I'm combining two seasons because I didn't feel the world needs season-by-season reviews of something that's basically stayed the same. For a while, I wasn't even sure if I'd watch Season 5. Season 4 was okay, but it was never at the top of my queue. It was just more of the usual. Superheroes. Quite well done and even worth a recommendation, but not significantly different from the preceding 63 episodes.
SHIE HASSAIKAI ARC (episodes 62-78)
Some of the superhero students are about to do internships. Deku applies for a position with Sir Nighteye, because he used to be All Might's sidekick. Meanwhile, there's a yakuza with evil plans and an innocent daughter.
I won't say that this arc bored me, but this is definitely where I was losing interest. Do I care about rivalry between yakuza and the League of Villains? At all? In the slightest? No, I don't. It's a boy-oriented arc, with the female students usually pushed into the background (although female villains and some family-friendly fanservice are present). Little Eri is a point of empathy, but more of a plot token than a character. There's also a bit more of this show's anal retention about superhero schools and students, although the good news is that they're inching closer to graduation, the world of work and, hopefully, the show being less annoying on this matter. "You're not allowed to talk about it!" (Why?)
Also, the baddies' plan isn't the scariest I've ever seen. They can make superpower-erasing bullets. Well, gee. Oh, and it took months to make five of these.
The arc's not actually bad, though. Deku's arrival and Nighteye's Foresight in ep.75 are cool.
REMEDIAL COURSE ARC (episodes 78-80)
Some of our heroes failed their Hero Provisional License Exam, so they have to do a remedial course. This involves some brats from a primary school. This was actually quite fun and brings back some of the show's more entertaining regular cast who'd been sidelined through the Shie Hassaikai arc.
U.A. SCHOOL FESTIVAL ARC (episodes 81-86)
A tea-drinking loon called Gentle Criminal and his sidekick La Brava want to attack U.A.'s school festival. They're quite memorable, actually, and I liked them. Gentle Criminal would have been pathetic had he been solo, but La Brava's love and squealing fangirlishness makes them a funny duo. "I'm a modern-day gentleman thief! Punish those who have behaved dishonourably!"
Also, importantly, there's an emotionally broken little girl who needs help. "How do you smile again?" I woke up for that scene.
I quite liked this arc too. The festival itself is triumphant.
PRO HERO ARC (episodes 87-90, with the season break halfway through)
Quite good. It's doing lots of stuff that's important for the ongoing story and you'd be missing a lot if you skipped it. It examines Endeavour and his extremely broken family relationships, which are all his fault. Suddenly he's the Number One Hero, but not in the way he'd wanted. He has a big, impressive fight, gets hospitalised and changes how the public sees him.
Important new characters are introduced (Hawks) with worrying story roles. Season 5 starts with superhero practice for the kids (i.e. a mock villain attack drill), which includes some comedy that made me laugh.
MAKE IT! DO-OR-DIE SURVIVAL TRAINING (two bonus OVA episodes)
An anime-original story, not based on the manga. Incidentally, for once I'd suggest not watching in broadcast/release order. These OVAs were released in the season break (i.e. between episodes 88 and 89), but Season 5 starts with a recap of Season 4, as if these OVA episodes didn't exist. No thought is given to them.
The students are doing a training exercise. This is being run by the teachers and doesn't have any baddies, so it's not this show's most exciting two-parter. But it's okay.
JOINT TRAINING ARC (episodes 91-100)
Classes 1A and 1B have a Joint Training Battle, i.e. lots of fights that mean nothing except as a violent sort of sports anime. Each class is split into groups of four and matched up against a similar group from the other class. Oh, good grief. This is going on for ever. Fast-forwarding. Who will win? Do I care? No. The fights are quite well done, though, and it's a sensible way of giving a spotlight episode to all the students in this show's huge cast. Frog girl! Other favourite characters! But also a 1B girl with an annoying accent!
In fairness, objecting to this story arc is me being wrong-headed, given genre formula and the target audience's expectations. Fights are mandatory in this kind of show, while this also showcases how everyone's been powering up and improving their superpowers. Also, there are important developments for Deku, who discovers some surprises inside One for All.
ENDEAVOUR AGENCY ARC (episodes 101-106)
Everyone has to do an internship! Deku, Bakugo and Shouto go to Endeavour, who gives them startlingly practical advice on how to improve. This is surprising because Endeavour is the kind of emotionally stunted macho Number One who couldn't be polite to save his life and is hated by his family. Yes, actual hatred. This probably has something to do with their perception of him as having rejected all of them except Shouto, effectively killed his son and was the cause of his wife now being in a mental hospital.
Endeavour takes our heroes home to meet his family for dinner. It goes badly. All this is interesting and I like how it's subverting the stereotype of the monosyllabic-to-the-point-of-rudeness macho strongman.
(Oh, and the girls get a insert episode. Uraraka, Asui, etc. This is welcome, but the key phrase is "insert episode". When was the last time we saw a female cast member with heavy dramatic material or a central role in a story arc?)
META LIBERATION ARMY ARC (episodes 108-113)
Horrible, sometimes gruesome and fairly cool. Instead of heroes vs. villains, it's villains vs. different villains! Forget about the main cast for a while. We're going to see the League of Villains take on some rivals, have their own power-ups and let us see their occasionally disgusting backstories.
It's a likeable show. Bakugo is funny, with his explosive bad temper and lack of social skills. Hawks's subplot is uncomfortable and a bit scary. There are lots of characters here I like. (Eri, for instance.) This is, though, ultimately another shounen adventure series and always liable to return to the usual formula of fights, power-ups, heroes vs. villains, etc. It's also reluctant to give its girls centre stage, perhaps because its villains tend to be male and it doesn't want to show intense male-on-female violence. I have fondness for this show, but I don't know if I'll watch Season 6.