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[Anime Review] My Hero Academia Season 2

Here we are once again. For this new season of My Hero Academia, I decided to actually converse with knowledgeable anime guru and my friend, Harry, for a joint review. So, without any further ado, a 2-person discussion/review for a second season. Somewhat fitting, no? Take it away, Harry!

Harry: I mean, you’re the one who requested me, so you start.

Benjamin: Uh. Well… I’d say S2 was leagues better than S1, which was already good. Though, I have a soft spot for tournament arcs, so I loved the sports festival in this one. I also liked the fact that so many characters got so many backstories. Todoroki’s was especially subtle.

Harry: Oh yeah, S2 was much better than S1. It managed to make me enjoy a tournament arc, which I’m not normally the biggest fan of because of their predictability. I’m not sure about the backstories being “subtle” though, Todoroki was clearly the focus of the tournament arc, and the relationship between Bakugou and Deku was clearly the focus of the exam arc. I don’t think that detracts anything from the show as a whole though, and it was pretty great how many of the characters got some sort of development this season.

Benjamin: Yeah, it was cool. And, well, by subtle I mean that there were tiny hints in the opening episodes that he was going to be a focus, and it was nice to see. I love tournament arcs, and I liked that Bakugou won. It made sense, and it showed that Midoriya still has room for development, which then set the stage for the internship arc.

Harry: I wouldn’t call them “hints” personally, so much as it was insanely obvious who the focus was on. As soon as Todoroki “rivaled” Deku the focus was always going to be on him, and similarly, as soon as Deku and Bakugou were partnered the focus was always going to be on that relationship… but yes, it did make a lot of sense for Bakugou to win the tournament; it allowed for character growth in Todoroki, and improvement in Deku.

Benjamin: Bakugou’s reaction to winning was hilarious, too. But, on a slightly unrelated note…

I found myself actually noticing how good the music was this season. The music was nice in S1, but largely forgettable, but songs like You Say Run actually stuck with me, and it was used to great effect, I’d say – Todoroki’s incredible performance at the festival, for example.

Harry: Oh yeah, the soundtrack was fantastic, one of the best. You Say Run managed to create hype whenever it played, similar to how Before My Body Is Dry does in Kill la Kill. That sort of thing (with the music) is kind of a shounen trope, but MHA manages to do it so well. That’s what MHA does best, honestly; it takes old tropes you see in other shounen anime like Dragon Ball and Naruto, and perfects them.

Benjamin: It also still has a strong sense of tone, too. I wouldn’t say there were any jarring shifts between comedy and seriousness, except where necessary (Hero Killer, for example) and it made a fight between two kids and an attack on a city feel equally epic and weighted because the characters are human. The way it melds a comic-book style world and real-world logic is some of the best I’ve seen.

Harry: Totally. There was 1 episode that was notably worse than the others though. Can you figure out which one?

Benjamin: …Are you talking about the name picking episode?

Harry: No, no, that was a good one.

Benjamin: I was gonna say.

Harry: It was super important for the development of characters – especially Deku. Also: “I can not stop sparkling”.

Benjamin: Yeah, the names really helped us understand the characters, I’d say. We kinda got to see how they think and what they see themselves as, not just what we see them as.

Harry: Yep.

Benjamin: So. Which episode are you referring to?

Harry: The Froppy episode. With the tentacle guys, and Seal McSealface.

Benjamin: Ah. Thought it might be that. I can see why you think that; it felt really disconnected from basically everything else.

Harry: That was the filler episode. It’s anime-original is why; the rest of the show was just adaptation of the manga.

Benjamin: Oh, I see, so it doesn’t stick entirely to the manga?

Harry: No, there was that filler episode, and there were a few more scenes for Endeavor during the Hero Killer arc. Which, as someone who’s read that bit of the manga, did actually improve the experience. Just the Froppy episode, it was generic as hell. Froppy seemed really out of character to me. And, uh, Seal man, he was there.

Benjamin: Yeah, it lacked what the others had. With other stuff, we saw the repercussions of the crimes and such, like with Stain and the Nomus, whereas we didn’t get any of that in the Froppy episode.

Harry: The Froppy episode was entirely extraneous. But, as someone said to me, it’s either that, or they unnecessarily stretch out the actual stuff, and I know I’d rather have 1 bad episode than 25 average ones. I hope they put more effort into the anime original stuff next time it pops up though.

Benjamin: Yeah, that’d be nice to see. Side-episodes focussing on other characters could make their development even stronger in future. Oh yes, thoughts on the OP and ED (or OPs plural, as it is)?

Harry: EDs were fantastic.

Benjamin: I like the first OP and the second ED the most. First ED was still good.

Harry: I would agree, but the second OP and first ED were brilliant also.

Benjamin: Personally, though, S1’s OP is still my favourite. I think it really brought together all of the things that make MHA.

Harry: It’s not often you get shows with multiple OPs/EDs where the quality manages to remain across OPs. I wasn’t the biggest fan of S1’s OP at first, but it’s grown on me; still prefer the S2 OP and 2nd ED more though.

Benjamin: Yeah, that’s fair.

Harry: The 2nd ED was god damn brilliant, wizard Uraraka was everything everyone ever needed and more.

Benjamin: Oh yes, definitely! Loved that design. Really, I think the genuine best thing about MHA is that it’s not about Midoriya, it’s about the class and teachers as a whole.

Harry: Well, it is about Midoriya, but I get what you mean. There’s a massive focus on the class, and how they impact Midoriya, how he impacts them, and how they impact each other. If you read the manga, the author goes into some detail about how some characters were designed to bridge the different friend groups and stuff. There’s a lot of effort gone into making the class feel like a class; like, Kirishima is meant to link the Bakusquad to the rest of the class, stuff like that.

Benjamin: Yeah, yeah, I get that.

Harry: And then there’s Mineta.

Benjamin: ….yep.

Harry: He’s not a bad character per se, even he gets moments of focus/redemption, like the villain invasion in S1 and the examination arc. He’s just annoying though. His one thing is “pervert”, for comedy.

Benjamin: Yup. Though Jirou’s little “he didn’t say anything about me” did make me laugh.

Harry: Jirou is great. Totally 2nd best girl, under-appreciated… Thinking about it, she probably has the most interesting Quirk as well. Like, I feel we’ve only just scratched the surface of what could be done with Earphone.

Benjamin: I’d agree. Oh, what did you think of the exam arc in general?

Harry: I thought it could’ve been better, but it was good.

Benjamin: I wasn’t sure what to think about it. Whichever way you look at it, it either paints the teachers as not as strong as they should be, or the students as ridiculously competent. Neither of which I particularly like. (Midoriya punching All Might and slightly moving him was fucking awesome, though.)

Harry: I don’t think that’s true. The teachers, I felt, were almost certainly going easy on the students; maybe apart from All Might. It’s mostly the Uraraka/Aoyama fight that I thought was bad. The bit that was there was good, but it was just the end of the fight.

Benjamin: Agreed about Uraraka/Aoyama fight. My favourite was Aizawa’s though, because the way he’s still looking out for his students whilst they don’t realise it was so in character.

Harry: The Aizawa fight was great. Not because Aizawa, though he was good, but because Yaoyorozu. Her rediscovery of her confidence was pretty great.

Benjamin: Definitely. Overall, S2 was fantastic, I’d say.

Harry: Story wise, definitely. Music wise, totally. Character wise, yep. OP/ED wise, yep. Art wise? I think there were signs of it slipping slightly towards the end, but overall they’re still managing to keep the quality up.

Benjamin: Yeah, I can’t say any of it astounded me, but it was pretty solid throughout. As an aside, I loved the little touch of Aizawa being the one to comment on Present Mic’s Quirk. Because it was Present Mic that does the intros for every other character’s quirk.

Harry: The Aizawa/Mic tournament banter was top tier, gotta say. I like how they’re broadcasting the show also.

Benjamin: Mm?

Harry: So, normally with shounen anime, you get massive, 50+ episode seasons that run like, all year. But MHA is doing more conventional 1/2 cour seasons (i.e. 12/24 episodes), which is what non-shounen do.

Benjamin: Oh, is that why S2 is so much longer?

Harry: Yes, it has double the cours, but it means they can keep up the quality of the show and also means they don’t catch up with the source material too quickly, meaning they don’t run out of content to adapt as quickly, meaning less filler. So it won’t end up like One Piece or something, which has had something like 200 filler episodes since the last actual episode adapted from the manga. So, final thoughts?

Benjamin: S2 is, as I said, leagues better than S1, and I very much enjoyed both the comedy and drama of the season. I’m definitely excited for S3 now, and I hope the quality keeps up.

Harry: Rating out of 10?

Benjamin: Well, I’m not familiar with anime, so my rating may change as I watch and learn more, but for now? 9.

Harry: 9 sounds good. I gave S1 a 9, S2 got a 10 for me. It pushed something off my top 10 anime list, but I can’t remember what.

Benjamin: Damn, that’s a high rating. Well, it’s the highest rating, really.

Harry: Gurren Lagann, it pushed Gurren Lagann off. Which, coincidentally, is what you’re watching next.

Benjamin: Uh, right, sure. Let’s do it! Oh, god, is this how I become a weeaboo?

[Anime Review] My Hero Academia Season 1
[Anime Review] Gurren Lagann

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