Look, I get it. I’m late to the party here. “2018 called and it wants this headline back,” right? My Hero Academia is a complete and total pop culture juggernaut that has extended its influence beyond anime fans. It’s a property that’s spawned video games, two movies, and even a stage musical. So naturally, it’s taken me years to finally get around to it.
I finally did though! As I write this, I’ve watched the first season and am well into the second. Surprising to no one, it’s quite good and I’m really enjoying it. So if you’re like me and have been on the fence for a while, here are a couple of reasons to jump into your newest anime obsession with both feet.
What Is My Hero Academia?
Let’s start here. If you’re like me and have been living under the anime rock, you might not be super familiar. My Hero Academia (or Boku no Hīrō Akademia in Japan) is an anime adaptation of the manga of the same name from famous manga-ka Kohei Horikoshi.
It’s the story of a world where the overwhelming majority of the population has superpowers (or “Quirks”) and our lead character, Izuku Midorya, does not—even though he attends a high school for kids who do. It’s equal parts awkward high school drama ala Boy Meets World and flashy superhero epic in the vein of Avengers.
It Wears Its Influences On Its Sleeve
Comics and superhero fiction have never been more prevalent in pop culture than they are right now. With that in mind, My Hero Academia is the perfect anime for fans of traditional western superhero comics. Kohei Horikoshi has previously stated his admiration for western superheroes and Marvel Comics. That influence is plain to see on the manga page and in the anime itself.
Some Marvel & DC heroes even make a sly cameo in the manga.
MHA also features a large cast of characters, each with different and unique powers operating in a school setting. Sound familiar? Whether intentional or not, the premise of MHA bears more than a passing similarity to Marvel’s X-Men and other “superhero school” tropes. They even wear similar matching uniforms.
There’s Not a Ton to Catch Up On
If you’re like me and have trouble keeping up with anime because of the vast number of episodes, My Hero Academia is great for you. Could it one day get to a place where there are hundreds and hundreds of episodes such as perennial anime faves like One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto? Absolutely.
But it’s not quite there yet. At the time of this writing, the fifth season has just premiered and the total episode count comes in at a very manageable 88 episodes. All of which are available to stream on services like Hulu, Funimation, and Crunchyroll.
Great Characters and Great Performances
My Hero Academia has a HUGE cast, even by most anime standards. Each of them has gotten a chance to shine and is more than just background filler. They’re all well fleshed out characters with their own motivations and cool, unique powers.
The vocal performances from the English voice cast are also exceptional. Especially the show’s two leads. Justin Briner plays the powerless-but-nonetheless relatable Izuku Midoriya and Chris Sabat is All Might, the colorfully dramatic hero overflowing with comic book stereotypes. You might recognize Sabat’s name as he’s a bit of a rock star among anime fans. He’s been part of hundreds of popular anime shows but is probably most fondly remembered as Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z. All Might is a very different character, however, and Sabat plays him with a sense of vulnerability that shows off Sabat’s range as a performer.
The Action and Animation
The animation from Studio Bones, Inc. is sharp, fluid, and has some incredible fight choreography.
See for yourself. Depending on how you feel about spoilers, Funimation runs down some of the best fights across the show’s first four seasons in this video.
Looking for more My Hero Academia? Be sure to check out our exclusive panel with the cast as part of Metaverse Anime Week below, and be sure to visit our online merch store for some exclusive Anime and My Hero Academia merch!