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My Hero Academia

Entry updated 7 June 2021. Tagged: TV.

Japanese animated tv series (2016-current). Original title Boku no Hero Academia. Based on the Manga by Kōhei Horikoshi. Studio Bones. Directors include Kenji Nagasaki. Written by Kōhei Horikoshi and Yôsuke Kuroda. Voice cast includes Go Inoue, Kenta Miyake, Nobuhiko Okamoto and Daiki Yamashita. 99 24-minute episodes to date (plus three OVAs). Colour.

My Hero Academia is set in a world much like our own, save that for several decades 80% of children have been born with 'quirks' (Superpowers), with the most powerful becoming Superheroes or supervillains. Though Izuku Midoriya (Yamashita) is one of the powerless 20%, he desperately wants to attend UA High – an academy for heroes – to train as a superhero. He gets his opportunity when All Might (Miyake), a noble representation of what being a superhero should be, is impressed by Midoriya's character and shares his powers with him: atypically, his can be passed on. All Might has a long-term injury and can only maintain his superhero appearance for a few hours (eventually losing his powers altogether) and seeks a successor.

Midoriya gets into UA High, along with Katsuki Bakugo (Okamoto) from his school. Bakugo has a powerful quirk (creating explosions) and Midoriya has been in awe of him since they were children, but the aggressive Bakugo considers him a weakling and is baffled and angered by his sudden acquisition of strength (most things anger Bakugo, while most things make Midoriya nervous). Aside from the Midoriya/Bakugo conflict, the series has two main storylines: the training of the would-be heroes at UA High and a plan to destroy the worldwide authority of superheroes by a Villain long thought dead; these storylines frequently interact.

The second series has an interesting antagonist, Stain (Inoue), who despises self-seeking, hypocritical heroes: though a fanatic (murdering or maiming those who fail to meet his standards), he considers All Might a genuine hero and does not kill Midoriya even when attacked by him. The third season treads water a little, possibly a result of the show's success, leading to some stretching of the plot.

My Hero Academia is a spin on the American superhero genre; it is exciting and amusing by turns and has fun creating a wide variety of quirks for its heroes and villains – from the silly to the unsettling (such as the villain with hands attached to his face) – and similarly enjoys exploring the rules superheroes would need to follow, both sensible and absurd. The show has just enough character depth to engage on the emotional level. There are several female students, who – in the first two seasons at least – are given as much prominence as the male: it is noticeable that Midoriya's most intelligent classmates are women. On the other hand, there is some Fan Service, whilst the principal protagonists and antagonists are all male, and so for plot-crucial scenes women are usually sidelined.

Season 4 of this popular Anime finished in April 2020, with a fifth season announced. A film, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (2018), has also been released. [SP]


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