Boku no Hero Academia S2- By Leaps and Bounds

The chapter on the classroom of heroes comes to a close as they prepare for a fun and grueling excursion to the woods. I’ve droned on and off about how the S2 ending off right before the most exciting portion of the manga serialization began but I still have to give credit where credit is due with how far this adaptation came. Let’s not waste too much time since this is a look at the series as a second season, and not so much as its own show.

To start, let’s list out of the problem I mentioned in the seasonal overview on the 1st season a while back. Without a doubt, the biggest issue with was its pacing. From the start of the series up to the USJ Arc was around 20 chapters and the anime took 13 episodes to get that far. While condensed and filled with detail, it took 5 episodes for the academia part of the title to actually start and even longer before the real big arc began in USJ. So with nearly half the series building up Deku’s progress, he still was a sniveling baby whose only redeeming factor was the beautiful You Say Run track backing up his scenes. So even with all of the focus and empathy we’re supposed to feel for the underdog, Deku under-performs a whole lot in these 13 episodes aside from crying and breaking his own body. That also applies to a whole load of the other characters that didn’t really get to do much in those 13 introductory episodes. Aside from Bakugo, Uraraka, Ida, Tsuyu, All Might, and Aizawa, no one really did anything other than their part to fight against the villains. It goes without saying that Season 2 had ample time to give a large chunk of the characters the spotlight. While they didn’t go into Todoroki levels of detail and motivations with everyone, it’s still leagues beyond what Season 1 was able to accomplish.

11 Episodes for the Sports Festival Arc, 7 Episodes for the Hero Killer Arc, and the last 6 for the Final Examination arcs gave a slew of things to work with for the multitude of students that weren’t able to get any of the limelight in the beginning fares of the series. Most notable in this developmental period is the aforementioned Todoroki who was mostly just that overpowered kid in the first season who breezed through the enemies in USJ and we finally got to see him become a fleshed out character in a very high-octane shounen shouting in the middle of a tournament match. Uraraka got herself the spotlight in her struggle against Bakugo while Iida made clear that he wouldn’t always stay in the sidelines forever compared to Deku. That glint of motivation sprouted into his own significant development in the Hero Killer arc that I really couldn’t shut up about. Then you got the other smaller additions on the development table in the form of the duo final examinations where everyone struggled against their instructors and Yaoyorozu, who despite her looks and ability, never really did anything standout in her appearances and she even mentions this fact. While this still left out a lot of others in their development arcs, it was nice to see that the characters we as an audience are seeing more and more are becoming characters, slowly but surely. A significant elevation occurred within Deku himself who finally learned how to properly stabilize One For All’s powers and can actually hold his own in a fight instead of just being Mr. Brains and ending up in the hospital after every fight, despite that still happening.

Speaking of new characters, the appearance of Class 1B expanded the scope of UA along with characters like Mei Hatsume of the Support division who showed off the more technical and business side of the hero career in the series’ universe. The fights with Monoma, Shinsou, and the others helped show off the series’ universe to be more organic and see that the hero occupation was a lot more complex, of course, then the succeeding arc showed off a character who sought to tear down exactly what the hero industry has done to meaning of the word “hero”. Speaking of expand, we’re introduced to the man behind the villains and the man who stands directly opposed to All Might, All For One. That entire episode of the backstory behind One For All was intense just for an exposition dump with the music and the pained delivery of All Might’s lines that foreshadows his eventual fall. Aside from this story being around Deku, we finally see the grander scheme of Deku’s ultimate destiny as his status as the next Symbol of Peace and Tomura’s place as the next “me” as All For One so excitingly suggests.

I don’t think the regular conventions such as discussing the sound and visuals need all that much going into. The series looks and sounds nearly the same to me aside from the few smidgens of quality drops that comes naturally to a show that runs for this long. I can particularly tell you that the OST choices were fantastic as always but I definitely didn’t feel too attached to the new opening and endings. The Day and HEROES were stellar pieces that I actually didn’t skip all that often but I can’t say the same for the other succeeding themes. Peace Sign eventually drilled itself into my head but I never really went out of my way to listen to it again. The first ending for the second season was an unexpectedly light-hearted tune featuring the girls which I initially thought as being out of place but I didn’t really much pay it any mind. The 2nd opening ironically sounded even more light-hearted than first ending and it has some exciting moments in its visuals but the real standout one is at the very end with everyone assembled together. The final ending was fun for a first time watch on an elaborate RPG quest the kids go on but I felt it was one of the ones you watched more intently than you listened.

Where the first adaptation suffered due to constraints on arc adaptations and not having as much payoff an average person would have wanted, Season 2 delivers a much more diverse set of development but consistently focused arc that shapes itself to more exciting portents in the future. All Might and Aizawa stole the whole show in the first season with their USJ showing and in S2, the kids are the ones with all the showstopping fights and action scenes so the spotlight is now correctly on the up and coming students. And goddamn does saying that leave some exciting implications on what goes down if a Season 3 were to happen as the events immediately following the school trip is the best arc in the whole series so far. While I’ll sing hymns of praise for that when we get to it, BnHA’s Season 2 brings out one satisfying delivery to a comparatively weak Season 1. Fans will love where it’s going, manga-readers will enjoy how they adapted the panels in the key moments of a fight, faithfuls who stuck out will be rewarded, and the naysayers might see why the series is as popular as it is now.

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