Spring 2016 Anime Season Overview – Week 3 (Anime Power Ranking)

Third week is here, and only a couple of premieres were left. This show is ridiculous, I mean, due to the earthquakes in Japan, Sakamoto and Kabaneri were both delayed, and I still found myself almost overwhelmed by the number of shows I’m covering. I didn’t get to watch Joker Game this week, because of how busy I am, and how tired watching shows in one-episode increments makes me, but more on that in the overview at the end of this post.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) Concrete Revolutio Episode 15:

Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou anime Episode 15 notes - Haruka Aki wants to be a free superhuman

I wonder if such an episode could have taken place in a show other than Concrete Revolutio. There were elements here that could’ve existed in Samurai Flamenco but didn’t. The raw number of topics brought up was very Gatchaman Crowds-esque, and the spin on history was necessary. So, what did we have this episode, if we boil it down? How we’re shackled by society and expectations, and how the quest to not be beholden to others is the quest to end society, or remove ourselves utterly from it. But not because we want to be “free”, but because the specific laws in place constrain us. So, we deal with how idols and superheroes are shackled by public expectations, and discrimination against homosexuals, and those who go against the government, and superheroes. Because all of these go against the order of “How Things Should Be™.” Idols are so powerful and so held in line because they are the epitome of how things should be, how people should be, how they should be kept safe. Not from harm, but “under control”.

Superheroes straddle the line, between maintaining the status quo (see the Bureau, and Earth-chan), and how they’re vigilantes that challenge the social order, the police, and could turn against it at any given time. And that’s why idols and homosexuals are regulated so heavily in this world, especially via the metaphor of superheroes, because they can upset the status quo.

I actually didn’t really discuss these specific ideas in the weekly write-up, but talked more about how the show uses Jirou and the situation as a metaphor for humanity in other ways, so give that a look as well! Really, the show had a lot of ideas to discuss.

Read full post-episode write-up, with updated timeline.

2) JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Part 4): Diamond is Unbreakable Episode 3:

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 4 Diamond Is Unbreakable anime episode 3 - Higashikata Jousuke gets told off by Nijimura Okuyasu for abandoning his friend

Once I finish Stardust Crusaders’ last swatch of episodes, I’ll be writing something about JoJo and me in general, and what I like and dislike about it, and why. But, I did like this episode. The OP told me that Okuyasu is going to end up being one of the main characters of the series, and I’m not surprised. He’s certainly a JoJo character (and protagonist) in terms of how over the top he is, and not in the “Oh, I’m so over-the-top despicable/cowardly” like Alessi or Angelo were, or even as showmanlike as D’Arby (the Gambler). He’s also not one for a puzzle per se, rather going for a straight fight. Punches thrown, power against power.

I also noted how the show is building towards Jotaro with Josuke’s mother, and I could see Jotaro’s “good grief” coming from miles away as he was mistaken for his ancient grandfather. All in all, the episode had fun characters, a head-on match, and more good visuals and sounds. This is the JoJo I missed, because it was fun. I just hope the villains who don’t end up as allies get to be as cool.

3) Flying Witch Episode 2:

Flying Witch anime episode 2 - Be wary of dog pee

Only the realest of moments. Far “realer” than any GrimDark show.

If we look at the “stakes” of this series, they’re as low as it gets. Or are they? Getting lost on the way home, getting your cousin with whom you live to not be afraid of you, and making new friends and getting them to know you. That’s what a lot of drama stories revolve around. But the way the show tackles those issues is very low-key. Episode 2, if possible, had even lower stakes. Just as the show keeps bringing up, gently, how bad Makoto is with directions, the show uses Chinatsu once more to show fear of the unknown and the occult, and the growing fascination over it. Chinatsu is also the most “Yotsubato” character of the lot with her facial expressions and reactions, but since the Harbinger of Spring wasn’t much of a character yet, and his part wasn’t interesting, it was a bit less charming than Makoto and Chinatsu meeting along. We also didn’t get to see him bring forth Spring, unlike Makoto taking flight in the first episode.

The other half of the episode, well, it had lowered the stakes even further. We just got to see Makoto and Kei making tempura. That’s it. Nothing more. I usually don’t really enjoy such shows, because, well, I’m bored by them. But somehow Flying Witch worked for me, and I found myself smiling throughout the entire episode. It wasn’t as good as the premiere, but it was still plenty good for me.

4) My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia Episode 3:

Boku no Hero Academia anime / My Hero Academia anime episode 3 - All Might on taking the first step toward becoming a hero!

Yeah! Moving to a jog would be welcome, though.

Episode 2 of Hero Academia was pretty great, with the emotional pay-off. Episode 3 continued it, with some pretty great lines by All Might, and Deku putting in the effort to try and achieve what he’s always dreamed of (which also raises the question of why he didn’t do so up until now, but also the seeming answer that in a world that revolves around “quirks”, people might not put as much effort into bettering themselves, directly). And we finished the episode on an exciting note, because we’re going to see the tests! We’re going to see how Deku manages to pass through, and whether he actually gained the power he supposedly did this episode. And we met some interesting characters.

Wait, what about this episode? And yeah, that’s unfortunately what I’m trying to get at. While this episode had some neat moments, and it covered some necessary content, it felt as if most of the episode was just ticking a checkbox, and doing it as slowly as possible. This was a fine half an episode’s worth of content (or even slightly less), but it was stretched. It’s not that the episode felt bad as a result, because it didn’t. It just felt sort of empty. This sort of pacing is very common to shounen battlers adaptations, because Shounen Jump properties want to keep getting episodes, or to draw you to the manga. This is why I prefer to watch them in batches. Well, I do hope next episode is as exciting as it promises to be, because this episode was neither exciting nor heartfelt. But at least it had some good moments, and the production quality of the episode remained solid.

5) Ushio to Tora Episode 29:

Ushio to Tora anime episode 29 - Aotsuki Ushio, Hyou and Tora don't understand

Well, I understand /what/, but not /why/ it mattered.

So, we find out where Guren came from, and also found out where Tora have. But so what? So we know Tora used to be a wielder of the Beast Spear, probably even the first, and that he hunted down youkai. I guess it’s about the irony of the situation, as well as explaining his connection to Ushio, the current wielder, while painting just how much of a betrayer Guren is. But overall, this episode relied too heavily on Hyou, a character we haven’t seen in a long while, and his non-existing emotional arc. It’s just the show pulling all of its past characters in as it gears for the final battle. We got some answers, we got some more debts and promises for closures, but it’s mostly a step on the journey. A big step down from how great the first two episodes of this cour have been. Not bad, but not exciting either. We’re getting there though, and it’s getting more personal. So even if this episode wasn’t doing much on its own, it served to make the upcoming conflicts for Kirio and Hyou more heart-felt when they do happen.

At least, that’s what I hope it’s about. The episode also felt like it was missing a cut or two, animation wise, with things changing out of the blue.

6) Re:Zero – Starting Life In Another World Episode 3:

re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu anime / Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- / ReZero anime episode 3 - Elsa Granhiert wants to disembowel everyone

To think Big Order isn’t nearly the most “GrimDark” show of the season.

ReZero continues its slight improvement, as it keeps getting farther and farther away from the terrible first impression of the premiere’s first half. This episode didn’t have a whole lot of “content”, mostly being made up of a desperate fight, that although it had been held in a far-too-dark setting that muddled details, had some animation highlights, and the character personalities came through in it. Felt is still great, Satella, or as we know her now, “Emilia” is still somewhat boring, while Subaru still seems to only be fluent in Tropish, the language of tropes. Elsa still needs another writer, because she only speaks “Caricature Villain.”

Well, Reinhardt was neat, and as I said, Felt was pretty great. Thankfully, though Subaru’s groin-thrusts and lame humor is as grating as ever, he’s getting less and less opportunities to interject in said manner as more characters are introduced. And apparently, Dire Things™ are underway. It’s still not a great show, but it’s developed into a decent one, and I’m still curious enough about where it’d go.

Small post-episode write-up.

7) Kuromukuro Episodes 1-2:

Kuromukuro anime episode 1 - Shirahane Koharu speaks of how adversity will help Shirahane Yukina, who is uncomfortable

A world similar to our own, but with science-fiction trappings, slightly in the future, and mysterious artifacts. Where it turns out mecha-riding samurai from long ago lay dormant, only to awaken and fight “demons”, which are mecha-riding invaders from another planet or dimension. This is the P.A. Works anniversary show, so as much as it is a mecha show, it’s a “group of teenagers find their way and have some drama” sort of show.

Very few characters have actually received any screentime, but the characterization, in terms of personality and “traits” has been pretty efficient. The show looks fine, though the protagonist’s mecha’s CG is jarring, much more-so than anything else in the series. Where will it go? Would I care for any of the characters? I’m not sure. But even if it’s likely not going to be very memorable, it’s shaping up as a very competent show. The second episode had less content, and more spectacle, that again, felt mostly competent, and had less characterization of Yukina, but at least we got to know the samurai. It was an episode that’d have worked great as part of a marathon, but wasn’t too fulfilling on its own.

The show has been licensed by Netflix, so expect the entirety of the 2-cour series to appear all at once in 6-7 months. fansubbing group gg is on the case, and although their translation is very capable, it is also very localized, especially in the case of a certain trash-talking individual in the first episode. The translation adheres to the spirit of what is said, and all but does away entirely with the letter, so consider whether you’re fine with that sort of translation or not. I was mostly fine, but a couple of instances pulled me out of the show with the artificiality.

Premiere Score: 7/10. Episode Score: 7/10. Personal Enjoyment Score: 7/10.

Full first impressions.

8) Kiznaiver Episode 2:

Kiznaiver anime episode 2 - Takashiro Chidori and Agata Katsuhira embracing

Potentially great moment, straight out of a show’s finale, in episode 2.

How do I describe the second episode of Kiznaiver? Well, mostly as it being even more of the show its premiere promised, and me not being any closer to figuring out whether it’s going to work out. I’m somewhat bemused by the show, honestly. You know how most stories hold off on big emotional reveals until you care for the characters, and if they start with “hard-hitting moments,” it’s usually because they plan to have another set of sad moments later on, and they are heaping “The Sad” on you early so you’d care about it when it reappears late? Well, if you’re not familiar with the idea, I wrote about it in the past.

Thing is, the show is revealing every character’s secret, or all but Agata’s, the true protagonist, and Sonozaki’s background. But even so, the reveals to some are silly and meaningless (Nico’s “I’m not really eccentric!”), though they give us some insight into their nature, though you feel they were added to fill some quota. While other characters’ secrets and the way they were revealed could’ve been impactful, but the show treated the event as some sort of joke, and we don’t care for the characters yet to imbue them with significance (Tenga’s fear of dogs and Yuta’s overweight past). So now the question remains, as it was after the first episode, “Where will they go from here?” Because the show uses as its foundation what most shows build towards, the nature of relationships and secrets. But something tells me that rather than leap beyond, it’d end up treading the same ground, with more secrets and pains of communication being revealed as the emotional pay-off. I’d love to be proven wrong though.

Sonozaki’s existence in the show still bothers me. The way she goes about things is too artificial and forced. Sonozaki feels as if her understanding of how humans actually interact is non-existent. Sure, the show is somewhat going for that “cold and calculated, more than slightly insane” sort of vibe, but as it feels as if the show’s view of humanity and human relationships come through her mouth, that worries me. If I were to describe the exposure therapy method the show is taking for phobias and forming social interactions, I’d describe it as “outdated” and well, “wrong“, almost morally so.

So it’s definitely a very interesting experience, watching the show. But I can’t say I really care for most of the characters or the plot-beats thus far. It feels as if the show is often on the wrong side of “Show, don’t tell,” as it bloody screams through its show with Sonozaki’s commentary. But hey, it’s still early. There’s still a lot of potential here. Visually, the show is still a treat though.

9) Big Order Episode 1:

Big Order anime episode 1 - Kurenai Rin is here to kill Hoshimiya Eiji

Mirai Nikki’s creator, can you tell?

I rewatched Mirai Nikki (Future Diary) a month ago. Mirai Nikki and Big Order share a mangaka, and also a Series Composer. Comparisons then, are inevitable. Both series have deaths, splatters of blood, sexual overtones and undertones, and a general “dark” view of the world. The difference is, the Mirai Nikki anime was pretty fast-paced, and had a sense of fun to it. The sexuality and nudity in it, though it had a lot more than most shows, didn’t feel as if they were over the top, but as something that is “just there”, which is quite a success considering how much of it there’s been.

On the other hand, Big Order’s premiere has a lot of material. Most other premieres don’t cover as much ground, in terms of character introduction, world-setting, and theme/tone setup in their first 2-3 episodes, if they even manage it in the first arc. That makes what I’m about to say even more surprising: The episode felt relatively empty. Nothing in it really felt tense or exciting, and the protagonist’s power being so ridiculously strong, and the other characters being presented as loons, doesn’t promise me a spectacle of an overpowered protagonist smashing all opposition in an interesting manner, but one that seems like it’d be relatively dull. The show has good music, but the visuals, both in terms of execution and in terms of direction felt lacking. Oh yeah, remember my mention of sexual violence in Mirai Nikki? This series had a scene where it went for these overtones in a manner that felt far more gratuitious and unnecessary than anything Mirai Nikki had done, while giving it to us as sound only and in a relatively small dose. As I said, it’s not the content, but the delivery that stop things from being fun.

This type of show works all about the fun, and directors rarely improve from episode to episode, but I’m going to give it another episode to try and hook me.

Premiere Score: 8/10. Episode Score: 7/10. Personal Enjoyment Score: 6/10.

Full first impressions.

10) Bungo Stray Dogs Episode 2:

Bungou Stray Dogs anime episode 2 - Dazai Osamu and Kunikida Doppo squabble

There’s nothing wrong with a show being nothing but jokes. If they’re funny.

Things we knew before the series started: Atsushi will join the agency. Things we knew for sure after the first episode: Atsushi will join the agency. So, we haven’t seen him actually join, and this is where a very slight time-skip that omits the obvious, with us seeing how he’s adjusting after joining, or a five minute segment in an episode would’ve been fine. Nope. We get an entire episode filled with more non-comedy just to see the hijinks of how Atsushi is made into part of the group. The last few seconds of the episode were much more serious in tone, but I just can’t trust the show to deliver an enjoyable experience, as it seems to prefer resorting to funny faces, anime tropes (We’ve even had the requisite “Onii-chan!” pairing), and “we’re so funny” school of comedy. If I hear it improved in ways that differ from these, I might come back to it later, but for now, I’m out. On hold/dropped.

Overall Thoughts on the Week: This season is a problem, of the sort we’re lucky to have. When the last two seasons passed their half-mark, though I’ve watched 5 or more series on a weekly basis, I didn’t find 5 series I’d vote on for the communal bloggers’ Anime Power Ranking. There just weren’t enough shows that I wanted to highlight in a positive way. This season, I have far too many such shows. Even if most of them didn’t excite me this week in any stand-out manner, I found the top 3 very good, numbers 4-5 more than adequate, and even spots 6-8 were enjoyable enough. 8 shows that I’d have been happy to vote for on the weekly APR. And all of this without Joker Game (which I’ll watch later tonight or tomorrow), or Sakamoto and Kabaneri, postponed as they were due to the earthquake.

Frankly, that’s too many series for me to watch while jotting some personal notes and taking screenshots over each of them. Solutions? I’ll likely drop a number of series next week, or rather, put them on hold. Kuromukuro for instance seems like a perfectly fine show, but one that doesn’t give me anything I don’t feel I’m getting elsewhere and that could be marathoned after it ends anyway. Sakamoto might be better served watched during lunch breaks when I have the time, and anyway, does Sakamoto really need any notes from me? So I’ll probably cut down some shows, while cutting down on the note-taking for others, and also only giving a few shows a sentence or two for the weekly write-up. I mean, if the total amount of time I give each episode (including this write-up) is 50 minutes, and I can cut it down to 25, that already allows me to keep watching more shows.

But the real issue is that I just find gearing myself up to watch a show tiring. When I watch 1 episode and then move to another series, I pay this “tax” again. I don’t have it while marathoning. As such, 10 shows a week is growing to be my max, especially with the seasons changing rapidly back and forth where I live also taking a toll on my patience and mood. So we’ll see! Again, I’d much rather have a season such as this, where I’m finding myself wanting to keep watching too many series, to seasons where nothing really seems worth it.

Dear readers, any particular thoughts on this past week’s crop of episodes, or on my thoughts on them?

16 comments on “Spring 2016 Anime Season Overview – Week 3 (Anime Power Ranking)

  1. dyingearth says:

    Okuyasu’s STAND is stupidly overpowered if used by anyone else more creative than Okuyasu. Hell, he’ll even admit that to anyone. Hell, he KO’ed himself on his initial fight with Josuke.

    As for My Hero Academia, episode 1 and 2 covers the introduction chapter, which was actually super long. Episode 3 covers chapter 2 and some of chapter 3. I’m actually a bit worrying about the pacing of the show, as I don’t see how they’ll end up where most of the manga reader would expect the season 1 to end at. This is opposite of the problem with One Punch Man from a couple of months back. That one was perfectly paced.

    • Guy says:

      Was OPM perfectly-paced? I’m really not sure. I mean, there are some segments that felt really slow to me, but you can’t always do much with 2 episodes that should’ve been 1.5, without hurting one of the other sides. Dunno. In general, like many things, it depends on how you feel about the adaptation as a whole.

      I also, in general, find “They must get to X point!” frustrating, which is one of the reasons I don’t watch adaptations of material I’ve read, because it forces me to think things are too fast/slow to how I’d have done them, and detracts from focus on how it is.

      • dyingearth says:

        In the case of OPM, everyone pretty much agree that Lord Boros fight is probably the place where the season would end. That’s more dictated by the fact that Murata only have gone through about 1/2 of season of material of the next story arc and Boros is a good stopping point.

        In the case of My Hero Academia, there is a natural stopping point similar to Lord Boros storyline in OPM, but not one where at their current rate will get to.

        • Guy says:

          I think what we have here are two very different takes on what “good pacing” means. You’re saying good pacing is when the show ends “where it should”, or perhaps that makes as good of a use of the time it has, with a pre-ordained number of episodes and a specific point to get to.

          I treat pacing very differently, where I look at how well each episode stands on its own, and how well they flow together. I’d much rather have a show end on an unsatisfactory note when I end each episode’s inner construction and how the arcs are strung along, than one where I go, “Yup, it ended in a good spot!” but where I’m bored half the time, and the other half things go too quickly for me.

          I’m not sure either option is “better”, but I know which one I personally prefer :)

  2. edsamac says:

    I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable with Re: ZERO, primarily because I find Subaru’s character a total pain to have to listen to. His unnecessary thought insertions and self-aware monologuing has him mocking the very fantasy world he’s placed in. It makes his efforts of saving Emilia very shallow, almost as if he’s playing a game. For that reason, I find Subaru to be an awful human being.

    When I think of time-loops and death, I think of Steins;Gate. Kyouma had that similar air of otaku-based obnoxiousness to him, but it was swiftly put in its place when he knew what was at stake. It even came to the point that the hopelessness nearly stripped him of his own humanity — he became numb to the death of [Redacted] — before he was sternly reprimanded by Kurisu.

    But when I see Subaru being grateful for not sustaining a stab wound to the back or relishing in his new-found power but lamenting the fact that it activates on his death — kinda makes me wonder if he really cares about saving Emilia or Felt from death, or perhaps it’s just some Otaku-based compulsion to “play the hero”.

    And for that reason, it frustrates me to no end that I just can’t enjoy the show the way I think it should be enjoyed. I actually admired its third episode for the fluid bits of animation and some pretty neat visual tricks. I even liked the hook at the end (because it frustratingly makes me want to know what happens next). But then I remembered that Subaru was dancing Saturday Night Fever, and he even broke the fourth wall at some point… He’s just that one big thorn in an otherwise legitimately engaging show. Sigh…

    • Guy says:

      Yeah. Ironically, I’d be much happier with the show if Subaru were removed. Even as his power is the whole premise of the show. Another thing that is a big difference from Steins;Gate is most of the characters in the show aren’t as endearing. They’re too tropey, rather than playing on the tropey and being more fun, you know? Steins;Gate felt like it had real characters, and Re:Zero, not so much. Part of it is that Emilia is just so very shallow as a character, and Elsa is as badly-written as Subaru is.

      Watching this show is a constant “Yes! He’s getting it!” to “No, he isn’t!” Last week it was about Subaru thinking about how he much he doesn’t want to feel the pain anymore, to then gloating over how being backstabbed is the worst for his honour! This week it was going from “No, I can’t die to start all over again, the price is too high!” to, well, just being Subaru. The problem is he makes everything matter less. There is indeed something to this power that lowers the stakes, and I relish each time he makes some mention of what the stakes are to him mentally, emotionally, but then he goes and treats it as a fake world and acts as a fake character, and there go the investment and belief he actually has a psychology and emotions that can be hurt :P

      And yes, that’s the real reason I’m worried about this show, and Big Order, and think they won’t end up amounting to much, it’s the Dimension W situation – if the building blocks are rotten, and that can include bad director/writer, then the building, as interesting and shiny as some of the components might be, is going to end up buckling and falling due to the bad base.

      • edsamac says:

        That part about “tropey but not being fun”, I get what you mean. I mean, using tropes isn’t bad per se so long as it doesn’t make the whole thing feel uninspired. But then we run the danger of being accused for “there you go saying an anime would be better if it were less anime-like” and whatever.

        I sometimes wonder if you can look at anime as a media format and not necessarily for the trappings that tend to “define” it. Sure, there are a couple things that ring a bell as far as what is considered “anime-like”, but to define the media as a consequence of that feels very constricting. D: Shows like Attack On Titan did well with the Western audience PRECISELY because they abandoned this so-called “sticking to anime tropes”. But then I digress.

        And yeah, you hit the nail on the head. This whole “Yes! He’s getting it!” and “No, he isn’t!” is precisely what I’m feeling at the moment. Maybe that’s the point – to be able to react so spiritedly to such an annoying main character. A friend of mine pointed that out to me, but I still feel that all of this is at the expense of making the whole premise seem like a joke, no matter how compelling it might have been.

        • Guy says:

          It’s very easy to get people annoyed, and I’d generally hold it against a show, because rarely can you do it well. And when it’s your main character…

          I also don’t think this is the case here, because those who love the tropes for the sake of the tropes and referential humor for the sake of the references seem to love Subaru. So even if they did aim for that, it still failed with a lot of people, who are liking it “for the wrong reason”.

          I dunno, “No, no, you’re supposed to hate this storytelling” seems to be the last ditch defense that damns the work more than any of the “attacks” it tries to deflect.

          And yes, “Not-anime-esque” is sort of funny thing for an anime to be, and what most of the big hits in the west are.

  3. King Marth says:

    Hmm, My Hero Academia sounds like it’s on a promising track… I’m glad someone else also made the connection to Xanth’s Talents, the moment I heard the protagonist’s mother’s Quirk it definitely sounded like a Talent.

    The meme I’m hoping to see through this series is that humans have a huge set of superpowers on our own, we just don’t notice them because we only ever compare ourselves to other humans. The presence of quirks further distracts people, but supervillains don’t overpower our protagonist one power to zero, they just have one more among dozens. There was a hint of this in episode 2 with how the superheroes on the scene all stood back and waited in hopes that someone with a perfectly-suited Quirk would show up, without doing so much as pulling out a cellphone and calling for backup. Sure, having a Quirk seems to be an all-upside proposition (though superheroism has occupational hazards), but if they forget everything else they can do as humans, they aren’t the best heroes they can be. If it takes a Quirkless hero to remind the superheroes of that, so be it.
    I’m a little worried as problems do keep being solved by superpowers in the end, like All Might’s one punch, but some of the framework seems to be there.

    • King Marth says:

      Ehe, should’ve watched the episode first… I had a form of this post in my mind and ready from last week.
      So, sounds like my hopes here will only happen if All Might outright lied about his Quirk… though the episode did definitely leave open whether One For All has connected or not, and the ability to pass on our powers via teaching is one of our human superpowers, so I can keep extracting my preferred interpretation for another week at least. All Might confirms that Quirks are necessary, but no-one has actually checked whether Deku has one, so at least the law doesn’t discriminate.

      • dyingearth says:

        [Manga-spoilers redacted]

      • Guy says:

        You know, I wondered as well, “Is this Dumbo? Had the true power been inside of him all this time?” And I somehow doubt it’d happen, though the true heroism, of being willing to go forth and help is coming from within him, I don’t think the power will be.

        BTW, it’s interesting to compare and contrast with Bleach/Naruto, that are essentially “Ugly Duckling” stories, as the protagonists had always been powerful, they just needed something to come and unlock their inner powers. That’s the fantasy of “I don’t belong here, I’m secretly magical,” versus “I can earn the recognition and power I deserve due to being better,” two different variations on the same thing, but we’ll see.

        Also, they did check whether Deku had one, indirectly. But we’ll see! I think it’d be cute if Deku remains powerless, but it’s not that kind of story. And I don’t think “All Might is lying” is a direction the show will take either.

        • King Marth says:

          The doctor confirmed earlier that Deku doesn’t have a quirk due to the remaining presence of vestigial pinky toe joint, but a foot x-ray wasn’t part of the high school acceptance exam (which is good, as that would be a surprisingly dark Gattaca-style turn for such a happy show). I wasn’t speculating that Deku actually has some hidden quirk, just remarking that the school didn’t check. They didn’t even have a scene with him stumbling through some question or form asking what his Quirk was, so it looks like the school’s tactic is to just present this physical exam and watch to see what you do.

          I think the closest I’ll get is that Deku will barely scrape by without full power for most of the exam, and manifest full superstrength when he needs it to help someone after going in over his head to save them. I agree that the more likely theme of the show is that heroism is about acting when you need to, not just when it’s easy to do so. Having an all-purpose superpower would kind of blunt that message though, for all the reasons you didn’t much enjoy One Punch Man, so I’m not entirely sure how it will play out.

          The Bleach/Naruto comparison is interesting though, those protagonists had reasons to work to get stronger but it was never in question that doing the work would give them the reward (even Lee, who never surpasses the naturally talented through hard work, still improves). Deku needed an external jolt to realize that getting stronger was even possible, and he might need to pass that lesson on to others as well.

        • Guy says:

          Yeah, I’d be surprised if his power doesn’t manifest with regards to the “obstacle”.

    • Guy says:

      This is definitely a very real phenomenon, known as “Diffusion of responsibility.” The more people there are, the less likely any one person is likely to help. It was studied after the case of Kitty Genovese.

      Gatchaman Crowds actually explored this topic, but I doubt this show will. I also don’t think it’d go where you’re aiming, just that it’s going to use it in the exact way it did in the second episode – “Being a hero isn’t about having powers, but about stepping forward and doing things!” So, the real heroes are those who are willing to step in, like Deku.

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