Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式 on Twitter

2017 featured a lot of sequel anime series. Series like Attack on Titan, Mr. Osomatsu, or Space Battleship Yamato 2202 and many more. But, the sequel series that has me still thinking about it is none other than My Hero Academia Season Two.

My Hero Academia takes us to a world filled with super-powered humans. And with super-powered humans come super heroes and super-villains. Our hero, Izuku “Deku” Midoriya is one of the few people who doesn’t have any superpowers. Until the Number One Hero bestows upon Izuku the mightiest of powers called One For All. While Izuku isn’t able to fully control his newfound powers, he’s still able to enter the most prestigious school for training the heroes of tomorrow. Now, he’s on his journey to become the best hero in the world.

My Hero Academia Season Two continues Izuku’s journey as he participates in the festivities of his schools Sports Festival and a short hero internship. But, neither is as easy as they seem as they can sway the likelihood of his and his classmate’s future prospects. And what Izuku learns is are some of the most important lessons of his early schooling.

One thing My Hero Academia Season Two does effectively is progressing the story of the entire series along with developing the characters from when we last left them. Where we had Izuku realizing the first steps in his journey in the first season, here we see him understand he has a long way to go to accomplish his dream. And this is done effectively through two simple story arcs: a tournament and the chance to intern as a hero.

But, what makes each story arc grow our hero? The Sports Festival does this in one grand sweep: showing us the exact strength and limitations of Izuku’s power. Granted, the first season of the series has also done this. But, there’s a controlled nature to it in that it’s a test of training exercise. In fact, during a physical examination we’re told if Izuku can’t use his powers effectively he’s useless in any sort of hero operation. The tournament reinforces this idea by making Izuku’s power an all or nothing game; he either uses his power to its fullest capabilities or doesn’t use them at all. And whatever decision he makes he needs to plan around it.

Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式 on Twitter

This sets up an interesting paradox for Izuku because he needs to understand when, where, and why he should use his powers. If he uses it to early he becomes ineffectual and is cut out of the tournament. Use it to late and his peers will surpass him. Thus, the Sports Festival is a time for Izuku to fully put his brain to work and find new alternatives to besting his peers. Yet, when push comes to shove and he needs to use his powers, we see the sheer power behind it. Again, this is something we seen in the first season. However, this is the first time Izuku fully understands the idea how ineffectual he can be in combat if all he can do is use the full force or none of his power. It’s a small step in seeing Izuku grow as a character since it forces him to realize his place in the broader scope of his peers and the heroing business.

My Hero Academia Is All About Brains Over Brawn

This is were Izuku’s internship plays a critical role in developing him even further. The entire idea of is for him to learn to control his powers; that it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing endeavor for him. The thing is, we just can’t be told Izuku now has partial control over his powers. As a viewer we want actually want to see this process because it puts us in Izuku’s mind. Why isn’t he able to control his powers? What is he lacking? Is it practice? Or maybe it’s something complete different. Seeing this Izuku go through these steps and slowly figuring them out tells us we’re actually seeing him begin to understand his powers. And as he learns that, we get a better insight to the nature its nature as well. So, we’re given crucial development along with some nice hints into the history of Izuku’s powers.

Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式 on Twitter

More importantly, though, what the internship instills in Izuku is what it means to be a hero. It’s fantastic when you think about it because up to this point we have a vague idea what it means to be a hero in this world. But, the internship begins to set the idea in stone by asking why do the heroes “hero” to begin with. For Izuku it’s initially the chase to prove himself to everyone around him. But, the internship shows him it’s much larger than that. What’s expected of a true hero is self-sacrifice, not chasing after fame of glory. It’s small, but puts into perspective what Izuku really has to accomplish as he goes through his hero training.

Villainous Stain Shows the Hypocrisy of Superheroes in My Hero Academia

That’s the key to the entire series. The first season is the introduction to the world and characters. My Hero Academia Season Two, then, needs to set up broader narrative themes and begin to ask questions to the audience about what will happen next. We’re shown Izuku needs to learn to control his powers and he took some baby steps to get there. But, he doesn’t have full control yet. Izuku now recognizes what being a hero means. But, so do the villains of the series. So, how will the villains react to this? We don’t get all the answers and it makes us curious about what will happen next.

This is exactly what we want out of the second season. We want it to lay the foundation for plot points for later seasons and expand on what we already know. My Hero Academia Season Two does this effectively. And because of that keeps up excited for future seasons of the series.

My Hero Academia is currently streaming on FUNimation, Crunchyroll, and Hulu.

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