Another year, another season of My Hero Academia. Given that Studio BONES have pumped out three seasons of TV anime and one original movie (with a second on the horizon) on a pretty regular basis since 2016, I certainly wouldn’t blame you if you were a little worn out. The release of My Hero Academia 4 episode 1, however, marks the start of something a little different.
As I proclaimed back in December of last year, this fourth season of Studio BONES’ anime adaptation is exciting because it will adapt one of the manga’s best arcs. Since then, there’s also been another fantastic arc, but I still think that the ‘Pro Hero Intern’ arc stands head and shoulders above the rest.
For all the anime-only fans out there, I’ll refrain from spoiling why I rate this arc so highly. Manga fans, however, are no doubt as excited as I am to see this brilliant story brought to life in the animated medium. In the meantime, let’s dive into My Hero Academia 4 episode 1 and see how Studio BONES get the party started.
It’s a Recap Episode
Not very promptly, it seems.
Yes, My Hero Academia 4 episode 1 is, indeed, a recap episode. It follows the freelance journalist Taneo Tokuda, who is tasked with finding the big scoop of who All Might’s successor might be after the Kamino incident by investigating all 20 of the Class 3-A students.
Naturally, this leads to a bunch of characters explaining the events that have lead up to this point, including what happened in the last season. We also get a brief rundown of the backstory and powers of each of the student characters.
For however boring this may sound, it must be said that Studio BONES seem aware of the problem. To that end, they’ve tried to make the character of Taneo Tokuda as interesting as possible. They mostly succeed.
Tokuda offers a rare insight into an aspect of the world of My Hero Academia that we don’t often see: how professions other than Heroes might work in a superpowered society.
As is revealed at the end of the episode, Tokuda had a Quirk just like the students of Class 1-A. He can produce camera lenses anywhere on his body and take photos and videos with them, along with being able to print out said pictures through a hole in his chest.
We don’t often see Quirks other than those specifically used for Heroics in My Hero Academia, so, in this sense, season 4 episode 1 is pretty interesting. This episode also offers us an alternative look at one of the series’ most iconic moments, which was pretty neat.
Remember that video of All Might that Deku was obsessed with as a kid that was shown at the very beginning of the series? As it turns out, Tokuda’s father was among the people that All Might miraculously rescued from certain death that day, and it was Tokuda’s photo of All Might as he emerged from the scene that ended up becoming famous, giving him his start as a journalist.
All of this is pretty cool, but it’s not exactly anything that anyone ever asked for. In fact, you could say that the more BONES go out of their way to try and pass off My Hero Academia 4 episode 1 as anything but a recap episode, the more obvious it becomes. It’s pretty annoying, and a pretty big waste of time.
A Waste of Time
The fact that this new season started off with a recap episode shouldn’t be surprising, given that season three also started with a recap episode. In comparison with that recap episode, My Hero Academia 4 episode 1 is certainly more interesting – season 3’s episode was mainly composed of fanservice (sort of) – but that’s not exactly a very high hurdle to clear.
It’s also important to remember that this recap episode isn’t being produced with an adult audience in mind. At the end of the day, My Hero Academia is a series meant for young boys, and BONES no doubt want to refresh the notoriously short memories of any children watching so that they don’t get confused later on. Adult viewers, however, should definitely give this one a miss – no matter how interesting Taneo Tokuda might be in concept.
The only thing that’s truly ‘new’ in My Hero Academia 4 episode 1 is the new opening and ending sequences, which couldn’t be more different from each other in terms of visual style and presentation.
My Hero Academia season 4’s opening theme ‘Polaris’ is provided by Blue Encount, which ranks among some of the most forgettable shonen anime openings and endings I’ve ever heard. The thing is, though, the song’s not even the worst thing about the OP – if anything, what’s most disappointing is the real lack of visual flair that Studio BONES have put into the opening sequence.
Whereas other seasons had bold, exciting opening sequences with plenty of sakuga eye candy and distinct visual compositions – think that zoom pan sequence from season 2’s ‘Peace Sign’ or the tense build-up to the destructive break down of season 3’s ‘ODD FUTURE’ – My Hero Academia 4 episode 1 disappoints with its by-the-numbers opening sequence that waste its first half on static character introductions, before going into more sakuga-heavy moments in the second half.
To be honest, I don’t even feel like I have to describe the OP, because if you’ve seen any shonen anime ever, then you know exactly how this one goes. Start off slow, then go into the more exciting stuff. If you closed your eyes right now and tried to imagine it based on attained anime knowledge, then I’m sure that you’d mostly be on the money.
One of the only noteworthy sequences comes right at the end, where Deku and Eri freefall, silhouetted by a sunrise. It’s one of the only pieces of animation in the sequence that’s worth talking about, and it’s barely ten seconds long.
On the other hand, I’m happy to say that the ending sequence is a little better. It goes for a darker, melancholic style that pays tribute to the villain of season 4’s first arc, as well as the character of Eri. The song is also a little better, although not something I’d choose to listen to outside the context of the show.
My Hero Academia 4 Episode 1: A Slow Start
In the end, I came away from My Hero Academia 4 episode 1 more than a little angry that I had just wasted nearly 25 minutes of my life watching a recap episode that desperately tried to convince me that it was anything but.
Sure, there are some interesting tidbits in here about the world and lore of My Hero Academia for hardcore through the character of Taneo Tokuda, but those fans have surely long since already watched and consumed season 4 episode 1. If you’re still waiting to dive in, however, I’d suggest perhaps skipping this one – the opening and ending sequences are hardly worth getting excited about, either. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come…
You can watch My Hero Academia season 4 on Crunchyroll.