My Hero Academia Season 2 Part 2 (Episodes 26-38)(Cert 15)
2 Discs DVD/Blu-ray (Distributor: Sony Pictures) Running time: 308 minutes approx.
We waste little time resuming the action in the second half of the second season of My Hero Academia despite the toll the Sports Festival took on the students of the U.A. High School for Heroes. After the all-important business of choosing their hero names, the students must now complete a one week internship with a professional hero agency.
A quick reminder that this story, based on the manga by Kōhei Horikoshi, is set in a world where 80% of humans have superpowers known as Quirks, and while some use theirs for good, other use theirs for evil. Each new generation of hero has to qualify to enter the hallowed halls of the U.A to become a fully-fledged hero.
Our main protagonist Izuku Midoriya was born without a Quirk but had his passed on to him by his idol, the legendary hero All Might, and now has the power One For All at his disposal. Initially unsure which agency to do his internship with, All Might tells Izuku that a hero has put in an offer for him to work with him.
The mystery benefactor goes by the name Gran Torino and is not exactly what Izuku expected, but he did train All Might so he must be good. In fact, Gran Torino is still remarkably fast for his old age and small stature but his gruff demeanour puts Izuku off, yet by the end of the week, Izuku finally learns the truth behind the One For All and how to utilise it.
Essentially split into two story arcs, this second volume containing the remaining 13 episodes of season 2 begins with the exploits of the trainee heroes on their internships which naturally evolves into an impromptu battle with the nefarious League of Villains, Quirk users who abuse their power for their own greedy gain. They begin their assault by releasing grotesque beasts called Nomu onto the unsuspecting public but they are the least of the heroes’ worries.
Introduced late in the first volume of this second season is one of the chief antagonists, Stain The Hero Killer. A disturbed young man who idolised All Might, Chizome Akaguro became disillusioned at heroes fighting for fame and money rather than altruism and called for reforms in the hero system. When he was ignored, Akaguro became depressed the more he was outcast and eventually turned into the unstable vigilante he is today.
Covering the first seven episodes in this set, it sees the series slip back into comfortable shonen action saga mode but throwing lots of bombastic battles and wacky humour at the audience, which after the character development of the first half feels like a bit of a letdown. However, looking further into some of the cast’s history hasn’t been completely abandoned and whilst Izuku remains the focal point, others like Tenya Iida do have timely flashbacks dedicated to them.
One key development comes at the expense of Shouto Todoroki, whose troubled history with his family was explored in volume one, whilst a deeper look into the past of Izuku’s childhood rival Katsuki Bakugo features heavily in the second arc. A filler episode created just for the anime hands the spotlight over to frog girl Tsuyu Asui and the occurrences on her internship, which happened to take place on a ship.
The second arc is based around the final exams, which consist of written and practical modules. The first is glossed over within one episode leaving the second to deliver the goods as the students are forced to pair up and take on a pro-hero teacher in a handicap contest. To win the students must either handcuff the teacher or escape the arena, with each contest held in a different location.
Some of the contests are rushed as they feature the lesser cast members but still provide a lot of fun in showing them use their individual powers in tandem with another’s, often to great effect. But the teachers have their own Quirks which often prove difficult to overcome without knowledge, teamwork, or sheer brute strength.
Again, Izuku is front and centre because he has been paired up with Katsuki, who refuses to co-operate with Izuku even though Izuku saved his life in the first series. With the bickering pair going their own way, their opponent All Might practically has victory in the bag but Izuku is morally and emotionally more together than his brash partner, and won’t let this one-sided rivalry ruin his chances of winning.
I don’t know if Izuku and Katsuki are supposed to be My Hero Academia’s equivalent of Naruto and Sasuke – two fighters who serve better working as a cohesive unit but are separated by fate to be deadly opponents – but this a palpable vibe which might continue to drive future storylines in lieu of the down time in between the attacks by the League of Villains.
Further insight into the League and their reasons behind their opposition of the heroes is offered here, focusing on the de facto leader Tomura Shigaraki, he of the hand across the face, who actually despises Stain and the attention he received for his hero killing actions. Looking to rebuild the League to a new level of prominence, two new recruits surface in the final episode in this set, ending on an ominous note ahead of the third season which is currently airing in Japan.
There is no question My Hero Academia wears it shonen fantasy/action credentials on its sleeve and this is more prevalent in this volume. The problem of having such a large cast both heroes and villains means character development will always come a distant second beyond the chosen few, which is a shame, as there are many fascinating faces that could use a profile piece to help boost their equity.
We may know what we are getting with My Hero Academia and this volume delivers it all in spade, but the promise of a juicier third season waits.
English Language Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Japanese Language Dolby TrueHD 2.0
Disc Two (Blu-ray)
Inside The Episodes (13 Featurettes)
San Diego Comic-Con: IGN Interview
Textless Opening Song “Peace Sign”
Textless Opening Song “Singin’ To The Sky”
Textless Closing Song “Dakara, Hitori Ja Nai” vers. 1 & 2
Textless Closing Song “Datte Atashi no Hiiroo”
Rating – *** ½
Man In Black