What makes us human?
What defines our species? Is it our intelligence, or perhaps our ability to communicate, our kindness, compassion? A simple question with a very complex answer indeed. However, I like to believe that our ability to hope is what defines us.
Hope and the courage to relentlessly pursue our dreams is what My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia for all you purists out there) is all about.
My Hero Academia is a downright textbook Shounen anime. It’s clearly made using the classic shounen magic formula. The story bleeds cliché elements out of all its orifices, and the characters are the basic stereotypes you’ll find in any anime of this genre. No surprise, since this anime is the proud spawn of Shounen Jump.
That said, this anime is a beast. It has been made with all the sugar, spice and everything nice that made Naruto, Bleach and One Piece titans of the industry.
My Hero Academia follows a powerless hero (Deku)…
…as he does his best to become as strong as his idol. It follows Deku through his trials to reach the top. Along the way, Deku gains a one of a kind power. A power that will make him stand out among all of the characters in the series. Once the general layout of the anime has been presented, the anime kindly provides a long arc that serves as an introduction of the villains. Villains and a lot of fighting. Delightful. The entire experience feels familiar, comfortable and in a general sense – it’s predictable. Predictable as it may be, you still long to see it. You need to see how the main character grows, what challenges he faces and how he overcomes them. The anime also follows a theme like other Shounen anime usually do. For Naruto, its “ninja”, Magi in the “Arabian Nights” world, One Piece has “pirates” and so on. For My Hero Academia, it’s the world of “superheroes”.
It’s a very Americanized setup full of superheroes…
…merged with the Shounen clichés. It works fantastically and you’re really convinced from the opening narration alone. It states that the world actually has people manifesting powers, and it’s become the norm. Some use their powers for good and others use it for evil. Because, well … wouldn’t you rob a bank if you could walk through walls? Makes sense right?
Anyway, having superpowers has become such a normal occurrence that superheroism is an actually high paying job, and people strive to become heroes for the fame and glory it brings and less for the “doing good” part. The setup is easy, clear-cut and allows for cool battle scenes and moral conflict.
Yet what will really make your eyes stick to your monitor is Deku, our powerless, wide-eyed, hopeful, I-will-be-Hokage runt of a main character. He is intelligent, has a strong sense of justicy and above all, he has courage. Courage, my friends, is not the lack of fear. Courage is taking action in the face of unspeakable fear. That is what Deku brings to this anime and that little extra emotional element that will tug on your heartstrings and keep you wanting more of My Hero Academia.