Anime fans are excited for the premiere of My Hero Academia season 3 - and with good reason! In just two short years since it first debuted, the My Hero Academia anime has risen to become one of the biggest series in the genre. In fact, it's gotten so big that Funimation is rolling out one of the most ambitious simulcast plans that we've ever seen, in order to bring season 3 to an eager global fanbase.
With that kind of early breakthrough success already under its belt, we think that My Hero Academia is perfectly poised to bring in a much bigger audience than it's already managed to. Stepping back and taking a hard look at things, it's clear that My Hero Academia is a perfect entryway into the larger anime genre, particularly for those who are already fans of the superhero movie genre.
Read below for the explanation of why:
Superhero fans are a finicky bunch, if you hadn't already picked up on that fact. Superhero fans crave novelty in their favorite books and characters, yet they can also revolt violently against any kind of changes to said stories and characters. But with My Hero Academia, they get a superhero origin story setup that any fan can relate to.
If you don't know: MHA takes place in a world where most of humanity is endowed with super powers known as "Quirks." And yet, Izuku Midoriya, a kid with more adoration for "Pro Heroes" than anyone, has to suffer the intense blow of finding out that he was born quirkless. Still, Izuku tries to do everything he possibly can to be heroic in his own way, despite being ostracized and ridiculed by other kids who have powers. The big twist comes on the day that Izuku learns the secret of Earth's mightiest champion, All Might...
As stated, My Hero Academia contains a lot of classic elements of the superhero genre; in fact, Izuku's origin story sounds a lot like the story of Billy Batson in Shazam!. Yet, while MHA is borrowing a lot of superhero tropes, one of best things fans will love about it is just how refreshing the anime makes those old tropes feel.
The first thing that becomes clear about MHA is just how self-aware it is. The series is constantly poking fun at the superhero genre and celebrating it at the same time, much like Deadpool, only with some signature anime humor and slapstick, as opposed to witty/raunchy meta humor. For fans of the genre, the awareness of the MHA creators is key: it allows the series to deliver the best parts of superhero genre storytelling, while also subverting or outright circumventing the bad parts.
More than anything, though, director Kenji Nagasaki and writer Yosuke Kuroda have used their wit and insights to carve out a novel new voice in superhero storytelling.
Superhero universes need to be bolstered by strong characters which is why you always see Spider-Man associated with the Marvel brand (with or without a new film to carry him), or why Batman and Superman will forever be flagship characters for DC. One of My Hero Academia's biggest thematic centerpieces is its own superhero icon: All Might!
All Might has an almost silly level of do-gooder idealism, and the look of a classic comic book superman (huge muscles, chiseled jaw, more inspirational boy scout quotables than a pile of hallmark cards - you get the idea. All Might is basically this anime's ode to your classic Golden Age Superman - and it is great.
...Especially when you learn the twist. As stated, My Hero Academia's big strength in storytelling approach is both honoring classic superhero tropes while also subverting them. Just try not to LOL when you finally learn what that means for All Might.
Superhero movie fans have grown somewhat weary of watching the same origin stories get told over and over again, which is why team-up stories have become a particularly exciting "event film" sell. Well, while studios like Marvel and DC have invested time in building up solo heroes (or smaller groupings) and having them eventually crossover, My Hero Academia is, in its larger arc, a story of how a new group of superhero recruits is thrown together - hey they eventually bond, train, and graduating to being full-time pro hero colleagues.
It's somewhere between Avengers and X-Men in terms of premise, and creates an interesting middleground few superhero fans every would've thought of. Moreover, anime's propensity for a slow build-ups means you truly get to go on this journey from the start with these characters - which makes their individual growth and eventual team bonding that much richer to witness.
No point in having a team of fun superhero characters if you can't also deliver what superhero genre fans truly love: some kick-ass villains!
My Hero Academia anime series is still building up its villains roster, with season 3 set to blow that side of the story open in a BIG way ("Hideout Raid" arc FTW!). So far though, we've gotten a great arc with "League of Villains" attacking U.A., the superhero training school, and met some deadly and freaky-weird foes like League leader Tomura Shigaraki and his cohort Kurogiri, or the savage anti-hero threat of Hero Killer Stain.
Hanging over everything, is the long-teased reveal of All Might's archnemesis, All-For-One, who should be making his highly-anticipated debut in season 3.
As we've stated, both the heroes and villains of My Hero Academia are pretty cool, which is why the show, as a whole, actually functions as one big fun ensemble.
The interactions between the U.A. students would be fun enough to carry a lot of superhero shows; MHA actually makes quality entertainment out of students' interactions; their interactions with pro heroes and teachers; and even their interactions and relationships with the villains. Every character in the cast proves crucial for not only his/her own storyline, but also how the entire cast functions together. There are no weak links!
If you need a final reason to love My Hero Academia as a superhero fan, here's a simple one: it's got better superhero action than just about any western superhero movie or animated series you're likely to see!
Season 2 of My Hero Academia proved what higher level of visual splendor anime can bring to superhero action. If you got a thrill out of watching big fights in DC's Justice League's various animated series, or Marvel's Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, then your eyes will be blown away by what My Hero Academia has to offer.