What They Say:
Class 1-A made a name for themselves after facing The League of Villains, but an even greater challenge is about to begin. These young heroes will now fight students from other classes in the world’s biggest Quirk competition-the U.A. sports festival! With dreams at stake and friends turning to adversaries, Deku will give everything he’s got in his grand debut as the world’s next symbol of peace.
The audio presentation for this series is a pretty strong one overall as we get the original Japanese language in stereo while the English language dub is in 5.1, both of which are encoded using the lossless Dolby TrueHD codec. The series is one that has a strong amount of action and activity overall combined with a variety of powers that are put into effect and make for a busy mix. The stereo mix works well in keeping things moving across the forward soundstage so that everything feels like it’s where it should be and the bigger scenes have some impact. The 5.1 mix takes all of that and raises the volume a bit and has a bigger sound and bass to it, causing the fights to feel a bit deeper and richer. Both mixes hit a good sweet spot in delivering an engaging show on the audio front and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2017, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first (one of which is in the extras section) and four on the second, which also has several extras there. Animated by Bones, My Hero Academia is a show that has a solid budget behind it with plenty of payoff in the animation. While it has its quieter scenes with some standing around to keep things done right there are a lot of very big and active scenes and a lot of creativity with powers throughout. The color work for this really gives it a great feeling as it’s bold and strong without becoming garish and problematic. The backgrounds have a great amount of detail which character animation is solid and the high action sequences step things up wonderfully. It’s a quality production through and through and the encoding brings it all to life in a very strong way that will please fans of the series.
The packaging for this limited edition release brings us a heavy chipboard box that will have space for the next set so that the whole season can be together. This set comes with a Blu-ray case that holds both formats and a hardcover book along with the space box that holds the goodies. The box is a slick looking piece with some embossing that helps that key visual that we know to stand out all the more with the character artwork and logo getting the extra pop. It uses familiar old school comic elements to it so that it hints at the superhero side nicely as well.The back of the box goes for a really packed full cast look with too many characters but gives it the embossed treatment as well which is welcome since the first set didn’t do that. The oversized Blu-ray case gives us a good shot if Izuku dominating with the same kind of elements as the box for the design while the background gives us a good Todoroki image. The background for all of this is used as the reverse side artwork with no character images added into it.
The hardcover book is nicely done with it filled mostly with character pieces on those that are used in this part of the season while including a few other small bits and key visuals, all in high-quality full color. Within the spacer box we get the cute keychain piece with All-Might, some fun UA felt pennants, and ten of the collector’s cards about various characters that will delight fans.
The menu design for this release is one that plays simple with what it does as we get a sky blue navigation strip along the bottom while the rest is given over to action clips from the episode. There’s no logo anywhere on this after the first five seconds which is kind of surprising since we usually do get that in some form for most releases, which makes this one feel kind of barren. The navigation strip works smoothly and without problems in navigating but the sheer amount of extras, mostly on the second disc, makes the layout a little more complex and I wish it had more real estate to work with so that it wasn’t so squished with so much text. Submenus load quickly and everything is problem free during both playback and and as the top level menu.
The extras for this release are pretty packed and a lot of it is naturally geared toward the dub fan. We get the familiar and welcome with the clean opening and closing sequences and an array of Japanese promotional videos. We also get eleven English promotional spots that were done as part of the Inside the Episodes that were streamed prior to the broadcast with the cast and their characters getting some of the spotlight. The bonus piece for the Japanese fan side is the seven minute interview with Yoshihiko Umakoshi, who served as the character designer and chief animation director for the second season. It’s not too deep and spends a lot of time on bits of flash but interview pieces with the Japanese staff are always welcome.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A year after the first set arrived and Funimation has now brought out the first half of the second season – which comes just as the third season is being broadcast. The show has gained a lot of crossover appeal in this day of superheroes being popular and that’s made it plenty of accessible to a wide range of people. I really enjoyed the first season overall with what it did because it played to the strength of the superhero world in its variety but also the can-do never give up kind of attitude combined with some neat little quirks – and quirkless. Funimation delivered well on that set but they’re ramping up even more with this second season and this limited edition set.
With this season, which has an episode 13.5 in the extras section that served as a recap of the first season, it’s a fairly traditional run of episodes and that’s both good and bad. With so much of the first season about establishing Izuku and his place in things while working with All-Might and the grand plan there to hand things over, we got a good feel for the character and what he can do while also understanding the personality behind it. That’s key to making people connect with it while also introducing a strong supporting cast. This show has a huge class of characters to work with and I love seeing people gravitate toward the unexpected ones in some ways but also that ones that are meant to grab you like Mineta. I love Mineta fans more than those that lean toward the bigger characters like Bakugo or Todoroki simply because they’re looking at something that’s almost more innocent and pure, especially when it comes to a superhero type.
With a strong sense of ownership with the cast, especially after all the heroics that closed out the previous season, this one shifts gears from introductions to cast and school to the sports festival. Which is more accurately described as the sports tournament here because it spends all of its time in the arena where the cast are pushed to be something more and greater, to understand their powers, and with the various configurations early on how to be a team. We’ve seen how Izuku has some out of the box thinking and there’s a lot to like in seeing it applied here, particularly the race where that lands him in first place even if he doesn’t quite feel like he earned it. Since the idea is to be trained to be heroes and exist in the larger world with what they face out there they have to be more than just what they’re trained for and luck and creativity is a huge part of it, particularly when dealing with villains.
That said, the tournament aspect is something that didn’t grab me in the same way as the opening arc with introductions did. This is far more familiar and lacks some of the storytelling creativity to make it work, especially since All-Might is separated from a lot of it and the dynamic between him and Izuku is greatly reduced. It does offer up more time for other characters to shine because it’s not the Izuku show and a good bit of it does go toward Todoroki and Bakugo. I did like seeing more of Todorki’s past as it gets explored here in the context of how he dislikes an aspect of his power that came from his father and this plays well into Izuku’s wheelhouse of being inspirational. But Bakugo and Todoroki are hugely competitive and that drives the end run of this episode in a pretty good way, particularly as Bakguo is very intense with it all.
So, for me, this set was a bit of spinning the wheels in a way as it’s standard tournament stuff – which can be enjoyable and a lot of this is enjoyable, it just lacks something meaty to work with or real stakes. But what did get me with this is in seeing just how into the casual anime fans in my family became with the show. My youngest, who barely watched anime at all for years, became utterly entranced with this show and is up at the simulcast time on weekends to watch it. They’ve bought merchandise, have their favorites, and actively talk about the show and joke about events in real life with references to the show. I love the way that this show has crossed the line to get people that don’t watch anime and found a lot to enjoy with this arc in its inspirational and aspirational elements of the sports festival competition. It’s got a lot going for it even if it is something that just feels terribly familiar to those like me that have seen dozens and dozens of tournament arcs before.
Funimation’s got a strong release here that’ll please fans because they’ve got fun episodes that lets a lot of the supporting cast shine while also putting it out in a great limited edition that has some weight to it. I do wish the show had given Uraraka more time than she got (her fight was great) and part of me wishes for Izuku’s mom to get a slice of life episode focusing on what it’s like to be a parent in this world, but the reality is that this is straightforward tournament material with some strong moments and a lot of silly fun and fighting. It has the right kind of aspirational moments for it to succeed and the camaraderie that will drive fans to it even more. The release looks great and has a strong package but I’m left mostly with hope for the back half as the hero killer type is introduced toward the end that should have more impact the next time around. Good stuff but it mostly left me wanting to go and rewatch the first season.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Episode 13.5 – Hero Notebook, Anime Expo 2017: Interview with Yoshihiko Umakoshi, Inside the Episode, Promo Videos, Textless Opening & Closing Songs
My Hero Academia Season 2 Part 1 contains episodes 13.5-25 in a chipboard box that includes a UA tournament headband, UA logo and MHA logo sports pennants, an acrylic All-Might keychain, a 40 page artbook with a tournament guide, and 10 collectible holographic trading cards featuring some of the most popular heroes in training.
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A-
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: April 3rd, 2018
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.