31 January 2017

V Reviews - My Hero Academia: One hair will change your life!

Ever since Marvel started their cinematic Universe, heroes have become more popular than ever before. It's only natural then that even the manga world starts to pick up on the trend and create heroes themselves.

And there have been several attempts at hero-related manga, both in the past and today (with various degrees of success).

There have been great series like Zetman, Ratman, Tiger & Bunny and obviously One Punch Man (just to name a few). But one hero show has conquered many hearts in both the East and West. This is My Hero Academia

Ready? Let's get this show on the road.

V Reviews - My Hero Academia (Season 1)

Let's dig into some backstory first...

Kōhei Horikoshi is a mangaka from 1986 who required some time to actually get a long running series from the ground.

He started off as an assistant to Yasuki Tanaka, creator of Kagijin. Whilst doing this, he also created a few one-shots to get his own career started.

But don't worry if you have never heard the name of Yasuki Tanaka before. Kagijin was cancelled after two volumes and none of Tanakas other series stuck as well. Kagijin is literally the last recorded manga Tanaka worked on.

So without a steady mangaka to work for, Kōhei had to start creating a series that could get himself launched in the industry. In 2010 he got his first manga running, named Oumagadoki Zoo. This series sadly enough lasted only for 5 volumes before it was canned.

Not too long after that, he tried with the series named Barrage (first as a one-shot, then as a series). But that one didn't do that well either, and after TWO volumes it got canned.

After that, two years of nothing with only 1 one-shot manga that got published. But that is only looking at recorded works. Who knows how many attempts at a new series were refused by Jump's editors?


Look, even Hattori isn't impressed.

But then in 2014, Kōhei finally got a manga series started that is still running today: Boku no Hero Academia (My hero Academia). Kōhei has truly struggled hard to obtain a long-running series. So let's celebrate that he finally has a franchise that is favored well by manga readers and anime viewers alike!

And well-liked it is. The manga has already generated two spin-off manga's, a video game and now also an anime that is going into its second season this spring!

Edit: Oh, and on a side-note: You can follow Kohei on twitter @horikoshiko.

Story

The world of My Hero Academia is one where more than 80% of all people have a superpower (called kosei, or "Quirks"). Some people use them as "tools" in their daily life, while others become either villains or actual superheroes.

Our protagonist Izuku Midoriya has been dreaming his entire life to become one of these superheroes and starts to adore them. His biggest idol is the superman-like hero "All Might". But Izukus dreams are crushed when medical tests have proven he has no quirk at all.


Could YOU tell him he can't become a hero when he makes a face like this?

But even with no powers, he continues to adore Superheroes and fills notebooks with info about them, much to the annoyance of other kids with powers. These kids end up bullying him, with rival character Katsuki Bakugou at the helm of all this.

But after All Might accidentally releases a villain he just caught, said villain catches up to these bullies and catches Bakugou. The monstrous blobby villain wants to "absorb" Bakugou and use his explosive powers for his own. But since the villain leaves parts of the absorbed Bakugou on the outside (and thus make him appear as a hostage), nobody of the existing heroes is able to do something about this (out of fear of killing the hostage).


"Wait, this kid can use explosions? Coooool..."

When Midoriya enters the scene and sees this happening, his legs start moving on their own and he wants to go help his "friend" / bully. The powerless Midorya is obviously unable to do anything, but he's able to distract the monster long enough for All Might to jump in and save the day.

Inspired by Midoriya's actions and his backstory, All Might decides to make Midoriya the inheritor of his powers.

Why is he looking for an inheritor? Because a wound he received years ago is seriously decreasing his ability to act as a hero and it's only growing worse by the time. All Might explains that his Quirk "One for All", can copy his powers onto Midoriya... as long as he absorbs All Might's DNA somehow.

As you might guess... If this was a hentai, it would be indeed be via sperm or spit or something similarly disgusting. Since this is a shonen, it's kept to the the awkward act of... eating his hair.

The rest of the story focuses on Midoriya's story into becoming an actual hero in the U.A. Academy and becoming accustomed to All Might's high power with an equally destructive side-effect.

Characters

Izuku Midoriya: Main character. He's a hero fanboy who desires to become a hero himself. After he acquires the "One for All" power, he becomes the textbook definition of a glass cannon. His story focuses on both becoming a true hero, as well as accepting this overwhelming power that disables him just as much. Fun note: Midori(ya) = green, which is present in his color scheme.
Katsuki Bakugou: Starts out as the bully of Midoriya, but ends up becoming the rival character. He looks like Bleach's Ichigo with a superiority complex and a very short fuse. The name "Bakugou" also literally means detonation (which says enough about his character).
All Might: This universe's incarnation of the Superman archetype. But he quickly reveals that he's just a human too, since he's carrying a "war wound" from a battle of several years ago that is limiting and decreasing his time as a hero.
Tenya Iida: The typical super-straight guy who wants to do everything by the book and becomes the class president. He's one o the first U.A. students that befriends Midoriya. His power is becoming super-fast due to jet engines in his feet.
Ochako Uraraka: The "love interest" character for Midoriya. Wants to become a hero for money reasons (to help her poor family) and has the ability to make things and people "float" (including herself). Though this comes at the cost of becoming nauseous if used for too long. She befriends Midoriya rather quick and is the one who gives his nickname "Deku a positive spin (form "useless" to "never giving up").
Shouta Aizawa: Eraserhead. He's the homeroom teacher of Midoriya's class and has the ability to cancel or "erase" other hero's quircks for a short time (though it gives him dry eye if used for too long).

And since this is a "high school" manga, there are tons of supporting characters in form of Midoriya's classmates. Too much to name them all, though. In this first season, most of the classmates remain as minor supporting characters. But some more time is given to Asui Tsuyu (the frog girl) and Minoru Mineta (the sticky balls guy) than others in this first story arc.

Animation & Sound

I can be very short when it comes to the animation. My Hero Academia is animated by Studio Bones. Bones = Consistent Quality animation. End of story.

When it comes to the sound, however, I'm in awe. The score is done by Yuuki Hayashi, and he did a phenomenal job. THIS is the kind of music I want in my Superhero movies or series.

While having good movies, I think it's an understatement that the music of both Marvel and DC's Cinematic Universe (and TV series) are lackluster, with only a handful of DC character themes actually being memorable (e.g. the Wonder Woman theme). Both DC and Marvel should stop playing it safe and take a few lessons from this soundtrack!

So give this OST a listen, if you can (search it on Youtube, or buy the CD). It's one of the best OSTs I've heard from 2016!

Any negatives?

My Hero Academia a typical Shonen action anime. This means that this anime is filled with lots of anime tropes and is lacking in complex storytelling or characters. So if you're looking for the "critical darling" of 2016, you're at the wrong address here.

But on the other end... This IS a hero anime with a positive vibe. If you wanted a critical breakdown of the hero genre, go read Zetman instead (but don't bother watching that anime adaptation.)!

Personal opinion and Conclusion!

In my honest opinion, My Hero Academia is a perfect gateway anime, especially for people in the west who love their TV-series colored "hero"!

With that I mean that it's perfect to suggest to your friends if they want to experience what a typical anime is about, without going to "deep" or "weird" in storytelling. It's something that anyone of any age can enjoy.

This is also a perfect replacement for people who felt sad that Naruto and Bleach have ended and want something else that is equally digestible.

Personally, I certainly can enjoy a well-crafted Shonen action series like this. I enjoyed the first season and am definitely looking forward for the second season!

I'm giving this a solid 8.5/10.

Until next time, V out.

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