Super heroes are dominating every element of our world right now. Every year we see multiple blockbuster movies from every avenue of the comic book super hero and villain genre. Every TV studio seems to be presenting there own super hero series to fill the Netflix queue and comics seem to be more popular than ever.
Anime is not immune to contracting the superhero bug, and it would actually appear as if they’ve embraced it wholeheartedly (as they did the popularity of tabletop RPGs!) and come up with some phenomenal shows for you to binge on. Here are three of my favorites and exemplars of the category.
1 My Hero Academia/Boku no Hīrō Akademia
Written by Kōhei Horikoshi
The first and foremost has to be My Hero Academia or Boku no Hīrō Akademia. In MHA, 80% of the population have super powers or as they call them “quirks.” However our hero, Izuku Midoriya, is born without one. He is quickly gifted one by the world’s greatest superhero, All Might, for having great resolve and embodying all that a hero should – particularly self sacrifice. My Hero Academia tells the tale of Izuku as he learns to master that power and become the world’s greatest superhero.
My Hero Academia is brimming with fantastically thought out characters for you to fall in love with. By the end of season one, you’ll be asking yourself who is your favorite and it will be a point of contention between you and others as you argue over who’s the best.
But what I really love about this series is how they emphasize and show character development as well as the motivation for Izuku. Midoriya is driven by a great will to protect others, and I believe the show speaks to the true sense of what a hero, super or otherwise, should be.
The animation style is great, and the music compliments every scene tremendously – really pushing the boundaries of intensity.
If you find yourself searching for a new anime to watch, I would definitely dive into this one headfirst. The TV show is 60 episodes deep so far, the manga is up to 211 chapters, and it has even spawned a spin-off series called My Hero Academia: Vigilantes. Needless to say, I think it’s going to be here for a while with plenty of content for you to consume.
Our Earth Nerd Adkins also cohosts a podcasts about My Hero Academia with Adam Sims of The Back Patio Network called The All Might-y Podcast that you should check out! Episode recaps and commentary, along with bonus content (what they call “Filler Episodes”) on the movies and other My Hero related content!
2 One-Punch Man
Written by One
The title says it all (He beats everything in one punch, guys), which proposes a very interesting dilemma for anyone wanting to get into it. Interestingly, that issue has not kept millions from tuning in.
What I love so much about this anime is the satirical way it looks at the overpowered superhero character, and it does it with a twist: What if the main character looks forward to the fight and didn’t want that easy one punch win?
I think this anime is fantastic from the moment you start watching to the very last minutes of the first season. Watching the main character, Saitama, the titular One Punch Man, struggle through the woes of being a completely unknown superhero while simultaneously saving the world multiple times from vastly overpowering enemies with a single punch is downright comedic.
This anime has style, flash, flare, and some fantastic fight scenes that are filled with superhero intensity from the moment they begin to the moment Saitama finishes them off. This is another anime filled with fully visualized and creative superheroes as well as super villains. It breaks through the common conception that if you’re the most powerful superhero then you’re the most famous.
I wholeheartedly recommend sitting down and smashing through each one of these episodes as quickly and easily as Saitama smashes through his adversaries!
3 Samurai Flamenco
Written by Hideyuki Kurata
Samurai Flamenco, like its name, is a weird one…but specifically because it is weird I think it deserves not only a mention but a watch.
The core concept is that of a model named Masayoshi Hazama and his childhood dream of being a superhero. The thing is that this anime is firmly set in a realistic universe; that is to say one not filled with superpowers. This adds a whole new level and depth to the idea of people being superheroes in our current universe without the need of tremendous gadgets and inhuman superpowers.
As the anime progresses, this element of the storyline changes, but it’s a really good twist to add as episodes go on changing the dynamic a bit as it goes.
Unlike the other two animes on this list, this one has incredibly strong Asian cultural influences. I think this brings an interesting element and a very good topic for conversation about the way our current society would go about creating the superhero.
If you are looking for something a bit different on the superhero spectrum, I’d definitely give Samurai Flamenco a watch.
So if you dig the anime scene and want to dawn your cape and take flight, I recommend any of these wonderful mashups of the anime and superhero genres!