My Hero Academia (a.k.a.: Boku No Hero Academia) has begun unloading its second season this spring. From starting impressions, the anime seems inspired to not only keep up the laudable momentum gained from its first run, but also to hold that momentum as it adheres closely to the original manga.
At the beginning of the episode, we are treated to a brief, self-referential recap of Season 1. This sequence serves to reestablish the tone of the series, reminding the audience of its proud, hopeful, and appropriately-heroic energy through protagonist Midoriya Izuku’s sharp, motivational words while a slower version of the show’s established anthem plays in the background. Midoriya reflects on how he and his classmates still have a long way to go in their training, having learned their place in the pecking order when confronted by truly formidable villains. It’s also suggested that this season is going to possibly be dedicated to a “power-up” theme, as the characters take their training and studies more seriously in light of recent events.
The opening track is “Peace Sign” by Kenshi Yonizu. The accompanying cinematic isn’t particularly noteworthy, nor is it bad, but does well to help us learn what to expect from the season. My favorite part of the OP is the first expression we see on Midoriya’s face. It is illustrated to perfectly capture the essence of quiet resolve–somebody who is content to simply continue growing. Rarely do I comment on something as simple as a three-second shot of a still character face, but this one seemed intentionally note-worthy.
There’s a second epistolary recap from the voice of All-Might, made only acceptable in that it’s short and doubles as foreshadowing to future events and the introduction of a new character. In terms of narrative, not much actually happens within the episode, but that makes sense considering the pacing of the series so far. We get educated about an upcoming Sports Festival being held by U.A. (the school the heroes attend), why such an event is happening despite the recent catastrophe, and some history of the Festival. What this episode really serves to accomplish is giving other characters much needed face-time, as well as finally giving us a reason for why the heroine of the story wants to be a heroine in the first place.
What episode 1 lacks in animation bravado, it makes up for with strong camera and lighting direction. I only observed one new soundtrack–an ominous, calculating song to signify characters engaged in deep thinking.
Spiritual Content: None present
Violence: Flashbacks to battles from Season 1, which involve fist-fights, explosions, and minor amounts of blood. The character All-Might has a vicious ailment which causes him to cough up blood, though this time around it’s used to comical effect. A professor is shown wrapped head-to-toe in bandages from a previous altercation.
Language/Crude Humor: None present
Sexual Content: None present
Drug/Alcohol Use: None present
Other Negative Themes: It is implied that one of the primary adversaries (who possesses a couple different mental and personality disorders) is being taken advantage of by another villain and manipulated into poorly-conceived actions.
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