Now that the English dub of My Hero Academia season four has finally aired, we can be a little more open about discussing what happened. And boy did a lot happen. Between introducing villains, expanding on existing heroes, and that all important school festival arc, we had a lot to get through in this season.
It goes without saying, but there are going to be some spoilers in this article. Just consider this your fair warning.
My Hero Academia Season Four
This was a big season for The Feels. A little girl in an abusive home, her body being used to produce quirk nullifying weapons to be used against heroes. A new mentor for Deku, one determined to subvert a future he has already seen come to pass. A young hero willing to sacrifice everything in an effort to save someone in need.
And that’s all in the first half of the season!
The Overhaul Arc (Episodes 1-14 of this season) was one of the best that the show had to offer. It hit a lot of tropes that I adore. The rescue mission plot. The high stakes fight with consequences for both victory and success. The “This Isn’t Even My Final Form” villain transformation. It had everything that makes for a great shonen anime, but done to the high standard we expect from My Hero Academia.
I already talked about not one but two of the fights in these episodes during my top five My Hero Academia article, but the Suneater fight is also a standout for me. My only regret is that we saw so little of Ryukyu, whose chilled appearance and demeanour hid the fact that her quirk allows her to turn into a giant freaking dragon.
The season also introduced us to two fan-favourite characters. Hawks, the new number two hero following All Might’s forced retirement in season 3, is shown as a chilled, laid-back hero who takes it easy until the chips are down and then he becomes frighteningly effective. We also got to see Mirko, the obligatory bunny girl hero, who doesn’t do much other than quickly become one of the top waifus in a show already bursting at the seams with them.
As good as the Overhaul Arc was, with the high stakes and high flying climax that was a view of Deku at Infinite 100%, it was followed by what realistically was the most violent swing in tempo I’ve seen in an anime as those students who failed the Provisional Hero License exam in season 3 had to take their remedial classes. In this instance, the students had to face down a herd of unruly school children and… play with them?
What could have been a great opportunity for character development feels a bit flat. Bakugou learns nothing. Todoroki has already learned his lesson so isn’t likely to develop more. The only character who does seem to learn something from the experience is Endeavor, who finally manages to have a heart to heart with his rival All Might about what it means to be the symbol of peace.
Smashed in the middle of the action was the school festival arc, something that every show has to have. With the menace of a new villain, Gentle Criminal, and his disturbingly young looking accomplice, La Brava, looming over the festivities, we get a touch of character development for secondary characters like Jiro, but overall it still feels like an extended come down from the climax of the Overhaul episodes were.
That said, I will forgive a multitude of sins for the moment when Eri smiles. That girl stole this season for me and must be protected at all costs. Plus, Hero Too, Class 1-A’s musical contribution to the school festival, has become a staple of my work out playlist since its release.
Most of the time the villains in My Hero Academia look and feel quite realistic. Stylised, sure, but within the bounds of reality. So when Overhaul took on his monstrous, twisted form to take on Mirio, Sir Nighteye, and, eventually, Deku, it was jarring and horrifying in the best way. Sometimes we want to see our heroes punch the scary monster in the face and this was certainly one of those times.
What comes next? There are a lot of things I’m hoping for in season five. The League of Villains has their hands on a collection of quirk erasing bullets, so that’s something that needs to get resolved. The final scene of the season hints at the appearance of past One for All users, with what I assume is All for One’s brother, the original user of One for All, showing up in Deku’s dream before he explodes his dorm room with a random burst of power.
We look set to get more insight into the history of this superhero society and I hope the show explores more of the pitfalls and downsides to a world with legitimate hero worship as well as the positive things these powers have done.