My Hero Academia. Well, well, well… definitely a familiar name to everyone by now. In this episode of Get In The Mecha, I do something a bit different; today I will be recapping my experience at a recent convention (London Anime & Gaming Convention 2019), my run-ins with My Hero Academia and what it does differently to previous shounen battle anime.
In this episode I’ll be going through:
- My interesting convention experience and how this all ties back to My Hero Academia.
- What makes MHA so attractive to watch?
- Is MHA doing anything that different to other ‘shounen-battle anime’?
- Where is the shounen genre of anime going?
MUSIC & SFX IN TODAY’S PRODUTION:
Go Lucky by chasersgaming
Mandatory Overtime by Joth
SFX by SubspaceAudio
Cinematic Drums | Alexander (http://www.orangefreesounds.com/cinematic-drums/)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 International License
(Cut to 8 seconds, faded in and out and beginning and end)
SOURCES USED IN TODAY’S PRODUCTION:
MYANIMELIST PAGE (Boku no Hero Academia)
FANDOM PAGE (Story Arcs)
MYANIMELIST PAGE (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
LAGC 2019 (The Convention)
Recently I attended a convention (LAGC 2019) in my city and honestly, I had a decent amount of fun by myself for a day. However, there was one thing that I could not ‘un-see’ and that was the widespread and almost ‘cult’-like following of BNHA. Although I may be using the term ‘cult’ hyperbolically, the amount of merch that I saw being worn and sold was not comparable to anything I’ve seen before.
With all of this being said, I am now on a mini quest to discover ‘What makes BNHA so attractive?’ Although I may not be able to come up with a definitive and/or complex answer to the question, I was most definitely capable of coming up with at least one. Simply put, BNHA does what sells. Okay, there’s slightly more to this, but I think that captures the overall notion; the show rode the wave of popularity (and still does today), through doing what that segment of the audience enjoys.
The two areas which I would zoom in on are genre and structure. In terms of genre, the anime adaptation began in 2016, a time where the ‘market’ of ‘shounen-battle anime’ was not crowded, unlike the state it was in around 2011 (which I touched on in Episode 1). The principles of ‘The Shounen Model’ are met without much deviation, which is not a bad thing at all (in fact, it is a safe move). Also, a side point would be the the exponential increase in popularity of the action-superhero subgenre, particularly in film, may have played a part in creating a climate where superheroes were ‘the in thing’.
The second area would be structure. Structurally, BNHA feeds off the popular seasonal format that anime has been based around for while now. Unlike a lot of anime in the same genre, packaging their arcs in seasons (to my understanding) creates a more streamlined experience for the viewer. However, the counter-argument to all of this is that BNHA does not deviate too much when it comes to structure. Arcs are still a highly important thing, if not the very core of how the show functions structurally. Think of ‘The Story Mountain’; arcs function almost exactly in the same way. They build up to a peak, an endgame or a central point, usually at their conclusion. It is very hard to escape from this, but the show does not run away from it and in fact conforms to this model.
The exception to the rule, in my opinion, would be Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009). FMAB ditches the concepts of arcs, as it consistently maintains its momentum throughout, with hardly any dips when transferring between plot points or when moving closer to its endgame. Other exceptions to the rule I would say are the short arcs of shows like Kimetsu No Yaiba (2019) or even the one-off Wave Country Arc from Naruto (2002). Streamlining the process in terms of quantity, while maintaining quality is a highly important thing that is starting to make its way into the genre.
In conclusion, I would say that the genre is going in a positive direction. Simply because BNHA is not particularly ‘innovative’ in my opinion, that does not take away any credibility from the show, as it does ‘what it does’ very well in a modern context. Maybe there will be a new format that changes the genre for good and hopefully I will be there to witness it.