Going Nowhere PLUS ULTRA
This will be a review for the first half of the season.
Let's start this off by establishing one thing. There have been many shounen anime brought into the public eye which feature some kind of gimmick that covers every relevant character. For anime like Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Demon Slayer, Black Clover, it's all some interchangable word. "martial artist", "pirate", "ninja", "soul reaper", "demon slayer"...? "wizard". For My Hero Academia, it's "heroes". Now, usually the anime doesn't exactly portray the ideals of these archetypes accurately, for example the ninjas in naruto hardly ever practice stealth or espionage, the pirates in one piece rarely steal and pillage, and the martial artists in dragon ball practice... magic, apparently. ect. Additionally, many of these shounen also involve a lot of training, possibly even taking place largely in a school for becoming a ninja, sorceror, what have you.
My Hero Academia was conceptualized and introduced as a shounen that would break that mold, and really get to the core of what a "hero" is. In its first two seasons, it felt like it would really explore a world of heroes and give us a new definition of the term, introducing conflicting ideologies with professional heroism vs true heroism.
My Hero Academia has also proved it cannot deliver on any of its promises, and can't follow through on anything it introduces whatsoever. It puts itself into the world's smallest box where nothing interesting can happen, by chaining itself to the idea of a "school for heroes" which goes against its own premise of what it means to be a true hero. And the first half of this season perfectly captures this crucial failing of MHA. These heroes aren't heroes. They're glorified, superpowered gladiators.
Five seasons into an action show, usually, we'd be seeing the stakes raised to an unbelievable degree. Things are different now in the world, and our main characters must survive these changes and overcome them with grit, spit, and gusto! Some may fail, some may even come so close to death it seems hopeless, sometimes the villains seem too horrible to even overcome. But there is still hope! There is inspiration! Everything is finally coming to a head! We're challenging the entire world! Everything rides on this one moment!
... or we could just have ANOTHER FUCKING TOURNAMENT ARC.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! FIVE SEASONS. FIVE SEASONS IN. FIIIVE. WHO IS THE VILLAIN IN THIS SHOW? Is it us? Is it the audience, who are oppressing the author with expectations of another fucking tournament arc? Is it... the heroes themselves? Is this a statement on the human condition, that we are doomed to continually beat the shit out of each other for absolutely no reason instead of taking on the enemy right in front of our faces?!? Or is this a symptom of that, a shallow attempt to provide yet more gladatorial-style entertainment?
Do we all really get so much enjoyment out of this, have we really not progessed since pre-medieval times, just watching usually innocent people beat each other up for some tiny spark of amusement? What is the purpose? WHY ARE WE WATCHING THE STUDENTS FIGHT EACH OTHER AGAIN? Please Horikoshi, explain. I must be fucking seeing things, because I'm pretty sure this is the THIRD GODDAMN TOURNAMENT ARC IN THE ANIME.
UN FUCKING BELIEVABLE. They could have spent all this time building up the world, building up the villains, building up the heroes, to have them finally face off over something meaningful, something worth having a brawl over. The worst part of this, is that there isn't even a bad reason why they're fighting like Deku vs Bakugou in season three. THERE IS NO REASON.
"oh it's to show off all their upgraded fighting abilities." WHY CANT YOU SHOW THOSE OFF VS ACTUAL VILLAINS? WHY ARE WE WASTING TIME HERE? 10 FUCKING EPISODES OF FIGHTING AGAINST NOBODY!
"it's to show class B is just as good as class A!"
*gestures wildly to previous statement*
"well it's my hero academia, RascaI. They're not gonna stop training." WHY THE FUCK NOT? Naruto ninjas are in ninja school, you know, and they still found the fucking time to have actual story and events with consequence happen. The only time that happens in this show, it's shit like the Overhaul arc where every part of it is a letdown. Why are we still here?
"but... cool animation?" THE FANSERVICE MOVIES OF THIS SERIES HAVE BETTER ANIMATION, and actual stakes! Like... come oooon! Please!
SOMETHING PLEASE HAPPEN! This season is more than a disappointment. It's a full on disgrace. And I don't care if it gets better in the second half. My time has still been wasted. The maximum score this can reach is 50-60% now. It's the same amount of time I could watch another, complete, actually good anime.
Give me a break.
Sigh... do I have anything positive to say? Yeah, I guess the characters introduced are better than the ones in season four. If only they did anything substantial with them.
Update: It got SLIGHTLY better. The My Villain Academia was a bust except for Shigaraki's parts which were outstanding.
Im only on episode 9 but I want to write a quick review.
If people are missing this season because it doesnt have enough 'action' or theres no 'villians' , you need to understand theres something called character development. I dont read manga so I dont know what will happen next season but in this season, you will be missing out on character development on pretty much all the student heroes, not just CLASS A BUT CLASS B TOO. There must be a reason there is all this character development , people missing this season out wont have the same emotions and feels in next season compared to the people that actually watch this.
So if you're someone who doesnt give a shit about character development and just want to watch anime for the action, even in 2021, then go ahead and skip it but to all the people debating to watch it or not, u really shouldn't skip it.
To sum it up, you skip it? You miss out on character development between most members of Class A and Class B, You dont skip it? You will have an attachment to most members of both classes which will lead to better emotions in the next season.
Edit: Just came back from ep 10 and all I will say is you will learn something major during the episode, MAJOR
(As of Episode 23)
I added a previous review going up to Episode 13, but a lot has changed in my opinion of this season.
First off, MVA is done really well. Is it not as gory as the manga? Sure, but that doesn't knock it down. The only complaint of MVA I really have is that it is condensed for the sake of season length, which could have easily been avoided by cutting down the training arc and especially the Endeavour agency arc. The now complete origin of Tomura Shigaraki and extra depth for characters like Twice and Toga are especially well done, and the Meta Liberation Army is a sinister threat and a challenge for the League of Villains.
As for the rest of the season, nothing much has changed for my opinion of the training fight arc, which was nice but we have seen many training episodes in the show, and these ones didn't add much. The Endeavour training arc is where most of my problems with the season lie, as it's so uninteresting and despite the show's best efforts to show me Endeavour has changed, I still really dislike him. Deku and Bakugo rarely get a chance to shine, and Todoroki's conflict is just a worse version of what he was going through in Season 2. Where did Hawks go? He was meant to show up later on for MVA, given his ties to the MLA, but with 1 more episode to go I doubt he will show up.
Overall, Season 5 does a great job with the long awaited MVA, I just wish the rest of the season wasn't such a slog to get through.
Love this anime but lots of the new characters made it a bit overwhelming , other than that, i totally recommend!
Filler Season (and not a good filling)
There are maybe 4 episodes of plot value but you know it's going to be in both a recap and flashback next season so, if I had known, I wouldn't have bothered.
*This season is really disappointing and is continuing the downward trend. It's like they gave up on trying. If season 6 is good, maybe come back and watch this first? *edit*[It did pick up a bit near episode 11 and for a flash you thought something interesting was going to happen. Then it went right back to hurry up and wait. They're really drawing this out, I think they are trying to use the cash cow as raft, but they're going to drown it before they finish milking it.]
The battles defy established logic and reasonable action. They are making everything come across as contrived so there is no believability in the battles. It's fine if some people lose from time to time but there needs to be reasonable set up and there just isn't. Not only that, they go so far as to ignore things they set up within the same episode! There is extreme heat that no one can enter except one... for random illogical reasons but ok. Then later someone else just shows up in the middle of it. Good job. There are dozens of other examples.
Good guys seem absent most of the time, but then the adversaries are just everywhere all the time. What are the others doing?? Especially the "extremely fast one", yet the opponent is the one showing up everywhere? *(he did showbup again later but, not first). This is plot armour at its absolute worst. It doesn't even make sense that the clasroom students are acting like they have more field experience, despite not. Whoever wrote this... seriously.
With that out of the way. It's all shallow, there is virtually no character depth or character building so far. They jump around giving crumbs of crumbs for everyone but it results in nothing meaningful for anyone, which also makes what meaning there is lose impact. As it stands now, MHA is worse than Black Clover by a decent amount, even that has more plot. What exists in season 5 is ok, there's just little of it and it is insubstantial.
Story wise, the plot development is ok but again there is nearly no time spent on it, I feel like this is just dragging their feet to get to season 6. But they aren't putting the effort in to make it compelling or engaging/intense.
That leaves the battles, which as mentioned are horribly structured. It's just back and forth "ah but you haven't seen ___". And the fights are not intense so you just tune out because you know how it's going to go and there's no real combat most of the time.
Sound is your average anime as usual. Animation quality is as you would expect.
In summary, it's just not holding up it quality over time. What they do well is good, as you would expect, but there's so little of it, It's hard to watch. I am massively disappointed, but it's been on this trajectory for a while. It just accelerated its descent.
I wish we had more one punch man. As much as I am interested in all might, the students, and the broader plot, and as much as I didn't like the new animation of OPM 2, there was more substance.