My Hero Academia, Where we’re all a bit Quirky | Review

A brief spoiler-free review of the 13-episode spring 2016 anime “Boku no Hero Academia” or its English title “My Hero Academia,” produced by Bones, based on the manga by Kouhei Horikoshi.

***Dedicated to Crimson, a silly blogger pal and shipper of all things MHA. I hope you enjoy it ~!

I know we all are a bit quirky, but in the universe of My Hero Academia, 80% of humanity takes quirkiness to the next level. Recently discovered super powers, otherwise known as “quirks,” have overtaken the daily lives of most people. Not all were blessed with powers though, Izuku “Deku” Midoriya being one downtrodden soul.

Image result for my hero academia screencaps

So while all of his friends (more so enemies) set their sights on the prestigious UA High School, an intense school dedicated to raising heroes, Deku continues his menial routine of taking abundant notes on local big-shot heroes and especially eyeing his idol – The almighty All Might!!! (Yes, the exclamation points are necessary.)

When Deku is suddenly caught in the chaos of rescuing his rival from a hideous slime villain, All Might, upon witnessing his unwavering heroism, vows to train young Deku into a muscular man and eventually pass on his quirk to him (because his quirk relies on inheritance).

Image result for my hero academia all might

Flash forward past the months of rigorous training and it’s enrollment time – and Deku is intent on making the student roster. Not surprised to see his rival Bakugo sitting at the back of the classroom, Deku’s new life full of new friendships and hardships begins. And through his academia, he will learn both the harsh realities and unmistakable joy that come with being a true hero.

Image result for my hero academia screencaps

The Underdog Reincarnated, But Made More Interesting

My Hero Academia succeeds in many merits, the obvious one showing the traditional underdog tale that we all like to resonate with through explosive visuals and just high production values overall. Call it cliché, but people still do want to watch the curly-haired nerd beat up the bad guys—it’s a tried-‘n-true formula, and Academia does not fail to meet the expectations of the genre. I dare say it trumps the more complicated plots of Hollywood hero films just because its lead character is so . . . well, you really, really want to watch him kick ass.

Deku is a kid with a big heart for heroes, and I wish I could say that about most people. Even though he’s been quirk-less since birth, his dreams are still set on UA and All Might, and while it was shattering to see that flashback of him finding out [insert meme here], I think that is what has made him such a loveable guy. Being of humble origins, obtaining powers from a supernatural source, and faced with challenges every day, every hour of the day, Deku practically had the hero formula drilled in him – And he knows it, too!

Image result for my hero academia screencaps

He’s SUPER enthusiastic about the whole hero bit. Watching him get all geeky about the city’s greats never fails to lift spirits, which is why when Deku is taken up on the aw-inspiring All Might’s offer, a part of me just cracked, then stitched itself together again. It’s a show that rewards not only its cast, but its viewers as well.

Image result for my hero academia screencaps

A Colorful Class of Soon-to-be Friends

There’s also the very interesting setting—a world where heroes are viewed by the media and the public as superstars. Their identities are still concealed behind their unique quirks, but for the fanboys like Deku, merely getting firsthand coverage of a battle is enough to wet pants.

Image result for my hero academia class

But how do the kids in Deku’s class measure up? It’s hard to say. His class is HUGE, and to spend the first several episodes on Izuku’s background alone doesn’t leave much room for the rest. It’d be like if someone flashed you a bright and brilliant work of art, then quickly tucked it away. You’d never know if it was a masterpiece or not, but you sure as heck are interested! Beyond the playful and bouncy Uraraka Ochako (I love her name), the noble class officer Iida, and everyone’s favorite frog girl Asui, only Izuku’s rival Bakugo shares part of the spotlight. As a delinquent with rough features, watching his growth waver between righteousness and chaos really made for an interesting story arc. I only wish we got more attention for each of these quirky classmates, but given the brief runtime, there’s a lot of setting-up to do with the overarching story.

Image result for my hero academia screencaps

Comic Book The Anime

It helps that the animation is bright, active, and uncensored in the body fluids department . . . I’m talking about blood, sweat, tears, and snot, of course. The action scenes with All Might are particularly empowering. It’s saddening to see him shrink to his normal scrawny human physique after being buff and superior. I hope the animated part of the franchise carries that torch straight through to the end just like Deku is so far.

Image result for my hero academia episode 13

Studio Bones nails the cartoonish atmosphere and bubbly expressions of Izuku’s hobby, stringing out comedic slapstick reactions whenever possible to keep the tone light. Action scenes with the superpowers themselves draw us viewers into the wacky world where large-scale catastrophe is commonplace. That is, so long as a hero soars swiftly in to quell the fire. The character designs are all very individualistic and flashy, which does wonders in helping you remember who’s who. While the sharp facial designs and bold outlining in particular caught my eye, the frequent switch a softer and doughier style during school hours really bothered me. But as a whole, all of the actions culminates well into this high-intensity finale that’s furious in every single swing and punch.

Image result for my hero academia costumes

Music is pumped-up to the max for the hero scene, silly during the comical training scenes, yet more emotional to fit Deku’s resolves and inspiring speeches with his mentor. What especially caught my ears was the opening, “The Day” by, don’t laugh, Porno Graffiti (HAH).

Final Thoughts

As much as it’s simply a glance into the franchise, I like My Hero Academia’s first seasonThere’s not much else to be said that hasn’t been already. It’s a show about growing up, one of those feel-good anime that makes you want to run out and punch a guy in the face just because you get so hyped up with energy. Full of colorful action, comedy, super powers, and likable characters, My Hero Academia is a comic book come to life by THE studio Bones being Bones again. Should that not win you over, then ALL MIGHT himself is enough of an empowering reason to watch this show. To think that a second season was greenlit before production of the first was even over gets me all revved up for more. If you’re not already heading to class each with MHA, what’s going on? Add this anime to your schedule! PLUS ULTRAAAA!!!

“This is something I was once told: ‘Something that you receive because you’re lucky and something you’re given because you’re recognized are different in essence.’ Take that to heart. This is power that you earned because of your own effort.” – Our greatest hero, All Might

Final Assessment

+ Izuku stands out as an endearing lead amongst the standard pool of underdogs

+ Exciting and energetic fights with explosive effects

+ The All Might-Izuku-Bakugo relationship is especially an attention-grabber

+ Sequel announcement cushions story faults

– Ultimately skimming the surface of a lively and most-likely successful story

– Such a large cast DEMANDS further exploration

Image result


If it seems like you’re having déjà vu, that might be because most of the ‘script’ for this review came from my Episodes 1-5 Thoughts a while back when it aired. I just didn’t feel like rewriting and regurgitating the same material, haha. But looking back at the spring season, this is definitely one of the bests to emerge—a 4/5 “caffe mocha” rating over here! Now that it’s all out, what are you waiting for? Head to FUNimation.com to watch the whole darn thing for free! I’ve also heard the English dub and can confirm that it’s also pretty solid, Izuku and All Might’s performances in particular. Now I’m just waiting for a physical release! Till next time, where we’ll be looking back at more 2016 spring titles,

– Takuto, your host

Image result

“Go beyond,” awwww~ *sobs without resistance*

 

Kill la Kill Review

It’s been a while since I have been wowed like this. Mocha-quality Kill la Kill strips down a basic yet stupid idea, over sexualizes women, showcases butt-naked men, and gets rough, rowdy and ridiculous all for the sake of boldly venturing where not many anime go. The burning question at hand: “Why do humans wear clothing?”

Hot-blooded high school girl Ryuko Matoi is in search for “the girl with the scissor blade;” the same girl who killed her father. Her clue hunt has led her to Honnouji Academy, a militaristic school structured by the “Goku uniforms,” uniquely ranked suits that grant students superpowers. As such, there is a fine line drawn between the mighty and the weak. Law and order is maintained through the school’s “Elite Four” and their supreme student council president, Satsuki Kiryuin, who rules over the domain with unquestionable judgment and absolute authority.

As the unwavering Lady Satsuki and fierce Ryuko meet face-to-face on the bloodstained battlefield that is Honnouji Academy, the threads of fate begin to unravel, and the whole school – as well as the world itself – is at risk of destruction.

Starred uniforms that give students unimaginable power? Yep, it sounds stupid. Very stupid. But through countless fights against a variety of opponents, Kill la Kill makes it work. Why they were made, how they were made, and what they actually are made of are all concepts that the anime explores thoroughly. Don’t try to wrap your head around things – Kill la Kill is NOT a “concentration-necessary” show.

Though fast-paced, the show never seemed rushed. Starting from the fateful encounter, the series gradually builds up to about the ¾ point, after which like any other 26-ish episode anime, it becomes a dramatic and serious blaze to the finish! The anime never seems convoluted in plot and serves as a great storyteller.

Ryuko Matoi is our main heroine. She will do anything to uncover the truth about the powerful Scissor Blade and to avenge her father, including “sacrificing” her body to Senketsu, one of the most powerful sailor suits in existence. While she’s hot-blooded and eager to fight aggressively, Ryuko always seems have issues with Senketsu; the two struggle to agree on matters and as a result have bonding troubles. “Losing her way” would be the proper term to explain her conundrum.

But Ryuko undergoes numerous transformations that make her easily likable and somewhat old-fashioned. Her character reminds me of the typical heroine, yet one embodying the resolve of the classic male hero, too. Because we get to see both sides to her, feminine and masculine, Ryuko becomes a relatable and rather enjoyable lead female – one of the best I’ve seen!

On the other side of the coin is Satsuki Kiryuin, the commanding figurehead and rival to Matoi. A Machiavellian leader, Lady Satsuki is calculating, observant, influential, and above all, sexy. Her iron rule comes from her infamous tagline, which I’ll put in quotes at the end of the review.

In a very similar style to Ryuko, Satsuki exemplifies the feminine and masculine qualities of the archetypical hero. While I can’t leak too much for spoiler’s sake, I can say that she carries a softer side as well. Satsuki is brilliant and inspirational – a rare beauty and one of my favorite characters in general! “HAIL SATSUKI-SAMA!!”

The supporting cast can be broken down by simple goals and stereotypes. The Elite Four consists of 3-star fighters who serve and protect their Satsuki at all costs: the guardian, the fighter, the brains, and the little girl you should probably be terrified of. “Nudist Beach,” the organization opposed to the Goku Uniforms also resembles the usual resistance team.

One other character to point out is Mako Mankanshoku, a goofy, hyperactive student at Honnouji Academy. After literally diving into Ryuko’s life, the two become best friends. Even though she is the moe girl, Mako and her wild family stand as a constant reminder to Ryuko as to what a good family is. Mako is a bit too much at times, leaping in at the last minute to save Ryuko from inescapable doom, but beyond that she is entertaining, friendly, and loving.

Animation by Trigger – hate it or love it. The style is rough, extreme, and lacking in detail. It’s a great change of pace compared to the typical class room setting, however, the obnoxious bold lines sketched all over the place occasionally take things too far. Tension, comedy, and impact are perfectly-balanced strengths, shown best through the very first 10 minutes of the show. Sometimes the animation is very expressive and does the show justice, but other times it’s indistinguishable. The best things about the animation are the communicative facial expressions and high-energy fights. Trigger clearly wasn’t scared to show anger and explosive rage, as they hit that ball out of the park!

For the OST, this is by far Hiroyuki Sawano’s best work. Superior tracks such as “Blumenkranz” are pure evil (fitting for the f*ck-tastic villain Ragyo, might I add), while Satsuki Kiryuin’s theme or Jakuzure’s anthem match their character PERFECTLY. And as much as I hate Nui Harime, even her theme gave off this bizarre feeling of creepy. I NEVER got sick of Kill la Kill’s over-the-top, epic soundtrack! 😀 (PS: 2nd OP “ambiguous” by GARNiDELiA is really awesome)

The only possible turn-off is the surplus of fanservice. Naked men from Nudist Beach and Kamui crop-tops with miniscule panties are overbearing. The director probably wanted to attract as much attention as possible, and hey it worked; thin straps covering well-endowed breasts and sword-wielding beauties? Yep, that’ll stop traffic. But also consider this: the show rebels against clothing, so doesn’t the nudity in a sense support the main message . . . ?

Kill la Kill is great because it is not afraid to show some skin and express itself boldly, however brash it seems at times. It doesn’t hold back when it comes to furiousness, fiery combat, or majestic speeches – it let’s all hell loose, and it’s fantastic. I full-heartedly recommend Kill la Kill for an awesome story, memorable protagonists, and the best rainbow-haired, purely evil antagonist IN EXISTENCE – just get past the nudity first and you’re golden! If you like action and overwhelming emotions please do yourself a favor and check it out. Its nearly mindless-fun approach to storytelling might intrigue you.

“Fear is freedom! Subjugation is liberation! Contradiction is truth! Those are the facts of this world! And you will all surrender to them, you pigs in human clothing!” – One of the greatest leaders to live, Satsuki Kiryuin

Thanks so much for checking out my thoughts on Kill la Kill! I love this anime so much it’s crazy! IT HAS A VERY SATISFYING ENDING. If you enjoyed the review, hit that like button – I’d really appreciate it. Feel free to drop a comment below, too! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host