What They Say:
In the future, mankind is blessed with superhuman abilities called “Quirks” and in response to the growing crime rate, superheroing becomes a viable profession. Izuku “Deku” Midoriya dreams of one day becoming a great hero like his idol, All-Might, but he was born completely quirkless with no powers at all. However, when Deku ends up having a chance encounter with All-Might in the flesh, it changes his destiny forever.
Content (warning some portions of this review may contain spoilers):
Between the last few episodes being a little lacking in development, and last week’s side story being a bit of a dud, the MHA anime has lost quite a bit of steam compared to where it was at earlier in the season. Not all hope is lost though, as today’s entry gives us a full return to form as the Provisional Exam arc finally speeds towards its conclusion. However the star for this climax turns out not to be Deku, but Todoroki, as the scars of his past catch up with him in an unexpected way.
As Gang Orca and the other “villains” arrive on the scene to run interference for the rescue operation, Todoroki and Inasa find themselves on the front lines to fend them off. Their success here leaves a lot to be desired though as Inasa’s mysterious grudge against Todoroki leads to the two butting heads pretty fast, and it gets to the point where they’re more focused on arguing than what’s happening with the exam. Eventually, Todoroki decides to cut to the heart of the matter and asks why Inasa hates him so much. The truth, however, is both simpler and more complicated than you might expect. Inasa has been overly enthusiastic about everything for his entire life, so the cold and generally hateful attitude of Endeavor rubbed him the wrong way. In spite of this, he tried to befriend Todoroki during the UA entrance exam, but was met with a similarly cold disdain thanks to Todoroki still being laser-focused on his issues with his dad at the time, leaving Inasa with a lasting dislike of him.
From Todoroki’s perspective, it was a small incident and one he didn’t even recall until it stared him back in the face, but it had a big effect on Inasa and I appreciate that the show respects both sides of this. While we in the audience understand that Todoroki was going through a lot back then and has since become a healthier person, Inasa doesn’t and his anger here, while definitely bad to prioritize over the exam itself, is pretty understandable. The ways in which people can inadvertently hurt others while going through pain is yet another topic that seems a bit delicate for a mainstream battle shonen, but the execution here is effective, and doubly so considering it comes from Todoroki’s character arc, as it reminds him that even though he’s determined to start a new leaf, the effects of his father’s hold on him won’t be easy to escape. The weight of this material is aided by some strong visual direction this week as in addition to its reliable trick of using detailed frames to convey intensity for the big action scenes, they’re also used to convey the intense levels of hatred plaguing both Todoroki and Endeavor during Inasa’s flashback, which helps to give a much clearer impression of just how much of an impact that had on him.
While it’s a bit too early to get an emotional resolution to this whole Todoroki/Inasa debacle, we at least manage to get one on the action front. Todoroki and Inasa’s infighting allows for Gang Orca to make short work of them and it’s only when Deku steps in to save them that Inasa realizes that by focusing on his hate of Todoroki, he’s becoming just like what he hates and gets his head back in the game. With their backs against the wall, Todorki and Inasa work to combine their powers against Gang Orca and manage to hold him off just long enough for the others to finish rescuing everyone which puts an end to the exam. The exact results won’t be made clear until next week’s episode, but it does seem like we may be in for one last surprise. In the meantime though, I’m glad things are picking up again and I’m hoping that boost in momentum can last through to the end of the season.
After falling into a lull with the last couple of episodes, My Hero Academia gets back on track this week with a stellar episode involving Todoroki and Inasa. The exact details of the rift dividing the two of them is handled pretty well and the amped-up visual direction this week really helps with it. I’m glad to see the show hitting its stride again, and with any luck, it’ll stay that way as this season rounds out.
Streamed By: Funimation, Crunchyroll, Hulu, VRV