Anime Review: My Hero Academia Season 2 Part 2

By Drew Hurley 13.06.2018

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My Hero Academia Season 2 Part 2 (UK Rating: PG)

The first part of season two ended with a bang, with this new heir apparent to the crown of shonen taking on the quintessential shonen right of passage with aplomb, putting out a quality tournament arc. Now, the kids are taking the next step in their training, becoming interns to real professional heroes, and thanks to their performance in the U.A. Sports Festival they each have plenty of offers. Just as they are learning, though, the most dangerous threat yet appears and, for Ida, this battle is so personal it makes him question everything. This latest installment comes from Funimation via Sony Pictures and is available from 11th June.

Creator Kohei Horikoshi has already shown off plenty of original and fantastic designs and this new arc focusing on the kids taking on internships with various pros gives him the chance to further exhibit his senior characters. The internships are meant to be used to teach the kids what hero'ing as a business is all about. It's an interesting view, seeing how different heroes are dedicated to different areas, not just battling villains but saving people from natural disasters or accidents, acting like celebrities and even just taking part in simple tasks like litter pick-ups.

The whole class has garnered a considerable fan-base - unsurprising really - with so many cool designs, interesting personalities, and numerous "best girls." However, two members, in particular, take centre stage in this arc. First up, as to be expected, the hero Midoriya gets a big arc here. Despite doing particularly well in the games, Midoriya effectively destroyed himself and that was a big turn-off for potential employers. This resulted in not a single offer for an internship, but just at the last minute one comes in, one that has All Might himself shaking in fear. Midoriya is off to train with the man who trained All Might himself! Although, he's getting on in years somewhat now: small, walks with a cane, talks funny… Horikoshi is clearly a Star Wars fan.

The second kid to get major focus in this arc is the stoic and straight-laced Ida, who despite receiving numerous offers decides to go work for a somewhat less popular hero in Hosu City. This city was mentioned at the tail end of the previous collection, where news reports mentioned how someone was hunting heroes in this city, and during the U.A. Sports Festival, Ida received the news that his brother is the latest victim. His brother was a well known hero who has now been left paralysed, his dream over. It's more than coincidence Ida finds his way to Hosu as his revenge becomes an obsession and he is still hunting the hunter.

He's not the only one after Stain, but, for a very different reason, Shigaraki is playing talent scout for his league of villains and Stain looks like a perfect pick. Suddenly, Hosu is a battleground between Pro Heroes, villains, more Nobu, Stain, and, of course, some of the students. There's a reason Thanos received the majority of screen time in Infinity War; why the Joker is more interesting than Batman; why Sephiroth outsells Cloud in merchandise; why Vader is the face of Star Wars. For many, villains are superior to heroes, they are often more interesting than their heroic counterparts and often more relatable. Considering My Hero Academia is strongly inspired by the West, it's only fitting that it has some quality villains, and it does - in their design, their personalities, their motivations, and their back-stories. Shiragaki and the mysterious master that lurks behind him have each of these, but they haven't been explored yet in the anime. Manga readers are surely looking forward to those moments, but now, with this season, the anime viewers get their first real villain in Stain.

Stain is a great example of a three-dimensional villain. He isn't killing heroes because "he's a bad guy;" he has a philosophical reason for his actions. In a world where heroes are celebrities, Stain has come to hate the culture and phenomenon around professional heroes. Believing that heroes should be the epitome of self-sacrifice, doing what they do because they have these powers and, like a certain web-head once said, "With great power comes great responsibility." He's as enamoured with All Might as Midoriya is, considering him the last true hero in a society where heroes take up the capes for compensation or fame. He's hunting down what he considers "fake heroes" to try and return to the glory days, and his convictions touch a point with many.

The Hero Killer arc is the focus of this collection, but there's more here. There are eight episodes following the conclusion of Stain's story. There are a few standalone episodes, but it's all building to Class A's final exam where the students have to pair up and face off against their teachers. There are some big developments in both the individual characters and the story itself in these episodes, setting the stage for a big third season.

This anime adaptation comes from Studio Bones, a venerable house responsible for countless classics, like Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, Mob Psycho 100 and tons more. Now they are once again showing all the other studios out there how to do a Shonen series right. Studio Pierrot should take note and apply the lessons to its Black Clover adaptation. The pacing is perfect, with each season covering an appropriate amount of the source material to keep fans happy, tell a whole story, and keep viewers on the edge of their seat. No episode feels stretched out, no battle rushed, and there's hardly any filler! The quality of the art and the animation is great from opening to ending, the combat scenes are filled with dynamic kinetic action, and the transition from page to screen is done with style.

As with the first part of season two, there is both the original Japanese and the English dub with this release. Now, there are lots of anime fans out there that don't care for dubs out of principle and won't even give an English dub chance. Often they are right. Not here. The My Hero Academia dub is honestly on par with the original Japanese and no higher praise can be given considering the quality of the Japanese. There are so many voice actors putting quality performances here that to list them all would basically just recreate the IMDB page. Of particular note, Chris Sabat is the perfect All Might not surprising considering he is doubtlessly one of the finest English voice actors.

The bonus features really shine here, too; there are the usual clean opening and closing, but there is also so much more. There's an "Inside the Episode" featurette for every episode, each at around five minutes, where members of the cast and crew discuss key elements of the episode, the characters, their performances, and more. Then there's a 25-minute feature looking at the work and effort put into the simul-dubs. This is something that fans only a few years ago would never had thought possible and this glimpse behind the curtain at Funimation is eye-opening and fascinating. Finally, there's the IGN interview with Chris Sabat and Justin Briner from last year's event.

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
My Hero Academia is the best new thing to come out of Shonen Jump in years. It is an absolutely amazing Shonen series that a generation of fans will take as their show, and will doubtlessly bring countless new fans to the medium. It's that good. Those who were there at the start of the biggest anime know there's a certain something that makes the viewer realise before the first episode is out that this is something special. My Hero Academia is filled with enough promise to be more than the next Fairy Tail or even the next Naruto; there's even enough promise here for it to be the next Dragon Ball or One Piece. Season 3 just hit in Japan and it can't get here fast enough; absolutely spectacular.

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