After more than a year’s wait for season four and suffering delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the very popular shonen anime, My Hero Academia, concluded the English dub of its fourth season. This show has already established itself as one of the most popular anime through its first three seasons with some incredible characters, amazing fight scenes, thrilling arcs and jaw-dropping moments. After finishing the fourth season yesterday, I feel that while the season is still very good, it is the weakest of the show.
Season four of My Hero Academia takes place a couple weeks after season three ended. The number one hero, All Might, is in retirement after his fight against All For One in the middle of season three, and U.A. High School looks to train the next generation of pro heroes. Deku is looking to grow stronger with One For All, while Todoroki and Bakugo try to gain their provisional hero licenses after the first time.
U.A. introduces the work study program, where students at U.A. with provisional licenses can train and work with professional heroes at their agencies. Deku joins Night Eye’s agency under the tutelage of Mirio Togata, one of the “Big Three” of U.A. While working, they encounter Eri, a frightened young girl under the supervision of Shie Hassaikai captain Overhaul. After this, they discover a villainous plot to destroy people’s quirks and must go after them to stop this plot before it goes into effect and save Eri. Deku and other heroes succeed but at the cost of Togata’s permeation quirk and Night Eye’s life.
Meanwhile, Bakugo and Todoroki gain their provisional licenses while Endeavor gains the status of the new number one hero.
The second half of season four focuses on the U.A. School Festival. Deku and Togata want to use the event to make Eri smile after all her suffering. However, Deku must stop Gentle Criminal, a vlogger who posts his crimes onto the internet, before he crashes the school festival and cancels it. After Deku defeats him, the festival is a success.
There are many great moments in season four. Togata fighting Overhaul is an incredible fight and you can really feel the gritty emotion through the animation. While the animation wasn’t spectacular due to some of the first half’s budget going toward the movie My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, the fight still looked great and it was one of the most emotional scenes in the entire show.
Deku’s fight against Gentle is my favorite Deku fight in the show to date. You see Deku in control of his powers and you feel his emotion as he desperately tries to prevent Gentle from crashing the festival. The pure desperation makes it powerful and gratifying when Deku wins. Although, Gentle isn’t a purely evil villain and Deku relates with him due to Deku once feeling just as powerless as Gentle does now. This makes that moment even more powerful.
When U.A.’s class 1-A perform at the school festival, it looks incredible and is refreshing to watch after the intense roller-coaster this season provided. When Eri smiled while Jirou was singing, it was gratifying as that was the moment Overhaul truly lost. I loved this plot resolution and it made everything prior worth it.
With all that being said, my favorite episode was the finale, easily the best season finale of the show so far. Endeavor and Hawks, the new number two hero, team up and fight a remodeled genetically modified beast (a Nomu) and that fight is breathtaking. Endeavor goes all out to prove that he deserves to be the number one hero and Patrick Seitz’s voice acting is plus ultra. Hawks is introduced and is a character I’m excited to see more of. My favorite part was Todoroki watching his father engage in the brutal fight. His expressed emotions hit at a deep level. The whole episode makes everything about Endeavor and Todoroki’s development much more meaningful and deep. It is possibly the most interesting story going forward.
With that established, I have several negatives that make it the weakest season in the show so far. First, while the Overhaul arc was good for the most part, it took way too long to set it up and the first half of season four dragged on a lot longer than it should have. The resolution of the arc would have been better if the pacing was faster. Despite it being dragged out, I wish they did more with Night Eye. He used to be a close friend of All Might and I wish their relationship and Night Eye’s character were fleshed out more before he died. That would have made his death sting more.
My other flaw is something I previously mentioned, the animation quality. While the second half of the season looked phenomenal, especially the Endeavor fight, the quality is lacking during most of the Overhaul arc. The previous seasons gave us the tournament arc, the USJ attack, the training camp attack, etc. All of these looked amazing and the animation added to the intensity of the scenes. The Overhaul arc doesn’t feel or look special and that mitigates its impact.
Overall, I enjoyed season four of My Hero Academia. There were some incredible moments and I loved how they finished the season. I just wish the first half flowed and looked better. It is another great season of a great show that I cannot recommend enough, no matter your tastes in entertainment.