Review: My Hero Academia Season 5 Part 1 (DVD / Blu-Ray Combo)

The number one and two heroes Endeavor and Hawks are recovering following their battle with the monstrous Nomu. Although villainous forces continue to push professional heroes to their extremes, life at U.A. High School carries on as Deku and the next generation of heroes continue their training. Separated into teams, students from U.A. Class 1-A and Class 1-B clash during a group combat exercise. As the students prepare for the training it is revealed that Hitoshi Shinso, a student with the quirk of brainwashing who competed against Deku in the U.A. Sports Festival, will be joining them for a chance to switch from the school’s general studies course to the hero track. Meanwhile, Deku continues seeing visions of past One for All users and starts to doubt his control over his quirk.



There is no rest for pro heroes and heroes in training alike, with My Hero Academia Season 5 Part 1 seeing U.A. High School continue to prepare their students for the dangers that await them with team combat exercises following a very public and destructive attack on Endeavour and Hawks by a Nomu (for additional reading, see previous reviews of My Hero Academia Season 1, Season 2 Part 1, Season 2 Part 2, Season 4 Part 1, Season 4 Part 2). These first 13 episodes of Season 5 provide a balanced and entertaining package, following Endeavour and Hawks as they decide their next moves, the U.A. High School students duking it out in eclectic team matches, and Deku’s personal struggle with his quirk as he begins to learn about the history of One for All’s previous users.  The episodes have a steady sense of progression throughout, regardless of which of the previously mentioned topics are the focus of a given episode – there is a sense that things are changing, and that both the pro heroes and U.A. students are changing and adapting based on the obstacles being thrown their way.

This sense of movement makes for exciting and entertaining anime. The team combat matches at U.A. serve as the major focus of My Hero Academia Season 5 Part 1 and support this momentum with fast-paced and enthusiastic battles structured as a kind of capture the flag tournament, where members of the opposite team are the object for capture. This framing serves as the core focus while providing a useful jumping off point for relevant asides as the students reflect on how their experiences and time with their mentors has allowed them to further develop their abilities (or in some cases, limited them). All the while, Deku learns more about One for All through some strange visions and is becoming less confident in his ability to use it properly. This adds some tension as Deku’s match approaches during training and harkens back to earlier seasons where he used his quirk sparingly to avoid hurting himself.



It’s no surprise that Studio Bones knows how execute a fun tournament arc – they’ve done it before in My Hero Academia Season 2 during the season’s Sports Festival. Though the group combat exercise between U.A. Class 1-A and 1-B in My Hero Academia Season 5 Part 1 isn’t a tournament arc in the traditional sense, it functionally fulfills the same purpose by creating a scenario where the students are placed into teams (complete with fun title cards) and play a more complex version of capture the flag, all while exhibiting various creative uses of their quirks. It’s as good of an excuse as any to play around with different character match ups than we’ve previously seen in the series, with the creative use of quirks being both a visual spectacle and a neat way of showing how the U.A. students have strengthened their abilities and developed new ways of using them. It’s fun to see Class 1-B back in action, but Shinso from U.A.’s general studies track definitely steals the show. Shinso’s brainwashing quirk is so interesting and cool, with the way he has adapted to using it in the field resulting in his team matches in particular being a lot of fun to watch. Despite the combat exercises being in a controlled environment, there is a real sense of the 1-A and 1-B students wanting to show how much they’ve progressed since the Sports Festival and that they are giving their all – it’s an infectious feeling that lends the training tangible stakes, with Shinso’s bid to be moved to the hero track and the simmering tension of waiting for Deku’s quirk to go off adding to the overall excitement.



My Hero Academia Season 5 Part 1 is full of all the spectacle and flash a lover of tournament arcs could want. Returning to these kinds of school exercises feels a bit nostalgic amidst all the major changes taking place in the series as new heroes take centre stage and the League of Villains hide in the shadows, waiting to make their next move. The result is a bunch of really fun episodes that serve to show how much each of the characters have grown since the last Sports Festival, and an odd sense of the calm before the storm that leaves the viewer eager for more.


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A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.