Let's Talk Anime

Lists, Reviews, and Rants on Anime and Manga

What’s So Good About My Hero Academia? — 04/06/2018

What’s So Good About My Hero Academia?

Chances are you’ve heard all about this show and that the next season is coming out tomorrow. And it’s also possible you’re sick of hearing about it, which is completely understandable. It’s become a huge deal in the time since season two was announced to air in April of last year.

But before that, I didn’t really hear all that much about it. And maybe that’s because I wasn’t active in the anime community as much as I am now, but I was utterly shocked when I realized how huge it had become.

How I Found This Show

My friend pitched it to me as “X-men: Evolution, but it’s an anime.” Which, isn’t too far off, but I think it’s a lot more than just that now.

She bugged me for months to watch it, and then I finally broke. Reluctantly. I really was sick of hearing about it from her, and I only watched it to shut her up. I didn’t think I’d fall in love with it as I have.

The very first day I watched it was December 21st, 2016. I watched the first two episodes in the car on the way to Niagara Falls for a family trip. I could hardly hear what was going on over the music my dad was playing (I was watching the dub), but even from the visuals, I was intrigued. Though, I forgot about it for a month after that. I picked it back up mid-January, around the time I also decided to watch Yuri!!! on Ice.

I finished the 13-episode season on February 3rd, under the impression that it was just over. I thought at that point that it was just over and I’d forget about it in a couple of months anyway. I wasn’t very aware of the manga or the rising popularity of it. The day I saw season two’s air date was a dream come true. I watched the first episode of season two in excitement, unaware that from here on, I’d be a part of a huge fanbase.

Is this a good thing, though? I think it is.

But it’s “Mainstream…”

It’s common to see negativity toward fans of “mainstream anime.” I try to vary my watching between this “mainstream” genre, and everything else. Not so much because what’s “mainstream” is bad, more so that many of those shows don’t appeal to me. Shows like Sailor Moon, Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, etc. I’ve stated in previous posts that I’m not fond of long series. It’s too much of a commitment for me. If My Hero Academia were to have come out 5+ years ago, it’s a pretty good chance I wouldn’t have bat an eye at it and just went on with everything else. But because I watched it from it’s beginning, it doesn’t come across to me as fitting with those other shows. The weight of large episode count hasn’t hit. As of today, there are only 38 episodes. By the end of this season, there will be 63 episodes, and a movie, I believe.

Just the Right Amount of Action

Ignoring the episode count, I’m also generally not a fan of shows with high action scenes. I have a hard time following them. Heck, even watching something like an Avengers movie is sometimes a struggle. Everything blurs together and I just end up zoning out.

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Why doesn’t this happen in My Hero Academia? There’s something about the way the fight scenes are handled that make them easy to follow for me. Maybe they’re slowed down more than in other shows? There’s also a hefty amount of dialogue outside of fighting, which definitely helps as well. And man, the sequences are just…pretty? Which is bizarre to say of a fighting scene. But, well, they just are.

Lovable Characters

The characters also have much to do with the show’s success, I believe. I like almost all of them. If I don’t have them in my favorites, I still probably like them. Besides maybe three or four. That’s not that bad with such a large cast. And most characters do get spotlight at some point, another impressive feat. It must be hard to include such depth to each and every character, but it’s been done here.

I always enjoy shows with large casts, as long as they’re done well. There’s no point in making so many characters if you don’t use them. But, if every character gets a chance to prove or disprove themselves (depending on if they’re on the good or bad side), then it’s good in my book.

An example of a show that has a large cast done poorly would be Durarara! Season 2 (or whatever it’s called). With an already big cast in season one, there was no need to more than double it for season two. It became confusing and I couldn’t keep anyone’s name straight. And some characters were created for a minor plot and were shown once and never again, or there was a plot they were a part of, but it never connected to the main plot. I regret giving this season a positive review back when I first finished it. Season one was great though!

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Why I bring this up is to point out that MHA doesn’t do that. The way it gets to show off all of the characters is through the individual testing of the students. It dedicates at least half an episode to a few students to fully give a profile of their traits and power. This was important, especially for what’s to come in season three. I’ve read a bit of the manga past season two, and all I have to say is that there’s a reason why there was so much time focused on everyone. And that’s what I really love about this cast and the way it’s dealt with.

An Unusual Protagonist

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Surprisingly, it didn’t really come to my full attention how strange it is that Midoriya Izuku is our main protagonist in this. He may have the typical underdog story, but it’s in his actual character that we get to see something different for once.

Instead of your usual outgoing, charismatic, and adaptable character, we get a nervous, over-analyzing, and socially awkward one. He’s much more “relatable” than what I’ve seen of popular shounen protagonists. (I’ve watched a teeny bit of Naruto, like half an episode of Black Clover, 90ish episodes of Fairy Tail, and about 65 episodes of Bleach)

We’re so used to the character that finds they want something, gets the power do it, and then does it. They’re completely fine with themselves, and can talk normally to others, and often times are a little bit too confident in their newfound skills.

Well, that didn’t really happen with Deku.

He gets power, yes, but he pays for it big time. He has to go through that vigorous, non-stop training for months, and then even when he gets the power, he’s a literal danger to himself when he uses it.

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He was labelled “useless” in elementary and middle school by pretty much everyone. And that hurts. He was told he was stupid for even considering being a hero, despite the drive he had to do it. Being told that time and time again had to wear on him. His entire life, he’d been told the one thing he wanted more than anything was impossible. Even if he was more willing to put himself in danger for others. The one mark of a true hero. Because he wasn’t as powerful physically he was written off as weak and helpless, never to achieve anything.

When he does make it to the school of his dreams, communication is a huge problem for him. He’s not the suave talker you generally see in a hero. He stutters and says stupid things when his brain isn’t working. He’s also not tall and elegant, or really anything special to look at at all. He has uncontrollable hair, freckles, a baby face, and a less than average height. He can’t even tie his tie correctly, and he obsessively takes notes, muttering to himself all the while.

He’s a character of faults, but that’s what makes him stand out among all of the other shounen protagonists.

With those faults, though, he has his strengths. The ever-present need to step in a situation to save a stranger or fellow student from danger. To the point he’ll destroy himself in order to do so. He constantly lifts those around him up, when he can. He’s just and all-around kindhearted kid who wants to do the best he can, and will work hard if that’s what he has to do.

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He’s too adorable

Can you tell I love him a lot? I think I included him in my Top 10 Male Anime Characters, way back in June, I believe? Since then, he’s fallen a little on my favorites list in terms of My Hero Academia characters, but I still think he’s one of the best protagonists I’ve ever seen. And, as always, it’s a total plus that’s he’s utterly adorable. The true definition of a “cinnamon roll.”

What Else?

Well, the fandom is pretty fun, if you’re cool with a lot of shipping. I really mean a LOT, as in I find new pairings on an almost weekly basis now. Some I would never even consider.

And as long as you stay away from toxic shippers, which I’ve seen plenty of in my time of being a part of the community.

There’s also a ton of talented writers and artists creating fanworks on a daily basis. I am a part of that as well, as I shared in my Fanfiction Recs (And Shameless Self-Plugs): Part One. I’ve written five fanfictions based on the series, and it’s some of the best fun I’ve had in creative writing for a long time.

I get a lot of spoilers from the manga, but I don’t really mind since it’s generally only a few panels that cycle my dashboard on tumblr for a while, and then they disappear. I know only a vague timeline of what’s to come, though I have read up to Chapter 93 as of writing this. In context, season two ended around Chapter 70.

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The new characters being introduced fairly early S3!

I’m incredibly excited to see what I’ve read animated, those of you who haven’t read any of the manga are in for quite a ride.


This turned into a character analysis on accident…what can I say, I love me some My Hero Academia characters.

Also, if I made any incorrect generalizations on shounen characters, please let me know! As I said earlier, I really don’t watch a lot, and the last thing I want to do is give incorrect information. It’s best to let me know so I change it.

 

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My Thoughts On: Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Ep 7-12) — 03/30/2018

My Thoughts On: Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Ep 7-12)

Today, I finished my 50th anime. Kind of. My definition for “finishing” is a little weird. But anyway, this was the 50th anime I finished, in my terms of finishing something. And really, I couldn’t ask for a better show for this milestone.

If you missed it, I wrote about episodes 1-6 at the beginning of this month, so before you continue, maybe you should check that out?

My Thoughts On: Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Ep 1-6)

Even though I saw Crunchyroll promoting the heck out of this anime, I still saw such a lack of recognition while it was airing. Sure, people watched it, but there were other Winter 2018 anime people were more interested in.

If you haven’t watched this, I will be spoiling some of it, sorry. Though, I highly recommend giving it a try, as long as it’s something that won’t bother you. I will admit there are a few things that are a bit difficult to watch: murder, human trafficking, a near sex scene. If you can get past it, there’s a really well thought out show.

What Did I Not Discuss in My Last Post?

The animation, the characters, and the arcs.

I said in my previous post that any critical pieces would be left for this one. Well, here they are.

Animation/Art Style

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In general, it’s not super outstanding, but it’s not sub-par either. It’s nice to look at, my only complaint being that sometimes the blood is exaggerated a bit. Someone’s neck gets slit, and a gyser of blood half a foot tall comes out of his neck. I don’t know much about how a slit throat bleeds, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s a little less dramatic than that.

Aside from this, the opening and ending is where the art is the most aesthetically pleasing. There’s just something about the colorful tones of the background and shadows of the characters that makes it appealing.

Also, if you haven’t heard/watched the opening, you must. I’ve listened to it nearly every day for weeks.

 

The Plot is in Arcs

Like a vast majority of anime, this one is split into arcs. Saito/Qiaomei arc, Niwaka Samurai arc, Enokida arc, and Fei-Lan arc. These aren’t official names, this is just how I’d call them.

I liked the last arc the most, not too much of a surprise since that’s where the bulk of development is done and things can wind down to a close.  The two middle arcs I tend to forget about, especially the third one. They’re both shorter than the first and last ones, being only two episodes each, while the first and last are four.

None of them are bad, I just felt some bits were lackluster. It didn’t help when I started seeing spoilers since I was a week behind everyone else. Luckily, for the last four episodes I got a 30 day trial for VRV so I could watch weekly.

Characters

In the end, this is what ties everything together, and I feel it’s that way with a lot of anime. Strangely, I hardly talked about the characters in the last post, so I definitely need to make up for it here.

The thing about liking the characters in this show is that you have to ignore the whole part about killing people. It’s one of those things like when people have villains as their favorite character. The things the characters do may not be something you agree with, but it’s still important to see the character for who they are despite the things they do that are wrong.

With that being said, I fell in love with both of the main characters. I like them separately, and as partners. I still can’t believe I didn’t even think to mention this in the last post.

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Lin has quickly become one of the best male characters I’ve seen. He’s well developed and his baggage doesn’t completely shut him down. He’s strong but has plenty of weaknesses: lack of trust, hot-temper, impatience, and above all, stubbornness. He was lost in the beginning of the show, but finding and working with Banba I think is what saves him in the end.

Their vastly different personalities is what makes them a great team. And it’s clear fairly early on that they do care about each other, despite Lin having issues with trusting others. In all those situations where Lin is going to get hurt, Banba’s not far behind to help out. And in the last episode, both of them are shown to be willing to sacrifice their own life for the other. Their dynamic is really what made me love this show so much.

Good or Bad Ending?

What concerned me from the get go was how this whole story would be concluded. These people kill others for a living. They evade the police and make a choice humans shouldn’t decide for other humans: when they will die. It seemed like these characters I’d grow so attached to would have a devastating end.

That wasn’t the case here. The ending wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was still satisfying. Lin cleared up the troubles from his past, and maybe is beginning to learn that these people he’s associated himself with can be trusted. He can find a home in Hakata and be surrounded by people he likes. That’s not something he had in the start of this. He didn’t really have a “home.” He had a place to stay and a job, sure, but he was lonely. He was working to send money back to his family, but had no contact with them. Finding Banba and those he works with was exactly what Lin needed.

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What I found as well was in the beginning, I’d assumed Banba was the main character, but it turned out to be Lin. Much of the story did revolve around him, I realize now.

Final Verdict

This show is not just “here’s a bunch of killers as main characters, there’s a bunch of blood and death.” While that’s true, it really is a story of a lonely man finding his place; someone who loses his family and finds a new one.

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And it includes some queer themes as well. Lin crossdresses, because he wants to, and there’s a canon gay character. It’s not something I expected, and I think it’s better that way. That doesn’t need to be a show’s selling point. It’s just a little extra fact that’s a bonus. I found a post on tumblr that sums this up in better words than I can, so I’ll link that here.

While this show seems violent and brutal, it has a layer of sweetness to it.


I felt so sad when I finished this anime. There were so many emotions I felt just in that last episode.

I’m so glad I saw someone mention this on Twitter at the beginning of the winter season. I would’ve never given it a second glance otherwise, like much of the seasonal anime this time around.

I want to do another post all on the morality of the characters in this show, but I’m unsure if I have time, or even if people would read it. Let me know!

My Thoughts On: Made in Abyss (Ep 1-6) — 03/24/2018

My Thoughts On: Made in Abyss (Ep 1-6)

I’d had this anime on my list for quite a while, but after seeing that it won the 2017 Crunchyroll award for “Best Anime,” I figured I should finally watch it. In general, I don’t pay all too much attention to the Crunchyroll awards, mainly after the disaster of 2016 when Crunchyroll had to literally delete their tweets about the winning anime, because people were being so brash and disrespectful about it. This time, it wasn’t nearly as bad, but as I’d expected, My Hero Academia won half of the awards. Still not as bad as 2016, I’ll give it that.

The one award that I saw nothing but positive toward was Made in Abyss winning “Best Anime,” and I really was curious to see why.

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My Thoughts On Dropping Anime — 03/21/2018

My Thoughts On Dropping Anime

It’s come to my attention that many people have different standards when it comes to dropping anime. Some people stick with every show they start to the very end, some wait a certain number of episodes before deciding whether it’s worth their time to watch it, and some, like me, make an almost immediate decision to keep or drop anime. I’d say I have a very low tolerance for keeping with anime. If I don’t like it within the first few episodes, it’s not worth it. Though sometimes I could make it through majority of the show before realizing there are too many things I don’t like about it to continue on.

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My Thoughts On: Haikyuu!! Season 3 — 03/13/2018

My Thoughts On: Haikyuu!! Season 3

…Oh my god, I’ve gotten myself in trouble from watching this show. I delved into the fandom head-first way back in season one, and now that I’ve finished this show, I think I’ll be depending on it even more. And when I finished it, I didn’t really know what to do with myself anymore. It’s the longest series I’ve finished in a long time, which seems a bit strange since it’s not horribly long. But, with the way I watch anime now, I don’t watch more than two or three episodes of a show at once, so it takes me forever just to get through a 24 or 25 episode series that’s been completed.

Along with it being 60 episodes, much longer than I generally dedicate myself to, it’s also about a sport. One that I’ve never in my life had any interest in, and the one time I played it for PE class in sixth grade, all I did was serve and watch everyone else play. I didn’t think I would find much enjoyment in this show, since the sport didn’t appeal to me, but this show is a lot more than just boys playing volleyball. It’s about teamwork, friendship, and achieving your dreams. And I love every second of it.

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My Thoughts On: Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Ep 1-6) — 03/01/2018

My Thoughts On: Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens (Ep 1-6)

I really like this anime a lot, and you may have heard mixed things about it, but hear me out. It may be similar to Durarara! and Baccano, but it still takes a unique turn on some aspects that make it stand out to me. I haven’t watched Baccano yet, but I have watched DRRR, and I’d say even at this point in the show, I like it better than that.

You also may be a bit shocked to see that I’m talking about a seasonal anime, as I generally don’t watch them until the season is over. The only other one I’m watching is The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and I will watch My Hero Academia weekly when the dub airs. But I happened to see someone mention this show on Twitter, so I added it to my list and when I finished a different anime up, I watched the four episodes that were out in one sitting.

I’ll definitely be staying with this one until the season is over, and this post will explain why. I’ll have a follow up post when the anime is finished, and some of the points I make in this one could change for that one.

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Bakugou Katsuki: An Analysis (My Hero Academia) — 02/23/2018

Bakugou Katsuki: An Analysis (My Hero Academia)

That name sparks different emotions in different people, no pun intended. Some love him, and even more hate him. I began wondering why, exactly, this is. I didn’t ever exactly hate him. I couldn’t understand him, and he was a bit overwhelming, but I never felt actual hatred for this character. Not like another character I know (freaking Mineta I swear).

Personally, I began to absolutely love Bakugou in season 2. I’m not entirely sure why, but at some point while watching, I became obsessed with him. And now that I’m reading the manga, I’m finding even more reasons to like him. Which is why it makes me so sad when I see people hating on him. I know how he appears on the surface, but if you dig down, he’s not a bad kid.

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My Thoughts On: Haikyu!! Season 2 — 01/20/2018

My Thoughts On: Haikyu!! Season 2

I’ll start this out by apologizing for being late in posting this. I had most of it ready on Thursday, but I ended up not finishing it up and I was going to make my last changes yesterday, but I spent the time I would have worked on this getting my hair done, so it had to be postponed until today.

Apologies over.

In the months I’ve been watching this anime, I’ve learned some things. For one, I learned more than I ever wanted to know about volleyball, and I could hold an intellectual discussion on the sport with no problems. Another thing is, it’s one of those shows that is hard to like in a casual way. I thought I’d only like it a little bit, but even from those first couple episodes, I realized that would not be the case. It doesn’t help that the fanbase is huge and very much active.

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Review: SERVAMP — 01/16/2018

Review: SERVAMP

Hello! Welcome to my very first Tuesday post. If you weren’t aware, I’ll be changing my posting schedule from once a week on Friday, to twice a week on Tuesday and Friday. I felt like I was missing out on a lot of posts I wanted to do just going with once a week, since by the time I’d get to it, I would have already come up with something else to do.

But enough of that, on to the review.

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