In a world where 80% of the human population has superpowers, or “quirks,” young Izuku “Deku” Midoriya…doesn’t. Bullied by his superpowered classmates, Deku nonetheless dreams of becoming a superhero. As luck would have it, he is rescued from a sudden slime monster attack by All Might, the number one hero and the Symbol of Peace, and after a grueling training session with him, he acquires a piece of All Might’s incredible strength. He enrolls in UA Academy, Japan’s most prestigious superhero school, where he must prove himsrlf worthy of the power he was given. But All Might is weakening, and the villains in the shadows know this…
Welcome to My Hero Academia, a really fun anime.
My Hero Academia (henceforth MHA) flips the typical setup on its head; instead of unpowered people being the majority as in Marvel, DC, and most anime, supers are the overwhelming majority (the early episodes where Deku is bullied by his classmates would delight anyone familiar with X-Men’s themes.)
Do not let Deku’s angst in the early episodes dissuade you — after his training, he gets it together, and this is a common theme throughout the entire series. There’s little crying about the unpowered, or “quirkless” as the characters call them — instead, the viewer gets a steady diet of slam-bang superpowered action instead of some “socially relevant” whine-fest where no one gets to be a hero.
Another strength of this series is its characters. While you shouldn’t expect anything on the level of the better Netflix shows, each character is loads of fun to watch because they are done in such an exaggerated manner. This way, no two come off as alike. Of special note is the relationship between Deku and a gravity-manipulating girl named Ochaco; it is shown as a budding romance where the two grow closer to one another. It’s very innocent and cute, yet it still makes an impact on the viewer. Also, Deku’s mentor All Might steals every scene he is in, his boundless optimism washing off on everyone around him — though there are times where he isn’t so optimistic.
If the show has a weakness, it’s that it hews a little too closely to a formula common to Japan’s action anime; you have the plucky hero who wants to be the best, the arrogant rival, the love interest, and the mentor. While these elements aren’t unique to anime, they do tend to show up together in anime, and this one my seem like it is painting by the numbers. Also, Deku’s goal to become the number one hero feels too broad — it’s not concrete enough. Nonetheless, the supporting cast makes up for all the cliches and flaws in the show — they made sure the episodes were always interesting.
At 13 episodes, Season 1 of MHA is short but very fun, an excellent series that would leave you begging for more. Simple, fun action with a hero you can root for — it has become all too uncommon these days.
You can watch My Hero Academia for free right here on the Crunchyroll streaming service; the link goes straight to the first episode. If you’re on a mobile device, use the Crunchyroll app to watch it. Don’t worry — it’s officially licensed, not some fansub.