I am here!!
- Episodes : 25
- Genre : Shounen, Action, Comedy
- Airing Date : April 2017 – September 2017
- Studios : Bones
Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) 2nd Season Introduction and Story (Spoilers)
The series begins with the Class 1A prepping for U.A. High’s annual sports festival. They hear that this competition is actually incredibly important for their futures, as students who stand out will catch the eyes of other hero groups and corporations and actually net themselves an internship! However, the sports festival isn’t just for Class 1A, but for all of the other courses that U.A. High offers as well. And since 1A is the Hero course that consists of the best U.A. High students, everyone else is gunning straight for them! However, to add even more pressure onto our hero, Midoriya Izuku (aka Deku), his mentor and idol, the hero All-Might, informs Midoriya that his own power is waning and that Deku needs to make a splash into the world so he can show everyone there’s a proper successor to All-Might out there.
Deku manages to win the first event (the obstacle course) over Bakugo and Todoroki, but his victory is immediately undermined by the second event: the cavalry battle. Everyone who managed to finish the race with a qualifying place is given a bandana with a point value that corresponds to how they finished the obstacle course. However, first place is given a value of 10,000,000, meaning that if anyone manages to snag Deku’s bandana, they automatically will win if they hold it to the time limit. Deku ultimately loses due in part to Iida Tenya using a special boost maneuver that allowed him to move fast enough as part of Todoroki’s base to grab Deku’s bandana. Deku’s team manages to squeak by, however, thanks to Tokoyami swiping a bandana from Bakugo amidst the confusion.
Thankfully, Deku manages to score a win against his first opponent, but unfortunately, his next opponent is none other than Todoroki himself. Luckily, Deku stands a chance, as Todoroki will only use his ice powers to honor his mother, meaning he won’t fight at his full potential. Deku can sense how much pain Todoroki is in and refuses to give up, almost completely destroying his own broken arm with One-For-All to blast away Todoroki’s constant ice barrage. Eventually, Todoroki finally acquiesces and uses his fire on Deku. They clash, but Todoroki wins out in the end.
Bakugo ends up winning the sports festival in the end, and nets an internship with Best Jeanist, one of the top heroes. In fact, everyone manages to acquire an internship, including Deku! He ends up working with a previously retired hero named Gran Torino, who, as it turns out, was All-Might’s previous mentor as well! Gran Torino manages to help Deku realize that he’s been treating All-for-One as a special ability rather than a natural extension of his body. As a result, Deku is able to master using 5% of his total strength.
And none too soon either! As it turns out, during the sports festival, Iida’s older brother was attacked by a notorious vigilante who’s dubbed “The Hero Killer” and specifically takes up an internship in the area where the elder Iida was assaulted to secretly investigate. As it turns out, Stain, the hero killer has teamed up with Tomura Shiragaki and the League of Villains to cause havoc with Shiragaki’s Nomus (the strangely obedient monsters that the League of Villains produces). During one of these Nomu raids, Iida tracks down Stain.
Iida is quickly defeated by him, but just before Stain brings down the killing blow, Deku manages to locate them both and sends out a message to all his classmates from U.A. High. Deku fights to stall for time, and thankfully Todoroki manages to be in the area. Iida, Deku, and Todoroki manage to knock Stain out just as Endeavor and several other heroes show up to help. Deku, weakened by the fight, is easily grabbed by a flying Nomu, and just as it’s about to get away with Deku in tow, Stain wakes up to strike down the Nomu, saving Deku. Stain then talks down to the other heroes, boldly proclaiming that no current hero outside of All-Might has the right to kill him, as none of them truly care about saving people like he does. He then passes out, still standing up straight.
As it happens, someone managed to record Stain’s parting message on their cell phone. Despite the city’s attempts to take down the video, it manages to go viral anyway and inspires other villains and ne’er-do-wells to take action, as they now have Stain’s rallying cry to fall back on as reasoning for their actions. Because of this, All-Might decides it’s time to inform Deku about the history of One-For-All.
However, there’s no time to worry about that, as it’s time for Deku’s final exams! As part of their exam, Deku has to actually fight against All-Might in a 2 vs. 1 match, where Bakugo ends up as Deku’s partner. Their goal? Either escape from the battlefield, or manage to actually get handcuffs on All-Might. The two are a poor match, however, as Bakugo refuses to acknowledge his disadvantage fighting against the strongest hero of them all, while Deku is too terrified to actually stand up to his idol. However, in the end, both are able to concede their differences, where Bakugo assists Deku to escape, while Deku stands up to All-Might in order to save Bakugo from getting injured further. Deku manages to run away with Bakugo in hand, both of them passing their final exam.
The series ends with a class summer training camp, but for Deku, it’s cut short when he’s confronted by Shiragaki. He wants to talk with Deku about what was up with Stain, threatening to kill him if he doesn’t comply. Shiragaki is confused by what motivated Stain, but Deku explains that the reason people were so taken with him was due to the conviction of his own beliefs. Shiragaki is satisfied with this answer, and disappears into the crowd with a new goal in mind: to kill All-Might and end people’s peace once and for all.
What we liked about Boku no Hero Academia Season 2
Season 2 of Boku no Academia is everything we loved about the first season: explosively creative action sequences that get the blood pumping, over-the-top grandstanding that’s too sincere to care if it’s embarrassing, and an easy-to-follow plot that slowly builds its world. Is it the deepest or most original story? Not really. We’ve seen the narrative about “What does it take to truly be a hero?” hundreds of times over the course of human history from about every single culture you can think of. Even the subplot during U.A. High’s sports festival with Todoroki being bitter about his family lineage is hardly anything new.
It doesn’t need to be original, though. It’s about watching Deku demolish icebergs with a flick of his fingers, mutilating his entire hand in the process due to being overwhelmed by the raw force of One-For-All, while screaming that he won’t let up because he can sense Todoroki’s pain and that he’ll save Todoroki by going all out against him; even if he kills himself. It fills you with such childlike wonderment that you can’t help but root for Deku to win and for Todoroki to overcome his past. The Shounen battle genre isn’t designed for subtlety, and Boku no Hero Academia understands that in spades.
However, compounded on top of all of that is the much needed pacing tune-up. If you never read the original manga, then the pace of the original anime was at least watchable. Fans of the manga were let down by how slowly it moved, only covering about 2 volumes worth of material over the course of 13 episodes. Boku no Hero Academia Season 2 cranks it up just a notch (about 3 volumes worth of material for each half, for 6 in total), which as it turns out was all it needed. It moves through the action scenes fast enough so that they’re not all-consuming, but still gives the proper time needed to build up character backgrounds and motivations.
Boku no Hero Academia is the kind of series that has appeal for just about any anime fan. It’s flashy enough with those gigantic showpieces and fairly simple characters that if you’re just looking for a fun, afternoon watch, then Boku no Hero Academia is probably already on your Crunchyroll queue if you haven’t already watched it. For those who think they’re too old for an action series in the vein of Naruto or Dragon Ball that’s targeted towards kids, well, don’t write it off too quickly. It’s a light story, but there is a bit more meat to it than simply “Deku trains and gets stronger for the next threat”.
1. In-Depth Character Building
Shounen protagonists tend to be split into 2 categories. On one hand you have almost mythic characters like Goku, Monkey D. Luffy, and Kenshiro who act more as a force of nature in service of its story, more used as a role model or as a stand-in to cheer for the correct ideology the series is pushing. Then, on the other hand you have shounen heroes like Deku, who’s the wimpy kid we all see ourselves as. But Deku manages to walk the tight line of a cowardly, meek main character without crossing over into outright annoying. It’s hard not to put yourself in Deku’s shoes when All-Might stares him down during his final exam and Deku books it, because you know in your heart that as cool as you wish you were, you’d probably do the same. But in the end, when it counts, Deku will stay, rationally think through what he can do against these impossible odds, and do what is right. He’s the hero we could actually see ourselves as, not just as the one we can only dream of being.
But that’s not to say Deku is the only loveable character. It would have been easy to write off Todoroki as the arrogant prodigy who eventually comes around to the right side, but even when before his big match against Deku, you can’t help but understand his pain due to how casually he drops the news of his mother’s abuse and how much he hates his father for it. His goals aren’t evil or twisted; he’s genuinely suffering. Female lead Ochaco gets thrown into a fight against tournament favorite Bakugo, and she refuses to take Deku’s advice for the fight because she wants to show that she can fight for herself. Momo Yaoyorozu is crushed by her own high opinion of herself and loses her self-confidence in a desperate fight against Tokoyami. The list goes on and on, but for a series with a very colorful cast, it’s hard not to see them as human.
2. Stain Story Arc
There’s a reason why manga fans were hyping the return of Boku no Hero Academia this season; they knew the best part was coming. Stain is clearly a psychopath who’s so blinded by his idealism of what makes someone a hero that he sees society as in need of purging. He’s a perfect foil to Deku, who he discovers is actually on his extremely short list of heroes who are actually worth their quirk. And you understand why that is, too; Deku and All-Might are the only characters in the series that had to earn their quirks, while everyone else is just naturally born with them. The only reason Deku is able to beat Stain is because Stain doesn’t actually want to fight him; he knows he’s only there to save Iida, but Stain’s mentality is so warped that he just has to rid the world of another hypocrite.
Yet, the real heart of this story comes from the ending, where villains from all around the world begin to unite thanks to Stain’s convictions. However, it’s commentary on how martyrdom actually works. It’s not that these notorious fiends have been inspired to take up a cause. Rather, now they have an easily identifiable ideology to fall back on. They don’t actually believe in what Stain was advocating, but now they can get away with whatever they want by stating that they’re fighting for Stain’s cause. It causes the average person to second guess themselves. Stain’s beliefs, while perhaps pure in their own twisted way, have created a shield for genuinely evil people to latch onto.
3. Creative Action
Of course, any shounen battle anime is defined by the battles themselves. A lot of the fun of the series is just watching how different powers are going to clash against one another. How can Deku use All-For-One against Todoroki when he’s got such a limited usage? How will Iida use his super speed against someone who can bind him? How can Ochaco use her gravity in the face of someone with the ability to create black holes? The list of creative match-ups just goes on and on, and the results are almost always just as satisfying as the setup itself.
1. It’s Not Over Yet
While we’ve gotten a confirmation of season 3 already, anyone looking for a self-contained story might be left disappointed. What’s there is great, but the manga itself is still running and most likely won’t be over for quite some time. Everything in season 2 is really meant to set up future events, so if you’re the type of person who’s not willing to invest in a long-running story that’s specifically written to not have a definitive beginning, middle, and end, Boku no Hero Academia might be too exhausting to invest in.
By the author’s own admission, Mineta is meant to be something of a stand-in for himself. That is to say, he can’t stop ogling and making pervy comments about his female classmates. There is exactly one gag about this that’s kind of funny, and that’s how his internship revolves around working as a live-in servant for Mt. Lady as sort of a karmic retribution for thinking he could just ogle her the entire time. Otherwise, these jokes are just repetitive, obnoxious, and are fairly at-odds with the tone of the rest of the series. Worse yet, despite how Mineta generally gets his comeuppance, it is troublesome how the series wants you to root for him, like in his final exam battle against Midnight.
Miffed about Bleach’s sudden conclusion? Not thrilled with how Boruto continues Naruto? Sick of waiting for One Piece to end? Boku no Hero Academia is easily the next great shounen series. It’s got a rough edge here and there, but if you can look past that, you’ll absolutely find an incredibly fun battle series with a ton of heart.