Anime Review: My Hero Academia Season 2 Part 1

By Drew Hurley 01.04.2018

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My Hero Academia Season 2 Part 1 (UK Rating: 15)

The big three shonen ushered in a golden age of shonen stories. Each rose to worldwide acclaim, although each found very different audiences, and were very different stories. With the conclusion of Naruto and Bleach, fans the world over have been waiting to see what series would step up to take their place. There have been a few contenders and not all from Shonen Jump magazine. Series like Attack on Titan, The Promised Neverland, Black Clover, and even Bortuo have all shown promise but My Hero Academia has stood far beyond these other contenders, especially in the realm of shonen. The first season of anime was well received, and this second season became FunimationNow's most simulcast show of 2017. Now it's hitting Blu-ray and DVD from 2nd April, courtesy of Funimation, via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

My Hero Academia exploded onto the scene in Shonen Jump, quickly skyrocketing to the top of popularity surveys and being dubbed as Naruto's spiritual successor. It's easy to see why and draw comparisons between the two but Academia has been forging its own path. The series takes inspiration more from Western superhero comics than stories from manga and anime. Set in a world where 80% of the population gains some sort of superpower - or quirk - when they reach puberty, the hero of this story is someone in that unenviable 20%. Izuku Midoriya is a hero fanatic, and has been since he was little, and he is utterly enamoured by his hero, the #1 hero in the world, "All Might;" a hero that is the quintessential Superman trope. Super strong, Super fast… always saving the day and always smiling. When Midoriya turned four, a doctor informed him he had no chance of developing a quirk. This led to years of bullying, especially from his childhood friend, Katsuki Bakugō.

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After coming face-to-face with his hero, he finds out All Might was critically wounded in a battle five years ago and now can only transform into his famous form for only a little time each day and All Might also reveals that his Quirk is actually something that was passed on to him. Entitled One for All that can be passed on, and Midoriya has shown thanks to his bravery and valour that he earned the right to be the next in that line. Midoriya enrols in U.A. High School, along with his childhood friend/rival/bully and a whole host of fantastic original characters that Midoriya befriends. He even embraces the name "Deku," once used to tease him. In a world of heroes, of course, there have to be villains, and the students barely have a chance to begin on their path to becoming heroes when a group of villains, led by the terrifying Tomura Shigaraki, break into U.A. and threaten their lives.

This latest series sees the students at U.A. High School preparing for one of the most formative events of their lives. As budding heroes, they need to be scouted by professional heroes and there are limited chances to catch the eye of their would-be mentors. Once a year, U.A. High puts on the U.A. Sports Festival. It's an event that has overtaken the Olympic Games in terms of worldwide popularity, a huge spectacle that gathers not just professional heroes to scout potential future sidekicks, but also gathers audiences from around the world to enjoy the extravaganza.

The sports competition is made up of an obstacle race, a cavalry battle, and finally a fighting tournament. This is where friendships get truly tested. Even though Midoriya has made some bonds with his classmates, this chance can change lives and with people finally accepting him as a rival, he can't expect help from the other forerunners for first place. It's not just the familiar faces of class 1-A from the first season taking centre stage here, as now the lesser seen members from the other classes of U.A. are stepping up to show they may not be in the Hero class but they will not be disregarded. They even have a chance to transfer into the class should they make an impressive enough showing.

The tournament arc has become a staple of the shonen series these days, with the authors using it as a backdrop to show off the abilities of the cast, and with My Hero Academia's fantastic cast, this type of story gives the chance for each of the signature members of the cast to develop. Everyone gets some time in the spotlight but, in particular, Todoroki steals the show, showing the audience the heartbreaking but stunning story that is his past.

The Blu-ray release contains 12 episodes, along with the "Hero Notebook" episode, which acts as a bridge between the first and second season of the show, and a recap episode of the entire first season, all of which are available in both the original Japanese and also an English dub. The English dub is superb, and includes some of the very best English voice actors that anime has to offer. In particular, Christopher Sabat makes a perfect All Might, and J. Michael Tatum - the great Hououin Kyouma! - is an ideal Ida. On top of this, there are a huge amount of bonus features, including 11 "Inside the Episode" brief little featurettes that were shown with the simulcasts where the cast and crew give little insights. There's also a short interview with the creator of the series, Yoshihiko Umakoshi, from Anime Expo 2017 and the usual extras of promo videos and clean opening/closing songs.

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10
If any series has shown that it can stand on the same level as the big three, it's My Hero Academia. It is one of the most promising properties to come out of Shonen Jump in years and Studio Bones has delivered a quality adaptation that is sure to gather plenty of new fans. This first half of season two gives some great character-building moments for the solid cast and sets up a promising second half with the dreaded hero-killer. The second part of the season brings a terrifying threat to the status quo of heroes and while Todoroki had the chance to shine in this part, Ida is stepping into the spotlight in the second half. Stick with Cubed3 as that will be covered soon…

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