Spoilers are here!
If there’s an Anime genre that will never die, it’s shonen. The coming-of-age story made for boys but enjoyed by all genders, is meant to inspire kids of all ages to grow up, face their fears and yes, follow their dreams. It is such a classic flavour that even the older crowd gets emotional. But I gotta be honest with you, they’ve never been my cup of tea. Until one of them decided to combine high school and superheroes. And now, I can’t seem to stop watching it. Ring the bell, school’s in.
My Hero Academia is directed by Kenji Nagasaki and written by Yōsuke Kuroda, based on the manga written and illustrated by Kohei Horikoshi. It’s a world full of superheroes, where some people are born with a superpower known as a “quirk” which they can train so they can become heroes or villains. Nobody wants it more than Izuku Midoriya, but he is quirkless, unlike his former best friend Katsuki Bakugo who now hates him (and everyone else) with a passion. After a chance encounter with the greatest hero of them all, All Might, he gains the opportunity of a lifetime. With a quirk now bestowed upon him that he doesn’t know how to use, he’ll join the school, make new friends and find himself battling a villain or two.
This is one show that you’re going to have to seriously consider binging. I say that because I don’t really know how I can watch just one episode, let alone stop after ten or so. The show is really good about making its protagonist endearing. First of all, Izuku “Deku” Midoriya is the school’s punching bag, but he’s also a fanboy. He keeps stats, analyses quirks and determines the best strategies, just like your common sports fan. Unlike sports, though, Deku wants in. Unfortunately, so does his former best friend turned school bully Katsuki “Kacchan” Bakugo, capable of generating fiery explosions. Bakugo hates Deku with the passion of a million suns, and unfortunately Deku is too idealistic to not try and do fair by him.
After a chance encounter with bigger-than-life hero All Might, Deku will get the opportunity of a lifetime. But when the young fanboy starts exhibiting a Quirk, Bakugo’s hatred for him seems to grow even further. Deku’s biggest weakness is that his body is not used to his power, so the consequences everytime he uses it are painful. This limits Deku’s effectiveness, so he has to put all strategic theories into practice. I won’t lie to you, there’s a point in which I found myself switching sides as Deku’s emotional speeches start to grow old. On the other hand, Bakugo’s balls-to-the-wall and kill-it-with-fire attitude starts to sound appealing.
The rest of the class at U.A. soon starts admiring Deku’s self-sacrificing approach to heroism. Thankfully, the characters’ personality are as diverse as their powers. Ochako Uraraka is the selfless and lovable friend to all, always positive and ready to lend a hand. She will instantly become Deku’s greatest ally with her Quirk over gravity. Tenya Iida is obsessed with discipline and starts as another rival to Deku but soon enough he comes around, embracing his role as class representative. He’s the rough equivalent to a speedster.
Todoraki is the more cool and calculating powerhouse capable of freezing everything in sight. He’s also a chill character, capable of analyzing the situation with much cooler head than Deku or Bakugo. Then you learn that due to father issues, he’s retrained himself from using half his power. He’s a master of fire too. Pretty soon, he’s going to be vying for the top spot versus both Deku and Bakugo. All that and I haven’t mentioned the teachers, who have their own drama going.
And we could go on… But let’s try to save something for the show. Yes, we got both the teacher and student dynamic as well as an exploration of the superhero mythos. For the first season, you will see the more innocent, the good-and-evil tradition where heroes can do no wrong. As we progress into the second season, chinks start appearing in the armour. Villains are still evil, but we start seeing some method to madness while heroes’ weaknesses and flaws can’t be fully ignored. By season three, the lines are still there but the conviction is starting to falter. Is breaking the law always a bad thing? Is following the rules always the best path to take? The shades of grey are starting to show.
Highly recommended for the fanboy in all of us that loves superheroes. If you’ve ever geeked out over heroes’ stats, one-to-one outcomes and strategized over how to win a battle against all odds, you can’t miss this show. It’s an emotional roller coaster of a show with a penchant for drama, brains and a lot of heart. It starts deceptively simple and straight-forward but you’ll probably want to binge one season at a time, since every episode is just a morsel that promises a lot more. The hero mythos exploration evolves as the mantle of the seasoned and famous names most give way to the new guard, and eventually the villains will be doing the same. It’s just a matter of time to find out which team wins. Plus ultra.
That will do for now.