My Hero Academia Season 6 may be the darkest of the series. The villains have wreaked unprecedented havoc, All For One has escaped from Tartarus and liberated six of seven prisons, society has lost faith in the Pro Heroes, and Deku has dressed in a darker version of his Hero costume. Despite this, Season 6 feels like any other season of the anime.
This is due to the anime's failure to sell Season 6 as its darkest installment. It retains much of the same upbeat, positive tone as previous seasons. This is especially noticeable in the latter half of the Season, when the Heroes have essentially lost but everything still feels overly optimistic. Heroes are supposed to be optimistic, but in light of everything that's going on, this tone feels out of place.
What is It About Season 6 That Makes It Feel So Upbeat?
The color of the sky is one of the most obvious indicators that Season 6 isn't dark enough. Whereas most manga readers imagined the skies for this segment of the series to be dark and cloudy, the anime made them clear and bright blue. If one did not know that the Heroes had been defeated and that villains were on the loose throughout Japan, one might think that it was just another day in the world of MHA. A cloudier sky could have metaphorically sold the point that many of the main cast members are currently at their lowest.
However, the blue skies are just a piece of another large problem with Season 6's presentation, the color palette. Normally, in darker times like these, a movie or series will switch over to muted colors to indicate how depressing things have become. MHA Season 6, on the other hand, has opted to stick with the bright and colorful colors that have been present throughout the previous seasons. In the context of everything that's happened, these colors come off as gaudy and out of place.
The music is also arguably out of place for everything that's going on. Even with the Heroes being dealt loss after loss, the music continues trying to instill feelings of hope and triumph; the same could be said for the Openings and Endings. It contradicts the fact that the Heroes have been fighting a losing battle.
One may be able to argue that this positive tone for Season 6 is supposed to be the point. In a way, it remains on theme with the idea that Heroes are undying beacons of hope for the people who need it. At the same time, however, another key point of this season was to emphasize that the Heroes aren't infallible and that they can lose. In this sense, a darker tone would have been much more appropriate overall.
Could My Hero Academia Be More Dark?
What's especially frustrating about all of this is that the anime is aware that it can darken its tone. This is especially noticeable in the way opening 11, "Bokurano," is animated. It features the gray skies and muted color palettes that fans expected to see throughout Season 6. In other words, the decision to keep the Season as upbeat as possible was made with full awareness. If the rest of the season had been presented in a similar manner, fans might not have been as offended by the tone.
For now, however, fans will have to continue watching MHA through its bright filter. As unique as Season 6 could have been by playing on the dark tone of its content, it will likely continue to illustrate Heroes as those who can always save the day and give people their happy ending. As nice a sentiment as that is, it probably would have been better off staying in other seasons.