Izuku (Deku) has dreamt of being a hero all his life — a lofty goal for anyone, but especially challenging for a kid with no superpowers. That’s right, in a world where eighty percent of the population has some kind of super-powered “quirk,” Izuku was unlucky enough to be born completely normal. But that’s not enough to stop him from enrolling in one of the world’s most prestigious hero academies.
The students and teachers have now pretty much recovered from the attack onUSJ and having recently learned that there is a new group of villains targeting All Might, which is good as an important event is coming up: the UA Academy Sports Festival. This is a change for all first years to showcase their skills to the entire country in order to attract the attention of the top hro agencies and get the best heroic career for when they graduate. All Might has made it clear to Deku that if he wants to be seen as the next hero of justice, the second incarnation of All Might, that he really has to rise above his peers and prove himself to be all that the city will expect him to be. Naturally, Deku has doubts about his capability to deliver.
Competition is rife – Deku already has a few rivals but his allies are determined to prove themselves too, even if it means taking Deku down in battle. And if that wasn’t enough, the other classes at UA are jealous of all the media attention Class A have received and are planning to sabotage their attempts to be notices and attract their own level of attention.
As you would expect, My Hero Academia is back in all of its shounen glory for a second season and once again it doesn’t waste time in launching right back into the action. Now Deku has established himself as a fledgling hero the ante has been upped and he has to show the city just how capable he is of protecting them. I have been looking forward to this season because I knew that the UA Sports Festival was going to be great. It has reared such a colourful cast of characters and now its pits them against the rest of the ruthless, ambitious first years. This guarantees plenty of high-stake battles to keep and shounen fan entertained.
Deku has become such a great character that you can’t help but root for him to win absolutely everything. There are some protagonists that you want to see fail occasionally, to eat some humble pie or be taken down a peg, but Deku’s earnestness and determination completely removes this aspect here. The odds seem to be stacked against him so much that you want him to come out on top. Bakugo is super-powered and Todoroki is skillful, but Deku always seems to be the underdog, and after every stage of the tension-filled Sports Festival I am always relieved when I see his hard work paying off.
My Hero Academia‘s colour palette is very vibrant – plenty of blues and reds and yellows) and all three of the primary colours are often sported by All Might), which reflect the sort of comic book style which has become rather iconic of the story. Very strong, very bright colours seem to be the symbol of heroes and of the academy, whilst the villains are often dressed in cooler colours in dim rooms and darkness.
I may have mentioned this before when reviewing the first season, but what impressed me about My Hero Academia was how it handles its ever-increasing large cast of characters. It did well to establish the personalities of teachers and students in Class A last time but now it expands to cover certain members from Class B, current heroes that made cameos in season one as well as spending time explaining motivations behind characters such as Todoroki’s complex relationship with his superhero father, Endeavour, and detailed information about supporting character’s quirks like Iida’s super speed or how Tokoyami’s shadow power works. We also see a lot of great quirks in the one-on-one tournament round, which is always a great type of situation to showcase plenty of character capabilities. Similar techniques involving battles are done in other shounen anime such as Bleach, Hunter x Hunter and Naruto.
What separatesMy Hero Academia from the usual shounen fare is that it examines the concept of what it means to be a hero and turns it on its head. Instead of those with superpowers being the minority, they are the majority and it’s the normal or ‘quirkless’ that are the odd ones. It also makes these heros very mortal, which is something they try to hide from the public to stop them from losing hope. Even though All Might is mortally wounded and is training Deku to one days take his place, he still keeps up appearances despite the physical and mental toll it takes on him.
My Hero Academia is going from strength to strength and is where I’m getting the majority of my shounen fix. The concept is an entertaining one and yet it has depth enough that it can slow the pace for a spell to tug on your heart strings. Deku is a protagonist that everyone can get behind and I’m looking forward to watching him get even stronger in this season. Plus Ultra!