My Hero Academia
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 27 of
My Hero Academia (TV 2) ?
Okay! My Hero Academia third cour begins! Don't know if this new opening is going to stick with me as much as the last, but I like the medieval fantasy ending.
MHA as a series reflects its main character a lot. The show seems to have exploded even further in popularity over the past few months and the age old questions are destined to pop back up: can a series living in the shadows of previous monster hits like Dragon Ball, One Piece and Naruto truly capture that same magic, or even improve upon it? We're in an age where people like me are adults and so the way we engage with a show like this critically is so different than how it used to be. Is My Hero Academia the kind of show that would have sparked my imagination as a kid, or does it just hit the right buttons for me as an overthinking adult? I mean, the answer seems like an obvious "yes", but there have always been some shortcomings that have had me second guessing myself on that one.
One of my problems up until now has been the world in general. I don't have any particular affection for the superhero aesthetic, and the world-building aspects of the story always seemed thin or vague. I really do think that's been a weakness of the series so far, but as of this week's episode I'm impressed by its ability to course correct. While Midoriya hangs out with All Might's mentor, Gran Torino, and works on smoothing over the wrinkles in his use of One For All, the show cuts around to the other students being introduced to their new internships where the superhero world feels just as detailed and interesting as I could hope for. Every hero agency seems to have its own reason for existing, be it public service or something more vain, and I couldn't be happier to see all the ideas pooling out of the screen. Plus, we get the return of the actual greatest hero of our time, Best Jeanist.
I remember feeling this way at the beginning of the season about Midoriya's supporting cast, where it turned out these kids were a lot more fun and memorable than they were the season before. Now that these issues have been addressed, it's almost like they were never there in the first place, and the fact that this is literally an episode about Midoriya's surprising adaptability feels so much more earned than it would in another series. What Midoriya is to One For All, Kohei Horikoshi is to manga, it seems.
As we wait for the conflict of the next arc to rear its ugly head in, we get a genuinely nice and sweet episode that brings out the best in our main character as he graduates ever so slightly to becoming the unbeatable hero that his Quirk will allow him to become. His interactions with is mentor's mentor are cute, and we get to see All Might from a new perspective as a result. Gran Torino seems unimpressed by All Might's teaching skills so far, meaning even the Superman of anime has his shortcomings.
There's also a moment of Stain's communication with Shigaraki and company, where we get clashing ideologies between villains. I haven't been of the opinion that this show really has a lot to say about the nature of heroes and villains as they exist in our world, but that one conversation hinted at some ideas far more interesting than what we've heard in the series thus far. Can't wait to hear more about that.
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