Boku no Hero Academia – 05

Boku no Hero - 05 -6 Boku no Hero - 05 -33 Boku no Hero - 05 -58

You’re probably going to need to stay with me on this point, but I think Boku no Hero Academia is like a hero version of Ginga e Kickoff.

Boku no Hero - 05 -1Boku no Hero Acadamia is not a simplistic story by any means, but I think its success is based on an extremely simple formula:  pick whatever you’re going to do and do it exceptionally well, and don’t worry about anything else.  Really, how can it get any simpler than that?  Boku no Hero knows exactly the kind of story it wants to be, doesn’t care that it’s been told many times in other forms, and doesn’t worry about anything but getting it just right.  And boy, is it ever getting it right.

Boku no Hero - 05 -2What I find striking now that the series has made the jump to anime is how it feels to experience it in this form.  I love a great many anime, but that expresses itself differently in every case.  What strikes me is that the feelings Boku no Hero elicits are remarkably similar to the ones Ginga e Kickoff did.  While the two series may seem like strange bedfellows I really don’t think that’s the case.  Each of them treads a well-worn shounen path, and does so brilliantly.  And each of them builds around the characters first, making sure the foundation is in place to support the story.

Boku no Hero - 05 -3Ultimately, what makes both these shows great is the connection you feel to the characters, most obviously but not exclusively the protagonist.  I kind of feel like if you can’t get behind Izuku you’re pretty much a cyborg, because he’s just so goddam easy to root for.  But as with Ginga e Kickoff, there’s a strong presence here for the mentoring characters, the nurturing adults.  As honest and humbly admirable as Izuku is, I find All Might to be just as hard not to root for.  Ultimately, for all his strength, he’s a gentle soul – a romantic and an innocent.  That’s what made him a perfect vessel for his power and a great hero, and what got him hurt as badly as he has been.  I think he’s absolutely happier every time  something good happens for Izuku than Izuku himself.

Boku no Hero - 05 -4The point here, I suppose, is that Izuku and All Might are both perfect vessels for that power – soulmates, in a sense.  But the world of Boku no Hero Academia is not an easy place for the idealist to thrive, and Yuuei Academy is not in the nurturing business – I would equate it more with jewel-polishing.  And the choice of homeroom teacher makes it clear that Izuku is going to be ground down pretty hard.  Aizawa Shouta (Suwabe Junichi) is the underground hero known as “Eraser Head” (the reason for which will soon become clear) and he wastes no time with niceties on the first day of class.  He immediately declares a test – eight trials in which the new students of Class 1-A will be free to use their quirks, with the bottom-feeding student punished by expulsion (you can’t get any more Shounen Jump than that).

Boku no Hero - 05 -5Eraser’s point is very clear here – there will be no attempts to level the playing field at Yuuei, because that’s now how the world these kids want to enter works.  Throw everything you have at surviving or get out.  Of course, the structure of this competition puts Izuku at a particular disadvantage, because his usage of his quirk is all or nothing – and “all” means he TKO’s himself.  He’s had three weeks to try and control it, but the best All Might has been able to promise is “someday”.  That, and the nebulous advice that doing so is all about feeling – which Izuku has managed to shape into the image of an egg in a microwave.  “Turn down the wattage – or the cook time” All Might offers somewhat prosaically – but just how does the boy go about doing that?

Boku no Hero - 05 -7We get an interesting little taste of several of the quirks at play here, all of which are useful in padding their user’s scores in one discipline or another.  Meanwhile Izuku has to try and scrape by on his own power, which predictably leads to a string of dire results.  When the softball toss comes around (we never did that one in gym class in Chicago) Izuku figures it’s now or never time given the nature of the remaining events, but when he tries to use his quirk Aizawa-sensei “erases” it – and delivers a lecture of the futility (and selfishness) of incapacitating himself in a combat situation.  Ultimately he releases Deku’s quirk, making it clear he thinks the kid is screwed either way.  But he digs deep, because that’s what Izuku does, and manages to isolate a fraction of his power in his finger – wrecking one part of his body rather than all of it.

Boku no Hero - 05 -8These rousing end-of-episode crescendos are something of a Boku no Hero specialty, and Horikoshi is a genius at delivering them in the manga chapters too.  Just as its formula for success is simple the virtues BnHA extols in its protagonist are simple and straightforward – persistence, quick thinking, empathy.  But that’s what makes Izuku so easy to get behind – more than anything else his superpower is decency, just as it is with All Might.  And for someone like that, getting called “cool” by your mom (and your mentor, too) seems as fitting a reward as any.

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9 comments

  1. T

    So much heart in this show, I just can’t. You mentioned in the comments in the previous episode that All Might is a fantastic father figure, I wholeheartedly agree. I tear up whenever he’s so ridiculously proud of Izuku because it’s evident to him and to us viewers that Izuku worked and works so damn hard for what he wants. DekuMom too. Izuku is really, really cool.

    Loved the random moments in this episode: “repeat after me…” and “octopi are ero~” made me laugh out loud. And Todoroki. (I have mixed feelings about hearing him though. Kaji Yuuki’s his seiyuu and, well…Kaji Yuuki.)

  2. I’m trying not to think about that…

  3. I picked up this show two days ago and boy, I’m loving it to bits!
    I agree, Izuku and All Might are so likeable and they are so easy to root for. Izuku is quite simple in character, no complicated back stories and drama and it’s one of the reasons why I love him so much! I’ve not heard of Ginga e Kickoff until now?
    Major question: What is the difference between UA and Yuuhei?

  4. UA is just a Romanized nickname for Yuuei.

  5. e

    @Alex: sorry for hjacking but you can find Enzo’s reviews for all the episodes of Ginga E Kickoff by using the search function on the top right corner – if you’re in desktop view – . Definitely check the series out it’s really good and full of heart :,) .

  6. C

    I’ve read a few complaints regarding the pacing, and I agree but at the same time I don’t. On one hand, at this rate we won’t get to the REALLY good parts, as it’s only one cour. The beginning is good, but it’s not as strong as what comes after. Yet, BONES is doing a laudable work by taking their time and adapting 99.9% of the manga so anyone watching is literally not missing anything.

    Aaaaaah, it’s complicated. ;___;

  7. C

    Well we don’t know for sure that there won’t be a second season, do we? It would be a bit surprising if they didn’t make more episodes, especially because at this rate there will be plenty manga material to justify a second cour. But I suppose this sort of thing depends on many more factors (popularity-wise, the BnHA is safe, right?) I see the pacing issue but I think it would only dampen my enjoyment of the show if we were certain that the first season was the only season… which I hope isn’t the case because this is a very, very good show.

  8. I think it’s pretty unlikely there won’t be additional seasons. The main purpose of the anime is to promote the manga, and the manga continues to grow in sales. The fact that they only produced one cour to start with seems to me an indication that they’re being careful not to burn through the material too quickly (as opposed to what they did with a lesser property like World Trigger). I’d expect to see a second season in Fall or Winter.

  9. s

    yea it’s as enzo said, im sure this is all calculated and personally, i prefer it this way. So many times ive complained about long running shounen shooting themselves in the foot because they have to face the inevitability of catching up to the source material and screwing up their pacing. Why dont they just handle the material carefully and take seasonal/biseasonal (a year break at the most) and then pump out another season is what ive always asked. Looks like someone in the production committee decided that doing the smart thing was welll….the smart thing to do. Id rather not have academia speed up it’s pacing whatsoever. To me, what’s most important is that it keeps delivering on its thematic elements every ep. As long as it does that, i;; be a happy camper (and so will others from the looks of the initial reception this series is getting). Plus, if academia is successful, then perhaps this may show other staff producing long running material that this type of strategy is the proper way to handle these kind of adaptations. Your animation quality stays strong and consistent, your pacing benefits, and your staff doesnt have to sell their souls to the devil in order to crank out material on demand every week

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