Tenya Iida gets a bit of backstory and character development, as the first season begins its final arc, a battle for survival against supervillains. But first, we get a common school-based anime story: class representative elections!
Good news: My Hero Academia has been renewed for a second season! Seeing as Season 1 managed to adapt maybe one to two arcs, I anticipate the same for Season 2. The downside is that some of the story is going to seem slow. But as this week’s episode, centered largely around Tenya Iida (Japanese: Kaito Ishikawa; English: J. Michael Tatum), managed to give some development to a supporting character, I am a bit more optimistic at the show having this pace and seeing how far Toho Animation and Studio BONES gets to adapt the manga, which is slowly approaching its one hundredth chapter.
This episode has to be the bridge between two arcs: the first arc introduces superhero fanboy Izuku Midoriya (Japanese: Daiki Yamashita; English: Justin Briner), his superhero mentor All Might (Japanese: Kenta Miyake; English: Christopher Sabat), and their superhero school U.A.; the second arc introduces Izuku and his classmates’ first encounter with actual supervillains. The episode begins without a cold opening, hinting that there is an ominous surprise waiting for us, that being the arrival of Tomura Shigaraki (Japanese: Kouki Uchiyama; English: Eric Vale), who intend to attack the students to draw out and assassinate their protector All Might.
I have been ambivalent about the pace to My Hero Academia the last few weeks–and, based on the slow pace to this upcoming next arc, that’s a criticism I likely will re-address in reviews for subsequent episodes, maybe into the next season seeing as that one likely will be able to cover maybe one to three arcs in a second season of thirteen episodes. Japanese comics and animation, as well as many United States comics and television shows, benefit from this long-game approach. Thanks to streaming video, marathon watching allows good series to overcome the limitations of their episodic nature and reveal that these texts are actually not composed of separate self-contained stories but interlocking parts of a well-written, well-presented story.
While this kind of marathon watching has benefited Breaking Bad, as one example, it also has been beneficial to long-running anime such as One Piece and even superhero film franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s the interesting overlap for My Hero Academia, as it is an anime and a superhero story–and this overlap affords this episode the opportunity to bridge any gaps between those two styles of storytelling, as well as bridge the gap between the previous narrative arc and the upcoming one.