April 3rd, 2016.
An Explosion of Colours:
Theme / Story:
For a moment, I was wondering if I was watching Mahouka. Ok, I’m kidding. There were elements here that remind me of Mahouka, but more of Piers Anthony’s Xanth series, especially the first, A Spell for Chameleon, where we find a protagonist, in a village-kingdom where everyone’s born with a magical talent, except for him. And as such, he’s cast out of the village to find his luck in the world of the normal people.
In stories such as Mahouka and all the other “Protagonist is considered weak in this elite society,” the protagonist is 1. Still part of the elite group with powers, unlike the vast majority of the population that is powerless. 2. Actually reallypowerful. Midoriya Izuku, our main character, is actually part of the minority here, and he’s more of a Xander or Giles than he is a Buffy.
And then we throw into this mix that “heroes” aren’t all they used to be. We’re introduced to a system where “Kill-Stealing” is a thing, where heroes care about credit, and fans. This is a profession. “I want to be a hero!” is reduced to what most kids who make that wish care for, it is a wish for power and recognition, not for helping others. And this is how we end up with Katsuki, who’s more Slytherin than Griffindor, because being a “hero” isn’t about helping people, but making a name for yourself. And you need a certain type of personality to want to be at the top – either wish to be a real hero and thus be at the top, or a personality which puts being at the top, at the, well, top.
The show made it clear this is where it’s going, even if you’re not familiar with this type of story, when we’ve been introduced to All Might in the present time when someone said “Most people don’t actually know how to make use of their quirks,” because most people aren’t heroes, they’re regular people. And here we have someone with the will and the drive, but without the powers.
P.S. we’ve also had the bullies, who only pick on someone who can’t fight them back, and then ask him, “So why aren’t you saying anything?” Because if he does, they can both continue with the charade it’s two-sided, and also be given further “justification” to harm the other, but if they don’t, then it’s all cool, or they’d have said something about it, right? It’s all about appearances. It’s about “win-win” versus “Lose-lose”. Until someone decides they don’t want to play within the rules of the system given them, and that person is usually a protagonist, or a villain, in such narratives. But even villains exist within the system here, so what’s a rules-breaker to do?
Why, just one thing: Do the impossible, see the invisible, row row fight the powah.
The “heroic pose shots” used quite often, first for the jerk who’s spelling out his superiority, later for Izuku as he’s called upon to make his life-altering decision, combined with making use of superhero language, which makes sense as this world did have superhero comics before superheroes came to be, lend this show a silly cartoon atmosphere that doesn’t lose its sight from its genre.
Speaking of meta-commentary, it took me a while, but this shot finally helped me realize what Izuku’s overall designs reminds me of – Brian Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim, which is in itself a love-letter to otaku geek culture. And then we’ve had All Might, with his “Texas Smash,” his slight American accent at the start, and the colours of the American flag. This show knows where it’s coming from.
Voice acting was solid, the music when it was there enhanced the scene, and character designs, action, and colours were all quite fetching. The action is going more for “Stylish over flowing,” and at other times goes for “Free-form flowing without style,” and it creates an interesting experience.
OP – Nice sound, nice energies, but lacking that extra oomph to make it exciting. Also, note how our MC is mostly static, while it’s other characters who get to be dynamic.
ED – Nice energies, nice vocals, and here is the protagonist being dynamic which the OP lacked, this is about his journey. I like it better than the OP.