Boku no Hero Academia Season 4 - Review


Boku no Hero Academia 4

Boku no Hero Academia Season 4 - Review

Introduction

The fourth season of Boku no Hero Academia is another solid entry into the Boku no Hero Academia franchise. It doesn’t consistently reach the same heights that the second and third seasons did, but the issue definitely lies mainly from a story perspective.

That being said, the season is still spectacular, and as I watched it, I slowly began to feel, more and more, that Boku no Hero Academia was starting to establish itself as a staple anime in the shounen sphere.

There’s still a long way to go before Boku no Hero Academia can stand in the same ring as anime like Naruto or One Piece, but if these same standards and this quality is held up for the next couple of seasons, it could very well do so.

Boku no Hero Academia’s fourth season first started airing in the Fall 2019 season and came to its conclusion in the Spring 2020 season. The season is a full twenty-five episode, just like the previous two seasons, and received, as of April 2020, a rating of 8.29 out of 10 on MyAnimeList.

This is a bit of a drop (0.22) from the previous season, but I think that both seasons performed quite similarly and should achieve the same rating.

Story and Plot

The plot of the fourth season is mainly focused on two arcs; the Shie Hassaikai and Rescuing Eri arc and the School Festival arc.

The superior arc was definitely the Hassaikai arc, although the School Festival arc was also quite enjoyable to watch. Specifically, the story starts with Midoriya applying for a long-term internship at the agency of All Might’s former sidekick, Sir Nighteye.

Through this agency, and working together with his senior, Mirio Togata, Midoriya discover a young girl, Eri, who is being abused and mistreated by the head of the designated villain group, the Shie Hassaikai.

According to Nighteye’s intelligence, the leader of the Hassaiakai, Chisaki, has a Quirk that allows him to break things down and reconstruct them, which lead to the idea that he would be breaking down Eri (whom Chisaki had identified as his daughter during a chance encounter) and rebuilding her to manufacture Quirk destroying bullets.

Both Mario and Midoriya are incredibly distraught that they failed to protect Eri when they ran into Chisaki in the street, and there’s a lot of build-ups before the invasion of the Hassaikai’s headquarters begins.

To be completely frank, I started watching this series when the it first started airing and held off on finishing it right as the invasion began.

I only went back to binge watch the series near the end of the season, where I was able to make sense of a lot of things I’d either missed or hadn’t paid too much attention to the first time.

A lot of time is spent on build up, with Midoriya working to impress Nighteye and characters like Kirishima getting time in the spotlight at their own work studies.

There’s also a bit of drama that appears with Nighteye having somehow predicted All Might’s death as part of his Quirk and disagreeing with Midorya’s inheritance of One for All, believing that the power should have been bestowed upon Mirio instead, whom he had taken in and was training in parallel to All Might’s training of Midoriya.

The show fails to communicate a lot of the emotion it claims that Midoriya is feeling in this stretch, leading to a lot of excessive narration.

A lot of the details and information that Nighteye and the other participating pro heroes contribute in the plan to find and invade the Hassaikai went over my head and the little dip into Amajiki’s backstory and confidence issue felt like a massive sidetrack to me.

However, when the invasion into the Hassaikai’s base kicks into gear and we begin to see some truly amazing fights, the season becomes undroppable.

The fight through the Hassaikai’s base to find Eri and put a stop to Chisaki’s scheming is incredibly tense and well-paced. Different heroes engage in battles with the “Eight Bullets” of the Hassaiaki clan, powerful warriors that stop at nothing to protect their master.

The fights are intense and creative, as is to be expected from Boku no Hero Academia and we see a lot of villainous Quirks that raise some interesting questions about the roles of performance enhancers and regulations in establishing a functioning society with nearly every individual possessing a Quirk of some kind.

Eventually, we reach the final battle where we witness Mirio fighting Chisaki and two of his warriors head on, all while trying to rescue Eri.

Personally, I wish I was a little more invested in Mirio’s fight, but, although the show did a better job of establishing a personal relationship with Mirio more than it did with the other members of the Big Three, I couldn’t get myself to care as much as I felt like I should have when Mirio finally fell.

It might have been Mirio himself and his lack of reaction; someone losing their Quirk for all time definitely should have had a stronger reaction.

Nighteye’s entrance into the fight was also quite strong, although I can’t for the life of me, understand how someone like Nighteye, with nothing in his Quirk to boost his combat ability, could ever go toe to toe with a Quirk-wielder like Overhaul. Still, Nighteye’s participation was much appreciated.

Generally, when I watch anime I maintain a very neutral expression. Not out of malice, or hate towards a specific genre or studio, I just find that very few shows get me invested enough in the action or drama within for the results to manifest on my face.

Boku no Hero Academia was one of those shows. For almost the first time ever, I actually laughed out loud. I felt air escape form my gullet as my mouth formed a smile and sound came out of my larynx because Boku no Hero Academia finally hit the meaning of shounen fight anime.

The fight between Midoriya and Chisaki was tremendous to behold. Most of the beginning of the fight was above average for Boku no Hero Academia, but it was when Midoriya finally voiced the meaning of Eri’s Quirk and what it would require for him to survive as he actively fought Chisaki that I actually laughed.

Seeing Midoriya fight Chisaki with a full powered One for All as he did everything he could to avoid being consumed by Eri’s Quirk was just incredible to watch. I remember thinking something along the lines of “Super Saiyan” Midoriya when I saw him flying at a hundred percent.

The aftermath of the invasion was also handled really well, with Midoriya and Mirio’s slow recovery, Nighteye and All Might’s reconcilement before Nighteye’s death, the idea of a future not set in stone, and the uncertainty in Eri’s fate.

I also want to comment on how pleased I was with the handling of the League of Villains. I wasn’t really a fan of the League in the previous seasons, but I definitely felt like Shigaraki Tomura was doing some actual guidance to his league in this season.

Cutting off Chisaki’s arms and killing the Sand Hero after Chisaki’s capture was a good touch to show how unhinged he still was, yet how he still would stop at nothing to reach his goal, including infiltrating the Hassakai and betraying them during the pro heroes’ invasion.

The League was definitely handled well this season, and was set up efficiently for a lot of growth to becoming a serious threat to the nation in the next season.

What came after the Hassakai arc was the School Festival arc, and while Boku no Hero Academia definitely remains a shounen fight anime, it definitely turned slightly towards the high school, slice-of-life anime genre with this arc.

While I didn’t feel like it was capable of carrying the show as well as the first arc had, I still enjoyed the arc and felt like it gave good relief to the tension developed in the Hassaikai arc.

I wasn’t a fan of Gentle Criminal, feeling like he was mainly a waste of time. In the end his message didn’t exactly mean very much and Midoriya was able to beat the bad guy and make it back to the school festival.

The clash in the pair’s ambitions was quite extreme and Gentle’s Quirk helped make an interesting fight, but the character wasn’t quite extreme enough for an intense fight scene.

Everything was resolved and went according to plan. The school festival also went normally, which doesn’t exactly wow in the way that Boku no Hero Academia usually does, so fans that don’t especially like high school, slice-of-life anime probably didn’t enjoy this arc in the slightest.

The season doesn’t actually end there but is resolved with a two-episode piece on Endeavor and the other top ten heroes of Japan, and how Endeavor is slowly changing his position from the envious number two to a slightly worthy number one hero.

While I have more to say on the character change here, the fight scene between Endeavor and the advanced Nomu was definitely entertaining to watch. Almost too entertaining.


Characters

Just like every new season, we get introduced to a fresh batch of characters in this season. This time, the number feels a bit smaller, or at least a bit more compact, and the characters we do get introduced to feel a lot more neatly polished.

In the Hassaikai arc we meet a lot of fantastic new villains, get to know a lot of new pro heroes, and go in-depth with a few select heroes and characters like Amajiki, Fat Gum, and Nighteye, besides of course the main characters Mirio, Eri, and Chisaki, who we get to learn quite a bit about.

I want to give special attention to Chisaki, because the way he was executed was really quite unique. While his character definitely could have used some work, using his Quirk to turn him into a monster was both realistic, and a good heightening of the dramatic tension, forcing Midoriya to use more and more of his power than he realized he could have before.

As for the second half of the anime, Gentle Criminal and his sidekick felt very generic and too half-hearted to be of any real significance, although they were definitely positioned in a place where they could have dealt more damage or drawn more attention to themes like casting people aside, and the causes of villainy.

On the other hand, the top ten heroes introduced in the final two episodes were definitely interesting enough and serve as a good motivator and bridge into the next season.

I wasn’t really a big fan of Hawks right at his introduction, but he showed his character later on during the fight with Nomu.

There’s a bit more to say about the older characters though. Besides Midoriya and Kirishima, less attention than usual was placed on the regular supporting cast.

We see a lot of them during the school festival and preparing for it, but that’s more in the role of students rather than heroes. Still, I understand the necessity of occasionally taking a break, and the other characters we got to see and learn about more than make up for it.

On the other hand, I was definitely disappointed by the lack of Bakugou and Todoroki in the first arc, but just as that thought had formed in my head we got the episode where they “fight” the nursery children at the provisional licensing training course.

A fun reminder than both Todoroki and Bakugou still exist and were held behind by their own weaknesses, but it only reminded me about how much Todorki’s character felt stunted.

The scenes with his mother and Endeavor’s fight in the final episodes definitely help resolve that, and we watch Todoroki get emotional as he talks to his father and Endeavor strives to be a hero his son will respect.

I was definitely confused a little by Endeavor’s character change; it felt a little too much out of character for him to suddenly become mature and try to take charge of things in a very normal way, and the way that his fight with the Nomu presented him as self-sacrificing instead of calculating seemed designed to make the audience sympathize with him.

I’m not sure if this means the show wants to plant Endeavor in a similar position to All Might, or if its trying to show Endeavor slowly resolving his issues and treating his family better, but I will definitely be paying close attention to how Endeavor is portrayed in the next season.

Characters with issues, like Endeavor and the Bakugou of the earlier seasons, take a lot of concentration and care to develop properly; rushing things can often cause unrealistic changes that damage the character and the audience’s perception of them more than anything.

Speaking of Bakugou, I definitely want to applaud the director for putting Bakugou on the drums in the school festival. His speech about “killing the school” with their sound was incredibly in character and exactly something that Bakugou would have done.

Music, Art and Animation

The art and animation remain top notch in this season. Everything is bright and vibrant, and a lot of attention was given to the Hassaikai clans plague doctor masks and their entire dark aesthetic.

Definitely a job well done for the original artists and the studio here. The music is fantastic, as usual, and the issues I’d had with a lack of synchronization between atmosphere and the correct musical tracks were resolved by about 95%.

Actually, I think the soundtrack for the fourth season is actually better than third season’s soundtrack, with a return to the triumphant fanfares and violins that were present in the first two soundtracks, and neatly hidden electronic, synthesized elements in the middle to make it unique and fresh.

As for the opening and ending themes, “Polaris” and “Koukai no Uta” the first opening/ending pair were definitely better than the second two.

They fit theme of action and fight anime better than “Starmaker” and “Shout Baby” although I understand the decision to choose less intense themes for the second cour, what with the school festival being the prominent arc.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I find it very easy to say that the fourth season did very well as part of Boku no Hero Academia. The plot was solid, the characters interesting, and the fight scenes exciting.

The plot in the second cour fell a little short, but overall, the season was very satisfying and definitely hits the same standards that Boku no Hero Academia has put forward in the past.

I look forward to the fifth season with great anticipation.


Related Reviews

Most Viewed

Recently Viewed

Updated 2 years ago