My Hero Academia: best current modern anime
My Hero Academia has been the single most popular Japanese anime since its launch in 2016. It’s captured the hearts and minds of millions in Japan, America, and people across the world—and for good reason.
On the surface, it doesn’t seem to be all that different from shows that we’ve seen before. It’s an underdog story, albeit with a lot of caveats. It’s also a show that juggles 20 characters in the main character Deku’s class plus a few teachers, other students at U.A. High, and the villains. It’s a show that deals with dark, depressing issues but it’s also a show that takes time off to let the characters have fun and explore more positive themes.
Vaguely, it may remind you of One Piece, Naruto, Fairy Tail, or Bleach—except, it takes each element and refines it to absolute perfection. Unlike these previous shows, the animation is always consistent. Unlike these previous shows, it has a consistent pace and knows when to throw in certain story arcs and, most importantly, when to end them.
Season three builds on the previous seasons and gives the fans of this show episodes they’ve been dying to see. The season reaches a climax during the middle episodes; one that the show has been promising since episode one, and it certainly delivered. The fight and the revelation that comes with it is nothing short of heart-wrenching. And it has permanent and major consequences for three of the show’s main characters.
Towards the end of the season, one of the main characters (and one of my personal favorites), completes one of his story arcs. Deku’s rival, Bakugo, is currently the most beloved character in the entire show—according to anime polls. However, that wasn’t always the case. In the first season, he was portrayed as incredibly violent, aggressive, competitive and, at times, reminiscent of a bully.
In season three, we finally get a more in-depth look at his character. For the first time in the entire show, he fails at something important. For the first time, he doesn’t get what he wants and has to come to terms with that. His relentless obsession with being the best at everything and his hatred of Deku are finally explored and explained. In fact, we learn that there’s a tender heart underneath the cloak of his violent personality. All in all, this season gives him some much needed depth and turns him into a well-developed, three-dimensional character.
This latest season also explores a bit of—the number one hero—All Might’s past and even shows us his predecessor at one point. In addition, characters like Todoroki get additional development. Todoroki was one of the central characters in season two but the show still makes time to delve even deeper into his backstory.
However, the show knows who it’s main character is and keeps the focus on Deku, who gets a pivotal moment of character growth at the midpoint and at the ending of season three. For long-time fans of the anime, it’s incredible to witness his journey.
The animation is impeccable and stunning to behold, as it was in previous seasons. The same goes for the music, voice acting, and editing. In fact, I’d say that nearly every technical aspect of the show is consistently top-notch.
My Hero Academia is special. There is no anime, no show, no piece of media quite like it. If you want breathtaking action and music, it has it. If you want comedy, great characters, dark themes, commentaries on real-world issues, emotional moments, inspiration, and moving triumphs, it has it. Watch this show if you want to be inspired.
It takes all the best elements of its spiritual predecessors and filters out the worst parts of them. It plays with character tropes that we’ve seen before. It’s acutely aware of the mistakes of previous anime and actively avoids them. It wants to be the best and appeal to everyone. And, based on how popular the manga and anime are in Japan and North America, I’d say it has succeeded.
There is no modern anime that comes close to My Hero Academia and I am more than excited to see where they go with the show in the future.