This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 1
“It’s finally starting…”
Seasoned My Hero Academia fans have pretty much learned to write off any season’s premiere episode since they’ve routinely been remedial recap installments that are meant to cater towards the casual audiences. Six seasons in and after more than 100 episodes, these playful recaps become increasingly difficult to cover all of the pivotal events from the series. Simultaneously, season five of My Hero Academia ended on the peak of excitement and the prospect of another premiere that begins with, “This is a superhuman society, with 80% of the population possessing some uncanny ability or power called a Quirk,” would be borderline insulting to the dedicated fans.
Thankfully, for the first time ever, “A Quiet Beginning” is a premiere that kicks off with zero recap or filler material, which means that it can dive right into the action. All of this immediately gives season six of My Hero Academia a rejuvenated momentum that gives off the impression that this season will be different. This season will be even more action-packed than before, which means that there’s less time to play around and reflect over how Deku and company all got to this wacky place in their Pro Hero careers. It’s a good, mature fit for My Hero Academia, which starts off its new season on one of the strongest, most promising notes yet.
“A Quiet Beginning” is driven forward with an electric sense of momentum since it’s the culmination of a month of rigorous planning for a pivotal event in the series. There are so many people to cross-reference and boxes to check off here that a lot of the episode’s first act is spent making sure that all of these pieces have properly come together. All of this only creates greater anticipation for what’s to come and while this first act can feel like a bit of a primer, it’s still not as remedial as a recap episode.
Hawks grew into one of My Hero Academia’s most essential characters last season and “A Quiet Beginning” finds strength in the fabricated relationship that he’s forged with Twice. It’s honestly adorable how much Twice respects and appreciates Hawks–although this is also a sadder commentary for how everyone else in his life has failed to rise to the occasion–even though it’s all subterfuge. Their dynamic is so entertaining that My Hero Academia could easily spend an entire episode on these two bumming around and forming a legitimate friendship out of dishonesty.
This restraint is appreciated, but it will also be somewhat bittersweet if this marks the end of their teamwork. During their time together, Hawks emphasizes to Twice the importance of a credo that characters can use to center themselves and find strength during moments of darkness. The conflict that lies ahead has everyone rethinking their values and what means the most to them. The Paranormal Liberation Front’s grim subjugation of society is still a ways away, but it’s also never felt more plausible.
The broader strokes of the Paranormal Liberation Front’s vile plan nicely segues into the heroes’ own calculated attack to eliminate these dangerous threats. They’re able to divide their efforts between the villain’s two main hubs–Jaku Hospital and the Gunga Mountain Villa–which will be headlined by Team Endeavor and Team Edge Shot respectively. Last season of My Hero Academia did tremendous work with its development of not only Tomura Shigaraki (who’s arguably even more compelling than Midoriya at this point), but many of his top lieutenants.
“A Quiet Beginning” benefits from how it cleanly lays out the different echelons of evil between Shigaraki, Dr. Garaki, his cabal of High-End Nomus, and the rest of the villainous reinforcements. A shonen series from the ‘90s would likely structure its season around systematically taking down these nine villainous factions, but it already feels as if My Hero Academia is instead building towards all out-warfare this season.
There’s some excellent humor that stems from the elaborate many-tiered strategy that the heroes have put together. Many heroes are left to question their positions in this colossal line-up and supporting players like Denki Kaminari and Kinoko Kimori lament being in the first wave of fighters. Meanwhile, many of Class 1-A’s heaviest hitters are stuck on Team Edge Shot as they give support to the rear. My Hero Academia justifies these decisions so that these humorous asides land, but they’re not at the detriment to the actual battle strategy.
The other real standout sequence that’s born out of the heroes’ intricate battle plan is Team Endeavor’s ambush of Dr. Garaki at Jaku Hospital. The surprise attack begins on a comedic note, but it quickly turns into the most emotional scene from the premiere. It’s extremely satisfying as the heroes just heap insults at Garaki for his abuse of Quirks and science in his twisted attempts to play God. The moments where Present Mic and Eraser Head get to cathartically cut down Garaki because of what he did to Oboro Shirakumo, before he’d become Kurogiri, become some of the highlights in “A Quiet Beginning.” They’re brief exchanges, but they provide these two with decades of closure over what’s happened to their best friend. It’s an important emotional wound to explore and reopen right on the cusp of an unprecedented battle between these two opposing forces.
And on that note, Shigaraki’s metamorphosis still may be a month away from “completion,” but Dr. Garaki still manages to launch a barrage of High-End Nomu, all of which would give Tetsuo from Akira pause. Rabbit Hero: Mirko boldly leads the assault against these genetically-engineered beasts, which concludes this episode on a triumphant cliffhanger, yet one that’s not manipulative. There’s a genuine sense of accomplishment that’s felt by the end of “A Quiet Beginning.” This episode absolutely flies by, but there’s still something to show for it all
“A Quiet Beginning” isn’t without its share of action, but the episode is true to its name as a mellow start to something bigger. So much of this premiere is consumed by everyone’s plans coming to fruition and the anxiety that’s born out of plans needing to turn into action. That being said, there are still some more muted, disconnected moments in this episode that really shine.
The brief check-in with Shoto’s siblings that highlights how they’re becoming well-adjusted individuals who don’t hate their family is unnecessary, but deeply appreciated. In the face of life or death stakes, My Hero Academia still makes sure that it has the time to emotionally touch base with its colossal cast of characters. Speaking of which, the new opening and ending themes for the series are such bangers and Studio Bones’ visuals are at the top of their game.
After six seasons, it’s more than understandable for action-heavy shonen anime like My Hero Academia to begin to show signs of fatigue, which makes this revitalized premiere such a promising start to the season. It’s entirely possible that season six will fumble this goodwill and eventually suffer from pacing problems, like in the past, but it’s already off to a stronger start than seasons four and five. In what appears to be the series’ most dangerous and battle-centric season–and these are real battles with fatal stakes instead of school-sanctioned competitions–My Hero Academia has all of the ingredients to turn out its most satisfying year yet.
New episodes of My Hero Academia season 6 premiere Saturdays on Hulu and Crunchyroll.