Everything You Need to Know About My Hero Academiaby Cartoon Cipher,
Eric and AJ from Cartoon Cipher are here to get you up to speed on the hit anime series My Hero Academia before the fifth season premieres on Saturday. A little lost on the details of All Might's past? Need a refresher on the League of Villains? We've got it all right here.
Ever since the very first episode aired about 5 years ago, the My Hero Academia anime has progressively taken the world by storm with its enriching world, likable characters and impressive animation. However, with the show now on its fifth season, the series has arguably started reaching a point where it might become hard to recommend to your average anime only fan. So for their sake, let's take a few moments to hit through all of the important stuff which, obviously includes major spoilers and plot details. If you want to experience the series fresh tread lightly! My name is AJ from the cartoon cipher and today on Anime News Network, we'll be going through everything you need to know about My Hero Academia before season 5.
The story of My Hero Academia is set in a world where currently most of the human population has gained the ability to develop superpowers called "Quirks". Needless to say, society didn't handle it well and for years, things were thrown into chaos. But there was one sinister man who was able to rally people and went by a name based off of his own unique quirk, All for One. This man had the ability to steal and give away other quirks at will and over time, became the head of villains throughout Japan. Among the many he gave powers to, there was All for One's younger brother, a sickly man with a strong sense of justice who was given the ability to stockpile quirks. The younger brother tried to rebel against All for One's growing power, but it wasn't enough...at least not at the time. Little did they know that this young man did have a quirk; the ability to pass on his abilities to others and as so entrusted this power to future generations, hoping one day that an eventual successor of this ability would stockpile enough power to eventually defeat his brother. That power was eventually dubbed “One for All”. Fast forward to a few years later and an entire society has been built around the fact that roughly 80% of the worlds population has a Quirk. Their integration has allowed the development of new categories of people: Pro Heroes who use their abilities to uphold the law and villains who use them to commit crimes. Years later, and All for One eventually killed the 7th successor of One for All, a pro hero by the name of Nana Shimura, but not before she managed to pass it onto a young, quirkless man named Toshinori.
“I wanna make a world where everyone smiles and lives together happily. For that to happen, people need a symbol...A symbol of peace! The reason crime is on the rise everywhere is because citizens have no one to believe in. They need to rely on someone! That's why, I want to be the pillar that gives people hope” - All Might
As the years went on, Toshinori studied at UA High School to become a pro hero and eventually reaching the spot of No.1 Hero. Adopting the super hero name ALL MIGHT, he finally became the symbol of peace that he desperately felt that the world needed. Eventually, All Might came face to face with All for One and after a fierce battle, the worlds greatest hero finally put an end to the evil mastermind...at a cost. All Might's stomach was lost and his respiratory system was damaged beyond repair. This created a limit on how long All Might could use One For All, reducing his ability to be the Symbol of Peace. At the pleas of his master Grand Torino and his sidekick Nighteye, All Might enrolled in his old highschool as a teacher to look for a new successor. However, this didn't stop the man from continuing to fight as the symbol of peace for years despite his new handicap.
6 years later, this is all in the past as the narrator of our story is young Izuku Midoriya, a 14 year old who grew up respecting All Might alongside his childhood friend Katsuki Bakugo. While Bakugo was gifted with an extraordinary quirk, Izuku was born with none and any aspirations he had to follow in All Might's footsteps were shattered. But after attempting to save Bakugo from the hands of a villain despite having no powers, All Might appeared and thanked Midoriya for reminding him about what it means to be a hero. He explains that Izuku has what it takes and selects him to be the 9th successor of One For All. After much training and literal bone breaking, Midoriya, given the nickname Deku by Bakugo and others, enroles in UA High School. He joins class 1A with many other colorful characters including the aforementioned childhood friend who also swears that he will be the number 1 hero who never loses. And while the curriculum is strict, Deku will do his best to live up to All Might's expectations. Not only does this get difficult as he tries to figure out a way to use One for All without destroying his body in the process, given that he cannot yet handle its immense power, but things also get progressively harder as the villains in this society get more bold. One day while training, an organization known as the League of Villains infiltrates the school with a bio-engineered creature known as a Nomu and the group is led by a rather handsy man known as Tomura Shiguraki. Thankfully All Might was able to save everyone just in the nick of time but this wouldn't be the first close call class 1A would have with the League.
As Deku becomes more accustomed to his life at UA, he begins to come across other characters with their own thoughts, goals and emotional baggage regarding heros. Some are more relatable like Deku's closest classmates, Ochaco Uraraka and Tenya Iida who both have familial inspirations for wanting to become heroes. Some are more played up for laughs like the rivalry set up between class 1A and 1B. While others are a bit more sad like with Hitoshi Shinso, a student with a powerful quirk that can mind control others, but given its nature, limits his opportunities to be seen as a hero. During the UA sports festival, we get to see so many other characters show off their amazing abilities in an attempt to get noticed. It's also here that we get proper focus on Shoto Todoroki, the son of the Number 2 hero Endeavor and a boy who was bred specifically with the intention of being a hero that would surpass All Might. Todoroki faces an uphill battle with his identity and coming to terms with his abilities, but after fighting Deku in the sport festival, you can feel he starts taking that first step towards being the type of hero he wants to be. However, the one who manages to shake the very status quo of this society isn't one of these quirky students, rather it's something else entirely.
“Both this sham-filled society... and the criminals who wield their power in the name of petty mischief... are targets of my purge... All for the sake of a better society…” - Stain
The Hero Killer Stain is a merciless man who feels that society has forgotten what true heroism means and is taking it upon himself to kill those who he feels are unworthy of having the title. One of his said victims happens to be Iida's older brother which sends the young model student onto the path of revenge as students take the time to work with other Pro Hero's during an internship program. Deku ended up interning with Grand Torino, All Might's former trainer and with some creative thinking, began learning how to harness the power of One for All without damaging his body. Shiguraki attempts to recruit Stain to the League of Villains but the two end up leaving on bad terms due to inherent differences in ideology. In an attempt to overshadow Stain in the public eye, Shiguraki unleashes more Nomu throughout the city and in the chaos, Iida comes face to face with Stain. After getting curb stomped and berated for how seeking revenge isn't heroic, Todoroki and Deku come to the rescue. With their combined efforts, the three end up defeating the Hero Killer but it's clear that his ideology resonated with people. Others inspired by Stain come out of the shadows and join the League of Villains under the false assumption that Stain was a member with Shiguraki taking full advantage of that for the sake of growing his numbers.
After being excused for their reckless behavior, Deku and others begin preparing for their end of term exams which requires groups of two to take on some of the school's faculty who are posing as villains. But before that, All Might pulls Deku aside and tells him about the origins of his power. He begins to speculate that since the Nomu appear to be modified people who were given multiple quirks, it means that All for One is still out there and there will probably come a time where it'll be up to Deku to put a stop to the League of Villains as the next symbol of peace. Not everyone passes their exams but Deku and Bakugo get a chance to go up against the hero they've always admired. While reluctant to work together, the two manage to pass by the skin of their teeth. With the term over, class 1A will be required to join a boot camp for training and this is where things get even more intense.
At said boot camp, the League of Villains attacked with the intent to capture Bakugo. It's here where we meet some fan-favorite villains including the fire user Dabi, the giddy serial killer Himiko Toga, and the multiplier Twice. While many of the villains were defeated and captured, Bakugo was still abducted. The League's attempts to convert Bakugo didn't go as planned because while Bakugo is loud and abrasive, his desire to be the best hero is unshakable. Elsewhere, Deku and some of his classmates attempt to rescue Bakugo after placing a tracking device on a Nomu. With a sneaky plan, the group manages to save him in the ensuing chaos as a team of Pro Heroes led by All Might and the police raid the League of Villains. Unfortunately, not everyone comes out unscathed as it's revealed that All Might's suspicions were right; the unleashed Nomu were in fact being created by All for One who is not only still alive, but is also the mentor of Shigaraki, who is also the grandson of former One for All holder, Nana Shimura. This shakes All Might to his core but with the last spark of One for All that remains inside of him, All Might defeats All for One and the man is arrested. Despite this, All for One is confident that Shiguraki can carry out his vision in his stead. All Might on the other hand, without any power left in him, publicly announces his retirement as a pro hero.
“Goodbye...One for All” - All Might
With the League of Villains growing stronger and the symbol of peace stepping down, society is worried about what's on the verge of happening next. UA Academy tries to make sure that their students get their provisional hero licenses, moving the students onto campus to effectively help with their studies. After much training and few new upgrades, eventually the day comes and class 1A takes the provisional licensing exam where they meet even more colorful characters from other schools. Of the other students we get to meet a girl named Camie who takes an interest in Deku because she's secretly Toga in disguise, as well as Inasa Yoarashi, who takes an interest in Todoroki. The exam ends with everyone except Bakugo and Todoroki passing as they will need to take extra lessons to get their provisional hero licences.
Later, class 1A are visited by the big 3 (not those big 3), the top students in the entire school who recommend that everyone try out working in Hero Work Studies. Similar to the internships, students would be working patrol under other hero agencies for more hands on experience and so Deku decides to work under Sir Nighteye, All Might's former sidekick who he had a bad falling out with. While All Might was pushing himself for years after he originally thought he defeated All for One, Nighteye used his quirk to see into the future and had a premonition that All Might would suffer a terrible death if he didn't retire. So years later, Nighteye trained Mirio Togata, the current number one student at UA, to eventually take up the mantle as All Might's successor and was disappointed that All Might chose Deku instead. Still he decides to take Deku in, if only to see if he really deserves this power.
While patrolling with Mirio, the two come across a distraught little girl named Eri who's running away from a man in a mask claiming to be her father. The two young men try to help but the girl ends up going back to the mysterious masked man when it becomes clear that he'll kill Deku and Mirio if she doesn't. It's later revealed that this man was in fact Overhaul, the leader of a Yakuza organization named Shie Hassaikai and the very man that Nighteye's agency was investigating. Overhaul is obsessed with returning the Yakuza to their former glory before the era of Quirks. Since Eri has a unique quirk that lets her reverse time, the Yakuza are using her blood to develop a new type of drug-filled bullet that can actually erase people's quirks. Overhaul even temporarily teams up with the League of Villains to fulfill his ambitions. Deku and Mirio, meanwhile, are racked with guilt and vow to save Eri from the abuse she's suffering. Thanks to the combined efforts of the police, Pro Heroes, and some students, they track down Overhaul's lair for a raid. After many intense battles, including one where Deku uses One for All's full power with the help of Eri's ability, Overhaul is defeated and taken into custody but not without major costs. Mirio ends up losing his quirk at the hands of the perfect formula Overhaul created and Sir Nighteye dies after suffering grave injuries, but not before feeling more optimistic about the future having the potential to change.
"I lost my Quirk... and my master passed away. I'm in no state of mind to be smiling. But that's exactly why... cuz Nighteye, he... I know he was stern with you. But he smiled a lot when the two of us got to talking. I can't be all weepy. Not when I'm s'posed to be a "fine hero" someday. And if I get gloomy, well, that'll hurt Eri too." - Mirio
Meanwhile, the League of Villains intercept Overhaul being transported to jail and steal the perfected quirk erasing bullets from him while also ripping off his arms. A while later, Eri gets properly looked after but Mirio and Deku want to show her that the world doesn't have to be as scary as Overhaul made it out to be. So Class 1A plans on using the upcoming school festival as an opportunity to lift everyone's spirits. Deku did have a small hiccup involving a low level villain named Gentle Criminal, a man who turned to crime after being told by society that he'll never be good enough to be a hero, but the festival went off without a hitch and Eri was able to smile again. Finally, Endeavor officially takes his spot as the new number 1 hero and starts making efforts to not only better his public image, but to also better the relationship he has with Todoroki and the rest of his family, many of which haven't forgiven how cruel he was in raising them as experiments. After another surprise Nomu attack, Endeavor manages to defeat the creature with the help of Hawks, the new Number 2 hero and while he suffered some permanent injuries, he holds his fist up proudly for all to see.
And that everyone, is the cliff notes version of everything you should know before starting My Hero Academia Season 5 but I'd still strongly recommend watching the series proper if you have the time as there is no way that I can do justice to some of the anime's most impactful moments. Sorry not every plot point or character was given equal attention but I wanted to try and focus on the stuff that would have the most relevance for the next arc moving forward. Plus I skipped over the movies because, while they do fit in with the anime's canonicity, they are their own self contained stories that, so far, haven't shown a direct impact on the arcs that follow them. But what do you guys think? Are you excited for season 5? Leave a comment below as we would love to hear your thoughts. This has been Aj with the Anime News Network and go beyond, PLUS ULTRA!
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