My Hero Academia is a fairly recent Shonen Jump manga that’s caused a bit of stir with its sudden popularity. It’s only natural that a popular Shonen Jump serial should get an anime adaptation, but they don’t always work out so well. So, have Bones done a good job with it?
The easy answer is yes, they have. My Hero Academia is one of the best directed and animated anime of recent times, especially when it comes to adapting shonen manga. It’d be easy with a Shonen Jump adaptation like this to just kind of churn it out and let the name do some of the work for you. There’s been a bunch of middling shows that have done this. But that’s not the case at all with My Hero Academia.
My Hero Academia is one of the best directed and animated anime of recent times.
In a world where superpowers, “quirks”, have become commonplace as part of human evolution, Izuku Midoriya (unaffectionately nicknamed “Deku” by his bullies) dreams of nothing more than to be a superhero like those he idolises. The problem? In this society where having a quirk is the new norm, poor Midoriya is powerless. Chief among his adoration is All Might, the world’s #1 hero, but all of the geeky fan notes he compiles on All Might and the other heroes, while they do give him an encyclopaedic knowledge of the quirk community, can’t grant him powers. Despite this he applies to the renowned U.A. High, a high school that specialises in teaching talented quirk users how to have a superhero career.
Before the evaluation for the school Midoriya has a chance encounter with All Might where he strikes a chord in his heart, and All Might reveals his secret to Midoriya — that he has the ability to foster a quirk within someone new. Midoriya might have newfound power, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to need to work to achieve his dream of being the greatest hereo.
For an anime about superhumans, it’s the “human” part of it that’s really important as opposed to just the “super”.
My Hero Academia fully realises what’s on the pages of the source material in that way that even those familiar with the manga will love. It’s not so much simply animating what’s on the source material, but adding some marvellous depth. So far it doesn’t seem like one of those shows where you could just read the manga instead. Well, you could. But why would you want to? Do both!
The pace is noticeably fairly slow. A quarter of the way in, and main character Midoriya has only just been accepted into the school where he will obtain his titular “hero academia”. Some people might find this a bit too slow, but it really chooses to spend time with the characters instead. Midoriya feels very relatable as we spend time with him, especially over the lengthy period before he joins UA. For an anime about superhumans, it’s the “human” part of it that’s really important as opposed to just the “super”.
Even though the pacing is pretty good episode on episode, minute on minute, it does mean that over the course of the season’s 13 episode run it still really only feels like it’s just getting started. Thankfully a second season is happening. But it’s not the kind of season that stands all too strong on its own. It could have perhaps used a longer first season to really get going, but as more is definitely on the way, it’s hard to complain too much.
Some truly excellent animation sequences.
It’s not the first superpowered anime or manga to take heavy inspiration from western superhero comics, but it’s one of the ones that meshes together the two styles of western comics and manga the best, and that really comes across in the anime. It understands what works about both a heck of a lot better than that awful Stan Lee penned Ultimo manga, which to be fair I probably read less than 20 chapters of.
My Hero Academia, with the manga as well as the anime, is proving a real keeper among the Shonen Jump family. It’s an anime packed with love for the source material, and some truly excellent animation sequences. This is some Grade A stuff, and could be a real laster if the next season continues to be as good as these initial episodes.