Random Curiosity

Boku no Hero Academia – 14 »« Boku no Hero Academia – 12

Boku no Hero Academia – 13

「各々の胸に」 (Onoono no Mune ni)
“In Each of Our Hearts”

What a stirring end to a phenomenal season. This is only the beginning.

Victory By Seconds

To say this battle came down to the wire is an understatement. All Might blew everything he had beating Nomu, and was left with nothing but bluffs—something Izuku, and unfortunately Kurogiri both realized. Though All Might escaped this season alive, albeit not unscathed, this is why it felt so much like he could die last episode. It came down to the last seconds, and if Izuku hadn’t acted when he did, All Might might have died—or at least had his secret outed to the rest of the class, along with a whole mess of injuries. This is off-screen characters riding to the rescue done right—it was foreshadowed (Iida running to get them), it was the goal, and the heroes did every damn thing they could to survive until they arrived. Then, when All Might confirmed that Izuku saved his life—hrk. Damn if that didn’t feel good!

Chills To The Very End

This has been one of the best shows I’ve ever seen for sending a chill down my spine, something I’ll talk more about in the final impressions below. This last episode might have topped all the others in that, and if not, it’s damn close. When All Might was talking at the end about how the villains made a mistake, because this class is strong and they would only grow stronger for the ordeal they had gone through as freshmen, it was the old guard acknowledging the new guard that was coming up. As a certain other show said, we want to be seen by those we respect, and this is All Might and the other pros looking squarely at Izuku’s class, and being in awe at what they see. Even getting a taste of that feeling is heartwarming, uplifting, and cheering to a depth rarely seen in even great fiction. Once again—damn if that didn’t feel good.

Check out the final impressions below, but for now, relish in the truth that has been given to us—season two greenlit, woohoo!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The heroes squeak out a win by inches, as the old guard looks fondly upon the next generation growing up so fast #heroaca 13

Random thoughts:

  • Godsdamn, the music really is awesome in this show. I haven’t said that enough.
  • Listen again to Izuku when he’s preparing to leap at Kurogiri. His voice is so serious, it’s chilling in a different way. That’s the voice of a young All Might who is no longer smiling. It’s the voice of someone who’s about to break a foot off in someone’s ass.
  • Cheers, love! The cavalry’s here!

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: I love sales jobs, Good realism is character realism, Dying idols, and Frictionless routines.

ED Sequence

 

Final Impressions

When Samu previewed this show, he called it the Next Big Thing. Now, I trust Samu’s taste, so even though my Contrary Bastard sensors were going wild at that kind of hyperbole, I let myself get a little bit hyped. An American-style superhero story via Japanese manga shounen action? That has potential.

I’m glad I decided to dive in. The reward has been magnificent.

Before I indulge in too much hyperbole myself (it’s coming), let’s be clear—Boku no Hero Academia isn’t the most unique story to hit our airwaves recently. While I appreciate that it imports instead of recycling, we’ve seen all the constituent parts before, and seen them in near enough form to be able to identify plenty of influences. Horikoshi-sensei definitely subscribes to stealing like an artist, and is more the type to opt for execution over novelty. But, if you’re the type who can’t enjoy a story when you can identify too many tropes, and who lusts after the unique in your fiction, this one might not rev your motor. That’s not a knock on it; great stories can’t be everything to everyone. It’s what Horikoshi-sensei decided to write.

Within the bounds of what it’s trying to do, though, it executes beautifully. It’s shounen action about a wimp who grows up to become the greatest hero in the world, and that’s a tale that slips right past our conscious brain and puts jumper cables on the monkey brain beneath. We want to believe that hard work, perseverance, and a great mentor can help anyone row up to do great things, because we want to believe that for ourselves. It’s not a unique tale, but damn if it isn’t uplifting when it’s done well.

And uplifting is the name of Heroaca’s game. I can’t think of an anime that so reliably gave me chills, the kind that race up your spine and renew your faith in humanity. This quality is different from those anime that try to renew our faith in humanity by being generally optimistic, or even idealistic; those are stories that bounce off the more cynical among us. But not Heroaca. Its uplifting nature comes through the struggle its characters, and especially Izuku, go through to achieve their goals. Its world is basically optimistic, because someone like Izuku is able to succeed instead of being crushed flat. Yet he must work for it, and he does.

Those chills are made even more impressive by how often I could see them coming. The tropes are there, so they’re no surprise—except when they are! From the exam to get into school to Aizawa-sensei’s day one test, from Izuku’s battle with Kacchan to the entire final battle, there were surprises in the details. I didn’t expect Izuku to burn out only a single finger to throw that ball! That was good. That shows the author working cleverly within the confines he’s constructed for himself. That’s a hard trick, believe you me, and Horikoshi-sensei manages it often.

I could go on about the characters for several paragraphs, because they’re so well characterized in so few episodes. Unlike manga like Negima, which I always remember for putting name tags in the margins of the first few tanks for its oodles and oodles of characters, Heroaca only does exposition when it needs to, and differentiates its characters so well visually and personality-wise that names are a mere formality. That makes side battles as fun as the main battles, which is a neat trick if you can pull it off.

Izuku, of course, is the shining star. He’s the nerd all of us think of ourselves as, and in a way his character has trouble breathing since he has to support so much of the plot. Yet he plays his role so damn well that I was cheering for him by the end of the first episode, and needed to experience his entire story by the end of the second.

More interesting, perhaps, and certainly more difficult to write, is Katsuki. Putting Izuku’s incandescently angry bully on the good guy’s team is a bold move, since he has such the potential to polarize the audience—which he does. Yet that also means that Katsuki has more room to grow, where Izuku, who already knows what it’s like to be weak, does not. Katsuki is the Zuko to Izuku’s Aang, and I suspect he’ll change a lot by the time the story ends.

The pacing of this first season was great. It was nice and slow, but not so slow that it felt like nothing was happening—these chapters are packed with enough action to never get boring, especially in ones like eleven that had enough climaxes for two episodes. The animation, too, was lively and well done—no surprise, with Bones on the job—and I did not say enough nice things about the soundtrack in these posts. It really elevated the major moments to elicit that spine-tingling chill I love so much.

Look, Boku no Hero Academia is good stuff. It might not be unique, but it’s good. It’s damn, damn, damn, damn good. I would recommend it to pretty much anyone, save for those with a fetish for the new. And even better? A second season is already greenlit! I can’t wait for more Heroaca. It can’t come soon enough.

June 27, 2016 at 6:45 am
32 comments »
  • June 27, 2016 at 7:53 amJayDrink

    I don’t think there was a single episode in this show that didn’t have at least one epic moment? That would so not be the case if this had been made into a long running shounen. I’m so happy with this anime, can’t wait for next season!

  • June 27, 2016 at 7:59 amThe Walker

    When I watched this anime, I went to the manga after episode 9 or 10. I was crushed when I thought that it would only get one season. I had to know more about this world and the characters. Even though, like it was previously stated, nothing new was done, I always felt chills, and/or tears pricking my eyes when I watched. Like when Midoriya was told by his idol that he could become a hero, or when Midoriya’s mother told him he was cool on his first day of school, the Bakugo v. Midoriya fight, and then probably most important (to me), when All Might showed up to save the kids from the villains. The way they all looked to him saying his name with tears of relief in their eyes really drove home All Might’s Thesis of what a hero is: someone who shows up and immediately sets everyone at ease. He came in with that giant grin and told everyone it was OK because he was there. And they believed it. That was very powerful to me. He then proceeded to go “Plus Ultra” and save the day (a good majority of it. I can’t forget how badass Aizawa was taking on all the enemies at once to buy time. And the kids did well too.) I’m seriously glad there is another season on the way. From what I read, it only gets better. I’ll trust this team with pacing and direction because what I thought would be wrapped up by episode 11 took to episode 13 and at the end of every episode I would think “Woah! Already?” and not even feel like things were being dragged out passed it’s freshness date.

    Side note:

    http://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2037.jpg

    Quoth my wife: “Even when nothing is happening he still looks so angry. I hate to say it but that boy has RBF (Resting Bitch Face)

    • June 27, 2016 at 1:02 pmStilts

      RBF is a serious affliction that effects many. GET HELP, BAKUGOU.

  • June 27, 2016 at 8:23 amNex

    It almost feels like a rarity that we get a manga adaptation this faithful, it really can’t be overstated how much the music and everything added to the experience and made the material such a treat to see in motion. I’m so glad they’re going right ahead with more, even a short wait is gonna hurt.

    I know this is super premature, but I do hope the stars will align in a way that allows you to blog season two, once it airs. There are some great character moments still in store, even ignoring everyone’s favorite Ninja Turtle in the end teaser.

  • June 27, 2016 at 8:32 amrunner

    I always think of this series as a shounen manga that a lot of people grew up with fine tuned for the modern audiences. Like Stilts said, it’s used a lot of shounen tropes but used them in a somewhat more grounded setting.(Funny that I found the society with fantastic quirks in this series much more grounded than in many others)
    It’s optimistic, yes, heck I’ll even say it’s naive at some point but I think that’s what author is trying to do, to injects some ‘lil good old shounen optimism into the cynical modern world.

    I think what Almight said in a video he sent to Deku sum it up pretty well: “…You think this is cheesy? Fine by me. This is a job that requires risking one’s life to make this cheesy stuff become reality…” or something along these lines.

  • June 27, 2016 at 8:38 amRoberto Salas

    Good Show. When the Summer Preview ???

    • June 27, 2016 at 11:49 amKippo

    • June 27, 2016 at 1:01 pmStilts

      The answer is always “Around the same time as last year,” and if it’s running a little late, “Soon.” The 24th-27th is usually a good rule of thumb. We’re trying to get it out t’day or t’morrow, though we’ll see.

  • June 27, 2016 at 8:51 amscampjot

    When you read that the mangaka cried while watching episode 11 for the first time, you realize how good the adaptation must be.

    I never read the manga, but I fell in love with the first PV of the show.

    This anime was a bliss to my Sundays, and I hope I don’t have to wait too long for season 2!

    PLUS ULTRA

    • June 27, 2016 at 10:25 amscampjot

      For the sake of correctness, it was episode 12. :)

      • June 27, 2016 at 11:11 amWorldwidedepp

        seeing his Children in “flesh and blood” and with a voice that fill there Souls, yeah. it must had been an great impact. because until now his children was all inside his mind

      • June 27, 2016 at 1:04 pmscampjot

        Absolutely!

      • June 27, 2016 at 3:34 pmstarss

        Episode 12? … I can totally understand that he cried! That ep was AMAZING!

      • June 28, 2016 at 3:27 pmTrap Master

        Definitely, episode 12 was the best episode imo. That All Might speech followed by a punch only OPM cna rival was just fucking epic. The music, the animation, the voice acting, everything about that scene was just absolutely amazing. :)

      • June 29, 2016 at 8:58 amWorldwidedepp

        yeah, when Al Mighty are in his Hero stance (muscle flexing) the voice is so “calm” and “daddy” vibe… i dunno this voice really really fits him.

  • June 27, 2016 at 8:58 amWarriorsHeart

    Overall, an awesome adaption with a cool soundtrack. I thought the drawings in the last few episodes suffered a bit, but that’s me being picky. Really looking forward to the next season, because it’s Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 27, 2016 at 9:07 amTimaeus

    I’m going to miss waking up on Sunday mornings and saying to myself: “The day has come!”

    One ticket for the season 2 hype train, please. \^o^/

  • June 27, 2016 at 10:17 amTassadar

    Liking Tracer a bit more, aren’t we Stilts? :P

    • June 27, 2016 at 1:03 pmStilts

      I can get Overwatch in a month or two. Maybe ;_; And I’m an anti-Blizzard fanboy, but that shiz is fun.

      • June 28, 2016 at 12:16 amTassadar

        I think it’s best to judge each of their games individually instead of collectively under the Blizzard tag, even though all their games share a unique “Blizzard flavor”, which I happen to love by the way but I respect that there are people who do not.

  • June 27, 2016 at 10:33 amGuile

    One thing that didn’t work very well for me this episode is the short subplot with Kaminari in his brain-dead phase getting snagged by the radio control villain.

    I can see why thee did it here instead of either of the previous episodes, reinforcing the whole ‘fuck fuck everything is going wrong’ vibe. But I felt like it took away from All Might’s thing, while I also never once thought Kaminari was going to bite it or anything. Then it was resolved the same way as All Might’s thing was; with some timely cover work by Snipe.

  • June 27, 2016 at 10:35 amGuile

    Oh, and I’m stoked for second season, of course. Sports festival, here we come!

  • June 27, 2016 at 11:00 amPurpleBomber

    I’m very happy with this adaptation as a manga reader, BONES did a killer job with the source material. Regarding the season 2 preview, I would not actually be surprised if season 2 is more than 13 episodes. Officially, season 1 covered the first 21 chapters of the manga, but the villain they showed in the preview is is a fair ways more off than the next 21 chapters. Either BONES is going to pick up the adaptation pace significantly in season 2, or we’ve got a lot more episodes to look forward to. :)

  • June 27, 2016 at 3:23 pmstarss

    I am so glad this is getting another season. It deserves it! Everything in this was near-perfect!

  • June 27, 2016 at 7:50 pmJetman

    I don’t much to add. It knew exactly what it wanted to do, and did it very well. 9/10

  • June 28, 2016 at 5:21 amFlappy

  • June 28, 2016 at 7:34 amTrap Master

    Had a good time watching this. I can’t say I enjoyed the beginning a lot, although I think that’s due to me having read the manga, and even in the manga, I personally felt the beginning was kind of slow, but once it started with the villain arc, it picked up, and that final punch by All Might was just breath taking. Really looking forward to S2.

  • June 28, 2016 at 1:20 pmchimp

    Really enjoyed this show. Now the dilemma: wait for season 2 or cave in and read the manga.

  • June 28, 2016 at 5:00 pmZhinvu

    What really got me curious about this show is the praises it’s given by Naruto’s mangaka, and after seeing it I can see why. Izuku really embodies a Shonen Jump hero with his never give up attitude and it’s great seeing him overcome one challenge after another. The other interesting bit I saw was how it shows even All Might isn’t perfect and that even he has some flaws like being unable to juggle his time as a teacher and hero, and that even he has to endure hardships to show why he’s the no. 1 hero. And by now, though I’m still not 100% warming up to him yet, I guess Bakugou is an okay guy and I can’t deny he has the most badass hero costume in their class. As for the girls, My favorites are currently Tsuyu, Momo, and even Tooru because of the fact that we don’t know what she looks like is interesting. And on the other side, Tomura Shigaraki now is one of my favorite designs for a villain.

  • June 28, 2016 at 8:18 pmHunter-Wolf

    It has been a long time since an anime gave me serious chills like Boku no Hero (last time it was Attack on Titan i guess), so glad season 2 was green-lit and announced, would have been a huge bummer if that didn’t happen.

    Can’t wait for season 2, so hyped for it now after seeing how good this series can get (hopefully between now and it’s release we get something to fill the void like Attack on Titan season 2).

  • June 29, 2016 at 6:52 pmscampjot

    Rewatching episode 4, noticed that some of the teachers in the exams’s control room are introduced in this episode. Nice :D

  • June 30, 2016 at 10:38 pmMormegil

    There are so many hero deconstruction stories lately, but what actually makes My Hero Academia stand out is that it’s an unabashed love song to heroes. The huge emotional, bombastic moments coupled with the excellent soundtrack were a thing of beauty. This is a series that screams out, “Heroes are the best!” And I love it for that.

    I’m so glad Horikoshi was finally able to get a hit in Shonen Jump. The guy didn’t give up, and his perseverance is found in so many of the characters in this series. Cannot wait for Season 2.