Written by Ashli Trageser (Features Writer)
Similar to “The Promised Neverland,” which was reviewed a few issues back, “My Hero Academia” is another Japanese anime that would be great to start with if you’re new to the genre. With the release of season five just around the corner, now is as great a time as any to get into the fandom, which is rather large compared to others discussed in this column. Although the first episode aired nearly five years ago in April of 2016, the fandom is still as lively as ever, especially with the aforementioned new season on March 27th. If you’re looking for a very interactive fandom, (lots of fanfiction, fanart, cosplays, etc.) then this is definitely the one for you.
The story takes place in a world where everything is the same, except for the fact that people are now born with superhuman abilities known as quirks. Roughly 80% of the population is born with one, and they are also extremely varied. Some can be used for heroic deeds, some for evil, some just for everyday life. The story starts out by introducing its protagonist, a 14-year-old boy named Izuku Midoriya, who was born quirkless. His dream since he was a child was to be a hero, much like his idol, All Might. All Might is the number one hero in the world, and the universal symbol of peace. Even though young Midoriya doesn’t have any special power to call his own, he wants to be just like All Might someday. However, it’s not that easy. Growing up, adults always tell children that “everyone is born equal” and “you can be anything you want to be,” but just as in reality, this isn’t true. “My Hero Academia” is a great example that no, not everyone is born equal, some people have to work twice as hard to reach the same goal.
One day, Midoriya is attacked by a villain with a dangerous sludge quirk in a back alleyway, who almost took his life. Luckily, All Might was there to save him. In that brief meeting period, Midoriya is able to ask his idol if he too can become a hero, even without a quirk – and at that moment, All Might said no. Soul-crushing, as one can imagine. Later, however, in a state of crisis, Midoriya showcases extraordinary feats of bravery and heroism by jumping in to save Katsuki Bakugo (secondary protagonist, also Midoriya’s classmate, bully, and childhood friend) from the same sludge villain. That very day, All Might went back to Midoriya and said yes, he can be a hero. However, he also explained the truth of his quirk – that it is passed down from generation to generation, and that after seeing Midoriya act on raw heroism, decided to name him as the next successor to his quirk; One For All.
After ten months of intense training, Midoriya is now finally ready for the entrance exam to UA High School, the top hero school on the entire planet. (and the alma mater to many globally renowned heroes, including All Might) After Midoriya is accepted and assigned to Class 1-A of the Hero Course, it is there that the rest of the colorful main cast is introduced. Ochako Uraraka, Tenya Iida, Katsuki Bakugo, (who was also accepted to the school) Shoto Todoroki, and the rest of Class 1-A become more and more important and developed as the series progresses. With the many different arcs and storylines throughout the course of the show, it’s sure to keep watchers interested.
“While there are plenty of flaws found in My Hero Academia, both in the series itself and the fans, overall it is certainly one I’d recommend. The base concept of it is a pretty common one, but I believe they put a unique spin on the whole superpowers and superhero idea by giving the majority of [the population] powers. Again, the writing of the characters isn’t perfect, but I feel that a lot of them are written in a way that doesn’t give away too much about them while also keeping us rooting for them.” Stated Reese Rosenquist when asked their opinion on the popular Japanese anime.
I’d have to agree with most of Reese’s points as well. The characters aren’t perfectly written and there are certain things the writers should be focusing on rather than others, but in general, a very good anime to start out with.