Up until now, Studio BONES’ anime adaptation of Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia manga has been relatively direct. True, certain scenes have been changed around to showcase the strength of individual animators, but the structure has remained largely unchanged. My Hero Academia season 5, meanwhile, has taken a step in a completely different direction.
Those who have read the manga know that after the Joint Training arc is supposed to come the Meta Liberation Army arc. Better known as ‘My Villain Academia,’ there was no reason to think that this fact might change, especially considering the studio’s approach so far over the past one hundred episodes.
Even so, episode 101 saw My Hero Academia season 5 dive straight into adapting the Endeavor Agency arc. In the manga, this is supposed to come after the Meta Liberation Army arc, so this constitutes a fairly big change in the adaptation. What’s more, several scenes with Re-Destro were cut from chapter 218, despite adapting the Christmas party and final Provisional Hero License exam that is contained within it.
It is worth noting that the climax of the Meta Liberation Army arc is actually referenced in the episode as an ‘incident’ in Deika City, but we don’t get to see what actually happened just yet. While Shigaraki is also in the OP (see the header image), this just begs more questions as to why Studio BONES has chosen to perform such a roundabout adaptation for My Hero Academia season 5. Why fix what isn’t broken?
One reason could be that the production staff felt as if swapping the Endeavor Agency arc and Meta Liberation Army arc around would help the story flow better. The latter arc starts out with a flashback to one month before the Pro Hero arc, after all, so it doesn’t actually move the timeline forward. What’s more, adapting the Meta Liberation Army arc towards the end of My Hero Academia season 5 would lead quite well into season 6, which will presumably comprise the entirety of the Paranormal Liberation War arc.
Nevertheless, there are several problems with this. All avoiding the Meta Liberation Army arc now does is push the flashback further down the timeline, sowing the seeds for further confusion in the future. Cross-cutting between the Endeavor Agency arc and the Meta Liberation Army arc could have also made for a more exciting narrative, but subsequent episodes suggest that Studio BONES isn’t interested in this: Hawks handing Endeavor a copy of Destro’s book in episode 102 with a coded message in it is actually set-up for the next arc, predicated on the events of the Meta Liberation Army!
Could My Hero Academia season 5 end up like The Promised Neverland season 2 and skip the Meta Liberation Army arc all together? This is unlikely, given that the adaptation has already made references to it and has plenty of time to shift the adaptation.
Nevertheless, anything’s possible, so watch this space.
You can watch My Hero Academia season 5 as it airs via Crunchyroll.