“Battle On, Challengers!” My Hero Academia Episode 21
The storyboards for the previous two episodes of My Hero Academia have departed widely from the original manga’s panels. Some departures have been successful, such as the different framing on Todoroki’s hand against Izuku’s face, and some have been disappointing, such as the loss of the image of Izuku standing over the defeated Shinso. Overall, these departures have helped prepared viewers for this episode, which is probably the first one in My Hero Academia to have original content–ignoring the OVA (itself written by series creator Kohei Horikoshi).
This episode was necessary. With such a large cast, and such a lengthy battle arc, the pace can slow down, look at characters other than the main five (although one duel focuses on Iida), and function more as a series of animated shorts, tied together with Ochaco’s internal struggle and Izuku’s analysis.
This is the first episode this season that is an adaptation of only one chapter of the manga–which makes sense: with so many duels taking place, the episode would waste the opportunity to take more time putting these battles in action. The manga benefits from wrapping up the battles in just a few panels–not too long to bore readers with endless issues of one-on-one battles, and because each panel can contain within it so much information, while animation depends on tracking the movements. Studio BONES does not skimp on the animation in this episode: there are few frozen images to just hint at what took place–we actually see the battles occurring. Most impressive, however, is how this episode lends some character development to Ochacho and Mina, as well as setting up Momo’s future stories, however disappointed I am with how Momo has been handled.
Been awhile since I wrote one of these.
And yes, there will be a post-season review of Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, to fill in the gaps in episodes I have not reviewed yet.
Because, boy, is there a lot of disappointment to go around.
“Victory or Defeat.” My Hero Academia Episode 20
As I catch up with My Hero Academia reviews, this is a shorter one–not because the episode is not good (it turned out very well, in itself and as an adaptation of the manga), but because the content is rather quick to look over. Little action takes place, so a summary can be short:
Upon seeing the spirits of prior holders of One for All, Izuku is shocked by them and his own ability out of Shinso’s mind-control, manages to Bakugo-flip him out of bounds to win; he explains all of this to All Might, who is both scared and relieved; Shinso is acknowledged by his classmates and superheroes for the heroic value of his mind-control ability, rather than being seen as only potentially villainous; Todoroki is intimidated by his father’s presence and his desire to show he only needs his ice abilities, but over-doing it when defeating Hanta in their duel.
That’s it. I don’t say this as an insult. But when I have had to write pages just to summarize one episode of an anime or one chapter of a manga, that is a short description. Aside from a very awkward flashback-inside-a-flashback, the episode has a straightforward narrative path that achieves its effects in a clean manner.
I’ll focus on two parts of this review: how well it portrays Shinso, and how I’m still frustrated that Izuku fell for such an obvious trap.
“The Boy Born with Everything.” My Hero Academia Episode 19
Trigger warnings: There will be discussion of representations of domestic violence and rape.
Spoiler warnings: This review will cover content up to Episode 21 of the anime. Spoilers are not marked.
Is my title too mean? I don’t intend to beat up on the narrative structure, as I see where the story is going, and given the result I know as occurs in the manga, all of this makes sense. I’m just gobsmacked at how so many characters, all at once, can act so foolishly.
- Why do the girls listen to Mineta, a known pervert, to put on the obviously fetishistic cheerleader uniforms?
- Why did Izuku and Todoroki reveal so much about themselves and risk giving their opponent ammunition to use against them in their inevitable face-off?
- Why did Shinso press his luck by trying to hypnotize Izuku earlier than necessary?
- Why did Izuku talk when Ojiro told him not to?
- Why did Ojiro decide honor was more important than accepting his advancement?
- And why is Endeavor making it obvious he is a wife-beater–and why hasn’t anyone thrown his ass in prison?!
Let’s break down each problem separately before acknowledging what the episode does very well. And I think it will help lend some clarity about the characterization of, at least, Momo, Ochaco, and Izuku.
“Cavalry Battle Finale.” My Hero Academia Episode 18
I analyze stories for a living. I like knowing the beginning, middle, and end so I can look at the story as a whole. That means I tend to jump ahead in a book or read spoilers before seeing the completed work.
I don’t like sports. Unlike literary analysis, the rules of the game are much more restrictive. This is not like Derrida, Foucault, and others talking about the game-like nature of wordplay in literature: if you break a rule in a sport, then you expect the referee will hold you accountable. There is less room for interpretation. But most of all, sports are not predictable. I’m not as big a fan of the excitement of the score changing moment by moment as I am knowing what the outcome will be. I like reaching a stable ending rather than being held in suspense.
I know how this arc to My Hero Academia ends, and this episode’s attention to the goals and methods of Izuku, Bakugo, and Todoroki–the three characters with the most change upon the completion of this arc–has me cringing knowing how this story will wrap up. That’s not to ignore how this arc also develops the other main characters, Ochaco and Iida, but when it comes to this storyline, the focus on those three characters.
My heart goes out to Izuku, as he is the one learning the most how to acclimate to a new set of abilities while holding onto his optimism and using his knowledge and intelligence to solve problems. But as Todoroki says (in the subtitled version of this episode), “Things don’t always go as you wish.” With sports, you got that right.
It kind of leaves you feeling like this.