Red Riot bulldozes through his heroic debut
What They Say:
Midoriya takes a backseat this week, as the hard-headed Kirishima (aka Red Riot) takes the wheel. Similar to Deku’s first day of internship work, this episode proves there’s no rest for the wicked. Kirishima and his superiors, Tamaki and Fat Gum, come into contact with the newest threat posing against hero society – quirk-enhancing and quirk-canceling drugs.
Meanwhile, Shigaraki meets once more with Chisaki (Overhaul) to discuss a joint partnership between the Shie Hassaikai and the League of Villains. It seems the quirk-altering drugs are part of Overhaul’s scheme to overthrow the heroes. How will Overhaul and Shigaraki move forward as a coordinated force of evil?
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One of My Hero Academia’s greatest strengths as a new face for Shonen Jump is its ability to progress the story and widen its scope through more than just the main character. Horikoshi has always been deliberate in giving as much spotlight as he can to every student in Class 1-A. With that mindset, episode 68 displays how far Class 1-A has come, while also tying them into this arc’s overall plot.
As two giant villains create chaos in the middle of town, Uraraka (Uravity) and Tsuyu (Froppy) make quick work of the situation, backed by one of U.A.’s big three, Nejire Hado. Through Hado’s recommendation, Uraraka and Tsuyu began their internship work under pro hero Ryukyu. After some quick praise, Ryukyu informs her team that they’ll be cooperating with Nighteye’s investigation of the Shie Hassaikai. The pro heroes seem desperate to coordinate a strategy for what Overhaul might have in store.
Which brings us to the second meeting of Shigaraki and Chisaki. This time, Shigaraki comes to the Shie Hassaikai’s turf, as he’s navigated through an elaborate maze crafted by the former-yakuza organization. With their last deliberations having ended in bloodshed, some tension remains between the two villain groups. Shigaraki has no intention of handing over the League of Villains’ name to Chisaki but instead offers him a joint partnership. Though Chisaki’s underlings remain on-edge around Shigaraki and his unabashed proposal, the leader of the Shie Hassaikai remains vigilant. Shigaraki came prepared with bargaining chips this time around. He’d like to hear Overhaul’s full masterplan to take down hero society, as Shigaraki believes he knows one of the pieces to the puzzle. During their last meeting, Shigaraki was handed a crushing defeat due to a mysterious bullet that rendered Compress’s quirk unusable. Shigaraki returns to Chisaki with the cartridge, intent on learning Chisaki’s plan to unleash this terrifying concoction on the heroes they despise.
We now shift our focus back to the heroes, as Fat Gum patrols Esuha City with his subordinates Kirishima and Tamaki. The mismatched personalities of Kirishima and Tamaki make for an interesting dynamic, as it was the hot-headed Kirishima who pressured one of U.A.’s big three to set him up with the internship. Despite his negative attitude, Tamaki (aka Suneater) proves his worth as one of U.A.’s best when he and Fat Gum quickly apprehend some runaway thugs. Just as the crowd begins cheering on the heroes, a bullet is fired at Tamaki from within the masses. Kirishima pursues the shooter as Tamaki recovers. Although he isn’t injured, he’s unable to use his quirk, Manifest (one of the most unique powers yet for MHA, it allows him to take on the attributes of different animals that he eats). He quickly informs Fat Gum, who in turn gets a sinking feeling that they’re dealing with something bigger than some petty criminals.
Kirishima corners the assailant in an alleyway, as the shaken villain breaks down due to his weak circumstance. Kirishima, still being a novice when it comes to hero work, approaches the villain nonchalantly, unaware that even the weak will bear their fangs when backed into a corner. Suddenly, the cowering villain injects himself with a mysterious red vile, enhancing his quirk to insane heights. Before, the blades he produced were as much a threat as a box cutter, but now his blades flurried outward with exponential growth. The once weak villain becomes over-exhilarated by his power spike and it seems the tables have turned on Kirishima.
As I mentioned earlier, Horikoshi has taken care to characterize his colorful cast of heroes, and Kirishima’s journey has been no different. In Kirishima’s eyes, his hardening quirk is rather simple compared to the versatile abilities of some of his other classmates. Rather than get discouraged, Hiroshima’s red-hot spirit has carried him to this point, and by surrounding himself with other strong-willed characters like Bakugou, he’s learned that his straight-forward powers don’t put him at a disadvantage. In a quick flashback, Bakugou reminds Kirishima of All Might’s fight against All-For-One. The fact that All Might remained standing after such hardship is proof that he is strong. It’s the same for Kirishima. His one-dimensional quirk relies on hardening. And by working to his strengths, Kirishima has become an invincible shield. As a barrage of swords continues to crash down on him, Kirishima unleashes his newest technique – Red Riot Unbreakable. In this extra-hardened tank-mode, Red Riot delivers the finishing blow.
Kirishima approaches the defeated villain, still naïve to his full duties as a hero. The villain attempts a last-ditch escape effort but is promptly swallowed up by Fat Gum, who arrives just in time. Fat Gum reminds Kirishima that it’s a hero’s job to subdue a villain’s will to fight as quickly as possible. Despite his flawed heroics, Kirishima nevertheless put his life on the line for the civilians in the area, who garnished praise to the young hero-in-training, Red Riot. Kirishima remembers when he couldn’t do a single heroic thing before his time at U.A. Having reflected on his progress, Kirishima knows he’s come a bit closer to the ideal hero he’s dreamt of becoming.
A short post-credits scene shows the U.A. students back at the dorms, excitedly discussing their classmates who made news headlines with their hero work. As Kirishima, Uraraka and Tsuyu timidly accept their compliments, the ever-competitive Bakugou can be seen in the background harboring jealousy of immense proportions. All the while, Midoriya’s mind becomes more and more clouded by the situations surrounding him. While Nighteye’s investigation remains a top priority, he can’t help thinking about All Might and Nighteye’s falling out, as well as Togata’s planned succession to All Might. With all of that on his plate, the desperate cries of Eri ring in his head louder than ever.
As both heroes and villains begin rounding up allies, a showdown to determine the stability of hero society creeps ever closer. The students of U.A. continue to take strides in their hero work, but Overhaul and Shigaraki are also hard at work preparing for the next step in their master plan.
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