Reviewed by: Eeeper
Released by: Sony Pictures UK
Age Rating: 15
Region: 2 - UK
Volume 1 of 2
Length: 288 minutes
English 5.1 Surround
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
Class 1-A made a name for themselves after facing The League of Villains, but an even greater challenge is about to begin. These young heroes will now fight students from other classes in the world's biggest Quirk competition, the U.A. sports festival. With dreams at stake and friends turning to adversaries, Deku will give everything he's got in his grand debut as the world's next symbol of peace.
So, it's the 2nd season of My Hero Academia and we start things off with a bang! Following the invasion of U.A. High School by a group of super-villains, the kids settle back down to life as normal. Or as normal as one can do when you've got super-powers. Part of the fun of learning about the world and the characters in the first season was that you get hints that there's a much bigger world out there. If there are heroes, surely there must be a counterforce to them? While the show doesn't go for the James Bond and SPECTRE approach to the villainy, the show's opening episode from the first season tells us that bad guys do exist. If they didn't, Izuku couldn't have become a hero and saved Bakugo and impressed All Might, the greatest current hero. But here, the show distracts us with a competition while working away in the background. More on that later.
The competition in question is the annual sports festival at UA and the entire school gets to participate in it. So the show delights us with the cast finally hammering each other senseless for the amusement of the crowd. For some like Izuku, Ochako and Tenya, it's a chance to finally learn where their powers can take them. For others like Shoto Todoroki and Katsuki Bakugo, the festival lets them show off in front of a crowd and settle scores as to who is the most powerful. But at the same time, we finally get to see the background characters, which I personally feel is Academia's biggest strength, shine as we finally learn what they can do. Characters like Tsuyu Asui, with her frog like powers, or Mina Ashido with her acid liquid all look need but here we get to see the practical applications of their powers. Along the way, we also get to meet the classes at the school who are not in the hero course with the main characters but who possess Quirks all the same. Some of them just want a shot at the limelight same as the heroes. My favourite "villainous" character is Hitoshi Shinso with his brainwashing Quirk which he uses against Izuku in their battle in the festival. He comes across as very duplicitous but there's a good reason for his distrustful nature. My favourite "heroic" character from this arc is Mei Hatsume who is the school's greatest inventor which she uses during her battles in the events. She also has the best monologuing technique, it's really funny.
But the main draw of the arc is to see if Izuku can rise to the challenge of using the Quirk that All Might gave him, One for All, in the battles. Izuku still can't control the power, causing him to seriously injure himself every time he channels power in his body to his legs or arms. So when he battles, he has to plan out what he needs to do beforehand or he ends up breaking fingers and hands from the force of projecting power through his arms. More than that, these battles help him see that a hero isn't just what he or she does in the heat of battle but what happens before and after. His growing ability to stand up to his childhood friend, Bakugo, shows that he isn't content to simply fade into the background anymore. His exploration of his rivals need to succeed helps him but also them too and that goes for his immediate friends who are still his companions but who are also his rivals in the competition. One of the most interesting things to come of the fight is that his friends recognise that while he's the greatest among them, they are held back if they blindly follow him and so they must use him to advance further. Izuku himself isn't surprised by their reactions during the fights but he does find it amazing that they can stand up to the punishment meted out by more seasoned fighters like Todoroki or Bakugo. And of the latter two, the battles show them deep down to be just as frightened of who they are and who they might become as Izuku is. The backstory to Todoroki is the most heartbreaking as he, more than most, is chained to his power. Or so he thinks. Izuku helps him to see beyond the shackles he created for himself.
On the darker side of things, we are starting to see the forces of opposition to the heroes growing. After attacking, Tomura Shigaraki and his mysterious employer are regrouping and planning their next attack and have brought into their folds an even more mysterious villain Stain, The Hero Killer. Stain is not like Shigaraki or his benefactor. They want the world to bend to their will and have a set view of how and when Quirk powers should be used. Stain seems to disdain such thoughts and while extreme in his reaction to heroes, is at least more honourable than the rest. I like that just like the heroes all have different reasons, the villains have their own reasons. The end of the arc states that this schism within both groups is going to cause trouble later on. It's layering like this that makes me keep watching the show besides the spectacle and the concept.
My Hero Academia takes the Marvel and DC universe's idea of a world of superheroes and villains and puts a societal structure on it beyond the aforementioned universes notion that it must either a broken system or a dystopian one. It's a neat concept and this season bears the hallmark of a show in its initial stages of opening up the performance out from just the main players to a whole other setting. Season three is just launching, why don't you have a look and where it starts?