Kirishima and Fat Gum defend against the Hassaikai onslaught – will Red Riot remain Unbreakable?
What They Say:
With Suneater’s victory over the first three villains, the rest of the heroes continue through the Shie Hassaikai stronghold. But a sneak attack from Mimic separates Fat Gum and Kirishima from the rest of the group. The two face off against the Hassai Group’s Rappa and Tengai, a balanced tag-team of offense and defense.
The overwhelming power of the villains leaves Kirishima in a state of disarray as Fat Gum defends against a flurry of attacks. While Fat Gum and Red Riot are equipped for defensive combat, the offensive strength of the villains pushes them to the brink. In this battle of shields and spears, how will our heroes prevail?
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The assault on the Shie Hassaikai remains uninterrupted thanks to Suneater’s triumph in last week’s episode. The main hero forces, led by Nighteye, proceed toward their objective, but the Hassaikai continue to use their home turf to diminish their advance. Mimic has focused his wall-bending quirk to stall the police force above ground, but his intuition tells him to continue splintering the heroes heading toward Overhaul. In an attempt to isolate Eraser Head from the group, Fat Gum and Kirishima narrowly intervene and are thrown into a separate room, where two of the Hassai Group’s Eight Bullets await them.
Back on the top floor, Centipeder and Bubble Girl interrogate the Hassaikai members they’ve subdued. It seems the yakuza members have been following Overhaul out of fear rather than loyalty. According to one of the underlings, the boss of the Shie Hassaikai had no intention of being labeled a villain group and had been working to mend the reputation of the old yakuza clan. But with the boss falling ill, Chisaki used the opportunity to gain power and exploit the Hassaikai network to fuel his villainous plan. This clash of motives even trickles down to the powerful members of the Hassai Group, as we see a conflicting level of loyalty between the two villains in this episode’s showdown.
Enter Rappa and Tengai. With Rappa’s offensive capabilities and Tengai’s barrier quirk, the two should create a dynamic of fluid offense and defense. But right away it’s clear that their reasons for fighting differ greatly. The hot-headed Rappa simply wants to fight at full-force, going as far as complementing the heroes for facing off against him, whereas Tengai uses his barrier strategically to foil the heroes’ counter-attacks. Rappa seems indifferent to Overhaul’s plot, while Tengai remains obedient to his master. It’s clear that despite the Hassaikai’s arsenal of quirk-users, this villain group is haphazardly bound together. Regardless of their lack of cohesion, Rappa and Tengai are a formidable duo for Fat Gum and the inexperienced Red Riot.
Rappa makes the first move, smashing through Kirishima’s Unbreakable form in a single punch. Devastated by Rappa’s immense power, Kirishima is left helplessly on the sidelines as he watches Fat Gum defend against a shower of punches. Kirishima is defined by his high spirit and intense energy, the composure of himself and his senior Tamaki seem night and day when next to each other. But in the face of overwhelming strength, the fear he holds deep within continues to be an obstacle in his heroic journey.
A flashback sends us to Kirishima before he applies to UA. He attempts to intervene on a group of bullies, but they pay him no mind. While his intentions are righteous, his hardening quirk is unpolished and poses no threat to the bullies. It isn’t until his classmate Mina steps in that the bullies are taken care of. Mina returns to her friends, while Kirishima looks on in frustration. Later on, Kirishima is walking home from school and finds himself in another peculiar situation. He notices Mina’s friends from earlier are being questioned by an intimidatingly tall figure. The two girls stand there in fear, waiting to be saved. Kirishima attempts to overcome his fears, but he’s left standing there, unable to move. Once again, Mina dashes to her friends’ side, de-escalating the situation.
Kirishima sits in his room, looking at a high school application form. His dreams of being a hero are at an all-time low, as he scratches out his initial option of writing down UA as his preferred destination. In an exasperated tantrum, Kirishima accidentally stumbles upon an interview of Crimson Riot, the hero who would go on to inspire his Red Riot persona. The interviewer asks if Crimson Riot is ever scared when doing hero work, and to Kirishima’s surprise, even a top-level hero like Crimson Riot has his fears. But the fear of those in peril and the regret of not saving them is what propels Crimson Riot passed his fears. The trembling Kirishima inhabits Crimson Riot’s chivalrous spirit, overcoming his fear in order to protect Fat Gum.
In a spectacular scene of animation, Kirishima takes the full brunt of Rappa’s attack. The villain is ecstatic over his heroic spirit and the two come at each other with a final haymaker, before Tengai intervenes with one of his barriers. With the last of his strength, Kirishima falls back, but his efforts were not in vain. All of the punches that Fat Gum had been absorbing were converting his body fat into an immense counter-attack. Kirishima’s last-ditch defensive hold bought enough time for Fat Gum to unleash the attack, crushing the barrier and defeating both villains with a devastating punch.
This week’s MHA was a super-hero narrative done impeccably. Where most shounen action series’ would turn the tables with an overwhelming power spike or the awakening of a new ability, Kirishima overcame his own weakness naturally, his heroic spirit carrying him to the next level.
Horikoshi has crafted a story that’s both believable and inspiring, and Studio BONES continues to raise the bar for compelling animation with their faithful adaption. While Kirishima’s debut this season focused on the enhancement of his quirk abilities, this fight signified that Red Riot’s chivalrous spirit is what makes him truly unbreakable.
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