My Hero Academia Season 5 Review


It’s always impressive how the MHA seasons keep arriving like clockwork. You can usually expect a season every year and the next one will certainly be coming soon as well. The seasons have all been rather consistent as well with really solid animation throughout. This is probably the first one where it felt like the production started to catch up with them in the end but ultimately you’ve got another great season here. There’s a lot going on so lets hop right to it.

The show quickly opens up with the aftermath of last season as Dabi shows up to taunt Endeavor a little bit. As one of the enemy top commanders it would be great if the heroes could take him out but he’s too crafty and slips away. We then go to the heroes who need to get stronger and have a tournament between classes to pull this off. Class 1A will have to try and take out Class 1B once and for all. Can they really pull this off though or are they already doomed? Class 1B has far less real world experience than 1A but of course their quirks are still the real deal.

This lasts for the first half of the season and it’s a fun arc. The animation really helps to increase how intense the battles are but either way I’m always up for a good tournament. We get to see everyone contribute this way and you know that Bakugo is going to be set. Honestly I think Class 1B should have won the third round based on how things played out but I’ll go into each individual match in a second. All of them were fun though and I liked how 1B’s teacher was openly rooting for them. He may not be impartial but he’s certainly loyal. I’d like 1A’s teacher to have been a little more supportive like that.

After the tournament ends we get the mini arc of Todoroki, Bakugo, and Deku working under Endeavor. We get to see more of his family drama and the heroes learn how to make the most of their quirks. In the background Hawks is working on a mission of his own and it’s hard to tell if he’s a double agent that the heroes can trust or if he’s gone off the deep end. Either way he’s their best hope for secret intel but of course he has to be careful how he transmits the data. This arc’s definitely more on the low key side but it’s another way to build up experience for the main characters and to get them strong enough for the battles that are to come. There’s not a whole lot to say about these episodes but of course it’s still going to be a long journey to even begin to forgive Endeavor. I don’t blame Todoroki’s brother for still being super sore about the whole thing. I can’t say Endeavor ever bounced back for me personally.

Then we get to the arc that most people were really excited for in this season. The big My Villain Alliance arc where Shigaraki and the gang are forced to fight against a new villain group led by Re-Destro. It’s always fun to see a villains vs villains arc and so of course that would be the case here too. The new villain group has the absolute massive advantage in numbers since it’s really hundreds against less than 10 fighters. The league of villains are also heavily weakened since they’ve been fighting almost nonstop for days already. With their abilities weakened can they claim victory here?

Imagine if Re-Destro hadn’t been so determined to beat the villains on his own and had called in the heroes? He could have ended up ending the series early but fortunately his hubris made him want to fight personally. I don’t think he realized that this would be the best path for him as well but figured he couldn’t lose either way. Now there was a lot of controversy about how the arc would be adapted though. The events got shuffled around a bit to try and build up synergy with the movie. As a result, the anime put the training arc with Endeavor before the villain arc. Not a really bad thing on its own, both events are far enough away where they shouldn’t reference each other.

The big problem here is that the anime still includes future scenes…including spoiling the ending of the arc with the result of who won the war and what happened to both team members. Everything is absolutely spoiled with a classic villain meeting scene where we see everyone. We hear about the destruction on the news in the episode and I don’t understand this choice by the writer/director. Surely it would have been incredibly easy to move that scene to the end right? Also, due to so many episodes being for the other events, the my villain arc had to be rushed quite a lot. Many scenes are cut and so the arc doesn’t feel quite as complete as in the manga. It only gets 6 episodes to itself (Although 5 since the last episode is really after the arc) so there just wasnm’t a lot of time. It’s still a very solid arc but it is heavily weakened to the point where it’s fair to say that the Class 1A vs Class 1B arc is stronger. At least in the anime I would say it absolutely is. The first arc has better animation, more big battles, etc.

So that part was unfortunate but even if you know how the arc will end, it’s still a fun journey here. You get to see the villains gaining more power and how this will make things tougher for the heroes going forward. They can’t hope to just roll on past the villains now, although that was never really an option. The heroes are gaining power at a much slower rate than the villains so now the villains may have even taken the lead. To be honest, I would say the villain group is more powerful than the heroes right now. Their abilities are simply too good to be stopped.

So lets go back to the battles for a minute here. Class 1B messed up in the first battle because they really had the edge once Kirishima was taken out of play. On paper 1A is much stronger there but 1B had such a promising start. Unfortunately for them they got a bit overconfident. It was a fun way to start the tournament off. Ultimately most if not all of the other battles would surpass this one but we got to see what Shinso could do in the fights.

In the second battle we had another match that appears to be a stomp for 1A on paper but 1B came out with the better plan once again. This time they were able to close the deal and I was glad to see that. Momo and Kendo have a big rivalry here and it was nice to see. Momo seems to usually come out on top so at least Kendo has a win here. Her plan was well thought out and they took advantage of how emotional the heroes could get. I liked how their shadow guy baited Tokoyami at one point. Ultimately this is a main theme for the tournament with how 1B would make up for their lack of physical abilities with really smart planning.

Then we go to the third battle which is the most lopsided because of how stacked it is for the heroes. I’m not a big Ida fan but I can still say that he is quite fast and a threat in a fight. Then you have Todoroki on the same team? Well, that’s a wrap. This fight may have had the best animation out of the 5. We got some great scenes of Ida dashing around at limitless speed and Todoroki’s fire was really sharp. That said, the tie was not satisfying here. While I think 1A should have won from the start, at the end they should have just lost if this is how it was going to go. With the bar hitting Todoroki like that Rocketti needed to come in clutch for 1B.

After that it was time for Bakugo to take the stage. It’s the most one sided battle out of the 5 and for good reason. Up until now 1B has had all of the planning but Bakugo had enough of that. He conducts a really solid plan for 1A and they have a perfect win. It was a good way to show how Bakugo has been improving over the course of the show and now knows how to be a team player. It isn’t something he likes doing but it makes sense that he would know how to work with others since that will be necessary when he is a pro.

Finally we get to the 5th match with Deku. Of course Deku could solo the entirety of Class 1B on his own so we have to have something to prevent this. In this case it was that Deku develops his new ability during the fight and loses control which gives 1B a chance to come back. I really like Monoma so I was glad that he got to have a good role here. Certainly the standout of 1B. The match is never in doubt but it’s suitably dramatic and works as a good way to end the arc off.

So the arc was definitely a lot of fun. Constant fights and everyone got to show off their stuff so I was satisfied here. I would like to see 1B get to do something more in an action context at some point though. I know that they’re probably outmatched against the League of Villains but surely there’s some fodder they can fight against. It would be good to show that they are still contributing and can fight when the chips are down.

In terms of people choking when they’re about to win though, that happens to Re-Destro’s side a lot in the villain arc. At the very least you feel like Shigaraki and Toga should have lost their battles. Toga was getting utterly devastated throughout the match to the point where she was exploded several times when her opponent rigged the blood flow. Toga should not be getting up from that, much less turning the tables. I know the reporter got overconfident but that was the match to me. Meanwhile Re-Destroy also had such a huge lead but then he started admiring Shigaraki and losing his resolve. It was a shame because that guy was so cool but now he has faltered. I guess that’s why he is no longer the mastermind though. He doesn’t have the grit for this.

Now lets talk about the characters. Of course the main cast has already been appearing for a while so I won’t go super in depth there. Deku still makes for a solid lead. As far as Shonen Jump leads go he has always been one of the weaker ones for me but just going off of this season he doesn’t really do anything wrong. He does well in the fights and you can excuse him sandbagging a bit because if he goes all out he could murder someone by mistake. As the seasons go we should see him displaying more and more power in a safe way.

Bakugo gets a really great role of course with how he commanded his team to victory. It was nice to see and he’s never lacking in confidence. Jiro had a great assist in the match and she is quick to act on the orders. I see them having a good dynamic on the field going forward. Uravity doesn’t get to fight a lot here but she does come in handy for helping Deku come to his senses. Ida has his speed moment and while he ultimately has a rough matchup here, he does help his team a lot.

Likewise, Todoroki has a good moment with his fire and ice abilities but ultimately it’s really hard to use those abilities at their peak without murdering someone so that nerfs him in the tournament. The rest of class 1A is mainly uneventful but of course they are all in this tournament so you’ll see all of your favorite characters doing their own thing and upgrading their powers. We still don’t get to see much of Invisigirl so she is truly living up to her name.

For Class 1B the standout characters start with Monoma of course. His ability to store powers and use them at will makes him a true threat. He even has his delayed effect on one of them which is used strategically. You can see how his ability has its own share of weaknesses since he always has to use borrowed abilities which means that he has less experience than his opponent but his high IQ helps to balance that out. He is not someone that you want to go up against in the field.

Kinoko is an interesting case because she’s like Deku where she has to be careful of how she fights. She can cause mushrooms to appear all over your body which impairs your ability to move and breath. She is also shown to be able to do this across an incredible range as she covered a good chunk of the battlefield. What this means is she could conceivably cause this to appear in your lungs and you’d be dead instantly. Her abilities have countless ways to be used but many are lethal and even with knocking out opponents she has to be careful not to suffocate them. I doubt she’ll ever get to do much again but honestly she would be a huge help against the villains.

As mentioned earlier, I was glad that Kendo got her moment to shine. Even if she doesn’t get to fight later on. That’s at least something she can hang her hat on and she really is a solid strategist. Mudman deserves some credit too for being able to react to Ida’s speed and still land his counter blows. He did quite well in using his ability creatively. Certainly not someone that you want to underestimate.

Shihai also gets kudos for the mind games he was playing the whole time. It was quite effective and he’s a good actor. Then you have Spiral who isn’t super remarkable but his abilities are so basic that it makes him feem like a very earnest guy. Ultimately I think he could have done better here but I won’t forget his abilities too soon. The way he punches while spinning reminds me of Jin from Yu Yu Hakusho.

Shinso gets a good role here as he gets to participate in both team sessions. His ability to mind control you is super handy. Even if it won’t work too well on Deku or Shigaraki, most opponents are immediately going to lose if he can hit them. The trick to his ability is that he needs the villain to talk back to him. Assuming that most don’t yet know about his ability, that makes him a real asset on the field. He also wants to learn mor close quarters combat which is a good idea since that never hurts.

Then we have Endeavor who is of course trying to turn over a new leaf. Props for effort of course. I may not like the guy but it is still important to start trying to make amends as it’s better than just continuing down the dark path. As the number 1 hero he has huge shoes to fill but is doing his best. I would still consider him to be the second strongest hero in the series (That we have seen so far) but I would argue Deku has surpassed him. Endeavor is just able to control his abilities better and then go all out.

Meanwhile Hawks still has the toughest job here as he has to hang out with the villains and learn things. He could be murdered at any moment so he really has to be careful. He does well in his role though and knows how to use his laidback attitude to his advantage. Now that takes us to the villains and of course quite a lot happens with those guys. I’ll start with Spinner since he gets the least to do. Most of his scenes are the ones that had to be axed although to be fair, if I had to axe any scenes I would have gone after Spinner too. He’s just not super interesting compared to the others and he’s a bit weak as well. Right now the guy doesn’t have nearly as much drive as the others.

So first off we have Twice who gets a lot of big moments here. For starters he is able to awaken his quirk so he can now copy anybody he really knows including their powers. That’s a huge power up especially considering that he can now make hundreds of clones. It was nice to see him be able to recover from his split personality issues as well. His backstory is definitely something I’m sure everyone imagined at least once in Naruto as a dark what if route. Well, he’s back and stronger than ever now. He may be a villain but Twice is the kind of guy who really cares about his comrades and so you end up liking him well enough. He’s easily one of the more likable members.

Then you have Toga who is still as crazy as ever. We get her backstory which doesn’t make her any more sympathetic but it isn’t really supposed to. We just learn now that she really was crazy from the start. I’m not a Toga fan and this certainly wouldn’t change my mind in that respect. I have to say that I was rooting for Curious from the start and I still say that she deserved that win.

Next up is Dabi who is great as always. It was a hype moment when the team called him in to help in the fight. Makes sense because without him things would be difficult. His fire attacks are great for fighting many enemies at once after all and one hit could be deadly. Surprisingly he seemed to still be on the losing side against Geten and is lucky that backup arrived. It was a rough matchup for him though.

Finally you have Shigaraki. Oh there’s a guy called Compress? Well he didn’t do anything so he may as well not exist. Anyway back to Shigaraki, I’m not really a big fan of his. I mean he’s your classic crazy villain who wants to see the world burn and all. The insane types can be good sometimes, sometimes not. I’ve always found that specific kind of villain to be very hit or miss. He’s slowly starting to get past his issues like always needing the hands which is good and he’s gaining focus. Down the road Shigaraki could end up being a stronger villain personality wise.

His origin story is also the weakest part of the show as of course he has a dog and you can imagine how that goes. He grew up in a toxic household which ultimately ended up speeding his descent into madness. It’s too bad since things could have been different for him otherwise but the heroes were just not around in time. Not like they can be in every household though. Shigaraki’s father just looks terrible here. You can’t really blame the sister since she’s just a child but he deserves a lot of the blame here.

Of course you aren’t likely to sympathize with Shigaraki much here. Even if his childhood was rough, he ultimately ended up becoming a mass murdering villain so that was that. With his new powers he seems nearly unstoppable though so the heroes are really going to have to put out all the stops here.

As for the other villain group we have to start off with Re-Destro. This guy was great at the start, he has a ton of confidence and has his own empire. He blackmails the league of villains openly and it shows you just how many connections he has. He was making a case for being one of the best villains in the series but unfortunately he completely cracks once he is humbled by Shigaraki. He goes to being someone that is absolutely loving being a minion but way too much. He has no more self dignity anymore and I lost all respect for him so fast. He’s just a shell of himself now.

Gigantomachia is sort of a third party villain until he accepts Shigaraki but now we can say he is in the league. He’s super powerful to be sure but one of those really big and not very fast guys so I can’t take him ultra seriously. He’s really good for obliterating tons of fodder quickly though and since it’s hard to damage him, he’ll end up being one of the big players in the upcoming battles.

Back to Re-Destro’s allies, we have Curious next. She’s effectively a twisted reporter who always has to get the scoop even during battle. She’s quite good at her job and made for a fun villain. Curious may be short lived at the end of the day but she certainly made the most of her screen time. Then there’s Geten who also doesn’t appear much but this guy stole the show for me. His fight with Dabi is great and I love the guy’s confidence. Usually you’d assume that ice won’t do anything against fire but Geten showed why his abilities surpass all of that. The fact that he can use water to create a near infinite supply makes me think that he may be more powerful than both Todoroki and Dabi at using his abilities. I dare say Geten was going to easily win if not for the fight being interrupted.

Finally we have Skeptic but he’s more of a support villain than someone who will go in personally. He uses his pseudo hypnosis to get everyone on board and fired up. His abilities also seem to give his fighters a little extra strength so he’s useful to have around. Not really my kind of villain though and he doesn’t leave the same kind of impact as Curious and Geten. Both of those villains you won’t be forgetting any time soon.

For the soundtrack we’ve got a lot of the really solid tunes that are from the older seasons which are always good. There are also some new tracks particularly in the villain arc which are solid. I’m not sure what the name of the theme is, but it plays quite a bit during the villain fights and is a good way to build things up. I like the idea of the villains having their own ost to counter the heroes as well. Ultimately the only aspect that still remains on the disappointing side is the openings. For some reason MHA has really started to have really below average openings. It reminds me of One Piece where the openings just never tend to be all that great. At least MHA had the first opening which was exceptional though, there’s never been a standout tune for One Piece. Maybe it’s a tough thing for long running titles in general as I can’t think of any really top notch Naruto openings. Black Clover would be the exception although Bleach had some solid ones in the mix.

I will give the show credit having 2 intro songs though which is how it should be. When you have 25-26 episodes you should have 2 openings, 4 for 52, and 1 for 13. Every 13 episodes you should have a new opening. Them’s the rules. As for the animation, well it’s pretty great as always. Particularly the first arc with the heroes against heroes. We get a lot of great animation cuts there and top tier moments throughout. The famous cubes for the big moments and the heroes look plus ultra as a result. You could say some of the best animated cuts in the whole series are in the first half.

As mentioned earlier, it does come at a bit of a cost though. The villains arc noticeably seemed to get the worst animation of the series. In the other seasons every episode always looked consistent so even if some fights got more attention than others, it was always at the same level. Here it just looks really different at times, almost outsourced. Even the color palette looks different as it gets a lot brighter and less detailed at times. It may not be on point compared to the rest of the show but I would say it still looks good if you take it as a stand alone. Additionally they still pull out the budget for the final fight of the season which is good. I would say even that one doesn’t look as good as most of the cuts in the first half of the season but it still ends on a solid note.

Also, a part of me is just wondering if maybe the show was just trying something different with the animation. Like if you see the Dabi screenshot above or watch some episodes, it just looks different. It’s why I mentioned potential outsourcing. Perhaps it was a different style they wanted to experiment with and it just didn’t work out as well. I remember Black Clover tried some experimental animation in one of its fights when things were going through a big time crunch and if the style is quicker to animate then it would make sense to use it.

The arc definitely had a lot of really solid animated moments as well even if I don’t think the style was nearly as good as the first half. The less detailed approach may help to mask if this was rushed which could be the intent. I love bright colors like this so the art style worked even if it was less detailed. To put it one way, I wouldn’t mind if it ultimately went in this direction next season even if I would prefer traditional. After all, I really enjoyed the Dabi fight and I thought the scene I attached a screenshot of looked great. It’s certainly eye catching and pops out at you.

Overall, My Hero wraps up another important saga in the mix. It may have been a little less high stakes compared to the last few seasons but we do have a solid cliffhanger to set things up for the next season. Season 6 is really going to be intense from start to finish with nonstop battles so if they need to take a few extra months to set this up that’s fine. It has the potential to be the best season in the show depending on how this all goes. Also, how many shows get to have 5+ seasons like this? Definitely shows how big the series has gotten and I’m expecting more movies coming up as well.

Overall 8/10

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