Wooderon’s Favourite Anime of 2021 – #9: My Hero Academia (Season 5)

This entry used to be my favourite series going. It’s just not hitting those highs for me anymore. I know it’s still good because the Manga’s version of it all was amazing. Maybe I’m just slowly on my way into being that guy who only reads Manga and throws my Anime Streaming Subs in the bin.

You might notice that I’m doing this one a bit later this year. Well, part of the reason for that is the damn way anime season run. The past couple of years I wrote one of these lists, I ended up feeling weird about putting shows on from the Autumn season when they were only half over.

So this time, I decided to at least wait for that last Autumn season to be finally over so I had a better sense of my feelings on those shows. That, plus I ended up really packing my schedule full at the back end of the year and decided to watch a lot of shows right at the end.

Placing lower than it might have in previous years, here’s my number nine anime:

#9: My Hero Academia (Season 5)

Originally aired 27th March to 25th September | 25 Episodes | Based on the manga by Kōhei Horikoshi | Shonen, Superhero

On the whole, I’d say that I’ve felt pretty down on My Hero Academia this season. Part of the reason for that might be because I went and spoiled it for myself by finally breaking and going ahead to read through the entire Manga. A story I really felt lacked the weight and punch of original material when adapted into animation. 

All that being said, I still enjoyed watching this show week to week. I feel like it’s one of those situations where, the more you love a series, the more passionately you feel the need to criticise it. And I don’t mean just relentlessly crapping on it for hot take points. I mean genuinely critique that comes from a desire for it to be better. 

I kind of feel like the biggest thing this series had going for it was a sudden halt in the escalation of the story from the ending of the previous arc. A good portion of this season’s first half is taken up by the Joint Training Battle Arc. 

A series of events that, totally on their own, are actually pretty fun. We get to see how much Class A have developed since we last caught up with them, while additionally getting a full look at the Quirks of Class B, as well as seeing just how capable they also are as heroes in training. 

A story that concludes with Midoriya manifesting a new Quirk and learning that he is going to start accessing the quirks of the former holders of One for all in addition to the power he already has. Which would be a cool conclusion and reveal on its own, if not for the fact that it totally usurps the role of Shinso from the story, who had been built up throughout marketing as a big part of this arc. 

I talked about it in more detail in this post here.

While this is a fun arc, it feels like a step down in stakes and importance compared to the one that preceded it and all the arcs that follow it. Maybe it’s because I know this is the final “light” arc we’re going to get for a while before things get pretty real that my judgement is a little biased. Here’s the thing, this is still on my top ten list of the year. Which means I still did get a kick out of this anime. 

I don’t really have any strong feelings on the anime flipping the order of the following two arcs involving Endevour’s agency and the “My Villain Academia” storyline, but I do feel like the final fight of the season could have been so much more than it ended up being considering it was the final fight of the season.  

My Hero Academia has provided me with some of my favourite anime fight conclusions of the past half decade, the final battle between Shigaraki and Re-Destro felt like it should have been the amazing crescendo to a story arc that “United States of Smash” or Deku vs. Overhaul was. But after watching it myself, it just wasn’t. 

I know this is supposed to be a list of celebration, but I can’t help but be critical of a show I genuinely love. The fact that it was on this list alone show that… but it still could have been so much higher. 

You can read my thoughts on the two halves of the series here (as well as the movie that came out this year):

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