Confession: I grew up with Anime (dubbed into Spanish. Yikes) and with few exceptions, I wasn’t really a fan.
** Disclaimer: None of these images are mine. I don’t draw that well. I don’t own them nor do I have the copyrights to them.**
I was four years old when I watched my first anime, “Heidi” – yes, based on the novel of the Swedish orphan? That was like my soap opera. And I grew up with cousins that were really into Dragonball Z, and Sailor Moon, and I preferred Dragonball. And then there was the Pokemon craze which I lost interest in after Pokemon #152.
My husband and kids are more into it than I am. Once Dragonball Super finished my kids were looking into all the wonderful possibilities (and some of them were even dubbed in English!). I got involved to step up my parental controls.
Out of left field comes an anime that inspires us, makes us laugh, keeps us hanging at the edge of our seat! I geek out over My Hero Academia, but I’m going to give you the parental review and not from a fandom perspective.
The premise is that humanity has evolved where 80% of the population has meta-powers or “quirks” (not all that different from Marvel or DC comics). This has changed regulations and laws as villains arose that could do things which had never been done before. Because the police is maintaining it’s integrity in handling suspects, “Heroes” have stepped in and used their quirk to help apprehend (and that’s the key) villains and save mankind from the catastrophes that this ensues.
Enter Izuku Midoria, a young boy in middle school. In a world where he is bullied by kids with amazing superhuman abilities, he has none. Completely quirkless. But all he has ever dreamed of being is a hero like All-Might, the man he looks up to.
In a chance encounter Izuku meets All-Might and impresses him with his hero potential, not in his physical ability but in the condition of his heart, which gets Izuku a quirk and the best mentor in the hero world – and admission to the elite high school where super heroes are trained. Here Izuku needs to learn not only how to use his quirk power but also the power in himself to be a hero by doing the right thing.
Three seasons into it we are waiting for every episode. I love and have had MULTIPLE devotions where we parallel Scripture to what we see! As we see qualities in Izuku that Christ Himself has shown us to be the supreme example of (sacrifice, love, and compassion) we can’t help but cheer him on. Along him come a whole crew of characters who are also navigating this personal growth and you can’t help but fall in love with them. It is very well written!
I personally LOVE how male to female relationships among high-schoolers are portrayed. There’s a lot of respect, it’s innocent, and not dating centered – as it should be. There is the exception in one of the characters but it’s painfully obvious how this one dude is not with the program and when he’s inappropriate, it’s not funny. It’s frowned upon. Overall you see a crowd of peers that learn to work together the way I would hope my kids work with other kids at that age. In the midst of teenagers, hormones, and crushes it’s very refreshing to see a series where boys and girls develop healthy, normal friendships.
That being said, there are some themes that may cause you to pass on this or watch episodes ahead and see if it’s for your child. Although in my opinion, it’s not all that different than watching The Flash on the CW and definitely WORLDS better than anything on Cartoon Network, so here we go:
– Some females are overly sexualized in their costumes. It was a character development decision that was thought through and justified (the way you would justify a woman in a bathing suit because she swims, but really wouldn’t expect her in a bikini top at school).
– In season 2, they get into the back story of one character that features an abusive father and the trauma that it brings about in his mother, which may be a bit too dark for younger kids.
– The villains are scary. Scary the way Killgrave was scary in Jessica Jones; not because they’re monsters but because they are psychopaths.
– Season 3 episode 2 is not for kids.
Overall, I would say it’s for kids 10 and up with some episodes skipped, but with open communication I know of kids as young as 4 watching it with their parents. And I think that’s what matters the most, to be honest. What kind of dialogue do you have with your kids on the things they are watching?