Hi, otaku readers of MANGA.TOKYO. I’m Mokugyo and I love manga and anime! 2017 is finally here and I’m excited about all the various new anime coming up. The problem is that there is so much anime to choose from, and I’m sure that many of you have the same problem.
In this article, I will introduce My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia). The second season of the anime adaptation will air in April 2017.
What is ‘My Hero Academia’?
My Hero Academia is a manga series that is currently being serialised in Weekly Shonen Manga. It is a relatively new series (it began its serialization in 2014) and it was adapted into a 13-episode TV anime series in 2016. There have been 11 volumes of the manga published as of the end of 2016, and 7 million copies have been published in total. Weekly Shonen Jump is known for its super popular shonen series, and this one might be part of the new generation for the magazine.
My Hero Academia is set in a near-future Japan where most people have superpowers known as ‘Quirks (Kosei)’. There are heroes fighting against villains who try to take control of ‘Quirks’. In this world, being a hero is considered a profession. The protagonist is a hero otaku called Izuku Midoriya, who dreams of being a real hero someday. The problem is that he was born without a ‘Quirk’. However, his bravery to save people results in him receiving a ‘Quirk’ from the greatest hero of the time, All Might. Midoriya gets into the prestigious hero training school called ‘U.A. High School’. Midoriya uses the ‘Quirk’ called ‘One For All’ that was given to him by All Might.
The second season of My Hero Academia will air in April 2017. The official PV is out now, and I really can’t wait!
Season 1 aired on TBS on Sundays at 5 p.m., in a time-slot known as ‘Nichigo’. This time-slot has hosted popular anime such as Fullmetal Alchemist and The Seven Deadly Sins.
Did you know: My Hero Academia and Fullmetal Alchemist were both produced by studio BONES.
This time slot was one the reasons the anime was able to establish its popular status. Unfortunately, it was officially announced that the Nichigo time-slot would be ending with its current anime, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans.
My Hero Academia Season 2 will air on Yomiuri TV at 5.30 p.m. on Saturdays. It is very rare for another TV station to take over a continuing anime series. It indicates that this anime is in high demand among various TV stations. We can tell that many people expect My Hero Academia to be more than good. This time-slot is placed just before Detective Conan (Case Closed), a super popular anime that first premiered more than 20 years ago. Having My Hero Academia air after a hugely popular show will only help to raise both awareness and viewership.
Building the Character of All Might: Fusion of American Comics and Japanese Manga
My Hero Academia is greatly influenced by American comics. All Might is a great hero who shares his superpower with the protagonist Midoriya. When All Might is on a mission as a hero, his body becomes big and muscular. His illustration contains darker shadowy parts, which remind us of a typical American hero. He is in a blue tight suit with red and white lines. There is a close resemblance to Superman without any doubt. His overly-muscular figure appears only when he is working as a hero. The truth is that his body has been under so much stress from overworking, and he is normally an overly-skinny man which is described as his ‘true form’. When he is in his true form, the illustrations with his skinny figure with sunken cheeks seem to be more manga-like.
Japanese people are known to express ‘honne‘ (honest feelings/desires) and ‘tatemae‘ (publicly acceptable behavior and opinions) depending on a situation. Even when you are emotionally struggling, you don’t show that with your honne, but instead you show your smile to others as your tatemae. That is why people from overseas often point out that ‘it is tricky to read the minds of Japanese people’. However, this is considered as a virtue by Japanese people. When All Might struggles and feels insurmountable pain inside, he never loses his smiles in public. I think this heroic attitude can easily relate to what Japanese people mean with honne and tatemae.
In addition, you should check out another hero called Shinrin Kamui in this anime. He can control plants, and he reminds me of Spiderman. Try comparing the show with American comics. I think it will be very interesting.
A Hero Training Academy as a School Anime Setting
Sometimes it seems that Japanese anime has a infatuation with school settings to the point that they will create school-like settings to popular fantasy titles. Just remember that Naruto had many episodes taking place in a ninja academy. Similarly, My Hero Academia takes place in a hero training school. The beauty of this anime is that it’s a school anime with students from an academy learning and training to become heroes. I was surprised when I realized that there weren’t many anime like this around.
The academy the protagonist attends is called U.A High School. U.A is pronounced ‘yuuei‘ (written 雄英 in the manga) and is a reversal of the Japanese word ‘eiyuu‘ (英雄) which means ‘hero’! To enter this school, prospective pupils must first pass an entrance exam. The school life fully involves training lessons to be heroes. For example, you can briefly see their sports festival in the Season 2 PV, right? Holding a sports festival is common in the Japanese education system. In the PV, the characters compete in an obstacle race and kibasen race using their ‘Quirks’. You need to overcome various obstacles to win the obstacle race. The kibasen race is a ‘horse and knight’ race that involves four players in a team. Three players form a horse together, and one sitting on top of three other players (knight) must grab a hat from an enemy. Both races are commonly practiced in elementary and junior high schools in Japan. The story is created with the clear intention to describe the sports festival while imagining ‘what if there were a hero training school in Japan?’. The school anime aspect makes this anime more approachable.
This anime also contains interesting character designs. For instance, the acting leader of the villains, Tomura Shigaraki, has a costume with ‘many hands stuck onto all over his body’, which is an unforgettable sight. The storyline is great, too: the protagonist Midoriya faces problems and challenges, struggles and comes up with different strategies to overcome many unfavorable situations.
Let’s be Heroes
People are talking highly of My Hero Academia, expecting it to be more popular in the future. I would very happily recommend this anime to everyone! If you happen to see it, let me know what you think in the comments below!
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