After a great first season and a no less than fantastic second season My Hero Academia is back at it again with season 3, not even six months since season 2 ended. I wrote in my early review for season 2 that I was skeptical that it would be able to carry on being as well refined as season 1 was. Now that the second season is done there is no doubt that I was worried all for nothing. This is the exact thing I'm feeling heading in to the third season of Hero Acca. I'll just sit back and enjoy the ride, cause I can already tell it'll be a good one.
Story: Great (8)
There isn't much that can be said about Hero Acca that hasn't been said already. The story is nothing really special in terms of its originality but it’s in the sheer polish and perfection of the tropes and standard shounen elements that Hero Acca shines. Season 1 we had the very standard, but brilliantly phased, origin story of our main hero as well as most of the lovable supporting cast. Season 2 we got the best god damn tournament arc I've had the pleasure of beholding alongside the obligatory teacher-student-mastering-your-power-arc™ but adding some great curveball such as a whole new main villain which overshadowed most other antagonists not only in the show itself but most of the shounen genre. Season 3 has thus far only begun, but by a handful of episodes in we've already set the groundwork for some of the best character interactions with the increased focus on Hero Class-B as well as the huge cast of newly introduced villains, some of which I hope can match Stain in either depth or impact. Sadly, it still gets points taken for lack of originality but since the show is clearly not going for being original at this point, I wouldn't say that its inherent lack of originality hurts the show as a whole.
Art & Animation: Great (8)
With dynamic movements that really feel like they've got some weight behind them and fewer static panning shots than ever the general animation of Hero Acca remains as great as the previous season which itself was quite a leap up from the first season. I think that what truly makes Hero Acca look so nice is the lack of any major dips in animation quality generally found in most other anime. This consistency lets the viewer get deeper immersed in the show. Instead, Hero Acca has a tendency to suddenly spike in animation quality, seen many times during the previous seasons, especially season 2. I have no doubt in my mind that season 3 will deliver in that regard, partially confirmed by the fantastic fight scene in episode 4. It's really in the art department that Hero Acca suffers. Or rather, the background art and world that suffers. I've mentioned the lack of originality of this show multiple times already, but never is it as apparent as when looking at the background art of Hero Acca. It could be replaced with the background art of most other shows and the average viewer wouldn't even know something had changed. This is a critique of Hero Acca in general, and not just season 3.
Sound: Great (8)
The voice acting is great as ever, delivering deep, believable emotions despite the language barrier. Neither sound design or soundtrack is really worth mentioning though since they're in all honesty pretty forgettable. The fact that I can't really remember any of the background music reinforces that statement. It works well enough for setting the right tone for the scene, but it simply doesn't stick with you when you've finished the episode as some great soundtracks can. So, based on all of this how come sound still receives an 8? Simple. Because the OP and ED are kick ass, as usual. Rarely will a show keep me hooked from the very first second all the way until the screen fades to black. Not to mention the story that has been told continually through all the openings ever since the first season. I highly suggest you check out Mother's Basement's video on the topic. Hands down some of the best OPs and EDs out there.
Characters: Fantastic (9)
It's with its characters that Hero Acca always has shone brighter than most and the show shows no intent on giving up on developing its characters to a downright astounding point. If there’s one thing that most shows fail to do it would be to develop a character. While simply giving a character a believable motivation and one or two personalizing traits might seem enough at times that would not be good enough for Hero Acca. Not even as an introduction to a character. I could bring up the best episode of the series so far, Deku vs Todoroki in the Tournament arc (fight me) as an example of absolutely stunning implementation of character development but since that discussion rightfully belongs to a season 2 review, I’ll use a brand-new character as an example (light spoilers for ep 1-2 of season 3), Kouta Izumi who is probably the most interesting character of season 3 thus far.
Kouta has a very complex heritage to deal with, being the son of two heroes called Water Hose who both died fighting the villain Muscular when he was very young. Because of his youth at the time of his parents’ passing he couldn’t quite understand the why and how of it all. He felt that they left him alone. This has caused Kouta to feel a deep distain towards not only heroes but hero culture as a whole. Without hero culture, his parents might still be alive. The complex part of this comes from his pure love towards his parents blended with his rage and hatred towards all that they represented. He’s too young to see that by spitting on hero culture, he doesn’t just disregard his parents’ ambitions and beliefs but also their love for him because there is no doubt that they did what they did every single day to keep others safe, to keep him safe. He has even gone as far as to set aside his quirk he inherited from them, thus disrespecting their very memory. The fact that he loved his parents more than anything while displaying such hate towards everything they stood for which for all intents and purposes hatred towards them directly.
Koutas character reminds me of Todoroki and his until recently neglected quirk inherited from his father who he hated more than anything until Deku helped him realize his own person and who he intends to be and to step out of his father’s shadow, but if I got started on that again I’d be here all day.
The groundwork laid down by the previous seasons of Hero Acca guarantees that most of the cast is as developed as they could possibly ever need to be but with the introduction of brand new villains and a greater focus on Hero Class 1-B there is plenty of work to be done still. Only time will tell what happens but if the past is anything to go by I’ve got nothing but excitement for this season.
Enjoyment: Outstanding (10)
I probably haven’t enjoyed a show as intently as Hero Acca Season 3 since well… Season 2 probably. The excitement I feel every time I fire up another episode can only be matched by shows such as Gurren Lagann and Mob Psycho 100. My eyes are glued to the screen from start to finish. I can go from sporting the widest grin or laughing along with the characters to feeling real despair or wiping away tears from my cheeks within the margin of a few minutes, all in pure enjoyment. This show made its well-deserved way to my top 5 nearly by pure heart alone.
Overall: Fantastic (9)
Hero Acca Season 3 stays on the same path as its previous seasons to become a great classic shounen. From a stellar story filled to the brim with polished and extremely enjoyable clichés to some of the most alive animation and fantastic openings and ending to hands down the most well-developed cast of its size I’ve ever seen. I love every single thing about Hero Acca, and season 3 looks to be nothing if not more Hero Acca!