By Michael Phung
The Will of a Hero
October 6, 2017
ENTERTAINMENT: “My Hero Academia” teaches people that anyone can accomplish anything through hard work and tenacity.
The world of anime continues to engage audiences with innovative worlds and distinctive concepts from Japan.
“My Hero Academia,” an original breakout series airing every Saturday, leaves a considerable impression on anime fans with its unique take on the shounen genre, a type of anime based on action sequences and targeted toward young males.
When the show was originally announced back in 2016, fans were unsure of what to expect considering it was competing against other well-known and popular shounen titles, such as “Dragon Ball Super” and “One Piece.”
However, the epic series managed to defy expectations, earning an excellent rating of 8.41/10 on MyAnimeList.com during its first season, and continuing in its second season this year with an exceptional rating of 8.83/10.
“My Hero Academia” stars Japanese voice actor Daiki Yamashita as the main character, Izuku Midoriya. He is known in other popular works, such as Jun from “Sword Art Online II,” Touya and Pororoca from “Log Horizon,” Mizushino Souta from “Re:Creators,” and Soutsuda Mitsuru from “Food Wars.”
The series’ is based on the manga by Kohei Horikoshi, a Japanese artist known for creating shounen series such as “Barrage.”
The story centers around Izuku Midoriya, a compassionate individual whose dream is to be a hero, but soon faces great challenges that come to test his fate.
The world consists of superheroes and “quirks,” a term for powerful abilities like comic book superpowers. Originally coming into existence as mysterious anomalies, quirks slowly became commonplace in the generations that followed.
Those born without quirks are usually looked down upon.
This is first displayed when Izuku Midoriya, who has no powers, tries to defend another child from a cold-hearted bully, Katsuki Bakugou. After losing to Bakugou’s power to create explosions, Midoriya realizes that everyone is not created equal.
When Midoriya chooses to save the bully Bakugou from a supervillain, his willingness and bravery catches the attention of his favorite superhero, All Might.
All Might later passes down his quirk One for All to Midoriya. The quirk gives the person who possesses it superhuman strength which is magnified by each predecessor, getting stronger as it is passed down through generations.
Midoriya adapts and learns how to use One for All, at U.A. Academy with All Might as his mentor.
The message to audiences is that hard work pays off.
The second season delves deeper into Midoriya’s training, introducing the concept of a tournament to determine the best students at U.A. Academy. To reach this goal, Midoriya must push his limits and compete with his peers—but he must also face his weaknesses.
During the season’s second arc, the students get the opportunity to learn firsthand the responsibilities of a hero. Midoriya undergoes serious training in close combat and in using his quirk more efficiently.
After the second season was announced, a trailer teased that the series would include a tournament, which is what makes shounen animes such as “Dragonball,” “Naruto,” and “Hunter x Hunter” so popular.
Horikoshi manages to suspensefully pace each episode by leaving the audience with a cliffhanger, making some fans wish that Studio Bones, the show’s animation studio, would release the next episode sooner.
The well-developed storyline smoothly advances the plot. After the tournament arc, it is hard to believe that the story could get any better, but the second half of the season manages to surpass the highest of expectations at a very steady pace without feeling slow. The story gets even more interesting with the addition of a new villain.
Audiences have also been impressed by the show’s outstanding soundtrack. The songs properly set the mood and complement the action sequences. As the intensity level in a fight scene increases, the music becomes more dramatic. The timing of both the soundtrack and combat are perfectly synchronized.
Character development is another strong aspect of the show. Throughout the series, several characters undergo changes in their thought processes during the battle sequences. Many of the characters face problems that seem insurmountable at first, but manage to pull through, showing that any problem can be overcome through perseverance and tenacity.
Despite its positive aspects, there are some downsides to the show, such as the plot holes. Although they are merely minor issues, they are still confusing. A glowing baby who has already developed a quirk starts off the show, contradicting the fact that humans usually don’t develop their quirks after a few years.
Through the tenacious Izuku Midoriya, “My Hero Academia” sends the message that even though no one is created equal, anyone can still accomplish anything as long as they have the will and drive to do so.