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My Hero Academia: Season 2 [Part 1]

In a world where 80% of the population have superpowers, superheroes and supervillains are ten-a-penny.  Despite being born without any powers, young Deku dreams of being a hero just like his idol, All Might. Against all the odds (and with a little help from All Might himself) Deku was able to win a place at the prestigious U.A. High School, an academy for aspiring heroes, sidekicks and other super-related professions.

My Hero Academia's first season took the anime world by storm in 2016 making it look set to be the next big Shonen Jump series, hallowed ground occupied in the past by such greats as Dragon Ball, One Piece and Naruto. The second season followed in 2017, airing between  April and September and streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation Now. The first Blu-Ray release (published by Sony Home Entertainment and Funimation in the UK) contains the first 12 episodes of the second season, plus a host of extras.

Having survived the Leauge Of Villains' attack on the school, Deku and his classmates get back into normal life at U.A.  Or at least what passes for 'normal' at U.A., which in this case means preparing for the school Sports Festival. Your school sports day was never like this. The U.A. students compete (in a huge stadium, in front of thousands) in a number of different events designed to showcase their powers- or as they are called in Academia's world, Quirks.

First up is an obstacle race, where the students compete to be first across the line. Standing in their way are hazards such as minefields, robots- and of course, each other. The top scoring students then advance to the cavalry battle- splitting into teams and competing to collect the most headbands from other players. The final round is the battle tournament, where the students take each other on in one-on-one battles.

After the life-or-death stakes of the later episodes of the first season, a sports tournament may feel like a bit of a step-down. However, the different events are a clever way to showcase the characters and their various quirks. It allows the spotlight to shine on different characters throughout the course of these episodes, and gives them added depth. It dives more into the background of characters other than Deku and All Might than we have seen before. It makes some of the less likeable characters more sympathetic and explains their motivations. So while the character's pride may be on the line rather than their lives it's still an important part of their stories.

The Sports festival also allows for some hugely entertaining set-pieces and spectacularly animated action. Whether they are fighting giant robots, scrapping it out in an all-out brawl or battling each other in the arena, the animation always looks top-notch, thanks to studio BONES. The decision to make the show in standard seasons (as opposed to an ongoing series such as One Piece) really pays off. Not only does it allow for a higher quality in terms of animation but it (so far at least) avoids the need for excessive filler material.

My Hero Academia is one of those series that, on paper at least, doesn't seem to be doing anything in particular that we haven't seen before. Its chief innovation is combining classic shonen tropes with western superhero tradition- and even that is not unheard of (even Dragon Ball Z was influenced by Superman). However, it is the execution that makes it so great. From the slick and well-designed animation to its cast of colourful characters, it's just an example of top-flight anime at the very top of its game that is almost impossible to dislike. The second season builds on the first, and really begins to open up the series' world. These early episodes hint at some bigger developments coming down the line, too. Thrilling stuff, from start to finish.

FORMATSDVD/ Blu-Ray/Streaming
FROM Sony Hom Ent./ Funimation

12 Episodes [TV Series]

IN A NUTSHELL: These episodes cement MHA's claim as heir apparent to the Shonen crown