which all the characters are truthful, is actually interesting to watch.

And with all that being said, I believed what remains left was the question of whether this layer —the twist that— the show is trying to add is … well, interesting enough to keep me invested. Don’t get me wrong though, the tournament and competition itself were actually very fun to watch, even the new characters that were introduced are enough to keep this show away from being boring. But hei, let us move to the character segment since like I said before; the most interesting subject here is our new best boy, Todoroki Shouto.

casts.

The scenes that, for a lot of people, perfected the show can be founded in the episode 10, titled “Shouto Todoroki: Origin” where we can see the peak of Todoroki’s character development. But before that, there’s always a process. Since the first episode, his character is introduced as someone who had a cold and aloof personality which stemmed from his abusive upbringing, he’s a child who overly driven and incapable of showing or reacting to emotions. At the same time, the number two greatest hero appeared as Todoroki’s father, Endeavor.

As the story goes, the concept of quirk marriages is introduced as Endeavor revealed to be someone who married Todoroki’s mother solely for her quirk, solely to ‘create’ a child who hopefully can surpass All Might. And when everything’s at its peak for Todoroki’s character development, here in the episode 10, we’re shown for the first time the reason for everything. And at that moment, there’s nothing else going on but back to back arguing, yelling, the reaction between Deku and Todoroki which so many people find it so appealing —for minutes, I even forgot that I was watching a show from the superhero genre.

Again, everything seems very straightforward —in a good way. Todoroki is shown as a boy who possesses a ball of arrogance since the beginning when he’s introduced, a very unfriendly character even. Yet here in the episode 10, we see him crying and I would say, there I see the most soul-crushing reminiscent smile, the surrendering smile he gave before his ice breaks and his fire starts to burn. At this point, we all the viewers know that it’s impossible for him to understand yet what it means to be a true hero like how Deku understands it, but right then he understands enough that he’s been walking on the wrong path, and so he needs to give it his all and use his fire.

I believe there is one most striking way for the main character to become a GOOD main character, especially in a shounen-themed show like HeroAca; and that is when a character not only managed to change and develop himself, but also to influence other characters around him and possibly to change the world around them. And this is what Deku does, similar to how Ichigo from Bleach does it, and similar to how Luffy from One Piece does it; they bend the rules to save a friend, they even turn enemies to friends. But this time, Deku saves Todoroki from himself … form his —wrong— ideology that’s been causing him to be crippled from his own past.

And yes, you read that right, I use that rich-sounded word “ideology” because Todoroki for me, he is an individual who has a principle to stand for, he’s a character who has a character —if you know what I mean. Even though honestly, rather than to see him as a strong individual who stands on his own ideals, I’d rather see him as an innocent boy who’s trapped in his father’s ideology. But still though, Todoroki is one of the best characterizations in terms of antagonist turns protagonist —though the cause isn’t that grant, in my opinion, the execution is way better than what Sasuke gets when he turned from being an antagonist to become a protagonist.

visual and arts.

The show is beautifully crafted, and the people behind the production are smart in giving what the audience wants. I can tell you this because first, I know that the anime didn’t disappoint the majority of its original fans from the manga; and second, when I watched it, I felt very clear the direction of sakuga that the show was going for. So I think at this point, there’s no need to talk much about the animation quality that HeroAca has, but here’s to summarize..,..

There are so many fights, and so it’s pretty normal if I could notice quite a number of fight scenes as the show’s attempts to hide its budget. But don’t worry, I don’t think you would notice all these except if you have the heart of a shounen addict and an eagle eye for it. Because listen to this; there are literally no fight sequences that can drag this show to the meme territory —except the comedic scenes, of course.

Every arrangement of fight sequences has its own build-up before it happens. Even though not every story is that important but, there’s always a little narrative that follows every character that goes onto the stage and fights each other. This is also why I still say things such as, “there’s always a story behind every punch.”

See, even though many people referred HeroAca as the show that is simple, now that you have read my review up to this point, then you know that I much prefer the word “straightforward.” Because trust me, if you back off yourself a little and focus at one point, you’ll see that HeroAca is far-far away from simple … just watch Todoroki’s character, do you really think that a half-cold, half-hot, half-kind, half-arrogance, half-heroic, and half-rebel is a simple character? No, he’s far from simple. But above all else, there’s one element that is truly simple from HeroAca, and that is the fight choreography.

As I have pointed out in the previous review of HeroAca the first season … I’m a junkie of amazing fight scenes, especially those that are choreographed beautifully. But even though all the fight scenes in HeroAca are relatively simple, I don’t hate them. Why, you may ask? It’s because even though none of the scenes is choreographed attractively, everything is still on point, there’s still always a revelation at the end, there’s still always a clear reason why every punch is delivered. Remember? There’s always a narrative that follows every fight.

I think choreographed scenes aren’t the real selling point from HeroAca. For me personally, HeroAca is almost like a DC Comics adaptations done right. See, when I watch movies from DC (American comic book publisher), I oftentimes find it supper uncompelling to watch with so many slow-motion sequences that pretend to be a certain character’s highlights, yet at the same time I see them as characters that are still not matured and still undeveloped. I think that’s why I’m more invested to the superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; because from where I’ve seen it, everything in this universe always has to do first with the character before anything else.

The concept of DC adaptations is relatively the same here with HeroAca … but every time there’s a slow-motion, or every time a fight sequence reaches its peak, there’s always some kind of poetic beauty to it which replaces the beauty of choreography, and I think this is the real selling point from HeroAca; that is its characters. I think this the characters are why we don’t even get the scenes of ‘calm before the storm’ in every arc, because that approach of storytelling is more effective for the building up of a story narrative and a revelation of a worldbuilding rather than the peak of a character development.

Moreover when the back to back confrontation between Deku and Todoroki is happening, from my point of view, I see these two characters as two individuals who fight for their own story, yelling about their own monologue; fighting for their own outlook. Even for Deku, he didn’t try to save Todoroki from his conflicted past for the sake of him being is his friend … not just that; every action Deku takes is always based on his own character’s outlook that, for him, being a hero doesn’t mean he must fight for himself, but he must fight for everyone else too.

Smiling … dependable … cool hero..,.. That’s what I wanna be! That’s why I’m giving it everything, for everyone! Because it’s like All Might said; giving help that’s not asked for, is what makes a true hero!

— Deku aka. Midoriya Izuku.

I think it’s enough talking about the character developments, and I believe you have now understood why I still love HeroAca even though the fight choreography is executed very poorly. From the visual department, let us move on and talk about what made the tone of the whole franchise is so compelling. Yes … the sounds. For one, let me just say that I really love the song “Peace Sign” by Kanshi Yonezu, I never missed the opening sequence every time this theme is playing in the background.

It’s too bad that if you managed to buy the blu-ray, you’ll get your ears to adapt easier to the surround sound that comes from the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 in English than the original dub; higher volumes, higher bass, I even realized a couple of times that the English version is a little bit richer than the original Japanese dub especially when the fight takes place. But still tho, for me personally, the performance of the Japanese voice actors are much preferred, and that is why I sticked with the Japanese dub even though it’s only 2.0 stereo.

But still, in the background, the backdrop of the soundtrack is always backing up a very strong presentation of its visuals. Thumbs up for that!

closing – the rest of this saga.

I bet you still remember the first thing that I told you in the very beginning, that HeroAca 2nd Season is constructed by three arcs. And so, now you realize that I discussed most aspects only centred in the first arc of this saga. And for that, I offer you my apologies since I can’t help myself every time a show does a great job in characterization, it always gets me overly invested. To be fair, discussing compelling characters has probably given me the same amount of fun that most people get from writing a fanfiction.

Even though the show is by no means perfect, it’s so easy for us to say that it does everything on point just thanks to the characters in it. Behind every creative decision that Horikoshi-sensei made in order to build-up those characters moments, essentially in the end, there’s always an internal reasoning or personal belief that’s revealed as the result of everything that happened to them. And I think that’s what made these characters so real and so compelling.

So with that being said, I want you just take my words for everything in the rest of this saga is still on point, especially when it’s about the characters, both the old and the new ones. What’s to question left is whether the new layer that the show adds is interesting enough for you; the second arc is about the new villain named Stain, and the third arc is —again, another— stress test program of training from U.A. High School.

But all these praises doesn’t mean everything else will suddenly matter. No, strong motivations and consistency of the characters’ quality won’t just make the world around them relevant as well. So let’s buckle up for I will tell you the imperfection of this HeroAca 2nd Season. Ready?

First of all, there are too many background characters that are introduced to be abandoned and undeveloped, especially Shigaraki Tomura who also still left me disappointed in this second season —even though just like in the first season, we’ll be too busy adoring the foreground than care about the background. Another drawback is the too simple arcs arrangement since there’s only U.A. High School to come up with something, or the attack of League of Villains —there’s always one of these two and nothing else. And I guess this is why from someone who hasn’t watched any episode of the show, HeroAca would be a tough sell as the narrative seems too boring to watch.

Except for the character moments, everything seems to happen so fast, too fast even to the point where nothing would feel ‘personal’ if the characters aren’t dropping other characters’ name and act as everything happens for the sake of their narrative. Despite the amazing introduction and the build-up towards the peak of tournament arc, there’s little to none of the worldbuilding. And this makes everything seem not worth watching when you step back a little, even the competitions before the tournament seems very silly, childish, and not realistic … just look how impractical it is when Deku takes the lead of the Obstacle Race by lucky enough finding a piece of metal from a 1-Point Robot that he defeated without his quirk, but then suddenly that piece of metal is strong enough to hit the most tremendous landmine explosion, and blast Deku to the very front of the race, overtake the first place of Bakugou and Todoroki.

closing – nesha’s final verdict.

For your information, the second season of HeroAca was raised up high through the Crunchyroll Anime Awards of last year, and the majority of anime community think that this was a joke since the show was nominated for eight categories and won seven of them. But then again, HeroAca is the reason why Funimation and Crunchyroll pulled the plug on the production of Yuri on Ice 2nd Season.

To close this review, My Hero Academia 2nd Season is still living up to my expectations and while it’s not surprising for the second season of a shounen show to be as marvellous as its first one, HeroAca really made me believe that the show is worthy enough to be paired with Naruto and One Piece —two shounen franchises in which still keeps its fans invested even after more than 25 seasons running. I think HeroAca knows what shounen fans really want, and it just delivers.

As for the characters developments 👌 I just can’t discuss enough … we haven’t even talked about the episode 24 titled “Katsuki Bakugo: Origin” that supposedly acts the same and delivers the same weight like the episode 10 —Shouto Todoroki: Origin. But let us just end it here because I think you already get that I cannot hate anything about it.

additional pieces of information.

material resources: official siteAllcinema | Amazon | ANN | crunchyroll | Wiki (en) |  | Anison | MAL | MAL (S1) | 

And that’s it for this week review. As usual, I encourage you to follow #moe404 if you haven’t, because the blog has almost reached the 1k followers mark! How awesome is that?! We do anime reviews every weekend and interesting content every now and then, in case you’re wondering, and it’s always worth a read. So make sure you’re following and hit the like button to encourage me to keep writing! Also, in case you’d like to support the blog, please consider to be a patron of our Patreon or buy us a coffee on our Ko-fi.

With all that being said … thank you for reading this, keep watching anime, and I’ll see you again next time!

PLUS ULTRA!

© written by nesha5971
proofreaded by thistrippyhippy
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15 responses to “r#123 – my hero academia 2nd season

  1. Pingback: Real Neat Blog Award – Nominated by Voyager – 100WordAnime·

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