After a long bout of sickness I am back and feeling…well still slightly sick but well enough to start making posts again. This one in particular has been on the backburner since my other post on My Hero Academia, since I didn’t finish it in time before I got sick unfortunately. So after two weeks of hiatus (which is too long mind you) I am back and ready to start up again with some more Hero gazing!
There is something I found when looking through the openings of this season trying to look for some to make a best of the season list with. I was not feeling Boku no Hero Academia’s second opening at all. It felt kind of bland and slow moving until it hit that burst of speed in the latter half with all the money shots. In a way it felt superficial and uneventful to me. Then I looked at it again and it is probably one of my favourite openings of the season. Much like the show, this opening should not be glanced over by its apparent lack of adrenaline or interesting visuals. This opening surprised me with a narrative through line that makes it far more interesting than it initially appeared. The one aspect I want to call attention to in this opening is the use of lighting.
The use of lighting in the opening tells a story about each character it touches or neglects to touch. Especially during the first part where there is minimal aspects on screen to digest, why is there a distinct motion or placement of light upon the characters? This isn’t so that they could look cooler because it doesn’t really effect the image so much as call attention to the use of it in regards to some characters. We have characters bathing in the light, hiding from the light, taking refuge in the dark and characters being revealed the light. The light gives the feeling of the dream each is striving for or the disposition of the person in regards to ideal of heroism and togetherness. If you start to look at how each character is shaded and how their characters have reacted to the sports festival so far it makes some sense.
Going through the list of characters and their times in the spotlight during the first half of the opening is interesting. First off we see Midoriya staring longingly at a picture of All Might flying through the sky showing the obvious correlation between the two, one of admirer and student and of the teacher. Ochako stands tall on a beach basking in the sun while stretching and smiling. She is bathed in light for the purpose of her being a character with an honest and simple drive and a good embodiment of both factors heroism and being a supportive pillar for her friends no matter the situation. Kirishima is someone who has been in the back for now in the show. He is looking forward to the light out of his reach for now so that he may someday step out of the shadows of his classmates.
Bakugou neglects the light while still being bathed in it preferring the darkness due to his aggressive personality and inferiority complex rejecting a sense of progression and togetherness with others. He is also hung up on the past as shown where he is working out which feels reminiscent of the practice battle he had with Midoriya. Yet it also shows that he still has the light touching him signifying a potential readiness to accept others. Iida proves to be someone attempting to make a name for himself and standing out in the tournament as shown by his desire to beat Midoriya in the 2nd round of the sports festival. He seems to be in posed in a starting position of a track race and later shown in the opening to be zooming off in a fight. It’s that transition from being prepared to leaping forward out of the darkness and into the light that shows what type of progression he wants to go towards.
Midoriya is staring directly at the sun as we see the sky reflected in his eyes give us a sense of his longing to be where All Might was as All Might flew through the air earlier being looked upon by Midoriya. This shot is interesting because it shows that Midoriya is already in the light yet he is still longing to be better showcasing his determination to become a better hero and his self-confidence issue not realizing that he is already arriving at where he needs to be. Then we have Todoroki, someone who is bathed in darkness but is slowly shown to be enveloped by the light as he looks towards his friends as he stands side by side with them signifying a shift in character from the lone wolf to a potential team player. Showcasing his character growth over the course of the tournament arc. The light also shows up on his character from the exact angle in which he looks over at himself standing by his classmates signifying a sense of emotional progression from feeling alone in the world against his father to standing openly amongst his peers.
There is a lot of money shots after the song picks up into the chorus, and the surprising thing is all of them are basking in the light except for Shindou. The one person who was never given the time of day to bask in the light like them in the hero course, yet he is still striving and looking for the light away from the darkness (or in this case the purple). We get everyone in the light from the hero class 1A giving it all they got in order to succeed with some excellent showcasing of their abilities. The last shot of all of the students looking onward to the light the highlights their teachers proves the sense of comradery each of them will eventually have for one another and is one of the points of their journey as a class. The light itself comes into focus as the UA Academy building, the pillar of the hero society. The progression all of them are looking for is through the eyes of their predecessors and within the building of heroes. In a way it shows their goals and shows that they all have the same mindset, all sharing the same goal because nobody is looking away from the light now. Even Bakugou who preferred the darkness stares towards the light unflinchingly.
What this opening had was a sense of purpose to one of its components and it made sure it focused on it. Instead of flashy visuals, it wanted to show you the characters’ mindsets for entering the sports festival. The time it takes for them to stretch and prepare. Prepare to step out of the spotlight, continue down their path held back by the past, or look forward to the future that they could have with everyone else. They all want the same thing, to be a hero. That even with all their different mindsets when they were stretching and preparing for the sports festival, in the end they all have the same purpose and goal. They explode with ambition and drive through the sports festival each attempting to make it just one step closer to their goals even if they aren’t in Class 1A like Hatsume and Tetsutetsu.
Boku no Hero Academia is creating a cast of characters that try to grow and develop what their idea of being a hero is. The lighting in this opening allows us to see the trajectory these students will take towards their goals, all uniting under the shining beacon of hope that is UA Academy. It even hides some of the facts that some students will showcase during this tournament arc. This opening’s first half is purely what happens before the tournament, and I can’t wait to see the aftermath of the tournament and how it effects the next opening to this series. With the simple use of lighting in particular shots it can change the meaning of just potentially “bland” scenes like warming up. Sometimes to take it slow and burst out with energy near the end is an effective method and I’m kind of glad I looked at this opening in a new light.
It feels good to put out another post especially one that I hope can shed some light on an opening that I felt was forgotten by quite a few people (myself included). Yes I know that light pun was bad…but it was too easy! I couldn’t just not say it! It would be a disservice to bad puns everywhere. Expect a top 10 openings of the season or the like from me sometime in the future and quite possibly one on endings as well.
So what did you think of the My Hero Academia Second Season opening? Is there a particular opening you overlooked originally but gained a new appreciation for? Feel free to leave a comment down below and don’t forget to have yourself a fantastic day!