Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three Episode 24

Right so with one more episode to go My Hero Academia sets up… some sort of fight between first years and third years? I’m not entirely certain that this is really something I’m all that hyped for, but I guess we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, this is how Kapodaco and I felt about the penultimate episode of the season.

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Karandi:

Well, I’m pretty much convinced at this point that season three is going to end on a reasonably unspectacular note despite the promise of a fight against one of UA’s top students. This season has just been all over the place and there’s no time left to build up to anything that would feel kind of actually climatic. I’m definitely feeling that from a seasonal point of view, it would have made more sense to have given us a single cour season ending with All Might’s retirement as that would have been a spectacular season end. Then this could be the mid-point of a new season rather than the ending.

Okay, now that I’m done rewriting the show, what was this episode like other than making me realise that there’s little next week will do to really reconsider my thoughts on this season?

Adequate. That’s really the best way to describe the episode.

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We get a half episode or so following around a monologuing villain and in the process get a feel for the genuine changes to society following All Might’s retirement. I genuinely enjoyed this section, though again, it isn’t going to build to something amazing in an episode (or at least it really shouldn’t). So if this had come earlier in the season I’d have been thrilled by this sequence but as a second last episode starting point I was kind of wondering where they think they are going with it.

The second half has the students attending their opening ceremony and we get some clear envy from Midoriya who feels like he’s being left out (due to the whole house arrest thing). And again, this section works well enough but isn’t exactly thrilling. I do wonder why at the end of the third season we’re still getting character names and quirks floating over the screen though. If you don’t know who Uraraka is at this point, you aren’t going to just because they put her name on the screen.

Honestly though, the introduction of the Big Three felt kind of lazy. Like they were just kind of dropped into the plot for the sake of convenience. Maybe they do something great with these characters but their introduction was a little bit underwhelming and again, we’ve only got one episode left so I’m not really expecting much to come from this at this point.

So, the episode works well enough. If this had been a mid-season episode it would have been fine. As a penultimate episode of a third season, I’m a little less than impressed though.

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Kapodaco:

There is absolutely nothing I could possibly add that would make my general thoughts on the episode any different from Karandi’s She is absolutely spot-on on just about everything.

I will add a few more thoughts on various moments, however. Notably with the beginning sequence.

I thought it was super cool to know more about… Two? Is that his name? The villain who reminds me a bit of anime Deadpool. His backstory is almost hilarious with how bizarre it is, and the fact that he seems like a reasonable dude despite his alignment is super fascinating. I was a little disappointed the whole episode wasn’t just about him. The state of the world after All Might’s “retirement” felt a little forced to me, though I suppose there’s little other way to make it known than to have things pan out in a point-blank fashion. Writing in this episode was also in danger of encroaching on Saturday-morning-cartoon levels of dumb (“If you’re trash, make like it and burn for me”) (paraphrasing).

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The moment I saw one of the “Big Three,” whose appearance is strikingly similar to that of All Might, I thought to myself, “Oh, God. Are we going to have one of those ‘I’M the proper replacement to All Might! Look how much he inspires me in my appearance and demeanor!’ type situations where Midoriya begins to question his worth as ‘the Chosen One’?” With one episode left, he’ll likely be prominent for any potential (or, frankly, inevitable) future seasons as the “new” rival or whatever. If correct, ugggggggggggggggh. This is such a lazy trope that I sincerely, sincerely hope the mangaka has some witty plans for, because doing it like any other of the thousands of series I’ve seen do it before would be very tiring.

Does anyone else notice that, aside from Todoroki, no other character than Midoriya and Bakugo seems to be getting any meaningful screentime? This episode has various characters make comments—Tsui says a thing, Tokoyami says a thing, Iida makes a few jokes—but they’re essentially background characters right now. I really miss the events when it displayed the input and potential for other characters, both in their powers and personality. It’s inevitable with about 365234625 characters that occasionally they’ll have to take a backseat, but with how well the series has been on showcasing them in the past, it feels like the mangaka is starting to bite off more than he can chew.

Meh. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the last episode turns out to be so unbelievably spectacular that it completely destroys Karandi and I’s expectations and makes us diehard fans for life? That’d be cool.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 25 and the season final.

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Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three Episode 22

The exam is done and now we know who passed and who failed, but more importantly, My Hero Academia is finally turning its attention to what is coming next. The story kind of stalled during the last arc and it kind of felt like we were spinning our wheels and just waiting for it to pass but episode 22 plunges us straight back into the very dynamic world of heroes and villains and this episode is much better for it. Kapodaco and I share our thoughts below, but we’d love to hear what you thought of the latest episode.

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Kapodaco:

Well, what do you know? It really was the Provisional Exam arc bogging down all the potential quality. The moment it ended, I became intrigued with the series again.

First and foremost, not only did Todoroki and Wind Guy™ not pass, but Bakugo didn’t pass, either. I feel like justice has been served with all my griping in the past weeks. This was slightly mitigated by the examiners giving them a fallback plan via a three-month course to essentially “correct” their faults… but they were all bound to pass anyway, so it’s a fine substitute. Nice of the series to not take the easy way out. Now I’d like to see if it will ever show the three characters in said three-month course. Probably not, but we’ll see.

Even more ominously, the bearer of hormonal jealousy ended up being a member of the League of Villains, who also revealed she had a drop of Midoriya’s blood. Seeing as Midoriya’s ingested All Might’s DNA (which I think in this case means it’s ingrained in his blood), this might hint at All Might clones, or something of the sort. That’s interesting.

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What I found to be the most riveting part of the episode was the talk between All Might and All For One, even if I think the reasoning for the meeting was bogus. It laid the foundation of what the world may be coming to, as nothing All For One said was unreasonable, which was what made it so threatening. Even behind bars, his influence and perspective is one that seems like he’s in complete control. This is a good villain—a very good one. Just out of curiosity, I’d like to see an episode that looks at what All For One claimed in his spiel, whether the world really was on edge and if villains felt more motivated to act.

And as if the developments wouldn’t end, Bakugo has figured out Midoriya got his quirk from All Might (which, frankly, is pretty obvious if anyone paid close attention). Now he wants to fight him. I don’t know about myself, but this is a moment many have been dying to see since the beginning. Bakugo and Midoriya duking it out, presumably going all out. If I may make a prediction—as I normally do—the moment the fight actually kicks up, something bad will happen that’ll stop the fight midway… assuming they even fight at all with Midoriya fidgeting and hesitating.

While not quite a return to All Might form, this episode definitely went back to the formula that worked so well for the series in the past. Lots of developments happening all at once, great danger being seeded in the minds of the heroes, and the prospect of something bigger in the distance. I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, far more than the the last, say, four or five episodes. I’m sincerely hoping the season ends on a high note.

My Hero Academia Episode 60

Karandi:

I also found this episode far more enjoyable than pretty much anything we’ve seen since the exam started, though despite the many positives to come out of this episode I don’t think it makes the previous episodes any more palatable. It was great to see that they did fail some students but then I felt they undermined that by giving them that second chance rather than making them wait for the next exam.

Still, credit where it is due, and for the first time ever, they made a sensible move in terms of providing actual and real feedback to the students to assist them in improving. Why we don’t see this more often in exams and anime schools is a  little beyond me but so many of them take the Food Wars approach of pass or get out and never be heard from again, which kind of defeats the purpose of them being in school. That was a solid bit of world building and brought some credibility to everything we’d sat through in terms of the first elimination round and then the observations during the second round, including not just removing candidates who dropped below the pass mark.

My Hero Academia Episode 60

Like Kapodaco, I also really enjoyed the conversation between All Might and All For One. I love the idea that both mentors are essentially benched in terms of being active participants and it is the next generation and those that they’ve inspired (for better or worse) will carry on the fight. Though there’s definitely something ominous about the fact that All For One is still alive in general. All that security just seems like it is begging for a break in and break out by the villains later to rally the troops further and showing us what it all looks like means we’re now kind of expecting to see someone getting through all of that.

Then we have Midoriya and Bakugo. I’ll take a moment to happily jump up and down at how cute Midoriya was when he was smiling at his license and taking a photo of it to send to his mum and All Might. Then I’ll get to the more serious confrontation between these two which has been a very long time coming and while I’m expecting them both to get in trouble with a teacher if they actually start fighting at school (wasn’t the whole point of moving them on campus to provide actual supervision) I would very much like to see a one on one between these two characters.

While not a stand out episode, this one was a pretty solid return to what I enjoy about this anime and I kind of hope this season doesn’t lose steam again and manages to finish on a high note.

My Hero Academia Episode 60

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 23.

OWLS Blog Tour: One Foot In Front of the Other

Welcome to my August OWLS post. This month we explore the theme of Journeys and it has been an exciting month with so many great posts already coming out. The schedule is below so if you missed any posts you can be sure to catch them up.

OWLS  are a group of otaku bloggers who promotes acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability. OWLS emphasise the importance of respect, kindness, and tolerance to every human being. Each month, OWLS will look at a specific theme. If you want to know more, please do click on the logo in the side bar.

The theme for August: Journey

“We have all heard this saying in some shape or form: “Life is a journey.” We travel down a path in hope that we reach a goal or destination, but the travel in getting there isn’t always easy. Along the way, we encounter some personal struggles. It is in those moments where we must overcome an adversity to complete our journey or take a different route or path instead. In this month’s OWLS post, we will be discussing the personal journeys of pop culture creators, icons, and characters. We will explore the journeys that these characters went through, discuss the process and experiences they had on their journeys, what they discover about themselves, or share our own personal journeys.”

One Foot in Front of the Other

The Hero’s Journey is one of the most standard plots stories can deliver us. For people who shun cliche, generic, or ordinary narratives, this one is probably the one they like the least because we’ve seen it time and time again with almost no variation. But they kind of miss the point. While it might seem that a journey should be plot driven and surprising, what makes the Hero’s Journey worth following is the character themselves. It is their journey that we’re interested in.

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We all know that wherever we meet the hero, something is going to happen to take them from their ordinary life into the start of their journey (the call to action). We know that they’ll probably resist at first (sometimes a lot and sometimes not much) but they will eventually realise they need to go (accepting the call). Stuff will happen and there will be a set-back, generally speaking someone the hero knows will die or suffer some consequence because the hero wasn’t yet strong enough or has made a mistake (defeat). However, because this is a hero’s journey, they will rise up and overcome that weakness before succeeding in some way (rebirth/atonement). And lastly they will return home their character forever changed by the events they have experienced.

It is a story we know well. It comes straight out of mythology from almost every culture and remains practically unchanged into the modern world. We may make our protagonists more edgy, self-aware, glib, or whatever, but they are all still walking this same path.

I thought really long and hard about what example to use for this particular theme and I ended up being overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. However, I ultimately decided to focus on a journey that I got to experience in a more personal manner. So I turned to Lara Croft’s journey in Tomb Raider (2013), as you actually get to walk this journey with the protagonist.

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What I think is worth remembering about all of these journey’s is that while the character in question, in this case Lara, do have an end goal when they are called to action, finding out what happened to her father, the steps in between are always shrouded a bit in mystery. The character makes a choice in an effort to get closer to their goal and then they are forced to react to the world and the problems that their choice has brought them.

For anyone who has played Tomb Raider, you will know that you spend quite a lot of time running, avoiding capture, and figuring out if you should try for a more careful approach or just go in with your bow and hope the opponent doesn’t have a gun.

See Lara ends up in a situation she never even imagined. After getting washed up on the beach after the storm sends the boat onto the rocks, she’s hurt and alone and left with very little equipment. She literally has to take it one step at a time as she figures out what is happening on this tropical island and slowly builds up her weapons and abilities, learning from experience and growing after each encounter.

There are no short cuts on this journey. No steps that can be skipped. Every experience is a valuable one in preparing Lara for what is to come. And while you might be able to predict more or less what is coming next in any sequence as this is a fairly familiar tale, it remains engaging and exciting because Lara as a character is someone you want to see succeed.

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And that’s the true beauty of the hero’s journey. It doesn’t matter that we’ve seen this story before. It really doesn’t. Because when executed well it is gloriously engaging. We see our own lives reflected in it where we set a goal for ourselves but the steps that we will take to get there are dictated by circumstances and unexpected obstacles will find their way onto our path and we’ll have to react to them. We learn as we go. We learn from failure. We also get hurt and knocked down but then we need to choose. Do we get back up and try again or do we hit the exit button and leave the game entirely?

The Schedule for August (be sure to check out any posts that you have missed):

4:  Shay (Anime Reviewer Girl)

7: Takuto (Takuto’s Anime Cafe)

9:  Matthew Castillo (Matt-in-the-Hat)

12: Lita (Lita Anime Corner)

13: Shoka (Shokamoka’s Blog of Wonders)

15: Moonid

16: Jack (The Aniwriter)

17: Z (aniblogplay)

18:  Dale (That Baka Blog)

21: Marth (Marth’s Anime Blog)

22: Scott (Mechanical Anime Reviews)

23:  Mel (Mel in Anime Land)

25: Dylan (DynamicDylan)

26: Marina (Anime B&B)

28: Steph (TwoHappyCats)

29: Karandi (100 Word Anime)

30: Megan (Nerd Rambles)

31:  Rai (Rai’s Anime Blog)


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Special(?)

That question mark in the title is deliberate because to be honest there’s nothing special about this episode. Random filler would be a better episode description and while that isn’t great news it still could have clawed itself to the status of at least entertaining filler. Tragically, that is not the case and the resulting mess has left both Kapodaco and me decidedly underwhelmed.

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Kapodaco:

Let’s get a few things out of the way right now, this episode is all of these things:

Filler, an advertisement, unnecessary, fan service, random.

Even with all of this in mind, I genuinely would not mind an incredibly random and out of place episode that has nothing to do with what came before if it was in any way good or fun. After all, with as monotonous as the series has been of late, it’s pretty amusing to see that even the anime itself is so bored of itself that it decided to take a quick detour.

Unfortunately, the ensuing content could not only escape the soulless and meandering negative tie-ins attributed to the tags listed above, but it ultimately showcased very, very little of what this series can offer in terms of writing prowess or energetic fun.

The six most popular characters—or perhaps just the mangaka’s favorites—(hence “fan service”) are tasked with playing Clue because it’s “special training.” That’s all this episode is. I see very little value in how this will prepare them all with being heroes and very little value outside of putting this into the Mystery genre as to why I’m supposed to care about sudden “Whodunnit?” content. The extent of fun things we got to see in this episode is Bakugo getting angry/irritated and blowing things up.

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What makes this even worse is that sprinkled in the beginning and ending segments of this episode are little tidbits of All Might’s past as a pro hero, putting extra effort to showcasing his sidekick while in America, David Shield. The end of this episode proudly proclaims that All Might and Midoriya are going to visit I-Island to visit Shield and his daughter… only to then announce that this will all become available “in the movie.” The movie. Oh. So this was the most popular heroes playing Clue and building up to an actually-interesting premise that won’t be featured in the main series, but a spin-off movie. Thanks.

It’s pretty difficult to not outright tell this episode to fuck itself, but I suppose if they wanted to produce a random episode that diverges from the main plot to sell a product, at least they did it here and not the episode before All Might loses all ability to go super. I’d be a lot more angry if the placement of this filler content was in-between actually riveting content, but even on its own, it’s still pretty inherently disruptive and shallow.

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Karandi:

Am I allowed to copy and paste Kapodaco’s rant? Seriously, I’d really like to.

I actually enjoy Clue (or Cluedo) and locked room mysteries are inherently fun. So why can’t My Hero Academia, a show produced by Bones and in season one and two really nailing the fun tone, manage to make a one off episode with this premise entertaining?

And it really isn’t entertaining. Even if I overlook the fact that we end with a blatant plug for a movie and the fact that we disrupted what little flow the exam arc had, this episode in and of itself is not fun. Each character does exactly what you would expect from them giving the single more one note performances ever. It was like someone gave these characters to the hands of writers who had read their profile and never watched a single episode of the show.

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Midoriya mutters and puts things together, Iida is overly procedural, Bakugou is a bit of a hot-headed jerk and the other three are there because people like them. Seriously, they don’t contribute anything. Todoroki in particular could have been erased from every single scene without a single line needing to be rewritten and that is a horrendous misuse of his character.

I won’t belabour it any further. This is a waste of twenty minutes of your life. It isn’t fun. It doesn’t contribute to the characters in any meaningful way. And unless you were clueless about the movie coming out it doesn’t really tell you anything new about the franchise. All and all, watch literally anything else.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 21.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 18

My Hero Academia - Episode 56 - Kaminari

Part of me wonders this week if maybe Kapodaco and I are both just really cynical people given the team pulling together and happy endings aren’t really working for either one of us here. Then again, maybe we’ve just been spoilt by previous arcs in My Hero Academia and now we’re wanting more. Either way, this is what we thought of episode 18. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Bakugou

Kapodaco:

About two months ago, the first major trailer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate proudly proclaimed, “Everyone is Here!” My Hero Academia decided that sounded awesome, so they made everyone pass this latest test. In short, it didn’t have quite the impact the former announcement had.

I honestly think this is a missed opportunity. Why does everyone need to pass? Now I’m convinced that everyone will pass regardless. All the characters we’ve come to love (Iida) and loathe (Mineta) will all pass because plot armor, probably. There’s still one more test(?) to go, so maybe not everyone will pass, but I think it’s likelier than not.

Why not have everyone pass? I think it could go for good writing material. While not unique or new, those who don’t could use it as growing material. Let’s say Iida decided to sacrifice himself for the rest of the class. How would he react to being put behind? How would he deal with being on the sidelines while watching everyone else advance? Would he be okay with it knowing of his sacrifice, or would it eat at him inside? And what of those on the other side? Would they try and fight harder in Iida’s honor? Would they take advantage of his kindness and rub him the wrong way? The potential storylines are plentiful. Instead everyone wins and all is good and happy. It feels a little… childish, I think.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Pigeon attack

What’s done is done. Everyone has passed, as well as some important(?) characters shown before and during the first test. In terms of the episode’s content, there were some nice moments to them. Bakugo acknowledging Midoriya’s worth was a nice moment. Everyone beginning to get together and celebrating was nice. Mr. Naval Laser has a very rare humane scene. People do feel important here. As for the rest, it’s kind of like last episode, except the fight scene is shorter and the rest is baiting emotions by wiggling the possibility of not everyone passing. Speaking of that fight scene, there was too much “This is how it was done!” talking, like last episode. Filler dialogue. Ick.

I’d say this is better than last episode, but only barely. It’s still around the zip code of “Fine” and nothing more. With the potential of not everyone passing being used as a threat, only to have everyone pass anyway, it felt a little anticlimactic. But the small moments of character interaction were enough for me to remain interested even when what was happening onscreen was very… talkative. Bring on the rescue squads.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Celebrations

Karandi:

I’m with Kapodaco here in that everyone passing just doesn’t have much impact. While there was at least the possibility of failure being wiggled about in the previous episodes, by the midway point of this episode it was more or less a foregone conclusion that they weren’t going to let anyone from UA actually fail and then it was just a matter of waiting for it to happen. From a plot point of view it is a lost opportunity and worse, the execution has done little to elevate what is a pretty standard arc to anything particularly memorable.

However, this episode was better than last week. Kaminari, a character I usually don’t think much about, gets a fairly decent moment in this episode as does Aoyama (though there are some interesting implications from his behaviour that I hope get followed up on).

I’ll even give Uraraka and Sero some credit for that great plan to catch the others that they came up with more or less without Midoriya’s input. But like with other character moments that have come out of this test, this one builds on something we saw during the previous tournament where Uraraka refused Midoriya’s plan to come up with one on her own. While it is great for cohesion that we see this idea continue to play a role in her character development, when there is nothing else on offer it doesn’t feel like the most satisfying payoff from an episode.

My Hero Academia Episode 56

Then we have the brief but fairly important interaction between Midoriya and Bakugou. A moment of acknowledgement as well as a moment where Bakugou shows us once again he does think and put things together and coupling this scene with his previous moments when All Might essentially passed the torch, even if it hasn’t been explicitly said I think we can conclude that Bakugou has figured everything out. That said, did we need the flash back to Midoriya slipping up earlier when talking to Bakugou? Scenes like that make me feel like the writers don’t trust the audience at all and it really broke the flow of the moment. If they absolutely had to include a flash back it should have been sandwiched in at the start of the episode with all the other recap stuff to remind us this was a thing and then we could have just enjoyed the scene for what it was without intrusion.

Despite all of that, the episode was a slight improvement on last week and I am kind of interested in the rescue test because to be honest that seems like the more common work a hero should be doing. Helping people rather than beating them up.

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Midoriya

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 19.

Friday’s Feature: Appreciating the Transformative Journey of All Might’s Character

I’ve been wanting to write a bit more about My Hero Academia for awhile now but have been tossing up how to approach it. The last time I explored this issue I looked at the idea’s characters such as All Might and Stain represented within the context of My Hero Academia in Friday’s Feature: Not a Character, an Idea.

And after much contemplation I’ve returned to All Might, because as of episode 15 in season 3, the main theme that continues to capture my attention in My Hero Academia is this idea of what happens when a society is built around a single pillar and that pillar cracks or falls.

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In my previous post I looked at the fact that All Might’s deteriorating condition was ultimately worse than if he took a fatal hit. While dying in the line of duty would be tragic for All Might and those close to him, for the world it would leave a lasting symbol that could not be tarnished by reality. However, season three chooses to push further with the idea of revealing to the world the very human weakness of All Might and his final moments as a hero are put on display in the most public of ways.

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This serves multiple purposes outside of just being another plot point on the road to Midoriya rising as a hero.

Firstly, the audience is already aware of All Might’s condition the consequences of him using his power the way he does in the fight with All For one. The audience, and Midoriya, have been in on this secret for two and half seasons and finally all of the characters inside the My Hero Academia world are in on it too. And their reactions are interesting.

For the police and law enforcement it immediately becomes a crisis of how to keep things standing when the central pillar has been removed. We see the awareness that they now have that the way their society was structured, around a single individual held up as a larger than life symbol, was inherently flawed. Something that should have been obvious from the beginning given even All Might had admitted he couldn’t save everyone because he couldn’t get to everyone, and yet the basic premise of this society is that All Might’s mere existence kept villains in check.

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The reaction of the public initially was more positive than anticipated, mostly because of the feat All Might had just pulled off and the fact that the public weren’t yet aware that All Might wouldn’t be fighting again. However, the ongoing reaction to this change in the world has yet to be seen, though if My Hero Academia’s history can be counted on, I’m certain that we’ll eventually see this idea explored further.

For the students with their ambitions to be heroes it brought home the reality they were entering into. While Midoriya was already aware of All Might’s secret, the sheer weight that fell on his shoulders in All Might’s final moments was phenomenal and while the other characters in the series may not be fully aware of the implications of All Might’s ambiguous message, Midoriya certainly was.

My Hero Academia - Your Turn 2

My Hero Academia - Your Turn

And let’s consider that message. All Might wasn’t just talking to Midoriya, even though his message to Midoriya was clear. For his whole life, All Might has lived as a symbol, and even at the end he passed the torch of preserving the peace not just to Midoriya, but to everyone who was watching and everyone who had ever been inspired by him. He made a call to action to uphold the justice he had protected for so long and he made it in one of the most dramatic ways possible on the battlefield with the dust barely settled.

Now, All Might’s survival at this point contradicts the basic idea of passing the torch and the like in that as a mentor you would think his role was pretty much done and in most shonen or fantasy stories it would be. He had found his successor who had that one quality he was seeking. He had set that student on their path. While the student wasn’t yet ready, All Might’s death would definitely have stirred Midoriya to greater heights and levels of determination and it would have been a nice clean break.

We should have known My Hero Academia would take the general mentor archetype and push it that little bit further. Because what do you do with a living legend who has outlived their use as a symbol? What do you do with someone who was once the greatest who is now essentially without a quirk and weak?

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In the follow up episodes to All Might’s chilling victory, we see that he himself is working to find a new place in the world for himself. He isn’t just passing a torch to Midoriya and checking out. He is aware of how far the road still is for the young student and he is determined to help him all the way. And it isn’t just Midoriya. Again we see that All Might really does have a wide view of people and it is all of the students that All Might has turned his attention to, even while he does still work to see Midoriya master his quirk.

One of the very nice touches amidst training episodes was when All Might visited the training centre and spoke with each student. He didn’t give direct answers but used his vast experience as a hero to guide each student in small ways to an answer. This by itself was a great moment as it showed us exactly what All Might does have still to offer in this world: knowledge of what it is like to be a hero. However, once again My Hero Academia didn’t leave this moment at just this, it then showed us through Aizawa that All Might had a book in his back pocket about teaching.

It is a small detail and a very small scene in a much larger narrative and yet it speaks volumes. All Might himself is at a loss after a lifetime of being a hero. He knows what he wants to do now and that is to prepare these kids for a future that is looking bleaker by the minute, but it is a different skill set to the one he is used to using. But All Might isn’t afraid to look at his own weaknesses and work to overcome them. While he may now be physically weak (and I’m still guessing that at some point he is going to pass on) his mental fortitude and resilience are top notch. He’s finding other ways to contribute and to meet his goals.

Despite that, very soon after Bakugo unleashes an attack that sends a rock hurtling toward All Might. While he is defended by Midoriya, the reality that he is now someone who people feel the need to protect hits home. We see a very small All Might standing alone as this realisation really sinks in. While he doesn’t see himself as weak, he realises that this is how he is now viewed and while he doesn’t resent being rescued, it is a hard mental shift to make.

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All Might’s fate is something that I’m watching very closely because I really am curious to see how this world will react to their fallen symbol in the long-term. I’m curious as to whether All Might can maintain his optimism and continue to focus on the future without succumbing to bitterness at what he has lost. I’m curious as to how his colleagues will react to him as he is a living reminder of their own human frailty.

All Might’s character journey has so far been one of the truly stand out things about My Hero Academia. While a shallow glance at this character might make him seem like a Superman rip-off there’s some complexities to his character that make him truly interesting. However the best thing about All Might is that even when he was the symbol of peace, the audience was always in on his hidden secret and that made him always seem very human. And it is the human aspect of his character, rather than the heroic ones, that make him memorable as he continues on his journey however long or brief that journey may be (no spoilers if you’ve read the source).

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What do you think of All Might’s journey as a character over the two and a half seasons of My Hero Academia?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 16

The higher they rise the harder the fall I guess. In the grand scheme of things I’m guessing this episode wasn’t actually that bad and yet as both Kapodaco and I will lament, it doesn’t have any of the spark that made My Hero Academia appealing in the first place.

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Kapodaco:

Last week there was some disagreement between Karandi and I about the importance of stakes within the episode that either perturbed or held stable our confidence with the events moving forward. This week I have a feeling that our mindsets will be a little more in sync.

To start with the point, this episode was rather weak. Do you see what I did there? I got to the point very quickly. This episode did not. While the stakes were visibly set by the tone of the episode, on a more practical level, not much really happened in this episode. The first three minutes consisted of the OP and a recap of the last episode. The next four minutes consisted of a lot of talking and introduction of new characters from other schools. Then for the rest of the episode, it inconsistently displayed actual plot and random flashbacks. If one were to dissect this episode specifically for new content integral to the pursuit of progressing the events that are occuring, one would end up with only a little.

The heroes of U.A. are now separated, save Midoriya, Ochaco, and that tape dude, whose name escapes me. Midoriya has had one hit to his “weak points,” meaning he only has two left before he’s knocked out. (Calling it now: he’ll get hit again next episode and will live life on the edge until the exam ends.) Todoroki’s solo act may come back to haunt him. That one crazy dude who pounded his head into the dirt eliminated 120 people to pass the exam. That’s all that really happens in twenty minutes. How is this so? Because this episode sure loves to TALK.

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This ended up being one of the rare times when I began to realize I was watching Shounen. For those unaware, Shounen is one of my least favorite anime genres usually, due to the overused tropes attributed to the genre that wear thin on me very quickly. One of those tropes consist of filler dialogue, which only serves to delay progress and further ruminate the bad (and occasionally good) situations the character(s) is currently facing. This is the red flag for this episode: there is a lot of filler dialogue. Midoriya overthinking every action and explaining the stakes with each movement, characters from other schools saying the same thing over and over again/stating the obvious, the exam announcer continually telling people to hurry up (it’s always funnier the fifth time), and so on. And as if the writer is mocking us, it’s announced later on that 54 of the 100 people who are allowed to pass have already passed! We have seen one instance of a character passing! Can we, y’know, see more of that, please?

There’s even some sexual tension in this episode provided by a new character whom tape dude refers to as “The molester.” A female student from another school who revels in physical contact and intimate speech (for whatever reason) who’s responsible for Midoriya’s first “strike” or what-have-you. She also falls victim to filler dialogue (“I really wanted to talk to you more~ <3” ), as well as providing sexual fan service because… why not, I guess? Give credit to where it’s due, though: Midoriya could’ve reacted with a blushing face and an adolescent freak-out, but he held firm knowing the danger of her actions. Kudos. Even so, it felt a little out of place and self-indulgent. We’ll have to see if it has any significance in the future.

So when My Hero Academia, which has been pretty good about steering clear of tired Shounen tropes for a long while, begins to incorporate tired Shounen tropes into its episodes, color me concerned. All I can hope for now is that they’ll make the pacing a little better by, uh, doing something more in twenty minutes that could be done in five. Karandi was correct to be concerned last week, though perhaps not for this very reason.

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Karandi:

I hate it that I was right. This is more or less what I thought the sports tournament was going to turn into and it is the kind of thing I hate most about the shounen genre. As Kapodaco pointed out, we could more or less eliminate all but maybe five minutes of this episode in the future and it wouldn’t appreciably change anything. We literally learned nothing new about the main cast, the introductions to other characters aren’t going to stick even if they are by some miracle relevant in later arcs, and the fights themselves were not spectacular enough to make up for the deficit in character and plot.

By the half-way point of this episode I was feeling just a little bit bored, and that boredom turned a little into annoyance by the commentator. I don’t know if the writer actually thought it was funny to have the commentator bored by the action. However, when I’m already bored and a character who is in the show is watching the action and is pointing out that they just want it all over and done with, all that does is make me wonder why they didn’t just skip over something that is clearly dull to be a part of.

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Realistically we could have just skipped this sequence. Had the opening confrontation and then skip to the announcement of those who passed the test. I mean, there is a tiny possibility that they’ll pull some actual character growth out of this but it is going to have to be something pretty special to make me feel that this was anything other than fluff to fill pages and an excuse to introduce all new super powers.

For me this episode is probably the low point of this series so far and I’m really hoping it isn’t a sign of the direction this franchise is going. My Hero Academia won me over back in season one despite the fact that I was pretty determined not to like it but now here we are and I’m watching an episode that is devoid of any of the thematic or character moments that would make me sit up and take notice.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 17.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 14

Season 3 may not have started with a bang but it took us where we needed to go and All Might is now officially retired. So as we move into the second cour with a new opening and a new direction, what does My Hero Academia have to offer us in episode 14? Kapodaco and I share our thoughts on this latest instalment.

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Karandi:

This is an episode that starts out feeling like a lot of exposition and talking heads, but by the end brings itself together in a meaningful enough way that it works. Once again though, this is an episode that will work much better in a marathon viewing session rather than as an individual episode as there’s a lot of standing around and talking and the kids once again working on their powers.

What does sell the episode, is Midoriya. All Might calls him out on the blatant imitation we’ve seen from him so far and gets him thinking about alternatives. Admittedly, for someone who has seemed to be as observant and cluey as Midoriya it takes him a long time to actually get the hint and it actually comes from an outside source before he finally figures it out, but it is an important character moment for him (much like when he did his internship and finally learnt ‘full cowling’.

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It is also good to see Iida, Midoriya, and Uraraka back together as it has been awhile since the three friends have actually just been able to be in the same sequence together without the rest of the group. It hadn’t actually really sunk in until this episode, but despite how close these three became in season one and some of the moments shared in season two, this season has had little of this grouping at all as the focus of the show has been elsewhere.

We do also get to see All Might moving firmly into the role of mentor and teacher now that his hero days are done. The transition is a little awkward for him, as you would expect, but small details like the book in his pocket, make it all kind of endearing.

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I definitely liked this episode more than the last one, I think it was an important transition point for the series and the characters and where they are going (I didn’t even mention that Bakugou is now more effective at blowing things up), but at the same time I still feel this anime is better when the stakes are real and it deals with real world consequences and this episode was kind of devoid of both so while there was fun to be had I still kind of feel like this is an intermission while I wait for things to get going again.

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Kapodaco:

I feel like I’m back in 2017, ‘cause this episode gave me serious season one vibes. Kids training on ultimate moves (something I feel should’ve been done earlier), kooky antics with Iida, Ochaco, and Midoriya, and Bakugo blowing stuff up! Again! Even the tone of the episode felt that way; not too serious, but enough to feel as though hero progress is being made from a number of students.

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But am I the only one who literally thought, first thing after Midoriya said “My arms are kind of ticking time-bombs right now,” “Why not just use your legs?” They try and make it into some big reveal at the end that Midoriya had never considered that alters his fighting style towards a different direction—which I get for the sake of distinguishing himself from All Might—but it’s so stupid. Why would you not immediately think “Can’t use my arms much. Let’s use my legs!” Midoriya saying “It was so simple I never considered it” is not an excuse. It’s really dumb.

That is, however, my biggest complaint of the episode, which seems pretty trivial to other criticisms I’ve had of this season’s run. I enjoyed the focus back to genuine development of powers, and there were certain things that were shown that would be interesting to see in future combat. Such as Tokoyami’s new ability to surround himself with his shadow for close-range combat. That’s pretty neat! Wonder if he could use that at night considering what occurred to him in the first six episodes. And of course, Bakugo’s already thought up seven-hundred ways to blow things up.

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For me, the highlight of this episode was Hatsume, despite the fact that the jokes attributed to her appearance (ahhhh, boobs and fondling) weren’t funny at all. I was actually kind of fascinated with her in the second season when she was “fighting” with Iida, so it’s exciting to know that we may see more of just what the hell is wrong with her. People don’t just get that self-absorbed and oblivious by nature (Right?). I wanna see some chance of development for her. That, and it’d be really cool to see if she could adequately improve the efficiency and sleekness of the heroes’ quirks/uniforms.

A solid episode, though not riveting. It was more a blast from the past, as it felt like these kids hadn’t been involved in a training session in forever. While still technically a downtime episode, it did introduce a number of things to look forward to for me. We’ll see how it goes going forward.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 15.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 12

Seems episode 12 has divided us on our opinion. After the emotional punch that was episode 11, episode 12 was always going to be a bit of a lull as My Hero Academia began transitioning into the next phase of the story. Below, Kapodaco and I share our thoughts on episode 12.

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Kapodaco:

It seems My Hero Academia will continue with its streak of “Laying down prospects to look forward to in the future” with this latest episode. The students of U.A. living together in a dorm? Sounds perfect for further development of relationships and personalities.

Other than that, I felt this was a fairly weak episode. Not as weak as the first six episodes of this season, but the first episode since the season started to skyrocket in quality where I found myself rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue present. Intriguing as it was to see a few parents of the student heroes and assume the make-up of their personalities by their behavior, much of the time was spent with Midoriya’s mother and how shaken she was with all that her son has faced. That’s fine and all, but it was clear as fucking day she would accept it eventually for the sake of moving the plot along, so the whole process of her being against the dorm idea at first just to proceed with super-emotional and moving dialogue that eventually changes her mind feels really stiff. There was one moment where she was going “I… I… I…” and all I could think was “JUST SAY IT AND MOVE ON!”

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I feel this episode could’ve been shortened to just half an episode’s length, with the other half dedicated to showcasing more from the villain’s perspective. We’re only teased with All For One’s ominous reasoning for intentionally(?) allowing himself to be detained. I’m more interested to see the fallout of this from the villains’ perspective, to see if Shigaraki has gone insane from his latest setback. All that had been shown here could’ve been wrapped up quicker than it was, feeling more like filler than anything else. And in the bigger picture, not much really happens in this episode. The last episode had an excuse for the foundation of All Might’s ending reign as the Symbol of Peace, but the biggest issue faced here was one parent being opposed to a dorm project, and everyone knew she’d come around. That’s all.

So about that dorm prospect…

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Karandi:

Well, I kind of find myself disagreeing with Kapodaco. Actually, I’ll amend that, half disagreeing. The first eight minutes of this episode were exactly what I wanted. The real weight of building up a single symbol of peace who has finally fallen being discussed and felt. The ripples of last week’s fight spreading through the community, who on reflection, realise the folly of the entire system where one man stands as a pillar holding it all up. While the scenes themselves were all pretty ordinary with meetings between the police, meetings between the teachers and All Might and Midoriya meeting on the beach once again, it did what it needed to do and because thematically this is what I love about this anime, I was really invested in this section of the episode.

I also found the very short segment where Todoroki looked in on Endeavor, who has now become the number one hero in a way he never wanted, to be quite well done.

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The second half with the dorm project and the parent visits, well that part I could probably see being cut down significantly as it really didn’t add much. About the only thing we really learned was that Midoriya’s mother is sensibly concerned about her child. So this part probably could have been cut down significantly and then we would have had more time to spend with the villains and that probably would have elevated this episode from a reasonable transitional episode to something pretty special in its own right.

Still, overall I liked this episode. I’m not so sure I care for the idea of the kids all living together and I just started thinking about the concept of putting all your eggs in one basket and if I was a villain I’d probably crush the basket, but I guess we’ll find out what happens next. I can almost guarantee though that we’re going to get a Mineta moment that everyone is just going to hate.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 13.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 10

Is this the end of All Might? Whether it is or not, My Hero Academia certainly wants us to wonder about it for the next week leaving us hanging at the end of episode 10 on a cliffhanger that actually has some bite to it. While we wait for our answer, Kapodaco and I share our thoughts on this week’s episode.

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Kapodaco:

Another cliffhanger for another tensile episode. The identity of All for One has been revealed in the form of a name and a face full of All Might’s fist. The latter’s power is starting to wane and All for One’s laughing in his face. A commenter on my blog for the last episode noted that they expected All Might to die as a result of this battle. It certainly isn’t looking good right now.

At least they got Bakugo back.

Some jargon about heroism, about being confined by the things they have to protect, and the pride of being unlike villains in their recklessness made for a more creative execution of the kids’ successful attempt at saving Bakugo. What I found most interesting is that they chose Kirishima to serve as the bait to get Bakugo to act and not Midoriya, which says a lot of things about what I had perceived of their relationship and what it might actually be. Is Bakugo really just so prideful that he sees Midoriya as competition, unwilling to take his hand as a sign of defeat? I still do think there’s a deeper connection, but the choice to use Kirishima is both a safe and a smart choice. And convenient that he was there.

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I also found it kind of funny that Gran Torino, whose quirk is that he’s absurdly fast, is saying that All Might is too fast. I understand that All Might’s the number one hero, but Gran Torino has a quirk specifically dedicated to being super fast. Nice that he shows up at the battlefield right when he needs to, instead of when he’d realistically show up (unless, of course, he stayed behind until an opening came through). And Mt. Lady, too; she aids in just the right moment because reasons, then doesn’t say another word outside of a one-liner. Yaoyorozu should’ve crafted a bomb or something to use in case of villain interference.

A sure sign of a good time is when I look down at the episode runtime and see that ten minutes have passed without me realizing. The absorbing quality of My Hero Academia continues to run amok and I for one am waiting patiently for each new coat of adhesive. The ride began a few episodes ago and doesn’t seem to be stopping for anyone, not even All Might.

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Karandi:

Previously I wrote a feature regarding All Might and how he was more than just a character, but an idea held up by the world of My Hero Academia. Season three is taking a very long hard look at the ideals that underpin this world and while it might just seem like there’s a lot of building destruction going on, this fight more or less brings this theme out in the open rather than being something underpinning the dialogue and actions of the characters as it has been previously. I’m definitely going to have to do another feature of this anime soon, but I’m just waiting to see how this arc resolves as that is going to change how I view the situation.

Meanwhile, this episode was one of those that I had to watch twice because at the end of the first viewing I had exactly zero notes and zero screen captures. Usually I have something, even if it is just the markers for where to go back and get the screen captures. But no, nothing. There was not one moment while watching the first time where I could have looked away or paused. Even on the second viewing it was very easy to get absorbed by the characters and their current situation.

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Just looking at the episode individually is a little deceptive because really it was just a fight from start to finish. But it is a fight that builds on all the character moments, all the conflicts, all the ideas and themes that this show has painstakingly constructed and it is in how it brings all these elements together that make this episode really brilliant to watch. Without the buy in of these elements, you still get a flashy smack down between super-powered characters, but you lose a lot of what sets this apart from so many other fight sequences.

The favourite moments of course go to the kids. Midoriya using his brain to come up with a desperate plan and rallying the others. Cooly evaluating their strengths and even Bakugou’s personality and how that will effect the outcome. Seeing the other kids respond to his plan and respecting his ability to bring about unlikely victories. The entire sequence was well played and speaks well for where these characters will go in the future.

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Okay, watching All Might punch Gran Torino in the face may also have been pretty funny even if it was not a time to laugh during the episode.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I kind of loved watching this episode.

Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 11.