Boku no Hero Academia – 03

Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -14 Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -19 Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -39

Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -1In many ways, I think Boku no Hero Academia is like the perfect Platonic ideal of a shounen manga (and now anime).  That doesn’t mean it’s the best (in a demographic with Hunter X Hunter and Rurouni Kenshin just for starters, I would never make that claim), but it may just be the purest.  I believe Horikoshi Kouhei is one day going to write a series that’s full of intricate plotting and deep psychological intrigue, and stretches the boundaries of the shounen demographic – and it will probably be a better series that Boku no Hero Academia.  But I don’t think it will exemplify what the word means as much as this series does.

Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -2BnHA is, to me, the essence of what it it is about shounen that I love – passion, GAR, manly tears, brotherhood, mentorship, overcoming physical hardship.  It’s the work of a young writer full of the energy of youth (in my mind I can almost picture Togashi and Horikoshi on the beach as All Might and Izuku – “Young mangaka are amazing!”).  And now, in the capable hands of Nagasaki Kenji and Bones, it’s coming to life on the screen exactly as I imagined it when reading it on the page.  Weekends are a serious embarrassment of riches for me as a manga fan, full of faithful and clever takes on series I was lucky enough to discover.

Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -3The metaphorical nature of Boku no Hero and hero shounen is hard to miss, because this is a series and a genre all about moving mountains both literal and symbolic in order to chase your dreams.  The thing about Izuku and All Might is that they’re both so damn easy to root for.  How can you not love the world’s top superhero who bemoans the fact that heroes are too proud to pick up trash?  All of Izuku’s life he’s been waiting for someone to tell him it was enough for him to be heroic of character in order to be a hero and it fell to the hero he worshipped most of all to say the words.

Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -4This is the nature of All Might’s quirk – “One for All”.  It’s that most democratic of quirks in that it’s merit-based, not inherited – and it truth, it’s not All Might’s quirk at all (he’s just borrowing it until he chooses a successor).  As such, it’s the perfect quirk for Deku, who makes up for his lack of inborn powers with a willingness to do more than anyone else.  All Might’s challenge to him is simple – the “Aim to Pass: American Dream Plan!” to get into the great hero’s alma mater, UA (Yuuei) Academy. And the nut of that plan?  Clean up decades worth of trash at “Dagobah Beach Park” (let’s not forget Deku also goes to “Alderaan Middle School”).

Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -5In a sense one could look at this as a training arc crammed into one episode (for the record, it was just about the same pace as the manga) but in a series that’s more or less about hero training as a central theme, it’s more of a “preschool” exercise.  The issue is Izuku’s body, which is not nearly so heroic as his sprit (a Daiki Yamashita specialty).  It can’t handle All Might’s power, so as the superhero rides around on a Segway the boy busts his ass hauling refrigerators (and superheroes) in a grueling regimen.  Deku being Deku he makes it even more grueling for himself, which earns him a scolding from All Might.  But Deku being Deku you know he’ll get there in the end, and the reward is a literal taste of All Might’s power (unappetizing though the process might have been).

Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -6The bond between All Might and Izuku is one of the supporting pillars of Boku no Hero Academia, and it’s really on display in this episode.  Both of these guys are true heroes in terms of their character (which is actually the point), with much more in common than meets the eye.  As hard as All Might is on Izuku he’s never cruel – he’s doing this because he has to, and because it’s truly what Izuku wants.  Two sides of the same coin, these two – one of the best relationships of their type in modern shounen.

Boku no Hero Academia - 03 -7With that it’s on to Yuuei, and obviously a major transition in the story.  Kaachan is there too of course, as are a bunch of faces that will become familiar – starting with Uraraka Ochako (Sakura Ayane) who gives us a little taste of her quirk when Deku trips over his own feet on the way to the entrance exam (he’s almost more excited to have “talked” to a girl than at getting a quirk).  The teacher who introduces the examinees to Yuuei is Present Mic (Yoshino Hiroyuki), and the one attendee bold enough to interrupt him Iida Tenya (Ishikawa Kaito).  This is where the real magic starts – at Yuuei with its endless cast of memorable characters.  As great as the first three episodes have been, there’s so much more to come – which, I think, it why Shounen Jump is being so careful with Boku no Hero Academia by starting off with one cour.  There’s a reason why this series has become a poster child for a new generation at WSJ, and anime viewers are about to experience it first-hand.

 

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9 comments

  1. T

    I’ve been wanting to share this since the first episode, but it kept slipping my mind. I love the OP and I suspect my affection for it, aside from that it’s catchy, is whenever the vocalist would sing “…DA YO!” I would hear, “…DA YON~”

    Another wonderful episode! I’m stoked to meet the rest of the cast.

  2. Sheeh!

  3. C

    Deku should be hired for those annoying youtube bodybuilding ads.

    “THIS UGLY SON OF A BITCH GOT HUGE IN 10 MONTHS AND BASICALLY YOU ARE FUCKING STUPID!”

  4. G

    Now I get why you compare this show and Hunter x Hunter, there is the same fervent excitement and wonder in the Hunter Exams Arc and this arc. Deku is so adorable mumbling those exercise regiment strategies, can’t get enough of him.

  5. G

    I can definitely understand that sentiment on feeling like he’ll follow it up with a psychological, boundary-breaking series a la Hunter x Hunter. What you are saying about it being the purest Shounen is something I feel about Togashi’s Yu Yu Hakusho (though in a different way). YYH was a display of mastery and understanding of that genre, purely within and emblematic of the genre at the time. Dark Tournament was in my opinion the greatest and most perfect tournament arc. But then by the end of that anime you can feel Togashi feeling frustrated by the genre limitations of the genre, and pushing against the seams.

  6. Yup, as I’ve said, I see BnHA as Horikoshi’s YYH. I think each of them is a perfect representation of who the mangaka was at the time they began it. And I definitely see the talent in Horikosi that he has the potential for a Togashi-like development curve.

    The thing about H x H is, it basically starts out tricking you into thinking it’s another classic genre shounen. But eventually it becomes at the very least a complete deconstruction, and in fact in many ways as seinen as you can get.

  7. O

    The pacing of 1.5 chapters per episode feels a bit slow. Still an enjoyable episode though.

  8. C

    I’m actually glad they took their time with this, even though they could have done the training montage in a more condensed form. By letting it fill up most of the episode, you really get a sense of how much dedication and effort Deku puts into his training (it’s a whole new life regimen!). And even with all that, the series still finds time to breathe and share the really grounded life lessons from the manga (I don’t know if this is common in shonen series, but it was nice to see BNHA acknowledge overwork, and of course All Might’s last speech at the end). So far so good! It’s refreshing to see such a high-energy, gripping show take its characters step by step, one story beat at a time.

  9. Y

    You okay after the earthquake, Enzo?

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