And so the long-awaited Season 6 of My Hero Academia has concluded, so it is time for a review! Well, for those watching it subtitled it has finished. For those of you watching it dubbed you still have a few weeks left to go but that is beside the point. This year’s season sees the return of Izuku Midoriya and his friends as they face off against Tomura and the Paranormal Liberation Front in a battle that could determine the future of their world.
Whilst I am reviewing this season as a whole the review itself will be spoiler free. I will grant you this does mean I can’t drill down into specific plot points. But this review is meant to give you an idea of what to expect if you have yet to watch it for whatever reason. As a whole, I do think it is decent. And has some really powerful moments within it. Even if the pacing of certain parts of it isn’t the best.
Story – For the Future
My Hero Academia Season 6 takes place immediately after the end of the previous one. As such, there is no “filler” opening episode and we just straight into the action. Our heroes are about to begin their assault on the Paranormal Liberation Front’s base as well as the hospital where Tomura is currently located. This whole arc makes up around 50% of the duration of this year’s season. With the vast majority of it being a series of extended fight sequences. All of which ultimately converge on one big final battle.
To be fair it isn’t all action. There are a few stand-out moments of character development and deeper explorations into the true nature of this world. Further revealing its darker side. Something which in fairness always has been there. But now is brought into increasingly compelling focus the further along we go. These moments vary from deep and heartbreaking to cold and unnerving. As said in the intro, I am keeping this as spoiler free as I can. However, I will say that some moments with certain characters show a crueller side to this world that often goes overlooked.
I will be blunt. As great as these moments are (and some will be elaborated upon later). I do feel that the constant stream of near-endless fighting that makes up the majority of the first half of the season starts to overstay its welcome far too soon. Much of it feels like it has been dragged out to almost comical degrees. With the latter half almost venturing into the farcical. It honestly feels like some episodes could easily be rearranged or split up and it would have flowed a lot better. The second half of the season does. At least for the most part.
Once it finds its feet, the Dark Hero arc is the better half of the season. Whilst it will continue into next season what it gives us this season is honestly fantastic. Showing us a side that is rarely seen in superhero fiction; the aftermath. And the immediate aftermath at that. With short exchanges and moments within that are haunting. Showing a human element that many other stories frankly don’t.
The actual ‘meat’ of the second half (this being Midoriya’s journey into becoming a hero) is well written. It is good to finally get time with him. As I honestly feel he is underused despite being the show’s main character. As good as it is I do feel that it suffers due to not being as compelling as other aspects of this season. With most of it feeling condensed due to other matters coming to the fore. The continued drama of the Todoroki family, the new villain we gain, as well as other spoilerific events, take up much of the run time of the second half. They are all great elements, but I feel as though they do take oxygen from Midoriya’s own story.
As a whole, I think that the writing of My Hero Academia Season 6 remains brilliant. When we get to experience it that is. I feel that the pacing and structure of the season as a whole let it down. Meaning that some sequences that should be better explored are not. In favour of the spectacle of super-powered battles. And also means at times that some events are hand waved off or given what feels like a minimal amount of focus.
Characters & Performances – Going Beyond
The version of My Hero Academia Season 6 I watched for this review was the subtitled version. As such when I discuss the performances here I am talking about the original cast. With that said, honestly, it is hard to really condense my feelings about the performances into a review like this. They are all fantastic. Everyone feels perfectly cast with each giving a pitch-perfect performance that feels authentic to the characters as written. I feel that Akio Otsuka as All For One is one of my stand-out performances. As when we do meet with them this season they are just spectacularly villainous. Conveying a sinister confident dominance in every scene he is in which is hard to convey in words.
Of course, Daiki Yamashita also deserves praise. Beyond the fact they are able to nail the tone of Midoriya at this point in his adventure, they continue to be able to convey the physical pain that Midoriya goes through astoundingly well. Additionally, there is Ayane Sakura as Ochaco. There is a speech that they deliver towards the end of the season which they perform brilliantly. And in a way which feels genuine to the character.
Murder Explosion Man
All the characters for this year’s season are well-written. Though I feel that the two best-written are Twice and Bakugo. Twice continues to cut a tragic figure throughout his time in the program. This season is no exception. They are the true representation of just how cruel the world of My Hero Academia can be. Again, I won’t spoil anything, but what we see of him is great. Simply great.
I feel that Bakugo is a character is one who is underrated by the wider animation community. It is easy to see him just as the “Loud explosion guy”. However I have always felt that he had a level of nuance to him that was often overlooked by casual observers. And this season we get to see that further developed. We witness a maturing of them, unlike any other character in the program. Sure, they can still be immature, but in a way which feels believable for boys his age. And beyond that shows himself to be growing and finding himself in a way which feels natural and well thought out to me.
Pacing & Cinematography – More Than a Wobble
Regrettably, I have to say that the pacing of My Hero Academia Season 6 has been one of the weaker parts which made my viewing of this for the review annoying at times. And there is no other way to really put it. As previously explained I feel the opening arc runs on for far too long. With so much of it feeling drawn out the latter end of it starts to feel rushed as they try and pack as much as they can into the time remaining. This leads us to a rather absurd moment where we get a flashback to someone’s backstory within the flashback of someone else’s backstory.
This sadly carries over to the opening few episodes of the second half. Where the pace of some of those early episodes (especially one key episode) feels ludicrously fast. I understand why some of them need to be. I get it as far as the internal logic goes. But in one episode we have a massive exposition dump thrown on us only to then get right into the action just as we are trying to process things. This improves as the season progresses. Even if it feels like the focus keeps jumping about too much.
The animation for My Hero Academia Season 6 is far more consistent than in previous seasons. This means that we don’t have the sharp dive from almost feature film quality animation to standard TV quality as we sometimes got in the past. But it also means we do have fewer breathtaking moments. Don’t get me wrong. There are some brilliant moments and visuals. However, the frequency of that quality is sparser than in the past and becomes increasingly rare as the season progresses.
Visuals like the wall of bodies that Twice creates, the twisted expressions of Tomura, Dabi, and Toga, and the thought space that Tomura has during his coma (something that apparently was original for the show) are all brilliant. But by the end of the season, we never see anything quite that creative again. The fights we get are still well-animated. But don’t feel quite as special or innovative as they otherwise could/should be.
Editing & Sound – Fight & Might
My Hero Academia Season 6 is for the most part well edited. There is nothing bad about how it is put together in that regard. As it uses what it has well. And as such any issues that I do have stem more from the writing and animation. As those have a greater impact on what is useable within post-production. There are a few bum notes, but at worse that is just a couple of reused animation shots. And anything else is just typical for the show.
The captions that appear when a character appears in the episode which tell you their hero name and quirk are, in this version at least, still totally useless. They take up too much space on the screen and often tell us things we already know, or things we don’t need to know; I don’t need to know the superpower of a character who isn’t going to use it or be a focus of the show going forwards. The sound design and use of music are decent. There isn’t much else to say about it. Everything has the impact it needs, the new intros are good if you are into indie pop rock. They’re good. Even if it isn’t the best thing I exprienced in My Hero Academia Season 6 for my review.