Anime Corner: My Hero Academia (Season 4 Episodes 78-88) Review

Blog MHA Season 4 Part 2 Review Title

Saving Eri Part 2!

What’s the Story?

After battling against the Shie Hassaikai, the students of U.A. finally have a chance to rest, but even though the day was saved some wounds have yet to heal. Eri, the girl who was trapped in the clutches of Overhaul, has yet to learn how to smile. What better time could there be for a school festival! As Class 1-A decide to put on a concert to lift the spirits of the other students, Bakugo and Todoroki are put to the test to earn their provisional licenses. Yet even as happier times return, there is a dark shadow growing in the distance, from the depths of the Internet comes a challenge unlike any other for U.A. That’s right! This time the greatest evil comes for U.A., a Youtuber! Does Modoriya stand a chance against the elastic might of this ‘gentle’ criminal?

The Review

And we’re back! It’s time to continue my review of My Hero Academia Season 4, are you excited? Because I am!!! (Seriously, I know I left last week’s review on a bit of a dour note, you can read it HERE, but I am pumped for this section, there’s going to be so many exclamation points I’m worried I might wear out the button on my keyboard!). I’ll let you in on a secret right here and now, I still hold to the idea that the sports festival through to the Hideout Raid arc are the best that MHA has to offer so far, but one of my favourite arcs outside of those is the School Festival arc! That’s one of the arcs that this section of the anime is adapting! Okay, now I feel like people are looking at me funny, or at the very least looking at their screens funny as they read this, the School Festival arc? Really? I know, I know, it’s basically a filler arc. The stakes are pretty much miniscule, with Midoriya having to protect the titular school festival from a villain who is the least nefarious MHA has ever produced, he’s basically an attention hog. Also Midoriya gets to practise a new move. That’s pretty much it, but I love every minute of it.

The School Festival arc just appeals to me on so many levels. On the one hand this whole second half of Season 4 feels like a return to what MHA does best. We’re got more screen time for the majority of Class 1-A, more interesting explorations of the world this series is set in and some top notch action and spectacle. It’s what I want from this series and I think binge-watching this last half of the season all at once really helped it (it’s been an interesting experiment, watching the first half of this season weekly and this half all in one go, the difference is astounding. MHA really needs to be binged, the emotional beats work best when they’re hitting you one after the other and that doesn’t happen when there’s a week’s gap between episodes).

There’s tonnes to dig through with this series, which is part of why I love it so much, but the first thing that really struck me was the idea that each generation’s quirks get stronger and stronger, and the effect that has on the kids of said generation. I’d love to see that explored more and it opens up the possibility that the world of MHA is heading towards a bigger disaster than any of us ever thought. Admittedly this season doesn’t do much with the idea, and maybe this is my foreknowledge speaking again because I know it’s important to a certain character to come, still it’s a really interesting idea to mull over and I’m surprised more superhero series haven’t thought of it before.

The second thing that struck me was Gentle’s backstory, he only ever wanted to be a hero, he only tried to help, and things went disastrously wrong. Obviously this is why things like provisional licences exist in the first place, but it was the reaction that struck me the most. People spray painting ‘trash’ on his wall, his mum screaming at him. Imagine if that had happened to Deku. What if at the very start of the series Deku’s actions trying to save Bakugo got a hero hurt? Would he have gotten the same treatment? It’s ideas like that that are the reason Gentle Criminal is one of my favourite antagonist (I can’t keep calling him a villain, he’s not) in the series so far. Not only is Gentle incredibly likable, he’s always fun when he shows up and he has a really interesting power, but, for me, he’s a dark reflection of what Midoriya could have been and I always love those types of antagonists. I love his fight with Midoriya and it’s heart-breaking when Deku has him pinned and La Brava’s there pounding her fists on Midoriya’s begging him to let him go.

Add on to that the stunning animation for the actual school festival performance, a song by Chrissy Costanza and Eri’s adorable smile and is it any wonder I love this half of the anime so much? I’ll admit there’s a bit of a drag in the middle of this half of the season, the anime is stretching two volumes worth of content (which normally takes me about an hour each to read) into four and a half hours of content, but the binge-watching helped with that. Overall I’d say the second half of My Hero Academia Season 4 is much stronger than the first, even if the stakes are lesser and the action isn’t as epic as what’s come before, the world and the characters of MHA are still some of the best in shonen. If you did watch it weekly and were disappointed, I’d recommend watching it again, but as a binge this time. Or if you don’t want to spend that kind of time, just make sure to binge-watch season 5 when that comes out.

Now, of course, there’s one last arc to talk about, the Pro Hero arc! Focussing on Endeavour and introducing Hawks! I like Hawks, Hawks is cool, he’s…he’s…he’s a murdering bastard! I’ll kill you Hawks! I will! After what you did! How could you!

Sorry, had a bit of a moment there. I’m calm now and no I’m not going to explain what that was about, spoilers! Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the Pro Hero arc! Honestly, I get the thought process behind it, it’s the season finale and you want to send everyone off on a big flashy fight, but cramming everything into two episodes? Really? I mean it’s going to make the start of Season 5 awkward as that now has to deal with all the aftermath of said fight, rather than starting fresh. Then comes the actual fight itself and surely the School Festival could have lost an episode to this the showdown between Endeavour and High-End a bit more room. I hate to be that guy, but I felt the impact of that fight so much more in the manga, admittedly because I could read it at my own pace, but then pacing is really the Achilles heel of this season isn’t it? Still the action itself is top notch MHA and, without my experiencing it in the manga first, this’ll probably be amazing to watch.

The Verdict

All in all, My Hero Academia Season 4 is definitely the weakest season so far, admittedly that’s only because the previous seasons have been so good (later half of Season 3 notwithstanding). There are clear pacing and production issues throughout the series that rub off some of the lustre and the arcs themselves aren’t the best the series has ever put out. The Shie Hassaikai arc is trying to be different and it’s not for everyone and, as much as I love it, the School Festival arc isn’t the most important or impactful story. However, I still love this series, I love it’s characters and it’s world and that it gets me to question things and really think about what it’s trying to say to me. I will continue to watch this show, I’ll just stick to binge-watching it in future.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisGJoynson.

Anime Corner: My Hero Academia (Season 4 Episodes 64-77) Review

Blog MHA Season 4 Part 1 Review Title

Saving Eri Part 1!

What’s the Story?

Having passed the provisional license exam, Midoriya and the rest of the students of U.A. are ready to get back to training and become the best heroes they can be! To do that they’re going on work studies with professional heroes, Midoriya setting his sights on All Might’s former sidekick, Sir Nighteye. The young heroes aren’t the only ones looking to up their game though, the League of Villains think they’re ready to take the next step, that is until they meet the head of the Shie Hassaikai yakuza family. While Midoriya learns the tragic history of Sir Nighteye and All Might, the man known as ‘Overhaul’ is working on a plan, a plan that will bring hero society to its knees and all he needs is one little girl to make it all work. Operation Rescue Eri begins here!

The Review

And now for something a little bit different! I’ve talked about My Hero Academia on this blog before, primarily the two movies (you can find the reviews HERE and HERE), but I’ve yet to review an actual season of the show. Well, that all changes right now! In the past I’ve not had that much to add to the conversation about MHA, I love the series and much more articulate people than me have already said all that I could think to say about the show, until this season, Season 4. In fact, I’ve got so much to say about this show that this review is really far too long, as such I’m splitting it in two. This week I’m going to cover a few general thoughts and then dig into the first half of Season 4. The rest of the season and my final verdict will appear in a review next Friday, so buckle in folks, this is going to be a long one!

Season 4 covers roughly four arcs of the manga, the Shie Hassaikai arc, the Remedial Course arc, U.A. School Festival arc and the Pro Hero arc (the latter three arcs being comparatively small compared to the first arc). I’ll also point out that the Shie Hassaikai arc takes up the entirety of the first half of this season and you may have already spotted a problem here. It’s actually a problem that Season 3 shares, the season starts with this big climatic arc, ending in a massive battle, then moves on to arcs with lower stakes and actions. As such the seasons end with considerably less bang than their midway point, at least Season 3 did, unfortunately the Shie Hassaikai arc didn’t come with that much bang to begin with, but I’ll come back to that in a minute. Most of this comes down to the seasonal format and the adaptation being a bit too faithful. In the manga an arc with lower stakes isn’t a problem, it’s a nice little breather and the story is free to ramp up again with the next arc. Unfortunately for anime only watches, the next arc is at least three months away and in this modern age of constant consumptio, that is an incredibly long time to wait. It changes something from a nice little breather, into a frustration because why won’t it just get to the point already!

Let’s talk about the Shie Hassaikai arc though. I’ll admit I’ve been a fan of the manga longer than I’ve been watching the anime and maybe that accounts for my perspective, because I was looking forward to this arc. I really enjoyed it in the manga, it has its issues sure, but overall I had a lot of fun. I enjoyed all the new characters and Overhaul was an intimidating and interesting new villain. However I feel like the transfer of this arc from page to screen has exasperated several of its problems. For one, a lot of the focus in this arc is on Midoriya and the new characters it introduces, which isn’t a massive issue in the manga (okay, it’s a slight issue, the continual introduction of new characters is one of the main issues for MHA, but I love all the crazy powers they come with so I never really mind it). When I read it in the manga I’d just come off the last arc where I got to see the majority of class 1-A, so why not let the story experiment with something a bit different and unique for a while. Unfortunately that same sentiment doesn’t apply to the anime. People have spent months waiting for this series to return and then they find out that the majority of the characters they love are barely in it, what’s more it’s going to bring in a lot of new characters that it wants us to care deeply for? Yeah, I get some people’s frustration with this season.

Another issue with the adaptation comes from an unusual place, for me at least, the anime’s use of colour. Now Bones animates My Hero Academia with a wealth of gorgeous, bright colours, and that really fits the world of MHA. For the Shie Hassaikai arc however, I don’t feel like that works. This arc is a bit different to me, it should have a darker, grungier feel to it. We’re stepping into the dirty underbelly of the heroes’ world and the anime doesn’t really reflect that. It needs more dark shadows, scrub off some of that bright and clean exterior. Stepping into the underground labyrinth should feel like racing into Hell to me, but it doesn’t. I realise that several of the animators were taken off of the first half of this season to work on the second movie and that does show. There’s a lack of spectacle to this arc, especially when it comes to the final battle against Overhaul and that hurts this season (I mean it’s still good, this is Bones after all, but not as good as I was expecting). Also, this is the first time I’ve watched MHA weekly and that really kills the momentum of the story. I’m going to give MHA a ‘binge-watch only’ sticker from this point onwards, because that’s how I watched the first three seasons and I never noticed a problem with the pacing before. All in all the Shie Hassaikai arc comes off as a bit a disappointment compared against everything that came before it.

The weight of expectations is actually MHA’s biggest hurdle to clear. Let’s be honest here, the arcs from the Sports Festival through to All Might’s last stand are the peak of MHA. Those arcs feel like one continual story, all leading to one explosive finale. Everything since then and coming feels less…cohesive. As a manga reader I know what’s coming and, looking back, I can see how each of the arcs lays out the building blocks necessary to get to where we’re going. For example you need the Provisional License Exam, otherwise characters can’t take part in Shie Hassaikai and onwards, but going from an exam to fighting yakuza feels like a strange left turn. MHA should experiment and try new things, but the story doesn’t feel as tight as it did earlier. There are some amazing moments to come and I personally can’t wait for the current arc in the manga to be animated, but I get it if people don’t want to hang around based purely on the promise of something awesome somewhere down the line.

I feel like I’ve been doing nothing but griping during this review, but fear not, there are some positives coming. Next week I’ll take a look at the rest of Season 4 and give out my final verdict! Bring on the School Festival!

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday or you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisGJoynson.

Anime Corner: My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising Review

Blog MHA Heroes Rising Review Title

Okay, and how does UA avoid being sued into oblivion this time?

What’s the Story?

UA’s Class 1-A have set up their own agency! Wait, what? Ever since the fall of All Might, villains have been on the rise and, in an effort to accelerate the training of the next generation of heroes, Class 1-A have been charged with taking over hero operations on Nabu Island! The resident hero has recently retired and while they’re still looking for a replacement there’s a need for a hero on the island, okay, not really. Nabu Island is a quiet, peaceful little slice of heaven that is virtually crime-free. Most of what the students have to do is recharge batteries and help old ladies get about, it’s an easy job that can’t go wrong in any way whatsoever. I mean it’s not as if four very powerful villains are about to crash a ferry into the island and push each of the students to their absolute limit, right?

The Review

And I’m back to talking about My Hero Academia! I know the current season of the anime hasn’t ignited the fanbase as much as previous seasons and there are plenty of legitimate complaints about how the adaptation has been going this time around (personally I’ve stopped watching the series weekly and I’m going to try binge watching the School Festival arc, see if that’s a better viewing experience), but I’m not here to talk about that today. By miracle of miracles I actually managed to catch an anime film while it was in cinemas! (I’m on a roll of late, this and Stampede. Normally I’m stuck waiting for a DVD release). I’ll say this now, if your interest in the franchise has been waning at all with season 4, check out this movie, because it certainly revitalised me! So many good moments, from quiet little scenes to epic brawls and, what’s this? The whole cast gets to share the spotlight?! What kind of magic is this?!!!!

When I talked about the first MHA movie (HERE), I talked about how a lot of movies tied into an ongoing series often feel inconsequential. The first movie got around that with fanservice (the good kind), unfortunately this movie doesn’t quite manage that. Oh there’s plenty of references to things in the series and appearances by major heroes (some who have yet to appear in the anime), as well as the League of Villains, but there’s the definite feeling that what happened in this movie will never be spoken of again. However, that’s only because this movie decides it wants to tackle another problem I often have, particularly with shonen movies (I’m looking at you One Piece). When there’s a large cast a play in a series, shonen movies will often push characters off to the side and focus solely on a couple of central players, which is fair, there’s only so much you can fit into a feature’s run time. Doesn’t stop it being annoying though when some of my favourite characters hardly get anything to do and almost never square off against the lead villain’s lieutenants (again, One Piece, I’m looking at you).

MHA: Heroes Rising doesn’t have this problem though. It manages to tell an effective, well-paced story while at the same time incorporating each and every member of Class 1-A into the action (Okay, the invisible girl does practically nothing, but we can’t have everything can we). I don’t just mean a token demonstration of their powers either, they are neck-deep in the fighting from the get go, teaming up to take on bad guys or deliver solutions to problems. From Sero and Uraraka giving it their all against the lead villain to Tokoyami and Ashido taking on one of the villain’s lieutenants, there was some amazing action and a great showcase of the class as a whole. Also, on a side note, I love Todoroki using the lessons he’s being trying to learn about his fire powers and applying them to his ice powers to take on the other lieutenant. That was epic (though now I think about I don’t think the anime has got to that point of Todoroki’s training. When is this film supposed to be set?).

Of course, somebody needs to be the headline act even if everyone else is getting attention and, for this film, that act is the devastating duo of Midoriya and Bakugo (as all the promotion for this film made very clear). It’s a testament to the character development of Bakugo that, whereas at the beginning of the series I viewed him as little more than a bully, I can now root and cheer for him alongside Deku. Heck, the mere fact that Bakugo is willing to fight alongside Midoriya is proof of how far he’s come. It’s also great to see Midoriya and Bakugo’s differing hero philosophies working alongside one another. Bakugo’s ‘I will win every fight’ works well with Deku’s ‘I will save every person’, which is really what this whole film is about. Enough of the characters we already know though, how do the movie original characters hold up?

They’re okay. Honestly the majority of original characters in this film can be best described as ‘fit for purpose’. The villagers are all nice and sweet and you can see why the kids of Class 1-A have bonded with them and you feel the fear as they all sit huddled in blankets wondering when the villains will attack next. The villains are much the same, their powers aren’t that creative, but they’re an imposing threat for the students to tackle. When the lead villain, Nine, was just walking his way through all of their attacks, taking out the heroes one after the other, I genuinely felt worried. That said their motivations are things that the series has and will tackle itself, and in a bit more depth than this movie can manage. The standouts for me are the two kid characters who I really came to care about as the movie progressed, that smile on Katsuma’s little face at the end was perfect. Midoriya just became someone’s All Might guys and that was heart-warming to see.

Now, unfortunately, I can’t just praise this film. I do have a gripe, let’s talk about the ending. No spoilers here, but let’s just say Deku and Bakugo go super saiyan at the end of this film and I have many, many questions about that. I get it, they’d bigged up the villain too much in their attempts to have a threat worthy of a movie (another problem I’ve been noticing with these shonen films. Don’t scale your movie villains up to impossible heights, it just means the hero has to pull a sudden power up out of their backside and those hardly ever work outside of Dragonball). My real issue, however, is with how poorly explained Midoriya and Bakugo’s power up is. Obviously it’s the middle of an action sequence so you can’t stop the film dead to explain, but even after all that is done there’s still no proper excuse. All Might says something miraculous happened and I guess that’s supposed to be all we needed to know. I still can’t decide if what happened breaks the series’ lore in anyway. It doesn’t help that the reset button gets hammered pretty hard after all is said and done, robbing the actions of any dramatic weight (not that there was any to begin with, we all knew the reset button was going to be hit).

The Verdict

All in all, ending aside, this is a fantastic movie. It gives every member of Class 1-A a significant job to do in the story, there’s plenty of humour and fun little character moments before the villains arrive and the epic action kicks off. Midoriya and Bakugo show that when they work together they are a near-unbeatable team and it really shows how far their characters have come. There are plenty of moments where I felt the danger the heroes were in and, really, I’d like to see more shonen movies handled like this. Just, you know, don’t think too much about that ending.

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.  

 

Put a Tune to It: Western Songs for Anime

I got nominated for a tag by tcrow over at Crow’s World of Anime! I’ll admit it’s been a while since I’ve done any tags and this was an incredibly fun one to dig into. At first I thought I was going to have a hard time with this, depending on my mood my musical tastes can get very eclectic and there’s normally a lot of musicals involved, which won’t fit a lot of anime. Then I started actually thinking about it and my selections came to me within about an hour, but before we get to them, let’s do the housekeeping.

First this tag was originally set in motion by Dewbond over at Shallow Dives in Anime and here’s the rules!

  • Choose any number of western songs (any genre) that you think best sums up an anime or manga of any type or genre.
    • If you want to pick more than 1 from each section that’s fine. Or if you can’t think of one for a specific category that’s fine also.
  • Explain why you think your choices could work. Is it the lyrics? The tune and the beat? Or just the music video?
  • Link back to the original post so I can read people’s suggestions, I’d love to read everyone’s ideas.
  • Include Put a Tune to It in your tags so everyone including myself can find them all easily.
  • Nominate around 1-5 bloggers. My nominations will be at the bottom.

And so, without any further delay, let’s get this show on the road!

Halloween-Themed (Soul Eater)

Okay, we’ll start off with a pretty obvious one and the first thing that came into my head. This is Halloween by Marilyn Manson. Does this really need any explanation? I must have seen a dozen amvs with this set to snippets of Soul Eater or any anime with a halloween episode over the years. It just fits so well. Every time I hear this version of the song I automatically see Maka and Soul standing under that grinning crescent moon, Blair riding a pumpkin somewhere in the background.

Mecha (Gundam)

And we’ll follow that up with another song that I automatically associate with anime, Mr. Roboto by Styx. This one I can blame on the review site SF Debris, because his reviews of Gundam 0080 had this song set over the credits and its been fixed in my brain ever since. I love that beat as they sing the ‘domo arigato’ part, it works so well as a marching beat as a gundam or some other mecha is deployed for action. Plus the song is unmistakably 80s and I always think of the 80s when I think of mecha, that’s another common association in my brain.

Drama (Sound Euphonium)

Right, taking a step away from long-held associations, let’s pick something a bit more current (at least in the fact that I’ve only recently discovered this band), Brighter by Against The Current. This song is really for any series that has either a main character or a large portion of the cast who are a little unsure of themselves. They’re lacking in confidence, but as the series progresses as they begin to discover themselves bit by bit and let their passions ignite. For me this song really suits Kumiko from Sound Euphonium, specifically towards the end of the series when she’s decided that she wants to be truly special along with Reina and is ready to throw her all into the band’s performance.

Gangster (91 Days)

And now, something a little more offbeat (I knew I’d get one in here somewhere). Gangsta’s Paradise by Postmodern Jukebox ft. Robyn Adele Anderson. I love the Postmodern Jukebox, they often take more current songs and perform them in a more retro style and this happens to be one of my favourite covers they’ve done. Can’t you just smell the smokey atmosphere in some rundown speakeasy as you listen to this? It fits so well with 91 Days as well, considering that anime is set during prohibition, I can just see Angelo and Nero sitting and sharing a drink while this plays, all the while Angelo is slowly reaching for his gun.

Shonen (One Piece)

Okay, maybe the last two choices have been me trying to get songs I really like on to this list and, well, here’s another one (though in my defence I think this one really fits). Friendship Song by Brennley Brown (featured in Tangled the Series). Considering how many shonen series are all about the power of friendship and unbreakable bonds, this song is really just perfect. It’s intended to be about two friends, but I think it works just as well for a group, like say the Strawhat pirates. They can always rely on one another, they’ll always have one another’s backs and be there through the laughs and the tears, as the song says, ‘we fit together perfectly’.

Shonen (My Hero Academia)

Another common trend in shonen anime is that their main protagonists are often optimistic dreamers. They’ve got these big, impossible dreams and there’s no shortage of people ready to tell them how unattainable their goal is. Yet that won’t deter them, they have….High Hopes by Panic! At The Disco (did you see what I did there? Of course you did and I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist that one.) I can just see Midoriya charging forward as this plays, All for One or some other villain cackling away until Midoriya comes out of nowhere and smashes them out of the way and ready to declare ‘I am here!’

Epic Fantasy (Fate series)

Last one! Actually this one may be cheating a little bit because I first discovered this song in an amv using clips from Fate/Zero and Garden of Sinners fused together into the best amv I have ever seen (look for Steel Fenders amv on Youtube, I hope it’s still there). Ever since Iron by Woodkid has been linked to the fate series in my brain. From the first blast of those trumpets to that rising beat, this song is the very definition of epic to me. It fills my head with images of climatic battles, legends brought to life and just a sense of majesty that makes me want to grovel in my unworthiness (which is often how I feel about the fate series when it’s at its best). If you haven’t heard this song, then listen and thank me later.

Hmm….there’s not as much rock on this list as I thought there was going to be, or electro swing for that matter. Ah well, we’ll leave it here for now. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my choices, I certainly had a lot of fun putting this together and thanks Crow for nominating me!

As for who I’ll nominate, apologises if you’ve already been selected, but I’ll go with:

Scott

Ospreyshire

Jon Spencer

Irina

Karandi

Of course anyone else who is interested please join in.

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.

First Impressions Autumn 2019 Part 1

The leaves are changing colour, the nights are drawing in and, is that a chill creeping up your spine? Yes, autumn is well and truly here! And we all know what that means, Halloween! Okay, technically that was last night and the lunatics outside are already prepping for Bonfire night, but we’re not here to talk about that. Last season was a bumper crop of great shows, even if some of them never lived up to the promise of their first few episodes, there was still plenty to celebrate and reviews will be coming eventually. This season there’s not as many new shows that immediately grabbed my attention, but there are plenty of sequels and the odd gems that I’ve found, so let’s get this show on the road.

Ahiru no Sora

Sora Kurumatani loves basketball, and I mean he really loves it! From wearing the shoes inherited from his mother, to practising a thousand times a day, Sora’s energy and enthusiasm is unstoppable, which is a good thing because in basketball terms he’s a pipsqueak. A lack of height isn’t the only problem that Sora is facing though, the basketball team at his new school is full of delinquents! None of whom are the least bit interested in basketball. Can Sora’s love for the sport turn this team of layabouts into a team with a chance of winning a tournament? Well, if they don’t beat up the other teams first, then, yeah, maybe.

And our sports anime for the season is here! I’ll admit I only started watching this show because I played Basketball at secondary school, only in P.E. lessons mind so I was just goofing around, but, as a non-sporty person, Basketball is a sport I could get into. With that being said, Ahiru no Sora is a decidedly average show, it’s not bad, but it’s not blowing me away either. So far it’s sticking to the standard tropes of a sports anime with the added joke that most of the team are stereotypical thugs and get into fights with rival schools and generally try to act tough and mean. It gets a few laughs, but it also makes it hard for me to care about much of the team outside of Sora and Momoharu. Sora’s enthusiasm for the sport is infectious and Momoharu has a decent bit of backstory where we learn he gave up the sport because no matter how hard he tried and hoped, he just didn’t think he was any good at it, and, yeah, I’ve been at that point before so I sympathise. Threatening to drop a kid’s shoes into an incinerator I sympathise with less, but it is nice to see Momoharu regain his drive for the sport. I’d say give it a couple of episodes as I am slowly becoming more and more invested in this show.

Ascendance of a Bookworm

Motosu Urano was a college student obsessed with books, and I do mean obsessed. It was her belief that she could do anything as long as she had books, a belief that is put to the test when she one day wakes up in the body of the five year old Main. Now not only does she have a new father, mother and big sister to get to know, but she has to get used to living in a medieval society, a society where books are a rarity and reserved only for the rich. Whatever will Main do? Well, once she’s done complaining, she’s just going to have to learn how to make her own books!

This was one of the few new shows I was looking forward to coming into this season and, so far, it hasn’t disappointed. Yes, Main can be a bit of an acquired taste at times, especially during the first couple of episodes. She’s single-mindedly obsessed with books to point that nothing else matters, not this new world she’s woken up in, or the fact that she’s replaced some poor family’s ill daughter (not helped by the fact that I’m pretty sure the real Main is dead now, there’s a cheery thought for the day). No, books are all that matter and all her complaints and little tantrums can sometimes veer towards the annoying, but what makes me okay with them is I see how Main is going to develop, she’s already coming to realisation that she’ll never get her old life back and has to come to accept her new family, as well as being a bit more considerate and making gifts to show her appreciation. If Main keeps along this path then this series could be a really good, sweet little slice of medieval life.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These

Thanks to Yang, the Free Planets Alliance manage to avoid a total defeat at the hands of the Galactic Empire and make it back to their own corner of space with at least a handful of ships still intact. That doesn’t mean the fighting’s over though, far from it. With the sudden death of the Emperor, the Galactic Empire is facing civil war and Reinhard will have to take on the nobles if he wants to keep the position he’s worked so hard for. Yang, meanwhile, has to deal with rebellion within the Alliance as the Empire sows the seeds of decent in order to keep them busy. Whichever way you look at it, these galactic heroes still have a long way to go.

This is one of the shows I was waiting for, I really enjoyed the first season (you can check out my review of it HERE), and in all honesty not much has changed. The visuals are as good as ever, from the sweeping vistas of space to the vast fleets and gorgeous locales and backdrops. In fact, my only real complaint is with a couple of character designs, and while 99% are great, there’s the odd couple that I’m sure are just colour swaps of already established characters. Of course the best part of this show is all the political manoeuvring and strategic battles and they’re back with a vengeance. I do wish there were a few less scenes where the narrator just sums up what’s happened in between major events and let us actually see a bit more of it, but each and every episode has left me pumped for more. If you enjoyed the first season, you definitely need to be watching this and if you haven’t, then you need to go check it out.

Granblue Fantasy: The Animation Season 2

Take off into the skies once more with Gran, Lyria and the rest of the crew of the Grandcypher! There’re more floating islands to explore, more primal beasts to meet and plenty of adventures to be had, so it’s business as usual really. After solving one problem with a rampaging primal beasts on an out of the way island, the crew are shocked to learn that the Empire wants to make peace with them. Just what are they up and what does this have to do with Katalina’s childhood friend from the days when she was training to be a knight? Nothing is what it seems, but then would you expect anything else? Let the second season set sail!

Another second season and another show I’ve been really looking forward to, seriously it’s like the season of sequels or something. If you’re interested in my thoughts on Granblue’s first season, then you can check out my review HERE, and, again, my thoughts remain pretty much the same. I really like this cast of characters, yes they’re not all that complex or deep and their adventures are fairly predictable, but I love the way this crew interacts with one another. You feel the bond between them and I just have so much fun following along behind them. The whole show has that old-school adventure feel that I love so much and I can’t wait for more episodes. If you enjoyed the last season, you should definitely be checking this out as it’s really more of the same, and if you didn’t enjoy the last season (which I get) then there’s plenty of other good stuff around this season. Personally I’m loving this and I’m definitely riding along all the way to the end.

My Hero Academia Season 4

Having passed the provisional license exam, Midoriya and the rest of the students of U.A. are ready to get back to training and become the best heroes they can be! To do that they’re going on work studies with professional heroes, Midoriya setting his sights on Sir Nighteye, All Might’s former sidekick. The young heroes aren’t the only ones looking to up their game though, the League of Villains is taught a lesson when they meet the head of a Yakuza family, a man who goes by the alias Overhaul. Overhaul and his gang may prove to be an even bigger threat than the League though, you see Overhaul has a plan, a plan that revolves around a little girl…

My Hero Academia is back! I’ll keep this short because, well, this is the fourth season of this show, you should know whether you like it or not by now. Personally I love it, My Hero Academia is my second favourite shonen series of all time and while this season has gotten off to a slow start, I’m a manga reader so I know exactly what’s coming and I couldn’t be more excited! There’s so much I wish I could talk about, but that would be spoiling things so I won’t. Just be ready for some brilliant action sequences, great character moments and a whole lot of heart, like every other season of My Hero Academia. Be warned though, this arc is going to get dark and I mean that…poor Eri. Sorry, I said no spoilers didn’t I? Anyway! It’s gonna be a wild ride, you know, once we get past the slow introductory lull that a lot of MHA arcs have. Hang in there anime-only watchers!

And we’ll leave it there for today, back next week when I’ll be enrolling in a demon school, taking on the culinary world in the most dramatic way possible and going on a trip to ancient Babylonia for a battle amongst gods. See you then!

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.  

Anime Corner: My Hero Academia The Movie: Two Heroes Review

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What’s the Story?

It’s summer and as a treat the number one hero All Might is taking his young protégé Izuku Midoriya along with him to visit an old friend. They arrive on I-island, a floating city that houses some of the world’s best and brightest scientists and all of their miraculous inventions. There they meet David Shield, an inventor who studied with All Might back in his rookie days and David’s genius daughter Melissa, but all is not well on I-island. As they plan an expo to show off the latest tech to the superhero world, villains invade, taking All Might hostage and locking down the whole island! It’s up to Midoriya and his fellow students from class 1A to free All Might and stop the villains, but not everything is what it seems…

The Review

You know, I’ve just realised this is actually my first time talking about My Hero Academia on this blog, which feels weird ‘cause it’s actually my second favourite shonen series of all time (One Piece is number one, but I’ll be talking more about that later in the year so stay tuned). I suppose I haven’t really talked about it because, honestly, I’ve never felt like I’ve had all that much new to say about it. My Hero Academia is a well-regarded and often praised series, both in manga and anime and I wholeheartedly agree with the majority of what is said about it, but the series has a movie now and I’m doing movies this month, so let’s talk about this. Why do I love My Hero Academia?

If you were to write out the premise of My Hero Academia on paper the series is actually pretty standard, it has a lot of the typical shonen tropes and deals with ideas that have been done before in one form or another (superheroes are a well ploughed field after all), but the genius is in the detail here. What MHA has created, in my opinion, is a world and a social structure that is endlessly interesting, the series constantly exposing new facets that just get you more and more interested and asking questions about how everything works. You add on to that characters that are incredibly likeable, some crazy and creative powers and a pace that keeps things moving without missing those big emotional moments and you’re on to a winner. Remember it’s not what you do, it’s how you do and MHA does everything with style. Midoriya is one of my favourite shonen protagonists, immensely likeable and you just can’t help but root for the kid. So, how does the movie stack up compared to that? It’s good, I love it, but I do have to admit that it’s hardly breaking the mould.

Anime movies, more specifically anime movies that are tied to an ongoing series always come with problems for me (which is why I tend to go in with lowered expectations). The biggest problem is that they’re often bound by continuity, they can’t introduce any major developments to the story or characters, because the series is going to carry on without them regardless and it’s kind of annoying when important plot points are introduced in spin off media. That also means that any locations or characters introduced are likely to never be seen again, which often gives these films a whiff of the filler. MHA Two Heroes decides to get around this problem with fanservice, and the good kind too, there’s no ogling female characters here, (that’s another reason I love this series, it treats it’s female cast with respect, it doesn’t neglect them or reduce them to only being cleavage shots and revealing outfits, I’m glaring at you Fire Force). No, instead we get a brief glimpse into the early days of All Might’s career, getting a look at some of his old costumes and how he handled himself when he was just starting out. We also get a chance to see Midoriya and All Might fighting alongside one another, which isn’t something we’ve ever truly seen in the series and it’s nice to have that moment here.

The plot for the film is fairly straightforward, heroes arrive in new location, get a bit of a look around. They go to a party, villains take over and the heroes must work their way up a tower to defeat said villains and save the island. For the most part it feels like an extended episode, though I do find it funny how the film keeps trying to come up with new ways to explain why the members of class 1A all happen to be on this island when surely it would have been simpler just to make the whole class go together, it wouldn’t actually change the plot in any significant way. I do like that the plot gives the majority of the heroes a chance to show off their stuff, and Midoriya even gets a new support item that let’s him use his full power for a bit, though of course this has to break by the end of the movie. Speaking of support items, let’s talk about David and Melissa Shield. While I doubt we’re ever going to see them again in this franchise, I think that’s a shame because they’re both likeable characters. In Melissa, Midoriya gets to meet someone who was in the same spot as him, i.e. quirkless, and has found her own way to overcome that. Maybe Midoriya would have gone down a similar path if he hadn’t met All Might. I also like the way that Melissa calls out Midoriya for apologising for not protecting her, when he should be thanking her for helping save him, we don’t do woman as damsels in this series thank you very much Midoriya.

That brings me to David and, spoiler alert for the big twist, he’s one of the bad guys, kinda, sorta. See David invented something that’s very, very dangerous, a power enhancer for All Might because he knows his powers are fading (though he doesn’t know why), and he’s hired a bunch of villains to get it back from the island security that have locked it away. Of course the villains take the power enhancer for themselves and that leads to our big climatic showdown. I like David and his fear is a nice preview of the state of society after the fall of All Might. This movie works really well as a bridge between seasons two and three of the anime.

The Verdict

All in all, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is a fun and enjoyable film. If you’re a fan of the series definitely check this out as there’s a bunch of great moments for fans, but if you’re new to the franchise it’s probably best to go see the series first, then come back to this. The animation and music are great, the action is top notch and the majority of characters get to show off their skills all building up to an epic finale. Go beyond and be a hero!

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Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.  

October Movie Madness!

31st October 2014, that was when I started this little blog o’mine with a review of Frozen.

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Honestly it feels crazy that I’ve been writing for this blog for nearly five years now, especially when I only started this blog, in part, to build my confidence as a writer (the other reason I started this blog is because I desperately needed some place to talk about all the movies and shows I watch and as it turns out, once I start talking you can’t shut me up!)

Anyway, the anniversary of my blog is a month away and typically I use that anniversary post to look at a film which belongs to a franchise I adore. In the past I’ve done Madoka Magica Rebellion,

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Fullmetal Alchemist – Conqueror of Shamballa,

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How to Train your Dragon 2,

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And last year’s, Tangled the series: Queen for a Day,

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This year it’s going to be Digimon the Movie to tie in with all the other Digimon reviews I’ve been doing (and, yes, expect another oversized title card, I’m actually really proud of this one and I can’t wait for people to see it). However, this is a 5 year anniversary and that feels like a big deal, so I’m going to indulge myself a bit this coming month.

For this year only the movies are taking over October as I’m going to be reviewing a movie tied into a franchise I adore each week (some I’ve talked about before, some I haven’t), so here’s the schedule for October,

4th October – Batman Hush

11th October – Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel – 1. Presage Flower

18th October – My Hero Academia: Two Heroes

25th October – Digimon the Movie

I’m already a little bit giddy with excitement, and to anyone who’s read, liked or commented on any of my posts over the past five years, firstly, you’re amazing, secondly, thank you. I hope everyone’s going to enjoy this as much as I am right now, but enough waffling from me, meet me back here on friday when the party will really begin!

Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.