What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?
Izuku “Deku” Midoriya is a regular middle school student in a world where people with superpowers known as “Quirks” are the norm. However, he dreams of one day becoming a Hero, despite being bullied by his classmates for not having a Quirk. After being the only one to try and save his childhood bully, Katsuki, from a Villain, All Might, the world’s greatest Hero, bestows upon him his own quirk, “One For All”. The story follows Izuku’s entrance into U.A. High School, a school that cultivates the next generation of Heroes.
I’ve been wanting to watch this one for a while now. It was one of the most highly-rated shows of last year and everyone anticipates a second series to follow in Spring this year. It has occasionally been compared to shows like Naruto Shippuden for its potential for shounen epic-ness. And this opinion isn’t entirely unfounded. Like many shounen anime, we have a protagonist with a can-do attitude and an indomitable spirit, fighting for what he believes in despite his peers not thinking too much of his talents and abilities. He has a strong mentor, a powerful rival and his peers can’t help but flock to him because he is friendly and always ready to help someone out. So what makes My Hero Academia stand out from the mass of shounen craziness?
The first thing you notice here is the profusion of colour and style in the character designs. If an anime has a fairly large cast right from the get-go, you have to make sure that every last one attempts to stand out, else they’ll be lost in a sea of vaguely-memorable faces hand half-remembered names. Thankfully, class 1-A of U.A. High School are very distinctive and wildly expressive. Them having a wide range of Quirks also helps as well as the comical facial expressions they often pull. Some of Deku’s expressions, particularly when shooting through the sky attached to All Might, have made me laugh out loud at times. The backgrounds also add extra emphasis to situations too, adding to that comic book feel that My Hero Academia often utilises.
We have some episodes that set the scene for us. We see Deku struggling as the only person he knows that didn’t develop a Quirk by the age of four despite having strong ambitions to become a hero anyway. We see him ridiculed and mocked by his childhood friends although he remains positive. From a chance encounter with his most respected Hero of all time, All Might, he discovers a concerning secret about his Hero’s future. After this, we see Deku making his entrance into U.A. High School and learning to control his powers, much like Naruto at Konoha Ninja Academy. He makes a few friends, draws the attention of a few rivals, all the whilst staying true to his ideals and attempting to make his mum proud. But soon enough, The League of Villains appear, wanting to destroy All Might and the peace he represents. This is when we first see Tomura Shigaraki, a psychotic young man covered in disembodied hands with the power to disintegrate things at the merest touch and people begin to suspect Deku of having similar powers to All Might. With Deku drawing the attention of Villains with terrible powers, will he be able to use his new powers to the fullest and protect his friends and their surroundings?
If you have ever entertained the idea of people growing up to have super powers and learning how to control them in order to protect the place where they live, then you need to give this one a look. It sets up an interesting world, intriguing super powers and the pacing is consistently speedy and action-packed. Deku is a fantastic shounen protagonist which you can’t help finding yourself rooting for (and wondering if him and Katsuki are destined for a Naruto/Sasuke rivalry). I can’t wait for there to be a second season of My Hero Academia in April this year!