I normally take to twitter to vent my excitation, but since I’m on twitter leave, you’ll excuse me if I do so here.
FUCKING YES. THIS EPISODE WAS AWESOME.
I’m a big fan of the manga (though I haven’t kept up for the past year or so), and this episode nailed it all. I can’t spend too much time here, but here are a few things I found to be wonderful in this first episode:
The lead up into the introduction is fantastic. We are introduced to Deku, Kacchan and Deku’s struggle, both with Bakugo (Kacchan) and with being quirkless. The music starts playing, we are treated to a villain, a pan out and then straight into the opening! Fantastic.
And the opening itself is REALLY GOOD. This is the best opening I’ve heard thus far and will almost certainly be in the top list when I’ve heard the other openings this season.
I keep looping it. Both the visuals and the song are just so right. It begins with the shot of Deku reaching for All Might and that shot was mirrored at the end of the episode!
Then came a few character introductions, followed by a lonely Deku with notebooks flashing in the back (Look at how many notebooks on heroes he wrote!).
Then comes Deku’s conflict with Kacchan and how they grow up together as rivals.
Above: Elementary, Middle then High School. Note: How the black divide gets larger and more jagged. Also note how Bakugo gets more frustrated and Midoriya becomes more sure of himself.
This is followed by All Might and a few other heroes pounding a few bad guys (allusion to a future upcoming arc). Following this is the main cast showing of their suits and their own moves. LOVELY.
It is such a well put together opening and the song is perfectly in tune with it. It makes me cry in joy. The ending was also good and serves as a nice way to unwind after the episode.
Gorgeous Visual Direction and Animation
I am no Sakuga expert, but to my eyes, HeroAca looks really good. I ADORE the cartoony colourful, comic book look. It is perfect for this series and just as importantly, the animation itself is quirky and goofy.
Movements are accentuated with motion lines. Time slows, then moves fast. Arms and legs blur during fast action scenes. Faces distort in an exaggerated manner not only in action scenes, but in hilarious, over the top, slice of life encounters as well.
General good sense of charm & humour
I didn’t really laugh out loud while watching this episode, but the little funny scenes and the goofy animation kept a near perpetual smile on my face.
I loved the fight against the monster thief. It’s funny enough that a monster like that was using ability to snatch purses, but funnier even that a giant lady butted in and stole the limelight.
Even the bullying scene with Bakugan burning and tossing Deku’s notebook was amusing because of the faces and the cute burn animation (as sad as it was for poor Deku).
They nailed Midoriya (Deku)
Not once did the thought “Deku shouldn’t pursue a dream he can’t reach” ever cross my mind during this episode. It is not that the futility of his dream wasn’t made clear, but rather that Deku’s love for Heroes shone through it all.
And, can you blame him? Heroes are cool. They are quintessentially cool. No, I don’t mean those butchered heroes you see in modern gritty Hollywood takes (B vs S, Civil War), I mean traditional super heroes. And All Might is the very definition of such a hero, so can you blame Deku for being a super fan?
AND JUST LOOK AT HOW CUTE THIS BOY IS. HE IS PERFECT. MAKE FUN OF HIM AND I’LL FIGHT YOU. JUST LOOK HIM BOBBLE HIS HEAD.
Bakugan & his rivalry with Deku came through very well
The anime did a good job of showing Bakugan as a jerk and he is so over the top, he is practically likeable. But, don’t worry if you don’t like him just yet for two reasons:
- He actually gets character development and while he never loses his jerk side, he does wise up a little.
- There are lots of other characters to like and love.
More importantly, the rivalry and asymmetry between Deku and Bakugan was laid bare and clear. Deku has no quirk (yet) and Bakugan has a really strong quirk (he is no doubt the strongest kid in that middle school). Deku wants to be a Hero because he loves Heroes. Bakugan wants to be a Hero because he wants to be the “best”.
At this point it looks like Bakugan is just the force pushing Deku down and what Deku must conquer to actually get ahead, but later on (maybe even in an episode or two) it will become evident that Bakugan learns from Deku as well.
All Might & (All Might & Deku)
We only got to see a bit of All Might this first episode, but the core embodiment of who is was pretty clear. He is a hero. No, really. He is the exact embodiment of a Hero.
He is huge, wears a perpetual grin & cape, is stupidly strong and saves people. That is All Might. That is a Hero in my eyes.
At this point, you might be expecting All Might to be a red herring. The show showcased the pop culture nature of hero worship, so you’d think All Might, the top Hero, might actually be an attention seeking jerk, but he is not.
After rescuing Deku, All Might made sure he was all right before leaving.
When Deku was clinging to his leg, All Might realized Deku would die if he fell and he reached down and grabbed him to make sure that wouldn’t happen.
This simple gesture alone speaks volumes about the kind of person All Might is. He actually does care about saving people and keeping them safe. Both the opening and the episode ending further emphasize this caring nature of his.
Deku reaches for All Might because All Might is his ideal. All Might is the Hero he wishes to reach, but perhaps never will and you know what? All Might looks back. Yes, All Might isn’t just a Hero admired by the masses, he looks back at them.
That is so cool. I won’t spoil anything important, but All Might is no quitter. When All Might is pushed to the brink, he rises up. He rises up and fights through because he is a fucking hero.
And that’s what links Midoriya with All Might. They may be at the Polar Opposites in terms of power, but neither of them quit easily. They push through. They fight on. It is quintessential Shonen. They don’t give up and as cheesy as it sounds, it is perfect here. That is the way Heroes are meant to be.
The Midoriya – All Might relationship is one of my favourite Protagonist – Mentor bonds and I can’t wait to see it explored here in glorious moving comic form!