The Heroic Spirit of My Hero Academia

Time for a new essay! This one focuses specifically on My Hero Academia, but is more generally about a spirit of optimism in fiction that I find really compelling and valuable. It was frankly kinda tough cutting down all the various topics I wanted to cover into one editorial-sized piece (I could easily write another entire article about the ambiguous ways idols interact with this concept), but I’m pretty happy with the result. I hope you enjoy the piece, and wish you luck finding some spirit of heroism in your own life!

The Heroic Spirit of My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia

Spring 2016 – Week 7 in Review

Our strong spring season continued to chug merrily along this week, offering a few new highlights and a clunker or two, as you might expect. My weekly list has been paired down to the point where even the disappointing episodes are only mediocre entries in fundamentally strong shows, which feels like a real luxury (I dropped Macross Delta, incidentally, which I realized I hadn’t really been impressed with for a good 4-5 episodes). And both Kiznaiver and The Lost Village actually seem to be improving as they go along, which I wouldn’t expect from such shaky and unpredictable productions. Top that off with the reliably competent My Hero Academia and the consistently stunning Concrete Revolutio, and you’ve got a season that never fails to at least entertain. Let’s RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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My Hero Academia, Volume 4 – Review

My Hero Academia is in absolute peak form all throughout this fourth volume. The school competition premise allows all of the manga’s characters to just wail on each other for eight chapters straight, which is pretty much all I could ever wanted from this series. The setup of the competition’s second round really facilitates having the characters both find new uses of their powers and see how they can work in concert with each other, making for the most consistently thrilling battles of the series. Individual unique powers are cool enough, but forcing these very imbalanced characters to play off each other is just a far better application of the manga’s premise. It’s nice to see an author so aware of what makes their own story compelling.

No notes this time, since I just sped through this one without taking a breath. But you can check out my full review over at ANN!

My Hero Academia

 

Spring 2016 – First Half in Review

The halfway point is here! I’m not the only one who feels like this has been a really fast season, right? I mean, it’s obviously going to feel like I’m running through anime faster if I’m enjoying it more, but it feels like Flying Witch and The Lost Village and My Hero Academia just got started a couple weeks ago, and suddenly here we are. As has at this point shifted from “it’s cute to say some silly blog thing is ‘traditional'” to “wow, this really is a tradition, I’ve been doing this crap for a substantial portion of my adult life,” I’ll be running down my current schedule from best to worst as your seasonal reminder that rankings don’t matter, we’re all going to die, the only truth is the abyss. I’ve got a lot of very fun and very different shows to get through, so let’s not waste any more time in preamble. From top to bottom, here are this spring’s very best cartoon contenders!

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Spring 2016 – Week 5 in Review

We had a fresh new crop of anime roll in this week, and I’m here to sort out the top tier cartoons from the rest of the cargo. It won’t be easy this time – there were plenty of great episodes this week across the board, with a wide variety of genres and favorites pulling off excellent performances. The Lost Village’s fourth episode more or less cemented it as a ridiculous semi-classic, while Concrete Revolutio had another stunning vignette, and Flying Witch maintained its clean streak of strong episodes. This is the best season I’ve personally had in about a year, and I’m enjoying it to the fullest. Let’s dive right into this pile of nonsense and RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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Spring 2016 – Week 4 in Review

God damn is this ever a season of anime. I keep trying to drop shows, but they all keep being too entertaining. And now I check out Macross Delta and find out that’s a lot of fun, too? I really wouldn’t have minded one or two of these shows back a season ago, but it’s also great to log on twitter and see people enjoying such a wide variety of new anime. Even this season’s ambiguous productions are generally coming up solid – Kiznaiver had its strongest episode yet this week, and other borderline stuff like Haifuri is executing well, even if it’s not exactly my thing. It’s a fine time for watching too goddamn many cartoons, so let’s start at the top and RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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Spring 2016 – Week 3 in Review

With this season’s extended preview week finally over, I found myself left with way too many fine shows to watch. Thus, this week was one more return to The Culling, that fun time of year when shows that would be reasonable watches in weaker seasons all get the axe purely for pragmatic reasons. Between full show reviews, Current Projects work, and other various media, I can only really spare the time for a bit more than half a dozen airing shows, and so anything that isn’t truly noteworthy had to be cut. That still didn’t make this easy, of course – this season is good, I want to watch everything I can. But I was able to trim some hedges here and there.

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Spring 2016 – Week 2 in Review

Well hell, Wednesday’s here already. I already covered most of the prior week’s episodes in my retrospective, but that didn’t hit any second episodes, so I guess I’ll make a week in review or something. Fortunately, this week’s second episodes were all definitely worth talking about – in fact, going forward, I’m guessing these posts will be getting pretty mountainous. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is hitting new peaks, My Hero Academia is demonstrating exactly what I find compelling about its premise, and Joker Game is shaping up to be a stylish and legitimately engaging thriller. This season is ridiculous. Let’s get right to it.

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Spring 2016 – Virtually Every First Episode Retrospective

This season is incredibly dangerous, you guys. I know first weeks are always misleading, and that at least a few shows generally fall apart soon after a strong premiere, but there are just so many good shows in so many genres that I feel I’m finally going to be buried in cartoons. There are tons of great action shows, plenty of diverse comedies, dramas and slice of lifes and Concrete Revolutio besides. It really does feel like there’s something for everyone this season – not only is it a diverse crop, but the best shows are scattered across a wide range of potential tastes.

That said, there are certainly both winners and losers among this group, and busy anime consumer that you are, I’m sure you don’t have the time to sift for the best of them. So as usual, I’ll be breaking down this season’s premieres into distinct, precisely calibrated categories, starting with the shows to celebrate and moving on through to the shows that punished me for daring to live. All the links on the show names lead to the ANN preview guide pages, where you can find my more extensive thoughts on every single one under Nick Creamer. I’m sure you’ve got a lot to do, so let’s cut the preamble here and RUN ‘EM DOWN!

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Spring 2016 – First Impressions, Part One

Preview week has begun! The shows are already starting to pile up, and as usual, I’ve got a bunch of picks and unpicks and first impressions for your approval. The season has sadly not measured up to expectations so far, what with one of my top picks (Mayoiga) turning out to be so-bad-it’s-good and one of my speculative picks (Kumamiko) just turning out straight bad. But I’ve still already got several shows I’m planning to follow up on, and the deluge of shows has only just begun. There’s nothing out yet that I have high hopes of truly loving, but if you’re an action fan, both JoJo and My Hero Academia are sure to please!

Kumamiko

You can check out the full list of shows so far over at ANN, and as usual, I’m including individual links and grades for everything I’ve hit so far below the cut. Happy anime hunting!

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