None of the below titles match the hype for the upcoming shounen superhero anime My Hero Academia.
The Spring anime season is fast approaching, with about two weeks left until the new shows start pouring out. In comparison to the Winter season, there is a ton of stuff to get excited about this time around: the incomparable JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4, the mystery thriller Bungou Stray Dogs, the adaptation of the popular Ace Attorney video game, the new Tetsuro Araki title Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, and the bizarre comedy Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto.
Ever since the anime adaptation was announced back in October, the excitement surrounding this series has been steadily growing over the past five months, and now FUNimation, the series’ exclusive licensee, is throwing more promotion at this series than every show that was advertised in the Winter season. So now, the big question: why the hype?
Starting with the obvious, this is a Shounen Jump title after all, with the original manga being published alongside anime giants like Naruto and One Piece, as well as newer megahits like Assassination Classroom and Food Wars. Shounen Jump consistently makes extremely popular titles that make back their production costs in almost no time. Even arguably terrible anime like World Trigger are still garnering a noteworthy audience due to their fame in Jump.
But My Hero Academia isn’t just another Shounen Jump title.
As of the past few months, it is the Shounen Jump title, consistently ranking in the top 5 series every week and often taking the #1 spot, and it has already sold over 3.7 million volumes. Keep in mind that this series has only been out for a few months shy of two years, and yet it is still massively popular. Arguably, this could also be related to the fact that it started running shortly before Naruto finally came to an end, and as the two manga share several core similarities, one can see how a wayward fan base would quickly jump onto the next big thing.
The genre also has a lot to do with why it’s so popular, specifically the fact that it falls into the Western superhero genre tradition. This is important to note because, for seemingly the first time ever, the anime industry is experiencing its first Western-style superhero boom. Whether this is a direct result of the ungodly success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or not, it’s clear from the titles coming out nowadays that the industry is experiencing its first big explosion of cape-wearing, bad guy-busting, traditional Western superhero.
Prior to the past half decade, there were hardly any Western-style superheroes in anime.
The most notable were those from the 60s and 70s, such as Astro Boy and Gatchaman, but these shows were very infrequent and never really inspired other writers to follow in their path. Aside from that, all we had were those terrible anime adaptation of Western superheroes like Ironman and Wolverine. Now, however, every year has at least two or three new superhero anime. One-Punch Man, Samurai Flamenco, Concrete Revolutio, and even the revival of the Gatchaman franchise with Gatchaman Crowds have all been fairly popular and already seem to be inspiring more shows to come. And now, with the advent of the first popular superhero Jump title, that influence is sure to spread at exponentially growing rates.
Finally, as if both its source material and its genre weren’t enough to make this the most highly-anticipated show of the Spring season, we have the production crew.
Most notably, we have Studio Bones handling the animation production. For over 15 years, Bones has been making consistently high quality action titles, from manga adaptations like Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, and Noragami, to original works like Eureka Seven, Darker Than Black, and Space Dandy. They’re even working on two additional titles for the spring season: Bungou Stray Dogs and the second season of Concrete Revolutio. Any work by Bones is practically guaranteed to draw a crowd eager to see their highly skilled and expertly choreographed fight sequences.
Aside from Bones, the individual staff members are nothing to scoff at either.
Take director Kenji Nagasaki for example. While he doesn’t have as much experience as other noteworthy directors, what he does have makes him worth mentioning, and what he has is Gundam recognition, as he is also the director of Gundam Build Fighters, a sports/gunpla series universally enjoyed by Gundam fans. Any director that has the Gundam franchise’s approval is certainly worth paying attention to, especially since Build Fighters is as close to a traditional shounen action series as Gundam will ever get.
Then there’s Yousuke Kuroda on series composition, whose work appears in Hellsing Ultimate, Jormungand, Gundam Build Fighters, Gundam 00, and Trigun; impressive doesn’t even begin to describe his repertoire. Art director Shigemi Ikeda served on One-Punch Man and at least a dozen other Gundam series, and composer Yuuki Hayashi worked on the music for Haikyuu!, Gundam Build Fighters, and Death Parade.
When looking at this series on the whole, the source material, genre, and staff all included, it’s pretty easy to see that My Hero Academia is built for success and is well-deserving of its hype.
I’ve read all the volumes that have been released in the US so far and have the next few preordered, and I might read ahead soon just because it’s so difficult to wait for the next volume. Just by sheer force of money and talent, this will definitely be one of the big titles to look out for as the Spring season draws nearer.