Tag Archives: Boku no Hīrō Akademia

My Hero Academia Season 2 Review

Hey everyone, it’s Kern here. I recently did a review for My Hero Academia Season 1. As promised, I’ll be slowly reviewing all of the seasons in order. Today I’m moving onto talking about season 2.

As a reminder, the first season of My Hero Academia, also known as Boku no Hīrō Akademia, features the next several steps of Deku and his hero’s journey. The introduction to this series was a strong one. Season 1 introduced us to a strong cast of compelling characters, gave us amazing fights, and deeply intertwined character struggles. There wasn’t much that you could complain about.

Aside from small nitpicks or just a general dislike of the genre itself, it would be difficult to just dislike the show. So, enter in season 2, another strong entry in the series and marked improvement to the My Hero Academia universe.

I personally find that season 2 was actually much better than season 1, raising the bar higher than I thought it would back in 2017. To look at why, we should probably begin with the surface level production.

Production Quality

The image above, even though it is completely mundane showcases the worst of the baseline standard. As you can see, it’s far from an insult.

Production-wise, My Hero Academia is a masterpiece of production and planning in season 2. Studio Bones comes back stronger than ever in this iteration. Fluid animation and mindful sound design holds up even at its weakest points. There’s nothing to complain about at its absolute worst.

However, at its best you’re going to get some amazing attention to detail. The series is packed with beautifully bombastic fights, and a fair amount of atmospheric drama. All of that is skillfully wrapped in a fresh coat of hero colored paint. This is a bright and airy series, right up until it isn’t.

The animation follows these dynamic shifts as it needs to, aiding and uplifting the key moments that makes the series stand strong. My Hero Academia lends itself to a certain level of emotional maturity, characters have to work hard and be assets to their society. The imagery and sound design adequately represents these struggles perhaps better than season 1 ever could.

Like its predecessor before it, the pacing in this season is noteworthy and very well done. While it is certainly action packed, it isn’t stifling or overbearing either. Important cast members receive fulfilling character development. The moments are wonderfully conceptualized for the screen, and continue to be entertaining even during a re-watch.

Story and Progression

Overall, the villains and plot moving forward has a steady pace, giving us an actual significant improvement to discuss…. characters, motivations, ego and trauma are the driving factors in this season.

The first half focuses upon the U.A. Sports Festival, which features some of the strongest characterization we’ve seen so far. This section is one of my favorites because it is so dynamically diverse. You’d expect this to be an all hero match-up, battle of the greatest… but nope… we don’t just get that… we get a taste of school life in this quirk filled universe.

The sports festival introduces several new U.A. High students. Many of these characters either couldn’t make it into the prestigious (also in a way pretentious) “Class 1-A”. Others just have different professional pursuits that “Class 1-A” wouldn’t have met the need for.

This is a world that relies heavily upon doing what a person is most suited for. Society in the series focuses heavily upon overall utility, rather than just pure ambition. What a person dreams to become isn’t always as important as they can reasonably accomplish… but here we see the serviceable balance between those two extremes.

Ambition becomes a spark to pure gasoline as characters strive to showcase their talents. What would typically be thought of as a dystopian world works so wonderfully here because the characters intuitively understand their places within it.

Even the weakest among them understand their skills have an intrinsic value to aid in that society… even if they’re still figuring out those limitations, that is a journey they’re willing to undertake.

Todoroki’s characterization and development in this season is probably even stronger than Deku’s overall. His backstory underpins the core ethos of the show. As the son of the #2 hero, he needs to make firm and definitive choices about his place in the wider world… and that means coming to terms with his trauma. He needs to learn to live beside his struggles, and to accept himself as he is.

Truly, that is the centralized ethos in this season, self acceptance, and the acceptance of others in the face of adversity.

This particular arc gives us a deep dive into the personal struggles that our favorite heroes-in-training face down on a daily basis. The Sports Festival arc also calls back to key issues briefly touched upon in the first season, and brings new ones to light.

The rest of season 2 is filled with internships, studying, and exams. It gives us a much deeper in-universe study of how professional heroes maintain a workspace and how they function with the wider society. The world building here is astronomical, and hard to find fault with… only, I wish there had been more.

The teachers are actually skilled in the series, and so are the professional heroes. That’s an important metric, and it’s one that many series often overlook. My Hero Academia takes the time to truly show us how inept these students really are, and just how much more they need to learn. The power and skill barrier isn’t lip service, it’s stone cold fact.

Deku and his buddies aren’t ready for the struggles of the real world just yet, and season 2 drives that point home unflinchingly.

As amazing as these characters seem to us… they’re just small fish in an ocean at the end of the day… it was nice to see all of them knocked down a few pegs. Since the series gave us a chance to see their betters in action in the workspace, we know what the wider world truly expect of them now… and it isn’t a simple thing.

Themes of personal identity, gumption and pride come blazing in, front and center from all around. These moments offer a different kind of conflict. We get deep and private introspection among several of the characters. It truly is a breath of fresh air.


This is ultimately Deku’s story and it focuses upon him. That said, this season “feels” like an ensemble story encompassing the wider classroom and Deku’s peers. In a way, I’d say it feels a little like Assassination Classroom. Some of the strongest spotlight moments come from other students, and it doesn’t feel out of place in the slightest. Actually, that’s what I think makes season 2 so much more enjoyable.

That isn’t to say Deku doesn’t get plenty of his own spotlight and personal growth. He receives a fair bit, to be honest. As Deku learns to handle the taxing ramifications of his “One For All” quirk, he also begins to conceptualize himself as a hero-in-training realistically. This isn’t always easy for him. However, it is interesting for viewers to watch.

Deku maintains a chord of shyness and humility that we saw encapsulated within season 1. He continues the trend in this season. Frequently, Deku puts his own welfare on the line, for better and for worse. These attempts are often selfless on the surface, but they’re also in a way self-serving to him.

Deku knows what it means to be a hero… and maintaining those key traits are important to him. His personal conscience is so enthralling when you consider just how easily it comes to him. Yet, we as viewers know these values must come easily, or he’ll be little more than a failed byproduct of what he truly wishes to aspire to.

There’s almost a hint of the fourth wall breaking between Deku and the attentive viewer to a point. In his attempt to help his friends work through their own struggles, he also must work through a few of his own. For a shounen series, we get some stunningly emotional and memorable moments both for Deku and a few of the others.

Todoroki, Iida and Uraraka stand out this season, and they’re not the only ones. I do have to give a call out to the episode “Shoto Todoroki: Origin” as I do think that’s perhaps one of my favorite ones in this particular season. As I mentioned above, his story so fully encapsulates the themes of this season in a way even Deku doesn’t quite reach, and I firmly believe that was entirely intentional.

New cast members give us a different bone to chew on as well. You’ve got a little bit of everything in this mixed bag, and each of them are nice additions. The non-hero students in the event are great for world building and context.

Then you have Gran Torino who is batty-as-hell. This old dude is All Might’s mentor. He offers comic relief as well as backstory into All Might and the quirk known as “One for All”. I loved every moment this senile old fart was on screen. Honestly, he’s a great addition to the cast.

On top of that, Hero Killer: Stain is the kind of big baddie we want out of a high stakes, action packed series. He’s ruthless and maliciously motivated towards violent crime. As his name suggests, he’s willing to kill for his beliefs. His implications are much more interesting than what he actually pulls off, but that’s kind of the point with this guy.

Fans know what to expect here. He’s going to be a mainstay, and this is early characterization for massive plot elements later. To that point, the big baddie of season 1, Shigaraki is still around. For season 1, he provided a reasonable threat and a good early start, but now we know what a real threat is. Honestly, Stain is the villain dial cranked to eleven, and no one pulls punches on this guy.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I have only praise for the second season of My Hero Academia. My complaints reduce down to what I wanted more of, and that wasn’t because anything was lacking. It was just that good. The slower moments never drag on too long, the faster ones don’t outstay their welcome.

Less is more in this particular instance.

Season 2 maintains a strong balance between its larger cast of characters, the wider story, and its core themes. There’s a lot to unpack, and to enjoy. I spoke briefly on Todoroki, because he is such a stand-out character this season. However, Iida and Uraraka stand out to me as well.

I just wanted more, plain and simple. When season 2 was over, I felt like I wasn’t done yet. The times the show feels lesser, it doesn’t feel as though I’ve been cheated out of something great.

This is a solid continuation of the series, no question about that. In some ways, it’s much better than before. No wonder why it was so popular, My Hero Academia easily earns its acclaim as one of the best shows of 2017 because it is so incredibly dynamic.

I just can’t think of how they could have done it better, at least not without sacrificing something else. There’s just too many great moments in this season to do that.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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My Hero Academia Season 1 Review

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Hey everyone, it’s Kernook here. Today I’m going to begin my review journey through the My Hero Academia series. Some of you may know this title as Boku no Hīrō Akademia.

I’ll be starting at season 1. Over time, I’ll slowly move my way through all of them. Super hero anime quite like this one are particularly hard to find. It’s worth the effort to re-watch the series and gather my thoughts accordingly.

When it first released I was dubious. I wondered if the series would be another sub-par shounen romp. Thankfully, it really isn’t. Like most anime fans out there, I’m always searching for new anime to watch. While I certainly prefer older anime from the early 2000’s and the 1990’s, I jumped on the bandwagon for My Hero Academia fairly quickly.

I must say, I enjoyed season 1 for all that it had to offer. This 13 episode masterpiece won’t leave you hanging for more. There are plenty of seasons to pick up after you finish this one.

I don’t think I have to tell you that this series is worth the watch for any fan of the hero’s journey, which Deku, our main protagonist displays in spades. Really, I think that’s the most compelling part of this anime; Deku himself and the wider world he faces down.

We can thank  Studio Bones for its high value production quality and intelligent fights. That certainly helps a lot too.

The Basic Story

The world is dominated by two main types of people. Those with powers named “Quirks” and those who don’t have that power. The series is fairly utilitarian. It boasts the concept that a person should do what they most excel at to benefit the wider community. It isn’t a dystopian world though, far from it.

Our main protagonist is a run-of-the-mill guy named Izuku Midoriya, nicknamed fairly early on as Deku. That’s what I’ll be calling him from here on out, by the way, Deku…

This middle school kid has a dream to become a hero. There’s just one problem, Deku doesn’t have a Quirk of his own. Within the series, this excuse happens to be handled this pretty believably too. We get a solid medical explanation in a flashback scene.

During a doctor’s appointment Deku is told he’s absolutely unable to develop a Quirk. The doctor, almost cruelly tells him that he could never become a hero. Those around Deku tell him this continually, believing he should find a new goal in life.

This headstrong boy refuses to believe he can’t become a hero. He absolutely won’t give up his dream for anything. Now I’ve discussed the powerful storytelling found in Deku as a character. If you’re interested in that, check it out here.

The majority of the first season is about challenging the preconceived notions you might have about “hero shows” like this one. Deku spends his time facing adversity, his own mental struggles, and the preparation he needs to take in the power “One For All”. That particular Quirk belongs to All Might. After Deku proves himself, All Might decides to pass it on to Deku.

Note: Not all quirks can be passed on, but “One For All” can be.

Deku dives into his efforts head first at nearly every opportunity. He’s so engrossed in the training it takes to become a hero. You truly do want to root for him. The bond he makes with All Might is really a special thing. It reminds me heavily of Kakashi’s bond with Team 7 of the Naruto series. His role is almost paternal. This bond between them deepens from mentor and protege into teacher and student once Deku is accepted into the “UA” high school.

What makes My Hero Academia  knows exactly what story it’s trying to tell. It doesn’t deviate from the core themes. The series carefully balances humor with emotion, but the story is also tight paced and full of action where it suits. Better yet, the character conflicts hold their own emotional weight.

One of the best characters to facilitate the emotional conflict for Deku is Bakugo. He might come off as your average bully, but there’s more going on under the hood with this character for sure. Even early on, you can see that in spades. While Bakugo’s rage at Deku certainly feels a bit misguided at times, the emotional warfare feels realistic to the universe.

Yet, what would an action series be without stellar fights?


The animation won’t do you wrong. The combat feels weighty, the animation itself is very slick during the fights. The characters don’t “float” where there shouldn’t be any floating to their movements. All of the Quirks suit the characters well, even if we don’t fully understand the complete magnitude of these powers. Bakugo’s explosions feel bombastic. Todoroki’s ice powers feel layered and amazing.

Combat choreography isn’t something a screen shot can adequately depict. This is a series you have to watch to fully appreciate. I should call it raw magnitude. Well and truly, the fights are raw magnitude for a lack of a better description.

The attention paid to the tiny details really shows how much care the animators put into this series.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, this is a solid first season to a pretty good shounen anime over all. In my opinion, it’s also one of the best seasons because of how clean and concise it is.

There are so many anime in this genre that feel clunky or overdone. I promise you, My Hero Academia comes out of the gate strong. It doesn’t feel clunky in the slightest. Shounen anime often feel like a dime a dozen, but My Hero Academia feels like more than that.

The first season is only 13 episodes long, you could binge watch the first season in a single weekend with time to spare. The ending is wonderful too, paving the way for more great seasons down the line.

With the strong introduction of the main cast, and a few decent villains like Shigaraki, there’s a lot to like here. I often return to this first season for the tight writing, punchy characterizations, and compelling storytelling. If you haven’t seen this series, you probably should.

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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Lesson Anime Taught Me – Personal Belief is Half the Battle

Anime is a powerful medium. It can take you to fantastical places. It can teach you valuable lessons, but failing all of that, at least it can give you a momentary escape from the daily grind.

I think that as an anime fan it’s important to examine why we collectively love anime. More than that, though, we should take the time to really appreciate what the medium does for the fan-base.

One of the most important things that anime taught me, is that believing in oneself the largest obstacle anyone might have to overcome. When doubt prevails, it’s easy to lose sight of the goals we have in mind. Ambition is only as powerful as our own personal drive to find success. When we allow our doubts to rule our minds and our actions, we’re put at a disadvantage. At that point, we’ve already lost half the battle to be successful in the first place.

There are plenty of anime that examine this concept. Honestly, you could aimlessly throw a dart upon a board and likely land on a name that uses this ethos as a key plot element. From Dragon Ball to Ranma 1/2, and Sailor Moon to Pokemon, you’d be hard pressed not to find a series that expertly crafts its narrative around this concept.

For this example though, I’m going to turn to My Hero Academia. You could point to classic, much longer lived series like Naruto too, but I find that ultimately, My Hero Academia has a much more truncated story. It’s just an easier anime to consume, and to me it stands out as a pinnacle anime to look at when discussing this particular ideology; personal belief and the struggles therein.

As an aside: if you want to actually read a review of the first season of the show, might I suggest going here to read Sammi C’s review of it.

When you sit down to watch this series, the first thing that the show does is impart the core ethos of the characters, and the way they see the world. It becomes clear quite early on that the main protagonist has plenty of personal doubt to combat within himself. However, it’s also true that plenty of the other characters doubt him too.

It’s the standard hero’s journey formula, nothing new there. However, the key thing about Deku that always stuck out to me, was just how far he was willing to go. In the earliest episodes of season one, Deku proves just how hard he has to work to prove himself.

It might not be realistic for him to become a hero at first, and it might not ever be possible as far as he knows; but being a hero is what he lives for. To him it is as much of a passion as it is a personal calling.

The faith Deku needs to find within himself and those around him isn’t something only held on a surface level. It’s so intrinsic to him as a person, that he’ll go to nearly any length to achieve success. To remove his dream from possibility at all, denies a core part of who is he, and who he aspires to be.

Now, you can say what you want about anime being simply that, anime…

To me there is something so noteworthy about the way he plucks his papers from the water fountain. Those ruined notes were cast aside by those that doubt him, and the feeling of loss portrayed here is little more than human, real in its design and desire to be worth something at all.

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We all go through that. There isn’t a person I can think of who hasn’t doubted some key facet of themselves to the point of nearly giving up. Deku nearly gives up his dream in the first episode.

The conflict he has within himself about whether or not he should give up speaks volumes about who he is as a character. There’s something to be said for the way a very disenfranchised Deku lifts his notebook from the water, angry and hurt. From having been bullied, told to jump and end himself, to having the one thing he cares about the most tossed aside, there’s little more than true humanity in these moments.

Aside from the cruelty that Deku faces, there’s a real firm ideology that Deku has to face down in becoming a hero too. Namely that he knows that in order to be successful at all, it’ll only get more difficult from here.

Watching these sorts of struggles in anime speak to me more heavily than almost any other medium… normally I’m not expecting it. When I first began watching My Hero Academia the same held true. I just wasn’t expecting this sort of content. At least, not in the first episode.

To say it was a punch to the gut would be the understatement of the century. Live action series tend to be darker, grittier, and typically try to speak to a level of realism I’m entirely prepared for. Therefore, it just doesn’t hit me that hard. When that grittiness presents itself, I’m prepared for it. Nine times out of ten, it occasionally feels “preachy” and that helps it to miss the mark too.

My Hero Academia does none of that.

In point of fact, it does the direct opposite. Placing a boy in front of us on the verge of letting go of his dream. From the very start of the series, the world around Deku forces him to question what he can really do. He really has to sit and think about his plans. He has to wonder if there’s anything he can do to achieve what he wants the most.

The luck of the draw isn’t on his side, and maybe it would be wiser to find a new ambition, but Deku lives for his.

It’s important to dream big, have lofty goals, and to aspire to something beyond your current measure. Maybe we won’t always achieve them, but the faith that we can if we try hard enough that matters too. In the end, plenty of people in reality have moved mountains for less.

I’m reminded of a real world example, a baseball player by the name of Jackie Robinson… now I’m no baseball guru, but for those that don’t know this man, you probably should. You see, on April 15th of 1947, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s racially inclined color barrier. He was the first black man to play in major league baseball with white people. That’s huge, because the civil rights movement didn’t begin to gain any firm ground to stand on until 1955… to say he played an integral role in cutting down racial divides just doesn’t do the matter justice.

It’s a great example of the impossible becoming possible in reality. Within our daily lives, Jackie Robinson is a hero to be remembered. Disputing adversity, despite the odds, he became a major league baseball star. He did this in a time when that was just considered entirely out of line and out of place.

However, as I said, my expertise isn’t baseball, and it’s certainly not impressively historic figures like Jackie Robinson. There are people much more qualified to speak of him and what he managed to accomplish than I ever could. I merely bring him up, because the hero’s journey isn’t exclusive to anime… and watching the major league pay tribute to him, as they’ve done for years now, had me thinking on the topic.

We have real world heroes too… heroes that were likely scoffed at and told their dreams meant nothing. Validation matters, aspiration matters, never giving up… that matters… I can’t point to all things Jackie Robinson did to change the course of fate, but I’m sure that all of his acclaim is well earned in the very least.

What I can do is point to Deku, how I relate to him and his struggles. My Hero Academia reminds me so heavily that it is truly worth having a dream to live for and aspire to. Honestly, that is worth far more to each of us than anyone can put a price on.

The end of the first episode of My Hero Academia lends itself to a question, and it’s one that absolutely resonates with the core themes of the show. It all boils down to one thing, can Deku become a hero?

It’s the thing he wants most of all, and the thing that everyone tells him that he just can’t have is just to be a hero. However, his aspirations and convictions begin to touch the souls of many… and Deku eventually attains the thing he needs most in order to reach for his dreams.

At the end of episode one, though, it’s all still just a question. He has to believe he can. Personal belief is half the battle, and arguably, it’s the most important one…

This has been Kernook of The Demented Ferrets, where stupidity is at its finest and level grinds are par for the course. I’ll see you next time.

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