Get Your Tomatoes Ready Because Here We Have the Worst Anime of the Summer 2018 Season

If you missed it, earlier today the best of the season came out so if you would rather celebrate the successes of the season than wallow in, or jeer at, the misfires I recommend you check it out. In the meantime, a reminder that worst anime of the season is still an anime good enough to be watched through. Voters are asked not to vote for shows they haven’t watched. So while the anime in the list below and as the voters choice are problematic, there are most definitely worse anime out there.

Without any further ado, let’s get into the list.

Worst Story – 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

I almost gave this to The Master of Ragnarok, but then I realised there was a show that did even worse with its premise. Despite the set up being that the Princess has to wake up the princes, other than the very first prince, none of the princes are actually sleeping. Couple this with the fact that I got to the end of this and still have no idea what the overall goal is given the characters just seem to wander around and react to stuff, and basically the story is all but missing in action. A thin excuse to encounter various ‘prince’ types so that fans of the game can get all excited to see their favourite character for the two seconds of screen time they get before the main characters move on.

Worst Visuals – Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion

Angolmois Episode 10 Teruhi

The filter is hideous. There’s no way to sugar coat it. When you have ugly character designs, a bland colour palette and then over the top of the lot you put that filter that just makes everything look like we’re watching it through smudged glasses that keep moving, this anime well and truly deserves the label of worst visuals for the season. While there are some good moments in the story, you do have to accept it is just going to be truly disgusting to look at.

Worst Opening – 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

100 Sleeping Princes Episode 4

Seriously, this one is a thin excuse to pan over the cast of various princes we’ll encounter. The music is dull and borderline put me to sleep and the slow pan with almost zero animation over various characters, most of which we’ll encounter once at best throughout the season and then never hear from again, and to be honest I skipped this opening more often than I watched it.

Worst Character – The Cast of the Master of Ragnarok tied with Mineta (My Hero Academia)

Mineta had to be here. Seriously, if someone could just go through every episode of My Hero Academia and erase the bug from existence, I’d be really, really happy. There isn’t one scene he is in that is actually necessary and he contributes nothing. However, he does eat screen time on what I’m guessing someone thought were comedic moments but mostly I’m just left disgusted with his presence and he’s becoming increasingly annoying as the franchise continues. That said, it would be a mistake not to mention the incredibly bland and undeveloped cast from The Master of Ragnarok. And yes, I know that is two seasons in a row where I’ve given the title of worst character to an entire cast, but trust me, they earned it.

And now…

Worst Anime of the Spring 2018 Season – The Master of Ragnarok

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Yep, there were plenty of shows I liked less than this one, however I dropped them and didn’t finish watching. That just left this one on my list to leave as the worst of the season. Angels of Death got an early drop, Holmes of Kyoto hung in a bit longer but bored me to tears and so I gave up. Other early drops include Island and Lord of Vermillion (which definitely deserves a mention). Still, Ragnarok set up what could have been an interesting enough story, did absolutely nothing with it, and then totally flubbed its ending. It really deserves this placement.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

With 103 votes, making it the most votes ever for a worst of the season, the competition was pretty much won early on, but a last minute rally behind a show that really stuffed its ending brought us to a tie (won’t they be so proud). Anyway, the results of the readers poll:

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And so we have a tie between Angels of Death and The Master of Ragnarok.

Angels of Death took a very early lead in the poll. I think the disappointment factor may have played a role given how hyped up the show was before it began airing. Then, after the final episode of Master of Ragnarok, its votes took off and it caught up. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt that I’d held out hoping the show would get better only for the final episode to kick me in the teeth.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote.

Summer 2018 was definitely not the highlight of the anime year, but we still had some fun titles to watch. As we move into Autumn, let’s keep our fingers crossed for something amazing, and if not, we can always vote for it being the worst of the season.


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Karandi James

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Drum Roll For The Best of Summer 2018 Anime Announcement

Cells at Work Episode 12 - Platelet

Summer has indeed had its ups and downs and to be honest, it is probably the weakest of the seasons 2018 has offered us so far. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a whole lot of fun to follow, review, and discuss. However, I did find if a lot harder than normal to narrow down my choices for best of the season given there was a lot that was kind of okay but nothing that really demanded I pay attention to it. (Banana Fish and Attack on Titan Season 3 are missing from my own awards as they are both going to continue on to the next season).

As always, thanks to people who voted in the poll for best of the season. After I get through my picks, I’ll announce the winners of the reader’s poll.

To my awards…

Best Story – Steins;Gate 0

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While there’s some questionable execution and pacing issues with this story, in terms of the story I was most interested in following, Steins;Gate 0 wins hands down. Angolmois is too straight forward, How Not To Summon a Demon Lord was entertaining but not exactly a riveting narrative. There just hasn’t been much that I’ve watched this season with an overly interesting plot so Steins;Gate 0 remained my favourite story of the season even if I did criticise it, a lot.

Best Visuals – My Hero Academia Season 3

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Bones continues to deliver some quality visuals and animation in My Hero Academia this season. While I felt the characters and the plot were a fair bit weaker than season 2, the visuals did not drop the ball and whatever scene we were watching was delivered with impressive or interesting visuals. The fight between Midoriya and Bakugou is probably the stand out from the second half, but realistically the action in My Hero Academia is always exciting to watch. It would be nice to see the kids get into a wider variety of settings from time to time, but this is still my visual pick for the season.

Best Opening – Cells at Work

Cells at Work - Episode 2 - Platelets

Am I coming up with excuses to include platelets? Definitely. But because I took Attack on Titan out of the running, I had to choose the opening to Cells at Work as my favourite. It is good fun with a lot of energy and I loved that for one episode we even had different characters singing the opening. It was a surprise and a bit of fun. This one really suits the show and just gets you excited for the adorableness to follow.

Best Character – Diablo (How Not To Summon a Demon Lord)

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 4

Right, so it is kind of rare for an isekai protagonist to make it into my favourite character list, but I really like Diablo. He’s great fun to spend time with and a lot of the draw for the show is his character. I would love to see more of him in a follow up season and just see if he learns to balance out his inner insecurities with his external demon lord persona. One thing I know for sure is that it will be fun.

And of course, cutest character goes to the the Platelets

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And now…

Best Anime of the Summer 2018 Season – Cells at Work

Cells at Work Episode 8

Having taken out Attack on Titan and Banana Fish from the running, I was pretty much left with Cells at Work, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord or Phantom in the Twilight as shows I genuinely enjoyed this season. Phantom in the Twilight fell short with its ending. How Not To Summon a Demon Lord is fun and all, but it isn’t without its issues. So the anime that was most consistently entertaining this season was Cells at Work.

I’m actually fairly surprised that this is my best of the season, but it kind of speaks of how hit and miss the season has been. That said, this one is a fairly solid piece of entertainment. It isn’t going to change the world, but it is a great way to spend a Sunday morning and it certainly kept me entertained this season. I even learned a couple of things from it.

Finally, Reader’s Choice

Voting was incredibly close and also pretty scattered this season. By the final days the top two were deadlocked and remained that way until the final hours of the vote. With 178 votes this is the most participated in vote to date so hopefully we can continue to grow this number and make the data more reflective of the community as a whole. Still, here are the results.

Best of

And the winner is… Banana Fish.

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Totally not surprised, though I am amazed at how close the vote was between Cells at Work and Banana Fish with Attack on Titan dropping off early on. Still, all three of these will go on to the best of the year poll joining the best from the last two seasons and whatever wins the Autumn poll. I’m also throwing My Hero Academia into the best of the year poll because amazingly I totally left it out of this vote (whoops).

Anyway, Banana Fish has kind of taken over my twitter timeline most weeks after the episode airs so I’ve really enjoyed it and there are some really excellent blog posts being written about the series so I can tell there are some really big fans out there. Hopefully the second half is as entertaining as the first was.

Thanks everyone who participated in the vote. We say farewell to another season of anime but enter a new one with all new possibilities laid out before us. Check back later for my worst of the season poll.


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Karandi James

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My Hero Academia: Two Heroes Movie Review

I was pretty surprised that I got to see this. I knew I was going to the city for work but the odds of my intended travel lining up with the week this movie was released were pretty low so I hadn’t even checked where it was airing until I realised that I was in the city at the same time that this was about to be released. Imagine my surprise when not only was it the same week but the local cinema was playing it (even if not a single staff member there seemed to know what the movie was, that it was on, and couldn’t correctly identify the language it was playing in given I was told at least three times when trying to buy a ticket it was in Japanese and then I got the English version). That said, getting to see an anime movie at the cinema is a rare novelty (I’ll be honest, getting to the cinema at all is a novelty for me these days as I’m only in a location with a cinema two or three times a year) so I was pretty excited about going.

And I almost had a private screening. Almost. No surprise. While the cinemas website had the movie listed there wasn’t a single poster or advertisement in the cinema for the movie. The title was listed on the printed schedule with the viewing time but nothing else. No synopsis or description (the only movie on the list lacking additional information). I’m not exactly amazed that not many people were aware of the session. However, right as the lights dimmed and the ads started playing, two groups came in and so six of us got to watch My Hero Academia.

So how was the movie?

Review:

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I’m going to skip to the punchline and then I’ll explain, but really this was not a good movie. Much like my experience with the Sword Art Online movie which was my really only other anime movie experience, as a fan of My Hero Academia, there were moments I appreciated, but the movie itself is riddled with issues. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Fans of My Hero Academia will definitely get something out of this film and will probably have a great time. However, looking at it as a film it is lacking.

However, if what you are after is seeing your favourite cast of super hero teens in a new location, wearing formal wear, and fighting off villains and robots before seeing a fight where Midoriya and All Might are side by side in the dramatic final punch, this movie is going to deliver. Beautifully. And part of that tells you that the writers know what the target audience is wanting from this show. If a sketched out set up is enough for you to lead into a bomabastic series of fights leading up to an overblown final battle that very much suits the tone of the series, then you will have little to complain about.

That said, it kind of misses a lot of what I liked about the series and as I said, as a film it is kind of wanting. So specifically what were my issues with it? (Keep in mind, I did have fun with this, I just kind of wanted a more balanced film given all the hype.)

My first issue is with the art itself. While the animation is beautiful and fluid, as you would expect from Bones, there are some really lazy scenes where characters who aren’t in the forefront of the scene become really distorted, particularly faces. And while this isn’t the end of the world and there are some very pretty scenes in the movie, it was noticeable. I kind of expected slightly more consistent quality given the build up to this movie and to be honest even main characters suffered at times when they weren’t foregrounded. This was really noticeable during the opening sequence which is a flash back showing All Might at the beginning of his career. While it seemed to get better, or I stopped paying as much attention to it as the film progressed, it wasn’t a great first impression because while the movement was lovely, the characters in particular were not.

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However, looking at the story itself, it suffers from its desire to have its cake and eat it too. They set up a story where All Might takes Midoriya away for the Summer and yet they want the entire class to make an appearance in this film. Let’s now waste a lot of time in the first half wandering around and ‘bumping’ into groups of classmates with increasingly contrived reasons to be on the island. Half of them don’t even end up in the final fight at all because while they are on the island they aren’t at the party so we literally just get occasional cuts to them waiting in hotel rooms. Why even bother wasting time with these characters? They aren’t important to this story? Why can’t My Hero Academia ever commit to just cutting the extras when all including them does is destroy the pacing or make you wonder why none of the other students ever really get a moment to shine?

We also then have the villain’s plot which is pretty transparent though I guess none of us were expecting much more from it really. The villains in My Hero Academia haven’t exactly come off as the strongest of points for the narrative so I guess we’ll settle for what we get including the ‘reveal’ that anyone with half a clue saw coming from the moment we met the character.

I did enjoy meeting Melissa Steel. She was a great character and worked well with Midoriya in this film. I really would have liked even less of the usual classmates so that we could have had more time with her as she was quite interesting and you can totally see her being Midoriya’s supporter in the future (rather like Q in James Bond).

And, as overblown as that final fight was, it was still kind of cool. Logically in makes no sense and why the building didn’t fall over is a little beyond me, but still cool. What I don’t buy is Bakugo waiting with the others while Midoriya and All Might go for the final blow, but again, whatever. Just another case of having a character in a scene and not knowing what to do with them.

While we are discussing Bakugo though, he and Todoroki did get a fairly fantastic fight sequence against some villains. Kirishima was there but got taken out pretty early on. Anyway, if you ever wanted to see Bakugo and Todoroki wearing formal wear and fighting back to back, this scene is everything you ever hoped for and I really enjoyed that particular sequence.

The female cast from the class are as usual criminally underused in vague supporting roles and not getting to really get into any of the fights. Uraraka didn’t even get one moment of hand to hand fighting and while her floating ability did once again offer valuable support, we’ve seen how tough this girl can be and her lack of active roles in fights is really starting to be annoying.

Basically, the film is a mixed bag. If you just want a fun movie with the cast you already like, then go for it. If you were hoping this would be some epic film that could stand alone or even convince others of the sheer brilliance that My Hero Academia sometimes has to offer, then it probably is going to fall short of those expectations.


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Karandi James

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Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Final Impressions with Kapodaco and Karandi

Karandi: Well, season three is now over and Kapodaco and I now have the chance to look back over the last six months of our lives viewing My Hero Academia and to think about how we feel about the series as a whole. That’s kind of a hard ask right now for me given I’m still kind of looking at that final episode and wondering what that was supposed to be, but I guess we’ll muddle through it. Kapodaco, what are you thinking?

Kapodaco: I was thinking about it at work today. It feels so perfectly succinct. I rated the first season a 7, the second a 7.5, and now I’m feeling a 6.5 for the third. On MAL, I have a 7 for all three of them, so if one isn’t looking to dig deeper, they’ll assume I saw them all the same. But that’s personal perks.

There’s a lot that the series does that got me just as excited as any other season, even more so on occasion. At the same time, there’s definitely some big befuddlement with the scope of the story and fighting off the temptation to introduce a thousand characters to keep the story spicy, but then having to keep up with said characters and make it harder to keep everything in focus. It detracts from the characters one actually cares about and wants to see more of. It happened a lot during the end of the season with other classmates simply noting their observations and little more, and I said very early on with this season that I was looking forward to seeing these classmates have more of a role—by the end, it was definitely underwhelming in that category. What say you, Karandi?

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Karandi: I’m in agreement. One of the biggest issues season three has had is that it insists on trying to keep the whole class in each of its sequences and has all of these characters essentially standing around and doing very little. All of these students got into the hero course and class A and yet they so rarely get to do anything.

Then season three had the fight sequence against the villains where we saw a couple of characters we’d already met but it introduced the pro-heroes doing the training, the random kid that Midoriya had to convince that heroes weren’t all bad, and half a dozen villains. We moved into the exam arc with a whole bunch of schools and characters. Then right at the end we have the Big Three introduced. None of these characters had anywhere near enough screen time or development to make them anything more than their name flashing across the screen and maybe their quirk so I have zero attachment to them.

I will admit, that while I’ve been throwing a lot of rocks at season three of My Hero Academia, compared to the vast majority of seasonal anime that I’ve been watching, even season three is pretty solid entertainment. My biggest issue is that it isn’t as good as season two. Which might seem a little petty but at the moment it is still a disappointment.

Outside of the characters though, I felt the overall narrative structure this season let it down a little bit and I touched on this a couple of reviews ago. What did you think?

My Hero Academia Episode 60

Kapodaco: I may have said a few times that the clichés had piled on a little more than with previous seasons. Even when they weren’t, I think a lot of the issues stems back to the fact that there are a thousand new characters introduced, such that the mangaka is biting off more than he can chew. He wants to make the scope huge so that it can feel like a giant world of all-encompassing heroism, much like how Capitalism is the entire world of my home country of the U.S.A. I can feel the mangaka wanting to do more with his script that perhaps anime isn’t accustomed to doing with a “mere” two-cour season.

When the season wanted to do more with the state of the world after the fall of All Might, it was fairly intriguing, because while the end result is fairly inevitable (villainy skyrockets), he tends to paint these villains as more than just “I’MMA BURN SHIT BECAUSE WHY NOT?!” These characters, who will inevitably have more of a point in the story at earlier junctions and with higher stakes, are better incorporated than the random heroes or one-off Big Three™ groups because their motivations are clear(-ish) and they have more to do than to let the pacing methods of introductory writing take the wheel.

In a phrase, he’s biting off more than he can chew. I may have said that before. And while I was writing that, I made the horrid realization that Mineta had more character-distinguishing moments than anyone else in the minor cast.

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But let’s ignore that and focus a little on the positives, yeah? I think I know the answer to this, but what was the best part of the season for you?

Karandi: Tricky question (not). My favourite part hands down was All Might’s final battle. Not so much for the fight itself (though that was pretty cool and Midoriya helping Bakugo without actually getting into the fight was also kind of cool) but more because of the greater implications in the world. I really wish that we’d get more on this because every time they touch on it, we get a moment that actually feels like it has weight and gets me very interested. Even during the exam arc, as dull as I found that, when they were actually discussing specific changes to the exam format because of how they wanted a different type of hero in the future, heroes focused on team work rather than individual achievements, it just felt like the previous events with Stain, All Might’s arc, and everything else were coming together to have a real impact on the society within the story.

That remains one of the great strengths of My Hero Academia even though, as you have said, the writer may very well be biting off more than he can chew. Unlike so many other super hero stories, this one really feels like events are shaping the lives of everyone in the world and the structure of society rather than just being a cool fight and then life goes on unchanged. I really enjoy that aspect of it and I really hope it continues as that is what keeps drawing me back into the story. How about your favourite part of the season?

Kapodaco: I am in total agreement. All Might’s final fight was the high point of the series bar-none. I don’t recall exactly, but I think I mentioned that the episode itself, the one where everything becomes “resolved,” was an easy 10/10 episode. So it wasn’t just the best episode of this series for me, but one of the best episodes of any anime I’ve ever seen. I can and cannot be emotional dependent on the subject matter, but that aspect of All Might and the significance of his passing of the torch was something that got me really hyped. It made me a fan of All Might, ironically in the same way it made everyone within the universe of the show a fan of All Might. That sheer, unquestioned passion and charisma to do what’s right was something this series can do phenomenally well with the amount of attention to detail in building upon it.

Though I will also give credit to a point where we tend to overlook because it directly followed a long chain of “meh” episodes. I really liked the final two episodes concerning the U-A students being ambushed by the League of Villains. It properly gave me what I wanted in other characters getting the spotlight and it presented an interesting potential for Bakugo’s character (which ended somewhat dully, but there’s still time) that I thought was intriguing at the time. It showcased the power of the League of Villains and the experience needed for the young heroes before they could properly handle a full-scale villain attack. There was a lot going on in those episodes that I really appreciated. I may also simply like it because it followed a lot of dull episodes, so I was really just looking for something to cheer for.

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Karandi: It is a good point that the power of the villains doesn’t get showcased very often and it is something that is somewhat lacking, particularly in the latter half of this season. We know there’s this threat sitting out there but we so rarely see them and that threat doesn’t feel overly connected to the main characters all that often, so this ambush was a really great moment in terms of seeing the students being at times overwhelmed by the villains and unprepared for dealing with the attack. It also gave them some great moments where we could see them working together and helping each other out in a fairly intense situation.

Alright, so which characters do you feel really shone in this season, if any?

Kapodaco: Well, the easy answer is Midoriya and Bakugo. Then again, they are the most important characters in this series, I think. All Might is definitely up there in importance, as well, but the moment he retired, it all fell to the younger generation, and Midoriya and Bakugo are two people who were totally inspired by All Might’s heroism. Their fight scene was a rare highlight in the second-part of the series, and they continue to be the only characters (okay, just Bakugo) that I see anyone I follow on Twitter care about. They were the shining spots of the season as an obvious answer.

If I had to give an answer concerning a minor character… It’s fairly difficult. A lot of the minor characters had some time to shine, specifically in the Provisional Exam Arc when they all had split up and what-not. I actually recall not minding the group consisting of Yaoyorozu, Asui, Jiro, and the masked dude with wings whose name I can never remember. Still, one episode—half an episode, really, doesn’t give them the credit of a “Shining spot” in the season. I guess if I had to pick a character among the minor cast… Aizawa. He may not have had any immensely notable scenes or important parts specifically to his character, but he’s the only character I’d consider minor who had an ever-present place on the season and provided enough input—whether serious or not—to give him a place in my memory banks. And hey, Aizawa’s cool. He should get a shout-out. What about you? Who do you like most rather than Wind Guy™?

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Karandi: What is Wind Guy’s name? He must have one, but I just don’t care enough to look it up. I think you are right about Aizawa. He was a fairly constant presence this season in each arc and while I still feel the basic education system in this world leaves a lot to be desired, he genuinely does look out for his students even if he doesn’t insist they all get a lot of therapy. I particularly liked his role after the first arc where he and All Might were apologising to parents and then his observations during the exam arc were fairly well received.

That said, if I was going to give a shout out to a minor cast member I’d probably go with Kirishima. He doesn’t do a huge amount that has a major impact on the plot, but I feel his presence with Bakugo has really helped to moderate Bakugo’s more extreme moments this season and it is a friendship that has formed gradually since season one to the point where you aren’t sure when they actually started being friends but it feels right that they are. I especially liked that he was involved in Bakugo’s rescue but even in the provisional license exam he was in Bakugo’s group for the duration. Anyway, he’s a character I hadn’t paid a huge amount of attention to previously and this season just made me realise that he’s a fairly useful presence with the dynamic of the group.

As far as main characters go, I was a little disappointed with Todoroki and Uraraka this season, though they both had their moments I just felt like they were just rehashing the same moments we’d already seen from these two characters. Don’t get me wrong, Uraraka is still adorable as she stares out the window at Midoriya and her decision to put her feelings to the side to focus on becoming a hero are pretty logical, but she’s just so underused in the story at this point. And Todoroki’s moment was a definite step backwards. So, yeah, I’d have to say Midoriya and Bakugo got the best moments from the main cast this season as well.

My Hero Academia - Episode 55 - Todoroki

Anything else you want to discuss before we wrap this up?

Kapodaco: Well, I would’ve suggested a worst moment of the season as a whole, though I guess we did sort of go on a spiel above about the series’ pacing and all. If I could say something about characters that disappointed me, I would agree with Todoroki, but would also like to throw in Iida. He had some good short moments here, but he was one of my favorite characters coming out of the first and second seasons, and here he’s basically a nagging mother to everyone and that’s kind of his shtick. Really would’ve liked to have seen more from him.

Karandi: I actually agree. Iida really has become a nagging mother and that’s his sole purpose at this point in the story. I’d really like to see him having a bit more personality next season, or they could just move him to the background rather than having him in scenes just to lecture.

Kapodaco: He’s not Mineta, though.

Karandi: True. And for the most part we’ve avoided mentioning Mineta. Though I wish the show would avoid mentioning Mineta. Or showing him. Or actually having him as a cast member. He gets more irritating every single episode. Or maybe I already hit my tolerance for his shtick and I wish they’d just drop it already.

Kapodaco: I regret bringing that up, because now we’re sort of just lingering before the finish line.

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Karandi: Right, so final thoughts?

Kapodaco: It was a letdown, but not so much that I think it hurts the overall appeal of the show. A lot of good foundational things are still present in the form of the League of Villains growing stronger, Midoriya (and now Bakugo) having more motivation to get stronger, and All For One promises to still be around, and I think he’s infinitely more interesting than half the other characters introduced in this show since the beginning. I’ll reiterate again that I want some focus on other characters, but it’s definitely hard with so little time for such hard, time-consuming work as animation. I’m still fairly enticed to watch the fourth season. I was actually a little intrigued by the end of your analysis this week on the final episode. Will you continue the series?

Karandi: I think I’m realising now how viewing seasonally changes my views on shows. My Hero Academia has a rich world and some really interesting ideas but season three I found really challenging to watch week to week. Between deliberate cliff-hanger endings, arcs that didn’t feel rewarding to watch, and just low points, I will admit that this season was a bit of a struggle. And it is a challenge I didn’t face when I watched Bleach because seasonal viewing wasn’t a thing (and I’m comparing to Bleach because other than Hunter x Hunter (still unfinished), these are the only long running shounen anime I’ve attempted). But if I picked season five of Bleach (or really any season after season three) and tried to review it episode to episode in a weekly format, I can imagine I’d be every bit as frustrated. Looking at the whole, there’s still a lot to like about My Hero Academia.

That kind of leaves me wondering if I will do episode reviews of season four or just wait until it is done and binge it. I did just buy the second season on DVD as a cheer me up present to myself and I’m really looking forward to binge watching that, and I think it might be my preferred viewing method for this kind of show. So, am I continuing? I think I’ll start season four episodicially, but I might end up bailing and waiting until it is done airing.

However, if you wanted to review it together again, I’d probably really enjoy that. It has been really great working with you on this and I’ve enjoyed discussing the show each week even when I haven’t enjoyed the show so much.

Kapodaco: If you want to collaborate with me again for the fourth season, I’d be more than willing. I came to you with this collaboration, if you recall. And this was certainly an experience I won’t ever forget. It’s likely the most rewarding thing I’ve done in the ani-blogging community ever. Should we do this again, however, I want the exclamation mark quantity increased to four.

Karandi: I think it’s agreed then (although maybe not about the exclamation marks). So on that note, let’s finish this because I think we’ve gone on quite long enough. I’m thinking we need a ‘Plus Ultra!’ or something to finish with, but I’ve got nothing.

Kapodaco: Leave it to me.

Everyone! Look forward to Karandi and I’s next collaboration on the fourth season of My Hero Academia! Visualist x100!!!!™ Coming again to a blog in the near future!!!!!!!! Plus Ultra!!!!!!!

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All Reviews:


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed following along with us this season. Looking forward to the next one. Plus Ultra!

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three Episode 24

Right so with one more episode to go My Hero Academia sets up… some sort of fight between first years and third years? I’m not entirely certain that this is really something I’m all that hyped for, but I guess we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, this is how Kapodaco and I felt about the penultimate episode of the season.

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Karandi:

Well, I’m pretty much convinced at this point that season three is going to end on a reasonably unspectacular note despite the promise of a fight against one of UA’s top students. This season has just been all over the place and there’s no time left to build up to anything that would feel kind of actually climatic. I’m definitely feeling that from a seasonal point of view, it would have made more sense to have given us a single cour season ending with All Might’s retirement as that would have been a spectacular season end. Then this could be the mid-point of a new season rather than the ending.

Okay, now that I’m done rewriting the show, what was this episode like other than making me realise that there’s little next week will do to really reconsider my thoughts on this season?

Adequate. That’s really the best way to describe the episode.

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We get a half episode or so following around a monologuing villain and in the process get a feel for the genuine changes to society following All Might’s retirement. I genuinely enjoyed this section, though again, it isn’t going to build to something amazing in an episode (or at least it really shouldn’t). So if this had come earlier in the season I’d have been thrilled by this sequence but as a second last episode starting point I was kind of wondering where they think they are going with it.

The second half has the students attending their opening ceremony and we get some clear envy from Midoriya who feels like he’s being left out (due to the whole house arrest thing). And again, this section works well enough but isn’t exactly thrilling. I do wonder why at the end of the third season we’re still getting character names and quirks floating over the screen though. If you don’t know who Uraraka is at this point, you aren’t going to just because they put her name on the screen.

Honestly though, the introduction of the Big Three felt kind of lazy. Like they were just kind of dropped into the plot for the sake of convenience. Maybe they do something great with these characters but their introduction was a little bit underwhelming and again, we’ve only got one episode left so I’m not really expecting much to come from this at this point.

So, the episode works well enough. If this had been a mid-season episode it would have been fine. As a penultimate episode of a third season, I’m a little less than impressed though.

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Kapodaco:

There is absolutely nothing I could possibly add that would make my general thoughts on the episode any different from Karandi’s She is absolutely spot-on on just about everything.

I will add a few more thoughts on various moments, however. Notably with the beginning sequence.

I thought it was super cool to know more about… Two? Is that his name? The villain who reminds me a bit of anime Deadpool. His backstory is almost hilarious with how bizarre it is, and the fact that he seems like a reasonable dude despite his alignment is super fascinating. I was a little disappointed the whole episode wasn’t just about him. The state of the world after All Might’s “retirement” felt a little forced to me, though I suppose there’s little other way to make it known than to have things pan out in a point-blank fashion. Writing in this episode was also in danger of encroaching on Saturday-morning-cartoon levels of dumb (“If you’re trash, make like it and burn for me”) (paraphrasing).

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The moment I saw one of the “Big Three,” whose appearance is strikingly similar to that of All Might, I thought to myself, “Oh, God. Are we going to have one of those ‘I’M the proper replacement to All Might! Look how much he inspires me in my appearance and demeanor!’ type situations where Midoriya begins to question his worth as ‘the Chosen One’?” With one episode left, he’ll likely be prominent for any potential (or, frankly, inevitable) future seasons as the “new” rival or whatever. If correct, ugggggggggggggggh. This is such a lazy trope that I sincerely, sincerely hope the mangaka has some witty plans for, because doing it like any other of the thousands of series I’ve seen do it before would be very tiring.

Does anyone else notice that, aside from Todoroki, no other character than Midoriya and Bakugo seems to be getting any meaningful screentime? This episode has various characters make comments—Tsui says a thing, Tokoyami says a thing, Iida makes a few jokes—but they’re essentially background characters right now. I really miss the events when it displayed the input and potential for other characters, both in their powers and personality. It’s inevitable with about 365234625 characters that occasionally they’ll have to take a backseat, but with how well the series has been on showcasing them in the past, it feels like the mangaka is starting to bite off more than he can chew.

Meh. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the last episode turns out to be so unbelievably spectacular that it completely destroys Karandi and I’s expectations and makes us diehard fans for life? That’d be cool.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 25 and the season final.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three Episode 22

The exam is done and now we know who passed and who failed, but more importantly, My Hero Academia is finally turning its attention to what is coming next. The story kind of stalled during the last arc and it kind of felt like we were spinning our wheels and just waiting for it to pass but episode 22 plunges us straight back into the very dynamic world of heroes and villains and this episode is much better for it. Kapodaco and I share our thoughts below, but we’d love to hear what you thought of the latest episode.

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Kapodaco:

Well, what do you know? It really was the Provisional Exam arc bogging down all the potential quality. The moment it ended, I became intrigued with the series again.

First and foremost, not only did Todoroki and Wind Guy™ not pass, but Bakugo didn’t pass, either. I feel like justice has been served with all my griping in the past weeks. This was slightly mitigated by the examiners giving them a fallback plan via a three-month course to essentially “correct” their faults… but they were all bound to pass anyway, so it’s a fine substitute. Nice of the series to not take the easy way out. Now I’d like to see if it will ever show the three characters in said three-month course. Probably not, but we’ll see.

Even more ominously, the bearer of hormonal jealousy ended up being a member of the League of Villains, who also revealed she had a drop of Midoriya’s blood. Seeing as Midoriya’s ingested All Might’s DNA (which I think in this case means it’s ingrained in his blood), this might hint at All Might clones, or something of the sort. That’s interesting.

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What I found to be the most riveting part of the episode was the talk between All Might and All For One, even if I think the reasoning for the meeting was bogus. It laid the foundation of what the world may be coming to, as nothing All For One said was unreasonable, which was what made it so threatening. Even behind bars, his influence and perspective is one that seems like he’s in complete control. This is a good villain—a very good one. Just out of curiosity, I’d like to see an episode that looks at what All For One claimed in his spiel, whether the world really was on edge and if villains felt more motivated to act.

And as if the developments wouldn’t end, Bakugo has figured out Midoriya got his quirk from All Might (which, frankly, is pretty obvious if anyone paid close attention). Now he wants to fight him. I don’t know about myself, but this is a moment many have been dying to see since the beginning. Bakugo and Midoriya duking it out, presumably going all out. If I may make a prediction—as I normally do—the moment the fight actually kicks up, something bad will happen that’ll stop the fight midway… assuming they even fight at all with Midoriya fidgeting and hesitating.

While not quite a return to All Might form, this episode definitely went back to the formula that worked so well for the series in the past. Lots of developments happening all at once, great danger being seeded in the minds of the heroes, and the prospect of something bigger in the distance. I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, far more than the the last, say, four or five episodes. I’m sincerely hoping the season ends on a high note.

My Hero Academia Episode 60

Karandi:

I also found this episode far more enjoyable than pretty much anything we’ve seen since the exam started, though despite the many positives to come out of this episode I don’t think it makes the previous episodes any more palatable. It was great to see that they did fail some students but then I felt they undermined that by giving them that second chance rather than making them wait for the next exam.

Still, credit where it is due, and for the first time ever, they made a sensible move in terms of providing actual and real feedback to the students to assist them in improving. Why we don’t see this more often in exams and anime schools is a  little beyond me but so many of them take the Food Wars approach of pass or get out and never be heard from again, which kind of defeats the purpose of them being in school. That was a solid bit of world building and brought some credibility to everything we’d sat through in terms of the first elimination round and then the observations during the second round, including not just removing candidates who dropped below the pass mark.

My Hero Academia Episode 60

Like Kapodaco, I also really enjoyed the conversation between All Might and All For One. I love the idea that both mentors are essentially benched in terms of being active participants and it is the next generation and those that they’ve inspired (for better or worse) will carry on the fight. Though there’s definitely something ominous about the fact that All For One is still alive in general. All that security just seems like it is begging for a break in and break out by the villains later to rally the troops further and showing us what it all looks like means we’re now kind of expecting to see someone getting through all of that.

Then we have Midoriya and Bakugo. I’ll take a moment to happily jump up and down at how cute Midoriya was when he was smiling at his license and taking a photo of it to send to his mum and All Might. Then I’ll get to the more serious confrontation between these two which has been a very long time coming and while I’m expecting them both to get in trouble with a teacher if they actually start fighting at school (wasn’t the whole point of moving them on campus to provide actual supervision) I would very much like to see a one on one between these two characters.

While not a stand out episode, this one was a pretty solid return to what I enjoy about this anime and I kind of hope this season doesn’t lose steam again and manages to finish on a high note.

My Hero Academia Episode 60

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 23.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Special(?)

That question mark in the title is deliberate because to be honest there’s nothing special about this episode. Random filler would be a better episode description and while that isn’t great news it still could have clawed itself to the status of at least entertaining filler. Tragically, that is not the case and the resulting mess has left both Kapodaco and me decidedly underwhelmed.

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Kapodaco:

Let’s get a few things out of the way right now, this episode is all of these things:

Filler, an advertisement, unnecessary, fan service, random.

Even with all of this in mind, I genuinely would not mind an incredibly random and out of place episode that has nothing to do with what came before if it was in any way good or fun. After all, with as monotonous as the series has been of late, it’s pretty amusing to see that even the anime itself is so bored of itself that it decided to take a quick detour.

Unfortunately, the ensuing content could not only escape the soulless and meandering negative tie-ins attributed to the tags listed above, but it ultimately showcased very, very little of what this series can offer in terms of writing prowess or energetic fun.

The six most popular characters—or perhaps just the mangaka’s favorites—(hence “fan service”) are tasked with playing Clue because it’s “special training.” That’s all this episode is. I see very little value in how this will prepare them all with being heroes and very little value outside of putting this into the Mystery genre as to why I’m supposed to care about sudden “Whodunnit?” content. The extent of fun things we got to see in this episode is Bakugo getting angry/irritated and blowing things up.

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What makes this even worse is that sprinkled in the beginning and ending segments of this episode are little tidbits of All Might’s past as a pro hero, putting extra effort to showcasing his sidekick while in America, David Shield. The end of this episode proudly proclaims that All Might and Midoriya are going to visit I-Island to visit Shield and his daughter… only to then announce that this will all become available “in the movie.” The movie. Oh. So this was the most popular heroes playing Clue and building up to an actually-interesting premise that won’t be featured in the main series, but a spin-off movie. Thanks.

It’s pretty difficult to not outright tell this episode to fuck itself, but I suppose if they wanted to produce a random episode that diverges from the main plot to sell a product, at least they did it here and not the episode before All Might loses all ability to go super. I’d be a lot more angry if the placement of this filler content was in-between actually riveting content, but even on its own, it’s still pretty inherently disruptive and shallow.

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Karandi:

Am I allowed to copy and paste Kapodaco’s rant? Seriously, I’d really like to.

I actually enjoy Clue (or Cluedo) and locked room mysteries are inherently fun. So why can’t My Hero Academia, a show produced by Bones and in season one and two really nailing the fun tone, manage to make a one off episode with this premise entertaining?

And it really isn’t entertaining. Even if I overlook the fact that we end with a blatant plug for a movie and the fact that we disrupted what little flow the exam arc had, this episode in and of itself is not fun. Each character does exactly what you would expect from them giving the single more one note performances ever. It was like someone gave these characters to the hands of writers who had read their profile and never watched a single episode of the show.

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Midoriya mutters and puts things together, Iida is overly procedural, Bakugou is a bit of a hot-headed jerk and the other three are there because people like them. Seriously, they don’t contribute anything. Todoroki in particular could have been erased from every single scene without a single line needing to be rewritten and that is a horrendous misuse of his character.

I won’t belabour it any further. This is a waste of twenty minutes of your life. It isn’t fun. It doesn’t contribute to the characters in any meaningful way. And unless you were clueless about the movie coming out it doesn’t really tell you anything new about the franchise. All and all, watch literally anything else.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 21.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 18

My Hero Academia - Episode 56 - Kaminari

Part of me wonders this week if maybe Kapodaco and I are both just really cynical people given the team pulling together and happy endings aren’t really working for either one of us here. Then again, maybe we’ve just been spoilt by previous arcs in My Hero Academia and now we’re wanting more. Either way, this is what we thought of episode 18. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Bakugou

Kapodaco:

About two months ago, the first major trailer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate proudly proclaimed, “Everyone is Here!” My Hero Academia decided that sounded awesome, so they made everyone pass this latest test. In short, it didn’t have quite the impact the former announcement had.

I honestly think this is a missed opportunity. Why does everyone need to pass? Now I’m convinced that everyone will pass regardless. All the characters we’ve come to love (Iida) and loathe (Mineta) will all pass because plot armor, probably. There’s still one more test(?) to go, so maybe not everyone will pass, but I think it’s likelier than not.

Why not have everyone pass? I think it could go for good writing material. While not unique or new, those who don’t could use it as growing material. Let’s say Iida decided to sacrifice himself for the rest of the class. How would he react to being put behind? How would he deal with being on the sidelines while watching everyone else advance? Would he be okay with it knowing of his sacrifice, or would it eat at him inside? And what of those on the other side? Would they try and fight harder in Iida’s honor? Would they take advantage of his kindness and rub him the wrong way? The potential storylines are plentiful. Instead everyone wins and all is good and happy. It feels a little… childish, I think.

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What’s done is done. Everyone has passed, as well as some important(?) characters shown before and during the first test. In terms of the episode’s content, there were some nice moments to them. Bakugo acknowledging Midoriya’s worth was a nice moment. Everyone beginning to get together and celebrating was nice. Mr. Naval Laser has a very rare humane scene. People do feel important here. As for the rest, it’s kind of like last episode, except the fight scene is shorter and the rest is baiting emotions by wiggling the possibility of not everyone passing. Speaking of that fight scene, there was too much “This is how it was done!” talking, like last episode. Filler dialogue. Ick.

I’d say this is better than last episode, but only barely. It’s still around the zip code of “Fine” and nothing more. With the potential of not everyone passing being used as a threat, only to have everyone pass anyway, it felt a little anticlimactic. But the small moments of character interaction were enough for me to remain interested even when what was happening onscreen was very… talkative. Bring on the rescue squads.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Celebrations

Karandi:

I’m with Kapodaco here in that everyone passing just doesn’t have much impact. While there was at least the possibility of failure being wiggled about in the previous episodes, by the midway point of this episode it was more or less a foregone conclusion that they weren’t going to let anyone from UA actually fail and then it was just a matter of waiting for it to happen. From a plot point of view it is a lost opportunity and worse, the execution has done little to elevate what is a pretty standard arc to anything particularly memorable.

However, this episode was better than last week. Kaminari, a character I usually don’t think much about, gets a fairly decent moment in this episode as does Aoyama (though there are some interesting implications from his behaviour that I hope get followed up on).

I’ll even give Uraraka and Sero some credit for that great plan to catch the others that they came up with more or less without Midoriya’s input. But like with other character moments that have come out of this test, this one builds on something we saw during the previous tournament where Uraraka refused Midoriya’s plan to come up with one on her own. While it is great for cohesion that we see this idea continue to play a role in her character development, when there is nothing else on offer it doesn’t feel like the most satisfying payoff from an episode.

My Hero Academia Episode 56

Then we have the brief but fairly important interaction between Midoriya and Bakugou. A moment of acknowledgement as well as a moment where Bakugou shows us once again he does think and put things together and coupling this scene with his previous moments when All Might essentially passed the torch, even if it hasn’t been explicitly said I think we can conclude that Bakugou has figured everything out. That said, did we need the flash back to Midoriya slipping up earlier when talking to Bakugou? Scenes like that make me feel like the writers don’t trust the audience at all and it really broke the flow of the moment. If they absolutely had to include a flash back it should have been sandwiched in at the start of the episode with all the other recap stuff to remind us this was a thing and then we could have just enjoyed the scene for what it was without intrusion.

Despite all of that, the episode was a slight improvement on last week and I am kind of interested in the rescue test because to be honest that seems like the more common work a hero should be doing. Helping people rather than beating them up.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Midoriya

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Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 19.

Friday’s Feature: Baiting the Hook

There’s been a lot already said about the proliferation of anime, seasonal watchers, and the general idea that there’s just too much content so I’m really not going to get into that. However, in that sea of content, creators know they have to get the attention of their very fickle audience and then they have to catch us and reel us in. Mostly because seasonal watchers tend to demonstrate a number of common traits: a short attention span and limited tolerance for ‘filler’.

While previously shows have had episodes to build a world and characters, now many viewers make snap judgements with some cutting episodes before the first scene is done. Where the three episode rule used to hold true, and current narratives seem to be well aware of such a rule with more and more shows either moving a mini-climax to episode two or making episode 3 a two-parter to draw their episode back (How Not To Summon A Demon Lord), less viewers seem to actually hold to this rule these days. To be honest, they just don’t want to sink an hour of their lives into something they are ultimately going to drop.

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As such we are getting more and more first episodes and more and more characters with quite distinct traits designed to draw the audience in with the hope that then the rest of the story will hook the in for the season. While sometimes this works beautifully as the audience is dragged along on a wondrous adventure before being cut loose to go and bite some other line, other times it leaves the audience feeling like they got reeled in and left high and dry.

This isn’t exactly new. Entertainment has always been competitive and most shows have always realised they needed something to distinguish themselves from other titles. Yet in the age of streaming and simulcasts this has become more important than ever and it is starting to show in the way first arcs are feeling more and more compacted and rushed and mid-seasons are feeling a little bit empty before we escalate toward a climax.

Now, there are some obvious baiting moves. If we look at Darling in the Franxx, well we already know how they baited their hook, the glorious Zero-Two. She was such an energetic enigma of a character in the first episode. Throw in some nudity, a bit of danger, and a sense of her rebellious nature, and you have the perfect bait for a community to go crazy on social media. And so they did. I also really loved Zero-Two’s initial characterisation particularly the way they built up the idea of her being a partner killer. However, this was definitely a case of bait and switch as little came of the partner killer idea beyond the first arc and Zero-Two became a progressively less interesting character as the season continued.

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Clearly the writers knew how to grab the audience’s attention but then they didn’t know what to do with it. They’d created this perfectly researched, tantalising character, but had no message, point, or even solid arc for her to travel on. By the time she literally became a hollow shell before turning to stone while staring at the sky a lot of the love for Zero-Two had worn down and many viewers realised that they’d been hooked onto a show that ultimately didn’t suit them and what they wanted from an anime.

Other obvious baiting moves include the flash forward or flash back to some kind of massive conflict that may or may not become relevant later. The issue with this is it has been done to death and when done poorly, it mostly just eats up screen time with characters no one knows running around or shouting and there’s little reason to care what is going on (Lord of Vermilion – looking at you right now). However, this can be highly effective bait.

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Look at the opening sequence to season one of Attack on Titan. The birds slowly flying over the city to the wall where we suddenly see the titan emerging. The close ups on the character’s eyes as they widen in fear and horror. This sequence is brief enough that it doesn’t feel like wasted time and yet sensational enough to have an impact. The audience wants to know. When is this going to happen? What happens next? And fortunately, Attack on Titan knew what to do after baiting the hook. It delivered the titan by the end of the episode. No waiting an entire season just to get back to the original bait. For all that Attack on Titan might be criticised for some of its narrative choices, it knew exactly how to capture an audience and that really explains why its popularity exploded the way it did, even if the longevity of that massive fan-base wasn’t so set in stone.

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However, bait isn’t limited to first episodes. Supporting characters introduced later in their series need bait as well otherwise they get crowded out or forgotten. There are many shows where viewers would struggle to name any of the support characters even a month after the show finished its run. Yet a memorable support cast can really elevate a viewing experience.

That word memorable might be a bit of a double edge sword though with some shows simply giving characters insane designs or making them needlessly crazy but forgetting to actually characterise them in any meaningful way. The Musicians from Caligula would fit this bill. They were definitely visually distinct and yet their characters rang very hollow and ultimately I couldn’t tell you anything about any of them, except one of the guys had some complex about another guy being prettier than him. That isn’t exactly leaving an impression.

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My Hero Academia excels at building its support cast and baiting their individual story-lines so that when the main narrative turns its attention to one of these characters it doesn’t feel like filler but rather like a much anticipated story thread. Who didn’t want to know the story behind Todoroki’s scarred face? Who isn’t curious about Tokoyami’s dark shadow? And let’s be honest, if Twitter is anything to go by, Tsuyu is a character who has captured all the fan’s attention and the filler episode of season 2 was entirely a show about everyone’s beloved Froppy. These characters each have something about them that makes the audience want to know more and feel satisfied when they finally get it. They are talked about almost as much as the protagonist’s, and they are an intrinsic part of what makes the show feel like more than what the basic narrative of Midoriya becoming a hero really should warrant.

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When a show does baiting right the audience feels satisfied and happy with the experience. When the baiting is just that and there’s no substance to back it up, then the audience feels cheated. When the baiting is poorly done the audience looks at the hook and then turns away looking for something better.

Of course, that does leave us all with the question of whether or not this is going to have a positive impact on how stories are told? While grabbing a reader’s attention has always been an important goal for a story, usually there was more time to do this. As we get increasingly more gimmicky, more violent, more zany and more over the top premises clamouring for our attention (and longer and longer titles on light novels) you have to wonder where it is all going and whether we’ve already gone too far. Has narrative integrity been abandoned for a series of point in time sensational moments that will be shared on social media?

The more cynical would say yes, but that is ignoring some fairly fantastic stories that have come out in recent times. However, there is definitely a shift occurring in the way stories are presented and as always it is the audience driving this shift, whether we’re doing it intentionally or not.

Over to the readers then: What is the worst bait an anime has used to hook its audience?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Friday’s Feature: Appreciating the Transformative Journey of All Might’s Character

I’ve been wanting to write a bit more about My Hero Academia for awhile now but have been tossing up how to approach it. The last time I explored this issue I looked at the idea’s characters such as All Might and Stain represented within the context of My Hero Academia in Friday’s Feature: Not a Character, an Idea.

And after much contemplation I’ve returned to All Might, because as of episode 15 in season 3, the main theme that continues to capture my attention in My Hero Academia is this idea of what happens when a society is built around a single pillar and that pillar cracks or falls.

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In my previous post I looked at the fact that All Might’s deteriorating condition was ultimately worse than if he took a fatal hit. While dying in the line of duty would be tragic for All Might and those close to him, for the world it would leave a lasting symbol that could not be tarnished by reality. However, season three chooses to push further with the idea of revealing to the world the very human weakness of All Might and his final moments as a hero are put on display in the most public of ways.

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This serves multiple purposes outside of just being another plot point on the road to Midoriya rising as a hero.

Firstly, the audience is already aware of All Might’s condition the consequences of him using his power the way he does in the fight with All For one. The audience, and Midoriya, have been in on this secret for two and half seasons and finally all of the characters inside the My Hero Academia world are in on it too. And their reactions are interesting.

For the police and law enforcement it immediately becomes a crisis of how to keep things standing when the central pillar has been removed. We see the awareness that they now have that the way their society was structured, around a single individual held up as a larger than life symbol, was inherently flawed. Something that should have been obvious from the beginning given even All Might had admitted he couldn’t save everyone because he couldn’t get to everyone, and yet the basic premise of this society is that All Might’s mere existence kept villains in check.

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The reaction of the public initially was more positive than anticipated, mostly because of the feat All Might had just pulled off and the fact that the public weren’t yet aware that All Might wouldn’t be fighting again. However, the ongoing reaction to this change in the world has yet to be seen, though if My Hero Academia’s history can be counted on, I’m certain that we’ll eventually see this idea explored further.

For the students with their ambitions to be heroes it brought home the reality they were entering into. While Midoriya was already aware of All Might’s secret, the sheer weight that fell on his shoulders in All Might’s final moments was phenomenal and while the other characters in the series may not be fully aware of the implications of All Might’s ambiguous message, Midoriya certainly was.

My Hero Academia - Your Turn 2

My Hero Academia - Your Turn

And let’s consider that message. All Might wasn’t just talking to Midoriya, even though his message to Midoriya was clear. For his whole life, All Might has lived as a symbol, and even at the end he passed the torch of preserving the peace not just to Midoriya, but to everyone who was watching and everyone who had ever been inspired by him. He made a call to action to uphold the justice he had protected for so long and he made it in one of the most dramatic ways possible on the battlefield with the dust barely settled.

Now, All Might’s survival at this point contradicts the basic idea of passing the torch and the like in that as a mentor you would think his role was pretty much done and in most shonen or fantasy stories it would be. He had found his successor who had that one quality he was seeking. He had set that student on their path. While the student wasn’t yet ready, All Might’s death would definitely have stirred Midoriya to greater heights and levels of determination and it would have been a nice clean break.

We should have known My Hero Academia would take the general mentor archetype and push it that little bit further. Because what do you do with a living legend who has outlived their use as a symbol? What do you do with someone who was once the greatest who is now essentially without a quirk and weak?

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In the follow up episodes to All Might’s chilling victory, we see that he himself is working to find a new place in the world for himself. He isn’t just passing a torch to Midoriya and checking out. He is aware of how far the road still is for the young student and he is determined to help him all the way. And it isn’t just Midoriya. Again we see that All Might really does have a wide view of people and it is all of the students that All Might has turned his attention to, even while he does still work to see Midoriya master his quirk.

One of the very nice touches amidst training episodes was when All Might visited the training centre and spoke with each student. He didn’t give direct answers but used his vast experience as a hero to guide each student in small ways to an answer. This by itself was a great moment as it showed us exactly what All Might does have still to offer in this world: knowledge of what it is like to be a hero. However, once again My Hero Academia didn’t leave this moment at just this, it then showed us through Aizawa that All Might had a book in his back pocket about teaching.

It is a small detail and a very small scene in a much larger narrative and yet it speaks volumes. All Might himself is at a loss after a lifetime of being a hero. He knows what he wants to do now and that is to prepare these kids for a future that is looking bleaker by the minute, but it is a different skill set to the one he is used to using. But All Might isn’t afraid to look at his own weaknesses and work to overcome them. While he may now be physically weak (and I’m still guessing that at some point he is going to pass on) his mental fortitude and resilience are top notch. He’s finding other ways to contribute and to meet his goals.

Despite that, very soon after Bakugo unleashes an attack that sends a rock hurtling toward All Might. While he is defended by Midoriya, the reality that he is now someone who people feel the need to protect hits home. We see a very small All Might standing alone as this realisation really sinks in. While he doesn’t see himself as weak, he realises that this is how he is now viewed and while he doesn’t resent being rescued, it is a hard mental shift to make.

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All Might’s fate is something that I’m watching very closely because I really am curious to see how this world will react to their fallen symbol in the long-term. I’m curious as to whether All Might can maintain his optimism and continue to focus on the future without succumbing to bitterness at what he has lost. I’m curious as to how his colleagues will react to him as he is a living reminder of their own human frailty.

All Might’s character journey has so far been one of the truly stand out things about My Hero Academia. While a shallow glance at this character might make him seem like a Superman rip-off there’s some complexities to his character that make him truly interesting. However the best thing about All Might is that even when he was the symbol of peace, the audience was always in on his hidden secret and that made him always seem very human. And it is the human aspect of his character, rather than the heroic ones, that make him memorable as he continues on his journey however long or brief that journey may be (no spoilers if you’ve read the source).

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What do you think of All Might’s journey as a character over the two and a half seasons of My Hero Academia?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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