Ever have that one show that everyone was talking about, but you never watched? Yeah, this is that moment for me. Everyone was talking about My Hero Academia, it got a dub while it was airing in Japan, it was all over the place. At a glance I said “Nah, this isn’t my kind of show.” And then I actually sat down and watched an episode out of boredom. Then another, and another, and before I knew it it was 4:30am and I realized that I was addicted.
My Hero Academia takes place in an alternate version of our world where humans have evolved and naturally developed superpowers, referred to as Quirks, and being a hero has become a commonplace job for many. Eighty percent of the population are born with Quirks, while the other twenty percent are Quirkless, they lack Quirks and is this denoted by their pinky toe still having two joints instead of one like people with Quirks. Society has evolved to a point where being Quirkless is unnatural and this has become the bane of young Izuku ‘Deku’ Midoriya’s existence. He has no Quirk of his own and as a result is always being made the butt of jokes. He desperately wants to become a hero, but being Quirkless puts him at a heavy disadvantage on the road to becoming a hero. That is, until a chance encounter with his idol, the hero All Might, who changes the course of his life dramatically.
Now, I’ll refrain from spoiling even the first episode because this is a series I believe you need to experience first hand to truly appreciate. What I can say is that if you have any concerns, you can push them to the side right now because this show has very little, if any, flaws. Like, the only two flaws I’d say it has is the oversized cast that doesn’t get enough screen time and the fact that they constantly flashback to the same scene over and over and over again while Midoriya or Bakugo ramble on about the same thing over and over and over again. But that’s it. There really aren’t any other flaws to this show. All of the characters are great in their own ways, especially All Might who steals the show whenever he appears. The voice acting, in both the dub and sub, is great. The dub has its quirks, obviously, but they couldn’t have cast a better All Might than Chris Sabat. He basically repeats his performance of Alex Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist and it fits perfectly with All Might. So credit where credit is due. You can rest easy knowing that if you were gonna go dub, you’ll be just fine, it isn’t terrible. Funimation/Bang Zoom does generally good dubs. It’s a little hammy, but that’s perfectly fine because this show can be full of cheese at times.
However, I do have to bring attention to what I believe is the best part of this show and that is the themes that it conveys. The primary theme is that there are many types of heroes, but the true heroes are the ones who put their lives on the line for others. That feeling where your body moves on its own without consulting you, carrying you into danger to save another. That is the sign of a true hero. The show really nails that one home quite often and it never gets old. And the second is that you can do anything that you want so long as you work hard. Izuku is Quirkless, but despite that he still wants to be a hero like All Might, so he works hard to prepare himself for the future in whatever ways he can to make up for his lack of a Quirk. This show has a great story and 13 episodes is too short to do it justice, which is why I’m glad it’s getting a second season.
So there actually is one more grievance I wanted to air and that is the issue of Izuku’s Quirkless nature. Him being Quirkless was this interesting concept in a world where everyone else has powers, and so he has to work extra hard to make it to the top. And then at the end of the first episode All Might offers Izuku his powers and then does eventually give his powers to him at the end of episode 2/beginning of episode 3. It was like they said “We can’t write a convincing story of a kid rising to the top of a hero ladder with no powers, so we’re going to cop out and give him powers.” Not that I entirely mind as it added a whole ‘nother dynamic to the story which is mentor-student relationship between All Might and Izuku, as well as the caveat that no one can know that All Might’s powers are transferable(and this by extension means that Izuku’s powers can also be transferred.) and they can’t know that he is weakening due to a grievous injury that limits how long he can use his powers and that time limit is quickly diminishing. Izuku’s powers being brand new also makes for some interesting comedy because his body is not used to his powers and as a result his arms and legs break everytime he uses them. He eventually does start to get it a bit under control, resulting in only his fingers being broken, and at the end he can use his full power twice without breaking his arm on the first strike.
Izuku, Bakugo, and All Might are all believable characters and that makes them the best characters. You might hate Bakugo because he’s a complete a**hole, but its only natural for someone whose been treated special all their life to develop a holier than thou complex. Bakugo thinks he’s better than everyone, that his Quirk is better than anyone elses, and he despises Izuku because he’s Quirkless and thinks he can surpass Bakugo. Izuku, of course, is an analogue for every child because everyone at some point dreamt of being a superhero, though eventually coming to terms with reality that it was just an impossible dream. And All Might is that flawless hero that everyone looks up to. He’s referred to as the Symbol of Peace because ever since he showed up crime has decreased dramatically and villains have kept to the shadows. His smile and laughter in the face of adversity tells the people to never give up hope and live in peace because the heroes are there to protect them no matter what. But after a nearly fatal battle, All Might became somewhat cynical, he lost the spark of a true hero and berated Izuku because he thought of Izuku’s dream as foolish. But when Izuku charged headlong into danger without thinking while All Might stood back and watched because of his own fears, he realized what he had become and saw that Izuku was no different than any great hero that had come before, including All Might himself. Having realized what he had become, he ultimately decides that Izuku should become his successor as the bearer of the Quirk “One For All” and become the next Symbol of Peace.
My Hero Academia was animated by Studio Bones and it really shows. The animation is top quality and the art itself can be stunning at times. Most of the characters are drawn with soft, somewhat detailed features while others are drawn sharply. All Might stands out from everyone else because his hero form is drawn with far more detail than any other, including heavy doses of shading, something no other character gets. The style really pops and the amount of color used definitely evokes a hero vibe.
The soundtrack for My Hero Academia is, to put it bluntly. adrenaline inducing. It’s so good. Just about every track stands out from the sights and sounds of the show and really adds the appropriate emotions to a scene in case the dialogue wasn’t already doing it for you. The track above, “You Say Run” is one of the best and it plays during particularly epic scenes. The beginning is slow and almost seems like its going to be a soft emotional track, but that’s just to convey a feeling of calm before the storm. To provide context, the scenes that it plays in always start with a character, typically Izuku, worrying about something that is happening, and then his legs just move on their own and that is when the song kicks up. I can’t get enough of this particular song and I’m glad it plays a couple times across the shows 13 episode run.
At the end of it all, I regretted not having watched My Hero Academia when it was the talk of the town. Of course, I also don’t regret it because I got to watch all 13 episodes in a row without waiting a week in between. I also don’t regret the 5 or so hours I spent with the show because it was time well spent and a story well told and I highly recommend that you give it a chance if you haven’t already. Now, I’m going to go and cry in the corner because the second season doesn’t have an air date yet.