I think at this point it’s safe to say that My Hero Academia is never going to reach the same peak of popularity that it managed back in seasons two and three. That on its own isn’t a problem. So long as people still enjoy something, who cares if it isn’t taking the world by storm?
Problem is, the show itself has struggled to find its footing in that time. Seasons four and five were both plagued with issues, from sluggish narrative pacing to up and down animation quality. Even the music started to dip.
Season six didn’t magically fix those issues. But if nothing else, it was a step in the right direction. Baby steps, folks.
Wish we didn’t have to make those near the end of the series, but it is what it is.
Society braces itself for war. The League of Villains are now armed with the full might of an army, with Shigurake being mutated to become the ultimate evil. Thanks to Hawks’ inside info, the heroes are prepared to launch a surprise attack. The ensuing battle will shake Japan to its core. But will anyone be left standing afterwards to tell of it?
This season is divided into two major arcs, the first being the opening war arc and the second being the vigilante Deku arc. Each of these takes up half of the season on their own. As a result, this season feels more like two seasons stitched together at points.
With the latter being significantly better than the former.
While the opening war arc wasn’t without its strong episodes, it definitely suffered the most in terms of pacing and animation. There are several points in the war where the story really drags its feet, such as when they shoved in a scene from the My Villain Academia arc at a completely inappropriate time for the wrong character.
As for the visuals, there are some strong moments. However, this half of the season is extremely rough around the edges. I’m sure you’ve seen the one screenshot of Shigurake going feral. In the manga, it was an extremely gruesome scene. But the anime… well… I’m torn between calling it pathetic and laughable.
Again: it wasn’t without its strong moments. Shigurake’s awakening is a helluva set piece – even if the reason it happened is brain-dead stupid. Class A’s battle against Gigantomachia makes for an amazing episode. And, if nothing else, it sets the stage for the next arc very well.
Vigilante Deku is where this season really starts to pop off. As society quickly devolves into a lawless wasteland, with every man for himself, we get some powerful narrative moments, interesting twists, and jaw-dropping animation. If the first half of this season were as strong as the second, this article would be singing a very different tune.
This arc is full of great call-backs and pay-offs. Several villains make their return for either a fun rematch or character development. The relationship between Deku and All Might is finally brought back to the forefront, making for some heartwarming – as well as heartbreaking – moments. We even get to see the Todoroki family drama reach its long-awaited climax, and the payoff was well worth the build up.
Easily the best thing this half did was bring All For One back into the spotlight. Season five had a complete drought of interesting or compelling villains. Seeing the series’ most chilling and intimidating baddie finally step back up to plate is a much needed breath of fresh air. Every scene he’s in is a highlight of its given episode.
It also treated us to some really cool fights. Deku VS Nagant is an interesting game of cat and mouse that explores a really interesting and tragic – and unfortunately short lived – character in Nagant. Not long after that, we got Deku VS Class A, a fun twist on the shounen trope of the protagonist completely overshadowing the side characters. They’re both very strong battles, up there with some of the best from the early seasons.
It certainly helps that the animators went berserk at this point. Seriously, some of those action sequences were jaw-dropping! And the music? Oh, man!
Some issues are abundant in both halves of the season. The biggest one for me being the overabundance of flashbacks. There was all of one episode this season that didn’t beat you over the head with them. Hell, some of them flashed back to scenes or lines of dialogue you saw/heard in that same episode!
Also, a much smaller detail: this season seems to think the viewers are all idiots. It constantly plasters character names and Quirks on-screen for seemingly no reason. Do you really need to remind us who Todoroki is and what his Quirk is? We’ve known the guy since the start of the show! It even does the same with Deku! It’s unnecessary, it clutters up the screen, and it feels like the show is demeaning its viewers.
Yes, some people can’t name a character even after several seasons. But I’m pretty sure the only people dumb enough not to recognize the flame guy as the flame guy are actual infants who wouldn’t even be able to read the text anyways. So… why is it there?
Season six of My Hero Academia is a mixed bag. But overall, I’d say it was the best season we’ve gotten in a while. If season seven can keep up this momentum, then we’ll be in for a good time.
Or maybe not. I stopped reading the manga around this point, and I know that the people who stuck with it have had more than a few complaints.
Then again, My Hero fans are always complaining about the manga, so maybe not.