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Boku no Hero Academia – 03 »« Boku no Hero Academia – 01

Boku no Hero Academia – 02

「ヒーローの条件」 (Hiirou no Jouken)
“What It Takes to Be a Hero”

I repeat: I know what they’re trying to do, but it works. The hero fights through disappointment, and that moment at the end … chills. It’s been a while since a story gave me chills like that.

A Hero’s Disappointment

I suspected that the first episode was mainly setup, and it would get good from this episode onward. While some shows are hyped for I-know-not-why, this didn’t seem like one of those. I figured there had to be a reason so many held it in high regard. Turns out, there was.

I have a world of respect for Horikoshi-sensei (the original creator) for not giving into platitudes early on. It would have been so easy to have All Might tell Izuku he could do it from the beginning, and it would have been befitting of All Might’s larger-than-life personality. Instead, All Might gave the “realistic” answer—I put that in air quotes because I’ve always considered realists to be cynics who don’t want to admit it, but it really was a sensible response, wasn’t it? It’s like telling someone they can be in the NBA. I’m 6’7″, so if you told young Stilts that, you had a leg to stand on. But if you were 5’6″ with short parents? It would seem like a lie.

It felt like Izuku’s will was breaking. He was holding it together by a thread. And then he realized that he accidentally freed the villain and endangered his childhood friend. Oof.

A Hero’s Heart

Izuku and Katsuki’s actions show two different paths to the hero. Katsuki’s is one of strength and pride. Even if the kid is a dick, it’s hard to hate him when he shows so much toughness in the face of an enemy that nearly subsumed Izuku in seconds. His pride at being the best propels him, and will never allow him to be a sidekick, as that one superhero suggested—he’ll be a hero himself, or he’ll die trying. That pride is fragile, and could backfire, but in a way he reminds me of the principal from Ansatsu Kyoushitsu—yes, his strength seems destined to falter, but it hasn’t yet. If his pride is a wall that will tumble down in a hurricane, while the palm tree that bends will remain, he hasn’t met that hurricane yet.

Izuku, on the other hand, follows a different pride. His is one of weakness and heart. Katsuki undoubtedly works hard, but Izuku will have to work twelve times as hard to attain any measure of success. He seems an unlikely hero, but he’s looking more and more like the Steve Rogers who becomes Captain America every day—it’s not his abilities that matter, but his heart. He will jump on the grenade, even if it means his death.

This episode was like the first of Sousei no Onymouji, where two people save each other—one physically, one spiritually. All Might certainly saves Izuku (and Katsuki) from certain death, but Izuku also saves All Might from becoming a hypocrite. His will and heart are what save the day, and even though I know what they’re doing, damn if it didn’t work gloriously.

A Hero’s Chance

I’m glad the preview spoils All Might’s plan, because I noticed a hole in his admonishment earlier. He never said Izuku couldn’t be a hero, he just said he couldn’t become a hero without power. If he doesn’t have it, then he needs to acquire it. Extended training montage incoming, with All Might’s Quirk as the goal at the end of the rainbow.

But before that was the undoubtedly best scene of the episode. When All Might chased Izuku down and gave him a thanks, a correction, and a suggestion, it was like—well, your personal hero acknowledging you. All Might recognized his will and his heart, and that he has the essential quality of a hero, the quality you cannot train. When a tragedy strikes, there are those who run away from the danger, and they’re sensible. But there are also those who run toward it, and they have what it takes to be a hero, power or not.

It’s been a while since I got chills like that from an anime. The kind of chills that make you believe. Horikoshi-sensei and BONES are grabbing hold of an elemental nerve, a story we all want to believe in. It’s not unique, it’s not groundbreaking, but damn if it doesn’t work. Sometimes the classics are the classics for a damn good reasons.

Coverage decisions will be made in a couple of weeks (after the April 15th shows have had a couple of episodes), but I would be surprised if this doesn’t receive regular coverage. This episode proved what everyone has been talking about.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Power does not a hero make. It’s heart that makes the difference #heroaca 02

Random thoughts:

  • Tatooin Shopping District. I choose to take that as a reference!
  • All Might lost half of his respiratory system and ALL of his stomach? How is he even alive?
  • I love love loooove why All Might smiles—to trick the fear inside him. I’ve used this too. Sometimes it’s a choice between smiling and crying (or screaming), and in that case, it’s better to smile, even if the smile is a lie. It can often become the truth.
  • “Their bodies moved before they had a chance to think.” “You can become a hero.” So many chills.

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Even if you see it coming, it can still work, Batman does not kill. Superman does not kill., Inside Out: What Emotion Drives You?, and Superhot: Storytelling through gameplay.

 

Preview

April 10, 2016 at 5:27 pm
45 comments »
  • April 10, 2016 at 5:59 pmscampjot

    The part where Izuku tells Katsuki that it seemed he was asking for help, while trying to put his best smile, also gave me the chills.

    Amazing episode.

  • April 10, 2016 at 6:03 pmPurpleBomber

    I’ve heard several opinions that BONES needs to hurry up the progression to tempt those on the 3 episode rule, but… really? I’m probably on a high horse as a manga reader, but if this episode didn’t do it for you, I’m not sure anything in a third episode would. This is already a good series by a variety of metrics, and it’s only going to get better as the cast expands (as we saw tidbits of in the preview).

    • April 10, 2016 at 7:04 pmStilts

      Yeah no, I agree. Don’t rush it. I can see what those who said the first episode could have benefited from a Re:Zero-style double-length premiere, and I agree, though even that’s not absolutely necessary. This already got me significantly more excited than episode one, and that was pretty good.

    • April 10, 2016 at 9:42 pmIreneSharda

      As an anime-only who actually couldn’t even get through the first chapter of the manga because of the writing and art, I can tell you that I absolutely love this adaptation and I think it’s paced perfectly. I think the voice and music and animation is what I really needed to enjoy this series and suddenly I can feel and see what everyone else sees in it. I’ve become a little too old for shounen series, but this one is different, in the same way that HxH is different. And I’m excited to see the rest of it.

  • April 10, 2016 at 6:25 pmJetman

    This is everything I ever wanted in a Superhero show. It’s fun, colorful, intense, full of heart and completely sincere. I haven’t been this excited for a new anime in a long time and I hope this is a huge success. Anybody know how long it is?

    • April 10, 2016 at 7:03 pmStilts

      Greenlit for 13 episodes as of now. That’s one of the reasons I wasn’t originally as hyped on it as others, ’cause it reads like a long-running shounen.

      • April 11, 2016 at 12:43 amHunter-Wolf

        It’s just sad most anime are becoming one cour anime (with the very slight possibilty of a 2nd season), i guess we won’t be seeing any 50 ep epics like Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Eureka 7 or long manga adaptions like the masterpiece Monster (which was over 70 eps) any time soon, long +300 ep shonen also seem to be a thing of the past (once One Piece ends), but those were ended up being filled with pointless filler and usually got tiresome and aimless after a while (with few moments of greatness sprinkled around), that’s why i prefer tightly paced chuck full of content 50 eps shows over long running 300 ep shonen shows.

        Sigh, There was a time when 26 ep two cour anime was the norm, which IMO is perfect amount of time needed to tell a good story by presenting all the characters, their backrounds and motivations, introducing conflicts, building tension and mysteries and eventually resolving those conflicts in a statisfactory manner giving the story and characters closure, rarely a 13 ep show can do that, and not only was the 26 ep show the norm (Death Note, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Evangelion) but i also miss the the occasional 50 ep epic we got from time to time, now one cour seems to be the standard, such wasted potential, wished this show and Koutetsujou were like those 50 ep epics.

      • April 11, 2016 at 1:15 amStilts

        Aye. I’ve got an MWotA I need to write on a similar topic sometime soon.

      • April 11, 2016 at 1:19 amMb

        I do not see it running just 13 episodes. With Gintama Anime, Assassination Classroom Manga ending… Shokugeki no Soma or Haikyuu!! are far less popular and suited for the international market. So what else to come ?

        + It simply does not look like it its aimed for short running. Take alot at the pace Stilts.

      • April 11, 2016 at 11:21 amStilts

        @Mb

        You might be right, but for now it’s only greenlit for 13, and BONES isn’t always good at doing season twos. The production committee makes the decision, of course, and could transfer it to another studio, but I’ve become a bit cynical on series getting sequel announcements. I’ll believe it’ll get more when they’re announced.

    • April 11, 2016 at 3:52 amJips

      It’s cliche to the core and you like! Ah, how good it is to be so gullible, i remember a decade ago when i used to watch everything and liked it regardless of it’s tropes, but then i gained taste and that dream ended, enjoy while it lats.

      • April 11, 2016 at 11:28 amStilts

        …yeah, no. That’s not how taste works.

        Certainly I enjoy the novel more than I used to, because I have seen the standard many times. And I’ve lost my taste for the average magical-fantasy-action-harem anime, because I’ve seen that formula played out too many times. So to a degree you’re right.

        But cynicism is a choice. If you can no longer enjoy good stories (and reasonable people can disagree on whether this is one, but I’m not talking about Heroaca, but in general), then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Good taste should not be exclusionary. It should be about recognizing the best, both because they’re novel and because they’re just good.

        I’ve watched over 120 days of anime, along with untold numbers of movies, other TV shows, books, podcasts, and more. Somehow, in all of that time, I haven’t grown cynical because of my good taste, even though I have such faith in that taste that I decided to write and publish fiction myself. It’s a choice.

  • April 10, 2016 at 7:31 pmPyroShield

    I don’t see what everyone hypes this show for, so far based on what I’ve seen, its mind-numbingly average. To it’s benefit it did interest me enough to get me to read to its latest chapter, however, it didn’t change the fact that the plot’s so generically ‘shonen’

    • April 10, 2016 at 8:35 pmStilts

      It’s not unique, it’s not groundbreaking, but damn if it doesn’t work. Sometimes the classics are the classics for a damn good reasons.

      The fact that it got you to read the manga probably says something too.

  • April 10, 2016 at 8:01 pmRuddor

    Since no one else is talking about it, let me just say that I love the OST so far.

    • April 10, 2016 at 9:55 pmcookiethief

      can I just say that as someone who’s read the manga (and personally feels it’s good but still, pretty average shounen), that I saw the composer for this series was the same as for Haikyuu and decided to watch the anime solely because the track in haikyuu was absolutely fantastic. And i’m so glad I did, because I think the anime is definitely improving on the manga

  • April 10, 2016 at 8:06 pmZhinvu

    What I’m wondering is why Katsuki is called Izuku’s childhood friend, when from episode 1 and now he’s nothing like a friend to Izuku. The guy’s a jerk. Period. And on All Might I also like how they didn’t follow my assumption of him encouraging Izuku from the start. And yes I can’t help but get teary eyed at the ending scene with that exchange between Izuku and All Might. Definitely the real hero in this episode is Izuku. All it took was for him to act, and everyone followed. I hear Boku no Hero Academia is potentially the next biggest hit since Naruto but it’s too early to say. Nonetheless, I’m liking it so far.

    • April 10, 2016 at 9:46 pmAika

      I think he has been friend with Deku from before the age of 4, which is the Age of the Quirk manifestation, and this acquaintance continued even after everyone got their quirks expect for Deku, since he still had his hopes to get a quirk, he stuck closer to Kaccan admiring the boy’s strength, he never lost faith, you know how bullies like to have their victim kinda in their group surrounding them ? so they can be mean to them whenever they like, I believe those two had this kind of relationship, I’m really interested to see how it ill develop over time, seems like a really bad one.

    • April 10, 2016 at 11:08 pmHanabira.Kage

      They were close friends before they developed powers, but when Midoriya didn’t develop powers and Bakugou got an extremely powerful ability, Bakugou got drunk on his power and the praise showered on him, and turned into a bully instead. So since they were friends as kids they are kinda sorta childhood friends. For a loose definition of the term.

    • April 10, 2016 at 11:50 pmZhinvu

      Thanks for clearing that up guys. The first two episodes show no indication they were friends before so I wouldn’t know they were close before Katsuki gain his Quirk.

      • April 11, 2016 at 1:16 amStilts

        Well, they do have childhood nicknames they use for each other, and have since that very first scene. That’s not conclusive, but it does suggest they knew each other before.

      • April 11, 2016 at 4:31 amZhinvu

        I thought Deku was more of an insult name Katsuki calls Izuku. But yeah I had to rewatch the episodes to see. It did look weird Izuku calls his bully Kacchan.

  • April 10, 2016 at 8:54 pmdark

    it been very good so far =O i hope that it don´t going in gay way like naruto&sasuke

  • April 10, 2016 at 9:18 pmstarss

    God, the world just treats Deko like– …CRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAP! He musters the only shred of spare courage he has to help, and his rescuee still bullys him and now he has the HEROES scolding him for charging in without a quirk!

    • April 10, 2016 at 9:54 pmStilts

      To be fair, they’re not wrong to scold him. Think of this: a house is on fire. Firefighters are containing it, but someone might be inside. They’re getting ready to go inside, they hope the truck that has the equipment they need will get here soon—and then this random citizen runs in. Even if everything works out, they wouldn’t be too happy, and would scold (if they were of that mind) the civilian for endangering their own life, and potentially making more victims for the firefighters to save.

      That’s what Deku did. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t heroic, but heroes also have a way of dying heroically, and no one wants to see a kid’s corpse.

  • April 10, 2016 at 10:49 pmzztop

    The source manga tankoubons contain a lot of sidenotes and sketches by Horikoushi Kohei. He says as a child, he always hated the empty pages inside the tankoubon volume of a manga because he didn’t like paying for content-less pages.

    So now, he’s made it his mission to fill up all those empty pages with related notes and stuff to ensure people who buy the Academia manga can get their money’s worth of content.

    • April 10, 2016 at 11:10 pmHanabira.Kage

      Not the hero we deserve, but definitely the one we all need.

    • April 11, 2016 at 12:22 amMormegil

      That’s really cool.
      I’m happy he was finally able to get a hit in Shonen Jump. His last two manga didn’t work out but, as they usually say, the third time’s the charm. In a way, he probably poured a lot of his own personality traits into Deku, like his perseverance. Everyone loves an underdog.

  • April 11, 2016 at 12:24 amMormegil

    No lie. I haven’t been emotionally moved by an anime in a while, but that last scene really got to me. The OST is doing some wonderful work.

  • April 11, 2016 at 6:32 amAmon

    I don’t know what it is, but I can’t stand this MC. May it’s this overwhelming naivety, maybe his whiny nature. It’s unbearable. Dropped.

  • April 11, 2016 at 8:10 amGuile

    >All Might lost half of his respiratory system and ALL of his stomach? How is he even alive?
    Guts and Can-do American Spirit, duh.

    • April 11, 2016 at 11:29 amStilts

      ‘Murica, fuck yeah!

    • April 12, 2016 at 4:13 amHunter-Wolf

      I can say he is super human so it doesn’t matter but i looked it up and it is very possible even a normal human would survive losing a lung and his stomach.

      Losing his stomach is not life ending, people who do stomach clipping or Total Gastrectomy operations pretty much have a tube connecting from their esophagus to the small intestines which can’t be called a stomach (and the intestines is where food is actually absorbed), it just means you will not digest food well (before your intestines try to absorb it) and as a result you will be malnourished as we saw how he is very thin in his normal form.

      Also living with one lung is quite possible and common in fact but of course it leaves you with a short-breath and less oxygen input into your blood, that’s basicaly how he is still alive.

  • April 11, 2016 at 10:41 amMako

    >All Might lost half of his respiratory system and ALL of his stomach? How is he even alive?
    “Stomach: The whole stomach is sometimes removed as a treatment for stomach cancer, a procedure called a total gastrectomy. In this procedure, the small intestine is connected to the esophagus. People who’ve had a total gastrectomy receive nutrition through a vein for a few weeks while they recover. After that, they are able to eat most foods, but may need to eat smaller meals, and take dietary supplements if they have problems absorbing vitamins, according to the National Health Service of England”

    Now back to the anime; So far, so good. I love the pacing so far, they aren’t rushing; the color are great, comedy, etc.

    • April 11, 2016 at 10:10 pmStilts

      Huh. The More You Know~

  • April 11, 2016 at 12:14 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    For some reason, watching this episode made me think of Darkseid’s first invasion of Earth in Superman: The Animated Series.

    Throughout the series up to that point, there was a recurring character, Detective Daniel Turpin, who, while a little rough around the edges, liked Superman but felt that police matters should be left up to the police. Anyway, when even Superman was temporarily defeated by Darkseid, Turpin rallied the police and actually started being able to push back Darkseid’s forces and even when Darkseid tried to break the people’s spirit by displaying a beaten Superman, Turpin kept the citizens inspired and defiant, resulting in Superman being freed. Eventually, the New Gods of New Genesis arrive and place Earth under its protection, forcing Darkseid to retreat. Unfortunately, Darkseid wanted Superman to know that victory has a price and kills Turpin with his Omega Beams just before leaving.

    The main point I was thinking of while watching this episode of Academia came at the end of the episode, at Turpin’s funeral, with Superman standing over his grave saying, “In the end, the world didn’t really need a ‘Superman’. Just a brave one.” And as he leaves, you see the gravestone with the name and “Earth’s Greatest Hero” underneath it.

    This plays back into what I mentioned in the previous episode in that being a “hero” (in that world) isn’t solely based on the Quirks/powers one has, but the type of person they are, and that heroes can come in all shapes and sizes.

    • April 11, 2016 at 1:01 pmStilts

      It seems cheesy, but it’s true. Also, I got chills just reading that synopsis.

    • April 11, 2016 at 5:19 pmIreneSharda

      I remember that episode, one of the best in the series and one of the best portrayals of Superman ever.

      It’s always important to note that hero does have to be super to be heroic. Police officers, fire fighters, and soldiers are heroes even without the powers, and that’s what the MC and the rest of the world have to understand. Being a superhero is never about the powers. Villains have those.
      It’s about the heart.

      Honestly for me, I’ve been hearing the music from Disney’s Hercules playing in my mind’s ear. Especially, “One Last Hope” and “Go the Distance.

  • April 11, 2016 at 5:39 pmlasttiwinfan

    I like that he is following the captain America route without the drugs.

  • April 11, 2016 at 6:28 pmjustin

    he is going to become the next one punch man.

  • April 11, 2016 at 7:22 pmJD

    I am sold. Yeah, nothing so groundbreaking or mind-blowingly original so far. But as long as it is coherent and it has a heart–just like being a hero without a quirk–good ol’ shounen-y anime will always be great.

  • April 11, 2016 at 11:59 pmSerRompalot

    People who dismiss anime only on the basis that it follows a well-used formula and/or contains common cliches/tropes are mere hipster-elitists. Being novel alone does not save a bad story, stories have and always will be carried by the strength of its writing and characterization. Boku no Hero Academia is by no means revolutionary, but it pulls off what it has well.

    • April 12, 2016 at 4:16 amHunter-Wolf

      Well said, i completely agree.

  • April 12, 2016 at 12:54 pmGuile

    And we haven’t even gotten to the waifu yet! She’s adorable, really. Great big ball of sunshine.

  • April 14, 2016 at 5:52 pmWhyY

    The last monologue is really cool:
    “Ah, I forgot to tell, this is actually a story of how me became the greatest hero ever”

    Yea, plot’s cliche & very generic shonen… But very well executed..