Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) is a shounen title that has been greatly anticipated each year since its debut in Spring 2016, and garnered much attention, becoming one of the leading titles of the shounen “new school”. Now that we’re 5 years into it, we’re well into the story about Midoriya Izuku (Quirk: One For All) becoming the best hero, and after the crazy ride that was the fourth season, the fifth was expected to quickly blast off into similar levels of excitement. That wasn’t to be however, as the fifth season kicked off with brief exposition, and moved onto another training arc. Are we mad that in a story about kids training to become heroes they are currently getting practical training in that field? Yes, but no, of course not! Let’s dive into what has been great and not so great in Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) Season 5 so far!
One of the most exciting aspects of the training arc was the introduction of Hitoshi Shinso (Quirk: Brainwashing) as a member of 1-B, given permission to participate for both classes to account for the teams that were a member short. We last really saw him in Season 2 during the tournament arc, when he had a brilliant fight against Deku and his Brainwashing ability unleashed latent visions of the Vestiges of All For One in Deku. Shinso’s Brainwashing ability is shown to affect Deku a lot differently to others because of One For All, but only when Deku’s team in the team training battles goes head-to-head with a team sporting Shinso as a substitute does he confirm that Shinso’s ability reacts somehow with Deku’s One For All. Shinso’s lack of combat experience shows, but he has the guts and mentality it takes to be a great hero, not to mention the fact that he’s under the tutelage of Eraser Head (Quirk: Erasure)!
The deuteragonist of this series has gone from strength to strength, but he still seemed to lack the discipline needed for teamwork. He surprises everybody by seemingly heading down his own beaten path of aggressive one-man showmanship, but together with his teammates Kyoka Jiro (Hero Name: Earphone Jack; Quirk: Earphone Jack), Sero Hanta (Hero Name: Cellophane, Quirk: Tape), and Sato Rikido (Hero Name: Sugar Rush), Bakugo managed to be both the most valuable player of their battle and achieved the goal he set for them: perfect and undeniable victory over their Class 1-B opponents. His proclamation, “I will save you if you’re in a pinch, and when I’m in a pinch, you guys will save me” proves that Bakugo can change too.
Todoroki Enji, better known as Endeavor (Quirk: Hellflame), has undergone a bit of a growth arc on the sidelines during Season 5. After his intense battle against the Nomu alongside Hawks (Quirk: Fierce Wings), Endeavor is out of commission as he nurses his injuries. All Might’s retirement, the battle, and the reception of Endeavor’s resolve during the battle have gained the once infamous hero a lot of new fans. He has also attempted to make amends with his family regarding the years of physical and psychological abuse he subjected them to while trying to breed a child who would be capable of learning the Todoroki family’s secret ultimate attack: Prominence Burn. Now Endeavor is trying really hard to have a relationship with his youngest son beyond the traumatic experiences he imparted during Shoto’s childhood.
The character who has experienced the most change so far is the main character himself. The first three episodes of Season 5 had Deku seeing visions of his predecessors, most notably, the interaction between All For One and his little brother that became the birth of the Quirk One For All. “The First”, as Deku calls him, speaks directly to Deku and tells him that the power he now has, has been developed by eight people before him and will be perfected by none other than Deku himself. These are important developments, as it is solidified that Deku’s role in this story will be to put All For One to rest for good, using One For All.
Things get even crazier for Deku in his team battle against a team featuring his tournament arc rival, Shinso Hitoshi, when a stringy, black substance emanates from Deku’s body. It is revealed in a clear vision of the second ever wielder of One For All that the substance is the manifestation of his own original quirk in Deku. Since One For All is essentially the ability to stockpile power, none of the Quirks possessed by any of Deku’s predecessors were ever muted or destroyed, only dormant as they continued to multiply in raw power. At this point, the manifestation of the Quirks of past wielders of One For All solidifies two things: 1) Deku is the “chosen one”, the iteration of One For All tasked with the momentous objective of defeating All For One, once and for all. 2) Deku has the vestiges of the original Quirks of all the previous wielders of One For All lying dormant inside him, slowly awakening to his increasing proficiency with the Quirk and to the fact that Deku is the intended “final” host of this power.
Not So Great
The whole point of this anime is to focus on students being nurtured in professional heroism. To be surprised at any training arc, let alone the sheer number of training arcs in this story wouldn’t really make much sense. However, the pacing has suffered greatly this season in terms of developments outside of training. We established that the Number 2 Hero, Hawks (Quirk: Fierce Wings) is a double agent, working with both the League of Villains and on the side of justice as a pro hero in the aftermath of Endeavor’s (Quirk: Hellflame) intense battle against the new and improved Nomu. But after that set up, we’ve been focused solely on the team training battles between Class 1-A and 1-B. While it’s not a bad thing on its own, this training arc has run for nearly ten episodes, and it was quite enjoyable but frustratingly drawn out. Despite this, there were plenty of cool moments to enjoy and it was perhaps a big starter in preparation for what’s to come in the remainder of Boku no Hero Academia Season 5.
The Nobodies of Class 1-B
While this might be for some, an element of pacing, the emphasis we’re placing here is on the weight of characters introduced this season, more specifically, the various students of U.A. High Hero Course Class 1-B. There were a myriad of fun, quirky, awesome and even badass personalities in the other Hero Course class introduced very quickly, some of whom faded into obscurity in favour of their more interesting friends. The more exciting element came from the reintroduction to a character we’ve met before: Shinso Hitoshi (Quirk: Brainwashing), which we’ll get into later! Some of the more interesting Class 1-B students that we haven’t already met include Fukudashi Manga, Kuroiro Shihai, Komoro Kinoko, Tokage Setsuna and of course, Honenuki Juuzou! While they all had interesting introductions and even performed brilliantly against 1-A, the fact that they continue to reside in their shadow regardless of their own growth. The fact that they’ve grown is also lost on us since we haven’t really spent much time watching the various students of 1-B at earlier points in their journeys.
After that long training arc, it seems that Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) Season 5 is going back to regularly scheduled programming. Who knows what’s in store for the rest of the season? One thing we do know; however, is that a large chunk of it went to this particular training arc, so we’re really hoping it doesn’t fall into irrelevance within the next few episodes. How have you felt about the 5th season of My Hero Academia so far? Drop a comment below and tell us what you think!