Friday’s Feature: Not a Character, an Idea

This post discusses My Hero Academia up to episode 31 focussing only on events in the anime. There are some minor spoilers if you have not watched that far.

Since the beginning of season 1, My Hero Academia has been obsessed with the idea of symbols. All Might is a symbol of justice. He is what other heroes aspire to be and villains fear him. Who All Might actually is has ceased to be important as it is the persona All Might carries when he is All Might that matters to the world he lives in.

Midoriya confronts the separation between the idea of who All Might is and the reality head on when he encounters his childhood hero in the real world. However, with Midoriya being Midoriya, he doesn’t become disillusioned but rather manages to reconcile his preconceived view of the hero with his new understanding of the man.

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But the world they live in (and the real world) does not work that way. Outside of a few of the teachers at UA, most people do not know about All Might’s current condition. He works hard to keep it a secret as he knows that if the symbol of justice ceases to be a shining and perfect symbol of justice, then the world and its balance will be irrevocably changed as villains will no longer have a reason to fear (despite all the other heroes who might do them in), and the younger generation of heroes won’t have that symbol to aspire to.

In a way, All Might’s current condition is actually more damaging than if he had died in the line of duty. If he had died in the line of duty than there could be an outpouring of grief for a hero who had done so much but he would have retained that perfect image he’d constructed until the end. Instead, if his condition as it stands becomes public knowledge, it is likely to tarnish the ideal he’s worked so hard to create (even though his current condition doesn’t change anything about what he had previously done).

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It is amazing in a way that the idea might be bullet proof and All Might’s death wouldn’t change it, but his living on and not representing the ideal people associate with him could deal significant damage. In a way, V from V for Vendetta got it right in that the only way to ensure his ideas carried forward without getting cluttered was to remove the man from the equation. With nothing ever known about the true identity of the terrorist V (at least not by the general public) he transcended the man he was and became a symbol of freedom and a voice for the people. What makes his death even more powerful was that Evey then pointed out that everyone in the crowd could project their own view upon V. He could be their brother who died, their father, their friend, coworker, lover, anyone. He could represent everything they wanted him to represent and he could never do anything to undermine their belief that how they saw him was what they intended.Which is scary because the idea is bullet proof and it is taking on a life of its own and the intended message may get overwritten and eroded in time or misappropriated for a cause it was never intended for and there is nothing anyone can do about that once the idea is out there.

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Which of course brings me to Hero Killer Stain. He has a clear ideal of what a hero should be and he was punishing those who failed to meet his expectations. We already knew that but then episode 31 gave us a bit more insight into how he became disillusioned when he dropped out of hero school and then tried to use words to convince the public that the way they saw heroes was problematic and ensured a system full of contradictions. ‘Hero’ had become a job. Having heroic qualities and a heroic mindset was not as important as results and showmanship. As the Hero Killer his acts caught the attention of many and his arrest got even more eyes locked onto him and his ‘ideas’.

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What becomes worrisome about this, or awesome depending on how the plot is handled, is that in the eyes of the public there is a link between the Hero Killer and the League of Villains. For the audience, we know that Stain outright refused to join the League of Villains as they did not live up to his standards of what a true villain should be any more than the heroes he had killed lived up to the standard of true hero. But the public do not know that. They only know that there is a connection. More importantly, how Stain was making his judgement of which heroes were true heroes and which were fake was through a deeply personal set of criteria. Any attempt to mimic of copy his ideology would result in a character coming to a very different set of judgements.

But Hero Killer Stain has been arrested. He has become the symbol of a movement and has lit a fire motivating people to action and then he has been removed from the scene. He is unable to correct perceptions (even if he was so inclined) and more importantly, unlike All Might, he’s already fallen so he can’t mar his own reputation that has taken on a life separate from himself. Admittedly, he could escape and get out and change the legend unfolding around him, but that would almost be counter productive to the movement left in his wake.

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For the League of Villains, if they are in any way able to understand how the world works, they won’t ever point out they were at odds with the Hero Killer. They’ll allow his symbol and image to draw people to them and then they will twist that message to their own ends.

However, what I find particularly interesting about this is that All Might was a constructed brand. He went out of his way to become the symbol of an idea. Whereas, Hero Killer Stain simply lived true to his own ideals. He didn’t make speeches or pompous appearances (he’d already given up on using words to change people’s minds). He acted and his actions spoke for him, though whether the true message came across is anyone’s guess and it will be interesting to see how the next generation of villains take his message and use it. But that’s why Hero Killer’s mark is going to be harder to erase than All Might’s would. Hero Killer was appealing to base impulses that people had hidden away and were just waiting for an excuse to let out and his message spread organically without anyone in particular constructing the narrative behind it and yet its momentum was undeniable.

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Of course, there’s a lot of real world parallels about how messages and branding as well as people standing in for ideals that we could get into but I’m certain that most of us have already thought about just how this works in reality and some recent examples. Even if the show doesn’t go any further into this issue, it has been an intriguing build up (please don’t spoil in the comments if you have read the manga).


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My Hero Academia Episodes 31 + 32: Ideas Really Are Bullet Proof

Review Episode 31:

I”m going to have to write a feature for later in the week on this one because there’s a lot coming through in this episode. It’s called “The Aftermath of Hero Killer Stain” and that’s exactly what it gives us. There’s no simple he went to jail the end scenario here. What he did, what he stood for, how he was captured, all of it has taken on a life of its own fuelled primarily through main stream and social media and now it’s almost become a movement in its own right and that is going to be pretty hard to stop.

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The easier part of this episode deals with the three boys, Midoriya, Iida and Todoroki, as they recover from their fight and also get a lecture about actually following the rules and realise there are consequences. Some of these are direct in that they won’t be recognised for their efforts because they’d also have to be punished so they are just going to pretend Endeavor took down Stain (isn’t that culture exactly what Stain was fighting against). Some are less direct as their mentors are facing pay cuts and other penalties for not properly supervising them. Iida is also now facing the possibility of long term damage to his arm due to injuries sustained, though they had a very shōnen way of dealing with that trauma so he’s kind of taking it on as a reminder of what a hero should be (that issue also needs its own post but I’ll probably never get around to writing it).

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But it isn’t all doom and gloom. We get an impossibly cute phone moment between Uraraka and Midoriya which will leave you smiling forever even as everything else in this story seems to be taking a turn for the darker. Gran Torino telling All Might he needs to come clean with Midoriya certainly got my attention. Unfortunately, it looks like next week is going to plunge us into some silliness and side stories as we see how the rest of the kids did on their internships. I hate to say it but I have zero interest right now and would really like the main plot to progress.

Review Episode 32:

I was kind of right about the zero interest. The story presented here was actually a really good story but because it had nothing to do with the actual plot I just couldn’t stay invested in it. First we bounced around and checked in on most of the other students of note and their internships. And can I point out, that the only female hero who has interns that we see is not doing anything vaguely heroic. It would have been nice for at least one actual female hero to be doing something heroic (though at least some of the female students are).

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However the majority of this episode is spent with Tsuyu and her internship.

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As I said, it is a pretty good stand alone story of a student learning the daily grind of a hero before getting a call to action. It has everything it needs, but what it really does is breaks the flow of the story that I actually want to see. I get the impression if I owned this series on DVD, this would be one of the perpetually skipped episodes that I’d come back to at the end to watch as a stand alone.

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Looking forward to the next episode.


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Summer 2017 Week 6

Technically this would be halfway through the season and I really feel like I’m scrambling to keep up. There’s a number of shows that I was watching to not review but I’m so far behind at this point there’s almost no chance I’ll finish them with the end of the season. Anyway, while there’s not a lot making me dance with joy this season, there’s some fairly reasonable shows just to relax and watch without a lot of stress. I may end up with quite a few titles on my buy list at the end of the season for when they get a DVD release because there’s a lot of the kinds of shows that I just kind of enjoy binge watching on the weekend.

As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the shows of the season so please leave me a comment below.

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Must Watch

My Hero Academia (Episode 30)

Loving this. No other way to put it. This show continues to demonstrate control over pacing and characters and knows when to kick the action into high gear. It just works. While it may not be the most inventive story ever, I’m really caught up with Midoriya and his classmates as they work toward becoming heroes.

Princess Principal (Episode 4)

I’m not sure if Princess Principal is going to stay a must watch, but the first four episodes have impressed. Sure, there’s a bit playing on the cute girls as spies, but there’s also some really interesting writing and some unexpected character depth. Plus the whole steampunk, alternative history thing is actually working quite well for it. All and all, I’m just really enjoying the story so far.

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Usually Entertaining

Gamers (Episode 4)

I can’t help it, this show is just a bundle of fun to watch. It plays on clichés and stereotypes but so far hasn’t managed to just be insulting and lazy in its delivery. The music has remained top-notch and the characters are definitely pulling their weight. While not a must watch show (at least not yet) there’s a great deal to like about this show so far.

In Another World With My Smartphone (Episode 4)

This is actually becoming genuine fun to watch. I’m not watching it and tolerating the comedy, I’m actually enjoying the jokes even if they are a little tired and overused in places. The characters are strictly filling their assigned tropes, the story has almost zero depth, and while it looks good enough there’s nothing exceptional about the visuals here. Yet, this show is good fun. It isn’t asking you to take it seriously and it knows very well that it shouldn’t be taken seriously.

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Okay, I Guess

18if (Episode 5)

I was a little optimistic on this one. It isn’t bad but it is becoming repetitive and without further revelations, the story is pretty pointless as Haruto saves the witch of the week. There’s certainly potential for this show to pick up toward the end, but at the moment, okay is the best descriptor for it and what it is delivering. It is interesting in its own way but without any kind of clear direction or any kind of answer, there isn’t much more to say about it. Visually it remains one of the more interesting anime of the season.

Knight’s & Magic (Episode 5)

This show continues to remain entertaining in places, fairly relaxing to watch, but it isn’t really asking me to care too much about what is going on or really seeming to build on its foundations. It’s still fun enough and I’m interested enough, but it isn’t particularly amazing.

Fastest Finger First (Episode 5)

This seems to finally be trying to push the characters rather than the quizzes, and it worked fairly well. Admittedly, the characters still aren’t the most interesting thing in the show, but at least they seem to have something resembling a personality. Hopefully this show can maintain some consistency over the season. The quizzes however remain the highlight for me.

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu (Episode 5)

Right, so the story and characters are going nowhere, but the fight sequences remain impressive. Watch for cool sword play and some awesome music, ignore everything else and this is pretty tolerable so far. It is attempting to elicit some kind of emotional response from its audience, but so far it is missing the mark.

Hell Girl: Fourth Twilight (Episode 4)

And this continues its episodic trudge along so if you’ve watched so far, there’s nothing either particularly good or bad about this week (unless watching old people be mistreated upsets you in which case, pass).

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (Episode 5)

This show would be better if you kept the set up the same but changed the protagonist out for someone with a personality and then switched the writers out for ones that had some sense of how to build drama or any kind of emotion. It remains a very pretty show and one full of characters I want to like, but is pretty bland all around.

Clean Freak Aoyama Kun (Episode 5)

I’m still sticking with this one, which for me and a comedy show is pretty unusual. I must admit, I’m still actually having some fun with it. Though, at 5 episodes in its beginning to tire me as jokes that were kind of tolerable are being reused just that little bit too often and I still don’t really have any concern for any of the characters.

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They Made This

Sagrada Reset (Episode 18)

Sagrada Reset is definitely attempting a late in the season come back. Nothing is going to make this an anime I would recommend to someone given it is incredibly awkward to watch at times with some very stilted characters, and yet, it would be fantastic if those of us who did watch it got to feel some sense of satisfaction as we close in on the end.

Vatican Miracle Examiner (Episode 5)

I wonder if the whole mystery was written out before they started making this. I guess it would have to be. So that means, someone read that script and that resolution and thought it seemed like a good idea and still decided to make this into an anime. It isn’t a total train wreck, but neither is it particularly good or worth watching. Episode 5 fills in some details about Lauren and is a little bit better to watch, but that’s probably because they aren’t on a case.

Chronos Ruler (Episode 5)

Looks like I was right in moving this one down into this category. The writing of this show is appalling as is the characterisation and pacing. Basically it has a kind of decent concept underneath all that and it might get to a point but I’m pretty much expecting this to just meander about and squander any potential it has before sputtering to a fairly flat conclusion.

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Tried and Dropped

Restaurant to Another World (Episode 1)

Centaur’s Life (Episode 1)

Convenience Store Boyfriends (Episode 1)

Saiyuki Reload Blast (Episode 1)

Battle Girl High School (Episode 1)

Hina Logic (Episode 1)

Tsuredure Children (Episode 1)

Fox Spirit Matchmaker (Episode 1)

Aho Girl (Episode 1)

The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor (Episode 1)

Halfway point of the season: which shows do you think are going to be the stand out of the season?


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My Hero Academia Episodes 29 + 30: The Boys Are Back Together

Review Episode 29:

I remember back when the tournament arc started the reason I was disappointed with that was because tournament arcs just can’t do high stakes for real. The worst that will happen is they’ll lose (although My Hero Academia managed to put its own spin on that with Midoriya doing some permanent damage to his hand). Well, the internship is definitely making up for that. I wanted real danger and stakes, here they are, and watching Iida, then Midoriya, and then Midoriya backed by Todoroki facing the real world Hero Killer is truly spectacular and everything I could ever want from this show.

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Midoriya and Todoroki have both come so far to who they were back in the tournament arc, and Iida is having his moment now where he can choose whether he’s going to grow as a hero or really just fail as a hero. I’m hoping he steps up because this is a generation of kids who really could change their world once they got over their own baggage. Loved this episode and looking forward to the next.

Review Episode 30:

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Once again, My Hero Academia has left me completely speechless and just sitting as the credits play staring at the screen in silence. This episode was go, go, go with the exception of one fairly necessary flashback sequence for Iida.

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We finally got to see Endeavor actually act like a hero and it makes a pleasant change given our only previous encounters with him made me really question this world’s definition of hero. We also got to see the conclusion of the fight between the Hero Killer, Todoroki, Iida and Midoriya and that was a fantastic experience. Yet, even when the show delves into the darker side of this world, the watching experience remains one of fun and entertainment. This is a show that balances itself well and always remembers what it wants to give its audience. Fantastic episode, looking forward to what comes next.


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My Hero Academia Episodes 27 + 28: Time For a Power Up

Review Episode 27:

No surprise that most of this episode focusses on Midoriya’s meeting with Gran Torino and learning a little bit more about his power. The other kids get a look in as we see the start of their internships and they realise reality is quite different from their dreams. That said, I have to wonder why Gran Torino just had to be the cliché mentor character. Small, acts crazy, and gives obscure advice rather than actually clearly explaining a process. I get there is some joy in seeing Midoriya figure it out for himself, but surely that is time that could have been spent on something better.

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Compared to some of the episodes that have come before it, this one is neither particularly good or bad, but it does progress the story and the new opening is kind of interesting (I’ll see if it grows on me after a few more episodes).

Review Episode 28:

Please tell me that they aren’t really going to kill Iida. It seems a little dark but crazier things have happened I guess.

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Anyway, Midoriya continues training and he’s on a train to Tokyo when a villain and a hero crash into the side of the train leading to Gran Torino launching himself into the fight. Midoriya is still on the train though so I wonder if he’s going to jump into the fray or watch from the sidelines.

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The other kids are mostly being tortured by their mentors, in the usual way that interns are tortured as their ideals are crushed and ground into dust by the reality of the day to day job.

Overall, this was a pretty intense episode by the end and while I’m not sure what the villains are up to with this attack as it just seems like unplanned chaos, the hero killer has been pretty entertaining and seeing Midoriya figure out his quirk a little bit more has been great. I love how they are leaving it fully open for him to continue evolving so we can’t really criticise later power ups as a plot cheat.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Characters Robbed By Plot

This is another My Hero Academia inspired list after a discussion with a few people on Twitter and this comment:

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Which got me thinking of all the times characters have lost out in anime because the plot demands they lose. There are a lot. Of course that is true of any narrative because sometimes you just have to let the protagonist win. Anyway, I made a short list of characters that I thought were genuinely robbed by the plot (robbed, mugged, gunned down and left to die, etc). I’d love to know who else you thinks needs to join the ‘they were robbed’ club so please share in the comments below.

Please Note – There will be major plot spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: This week my only honourable mention is going to every opponent in Katanagatari. Sorry guys, but each and every one of you was robbed of your chance of even getting an appearance in a second episode because the plot demanded you be met, challenged and defeated (okay, some of these guys did show up in episodes prior to their deaths and a few got flash backs after their deaths, but mostly they were all one episode wonders).

Number 5: JJ from Yuri on Ice

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You know, I don’t actually want JJ to have won because he was incredibly obnoxious (even though he wasn’t technically an antagonist). That said, I think the plot really did run him down just for the fun of it and it was kind of unnecessary. In the first skate of the grand prix, JJ choked. Horribly. Considering his overwhelming confidence and presence in every other competition and that this wasn’t his first major competition it just seemed really kind of cruel and I actually felt sorry for the guy by the end of it. More importantly, it wasn’t necessary for him to do so poorly. When you look at the scores Yuri and Yurio ended up with, even if JJ had been at his best, the result probably would have been the same. So pretty much the plot ran him over for no reason and that actually cheapened the Yuri’s victory because they haven’t beaten JJ at his best.

Number 4: Manato from Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

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Yes, we need a tragic death to reinforce that fragile nature of life and to highlight the real human process of grief. Sorry Manato, the plot demands your death. No you don’t get to save anyone else spectacularly or have any kind of moment of self-sacrifice. You can just get shot in the back and die. This was a really affective moment by the plot and a great character moment for everyone else in the story, but Manato really did get robbed here. He was the best character the show had and in order to help everyone else reach that little bit higher, the plot threw him under the bus. It did it well, but that was a little mean.

Number 3: Linda from Golden Time

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Love triangles always suck because someone is going to lose. More importantly, normally if the person at the middle of the triangle would just make a choice we could all be spared the heartache. The reason Linda gets a place on this list out of the thousands of losing at love characters is because technically she didn’t lose. Banri of the past chose her. Continued to choose her. Unfortunately, Banri of the past only existed as a ghost because Banri of the future had lost his memory and was a whole new person who fell in love with Koko. Seriously, that has to suck for Linda. Worse, when past Banri shows up just long enough to get Linda’s hopes up again. Seriously, plot, we get it. Banri and Koko are going to be together. Now please stop rubbing salt into Linda’s wounds for half an episode.

Number 2: Uraraka from My Hero Academia

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Yep, the girl who inspired the list. She went into a fight that she knew she probably couldn’t win with a plan. A good plan. If she’d been the protagonist she most definitely would have turned the tide of the fight and won with that plan. Okay, she would have won with even half that plan given some plans protagonists have made work. Unfortunately, cute side-character who may or may not eventually become some sort of love interest for someone, does not have plot armor and when the plot is demanding a show down between two other characters and you face one of them earlier in the competition you know your luck is out. Poor Uraraka.

Number 1: Grimmjow from Bleach

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I know, every opponent Ichigo faces could end up on this list but most of them I wanted to see lose. With Grimmjow, part of me really wanted to see him win. He was one of the most entertaining opponents ever and he didn’t have some amazingly overpowered attack that couldn’t be defended against. He was just someone in love with fighting and getting stronger. Given Ichigo doesn’t win every fight and regularly has to have a take two or three against particularly strong opponents (they beat him nearly to death, someone drags him away so that he can heal, learn a new skill, go back and try again), I really wanted Grimmjow to be one of those opponents. I wanted him to beat Ichigo up and for there to be an ongoing rivalry between the two. Alas, it was not to be and Grimmjow became yet another casualty of plot.

That’s my list. I’d love to know who you’ve put on yours.


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My Hero Academia Episode 26

Review:

This was a much more low-key episode than what we’ve been watching but it was quite effective as we see the students all hyped up after the tournament and moving into an internship and we also finally get to see the full impact on Iida of his brother’s attack.

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While we saw the attack and saw Iida visit his brother previously, that was kind of background to the tournament. This episode, it takes a far more central role and is certainly the major point of drama given the silliness going on in the classroom with the name choosing (silliness here is not synonymous with nonsense – it was a really good way to re-establish the personalities of some of the lesser known students and to see where our main characters were sitting emotionally).

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We also got a blast from the past with the mumbling Midoriya returning to the scene showing once and for all that for all of his growth, Midoriya will remain who he is.

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If I had to pick a fault with this episode it would be the moment where Iida heads off to his internship and Midoriya’s exposition heavy voice over. I get that this kind of works for the genre and given how light the episode was it did add some tension as it foreshadowed darker events, but it was just so unnecessary. We already knew that Midoriya was worried about Iida (as is their teacher) and we already knew that Iida was about to bite off more than he could chew. Putting it out there in such an obvious way just felt really clunky and like they didn’t trust the way they’d portrayed the characters to convey the idea and so they just had Midoriya say it straight out.

Okay, I’m an episode behind now but hopefully I’ll catch up at some point along the way. Still really enjoying this season of My Hero Academia.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: My Hero Academia Torunment Matches

So as I said last week, this post topic was suggested to me by Kendra Ressler as one of my patrons and I’m going to thank her for the very awesome topic to write about. If you’ve been following season 2 of My Hero Academia, you already know it has been running a tournament between its year 1 students as part of their sports festival and this has led to some incredible character match ups and intense fights. I’m going to say this is my absolute favourite tournament arc ever given I usually find them pretty dull. There is no possible way to describe the events in this tournament as dull.

Anyway, I’d love to know which were your favourite matches on the tournament so please leave your comments below.

Please Note – There will be My Hero Academia season 2 spoilers below so if you haven’t started watching it you may want to pass.

Honourable mentions this week:

  • Shiozaki vs Kaminari
  • Mina vs Aoyama
  • Yaoyorozu vs Tokoyami
  • Tetsutetsu vs Kirishima
  • Iida vs Shiozaki
  • Ashido vs Tokoyami
  • Kirishima vs Bakugo
  • Iida vs Todoroki
  • Bakugo vs Tokoyami
  • Any of the fights I may have forgotten.

Number 5: Mei vs Iida

If you read my episode review featuring this match, you will know I found this whole sequence pretty hysterical. Essentially Mei tricks Iida into helping her sell her support devices. Runs him around in circles while pointing out the various features and once she’s finished her sales pitch she calmly steps out of bounds. While I’m not a major fan of comedy, this was really well handled and is one of the more unique fights in this tournament.

Number 4: Midoriya vs Shino

This first fight of the tournament between Midoriya and the seemingly weaker general course student was intense, or at least as in tense as a fight can be where one character simply asks the other to step out of bounds and then waits for it to happen. Shino probably should have specified speed on that one. Despite that, this fight was excellent at making the point clear that just because you aren’t in the hero course does not mean that your quirk is useless or that you can’t be a hero. If Midoriya’s quirk had been anything else and he hadn’t been the protagonist, Shino would have won this particular fight.

Number 3: Izuku vs Todoroki

For a fight as amazing as this one to be number 3 just kind of goes to show what it was up against. Seriously, my post of this episode was incredibly hard to write because I was just kind of blown away by how intense things got. Keep in mind though, we’ve got broken bones a plenty in this episode, not to mention a near double wipe out explosion. Todoroki seriously let loose at the end there. Absolutely amazing to watch.

Number 2: Uraraka vs Bakugo

When Kendra first suggested this list I thought for sure this fight would be number 1. However, like my top females in shonen list, it appears that Uraraka is always destined to be number 2. That shouldn’t deceive you though. This is a fight you need to watch and rewatch and then watch it again. Going in to this match up I felt for sure Uraraka would make a brave showing and then be swept under the rug but instead she really brought the fight to Bakugo. What was even better is that by the end of the fight he respected her for her strength. Also, this episode brings up a lot of the issues with the world and format of the school so you can deconstruct that as well, or you can just enjoy a seriously amazing fight.

Number 1: Bakugo vs Todoroki

It might be a bit obvious to pick the final as my number 1 choice, but really, this was an absolutely amazing match up and one that deserves respect. Without stretching out the time, inserting random flashbacks to rapidly build a reason for the audience to care about the characters, unnecessary lengthy dialogue about motive or tactics, Bones delivered one fantastic fight sequence and they did it in less than ten minutes of screen time. This was a truly awesome clash between two characters that in season one were well and truly overshadowed by Midoriya but have now been given a bit of free reign to shine.

Alright, over to you. Which was your favourite match and why? Once again, thanks to Kendra for suggesting the list.


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My Hero Academia Season 2 Episode 25

Review:

What was that? Oh, that was my heart skipping a beat and me forgetting that I can actually breathe. We’re all good. Given this episode gave us a recap, reminding us how angry Bakugo is as a character all the time and a prep room confrontation between the two characters before we got to the fight and it was still all over before the 12 minutes mark, it has no business hitting me that hard. By the way, the next part contains major spoilers for the fight so go watch it first.

Are we sure that Bakugo isn’t secretly evil?

This fight was short but really, really intense. I think all the big shonen titles of the last twenty years could take a lesson from this. Stretching a fight over three, four, five episodes (half a season) does not make it more powerful. Getting the audience invested in the participants, having some emotional drive, and hitting hard and fast, that is going to knock the audience back in their chairs and have them wondering how many times they can watch it before the internet crashes.

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Bakugo is angry for most of this fight. Like, furious. Almost manic would probably be the best descriptor. He isn’t angry at Todoroki. I’m somehow doubting Bakugo has actually seen Todoroki as a person yet given I don’t think he’s used his name once. No, Bakugo is angry at himself and the situation. Once again, Midoriya has beaten him at his own self-imposed standard and that is killing him just a little bit inside. And outside. He isn’t given to keeping his feelings to himself.

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Todoroki on the other hand is emotionally torn in two. He wants to win and he knows he needs to use his left side. He is hearing Midoriya’s words from their fight and logically he understands their meaning and knows the truth of it. He actually does start bringing out his flames after Midoriya calls out from the stands, and then… Well then reality kicks in. A lifetime of trauma doesn’t just vanish because of one fight and a pep talk.

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Before Bakugo’s attack even reaches him, Todoroki has conceded defeat and his flames have gone out. It means Bakugo has convincingly won the tournament but it means his actual victory, showing that he is better than Midoriya, has been snatched from his grasp.

I was kind of glad when they knocked him out before declaring him the winner. He actually looks really peaceful when he’s unconscious.

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So, if all that happens in 12 minutes what happens for the rest of the episode?

We have an award ceremony where All Might shows once again he is a giant dork yet everyone loves him. Except maybe Bakugo. That kid does not know when to just let something go and I kind of love him for it. He might be a socially inept, explosively angry, bully at times but his genuine drive to always be the best is kind of admirable. A lot of characters say they want to be the best but they almost always succumb to being ‘nice’ or helping others. Bakugo isn’t hindered by the usual constraints put on protagonists because he isn’t the protagonist. This allows us to see the true personality of someone who strives to be better than other at any cost. Even if he wants to be a better hero which is kind of arguably a good thing.

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We also spend some time with Iida and his family in the hospital before we head back to the classroom and the students are told they have a couple of days off class. It’s the final scenes here where we see the reflection and regrouping process these characters go through that takes this episode from being cool action to actually being another excellent building block in this story.

While we see numerous characters I’m only focussing on these two. Todoroki visits his mother. He realises he has to overcome his block on his own and he’s finally ready to take that first step. Midoriya on the other hand has taken Rescue Girl’s words to heart and has finally realised his reckless actions cause others to worry. He is also finally ready to go to the next level and wants to take that first step.

With that, the whole class is fired up and ready to get stronger and with the villains briefly being shown plus the condition Iida’s brother is in, it is clear it won’t take long before the students are going to be thrown back in the deep end.

Seriously brilliant episode of a show that has really delivered this arc well.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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Spring 2017 Week 11

This is my final Spring List though I will be posting the results of my polls when I get back at the end of July. If you haven’t voted yet for what you think the best and worst of the season have been, the links are at the bottom of this post. The vote for best is pretty close so far though worst seems to already have a clear winner. As always, I’d love to know your thoughts on the season so please feel free to comment below on any of the currently airing shows.

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Must Watch

My Hero Academia Season 2 (Episode 25)

Okay, this one doesn’t make me think and wonder about the nature of the universe but it has certainly made me sit up and take notice (and eat my words – not literally – about a tournament arc being boring). That was completely amazing as a finishing touch to that story arc and we are already moving into the next one so no down time or filler (or at least it doesn’t look like we’re setting up for that). My review for this episode once again went well over the 100 words and I do not regret even one word I spent gushing over this episode or this series at this point.

Kado: The Right Answer (Episode 10)

My review of this week’s episode is going to be far longer than my usual 100 words (hoping to cut down my initial rant a bit). It isn’t that anything that happened this episode was particularly bad. This show is still an absolute must watch. However, for the first time, even while watching the episode there were parts where the shiny coating seemed to be flaking off just a little bit. Just hoping this show can hold out until the end of the season and not fall apart too soon.

Natsume Yuujinchou 6 (Episode 10)

I’d love to be able to put this and My Hero Academia on an even level I think after this week. My Hero Academia is exciting, but Natsume always plays to its strengths and season 6 has been exceptional at spinning a good story and drawing the audience into Natsume’s world. The conclusion to this season looks like its going to be pretty solid too so really looking forward to the next episode.

The Eccentric Family Season 2 (Episode 10)

Benten backed down from a confrontation with Nidaime and the only other appearance of Benten this episode turned out to be a dream sequence but she still manages to have massive presence even when she isn’t on screen. This episode really kicks things into high gear and suddenly the stakes are much higher than before. You would think Yasaburo would learn to stop stirring trouble but I guess the show wouldn’t be half as interesting without him sticking his nose into things without thinking it through.

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Usually Entertaining

Attack on Titan Season 2 (Finished)

Full season review coming shortly. The last episode was actually kind of decent and did reveal something so at least it gave us that and didn’t just have a smack down for the whole episode. There are still so many questions but it did feel like it made some progress.

The Royal Tutor (Episode 10)

This week we finally get to the episode we’ve been waiting for and the reveal about Heine’s past. While nothing revealed here is mind blowing or changes your whole perception of the show, it is a nice reward after the build up and it fits in with the audience’s knowledge of the world. Also, some really great character moments fill this episode so it is kind of a delight to watch. Overall, this show is probably my biggest surprise from this season given how much I’ve been enjoying it.

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Okay, I Guess

The Laughing Salesman (Episode 11)

Business as usual here. Two people introduced and both get their five minutes of tragedy. I’d really like there to be just one story that went a different way just for the novelty factor but I’m still enjoying this easy going and formulaic show. The no surprises means it is fairly restful viewing.

Granblue Fantasy (Episode 12)

Despite this show having another episode, the preview has made it pretty clear next week is just an extra and that was the feeling I got the whole way through this episode. It felt like a finale. It didn’t answer a lot of questions, but we had all these characters come back, random new characters running into the fray, and a big boss fight. Pretty much a season end.

Grimoire of Zero (Episode 10)

Grimoire and Granblue are kind of battling it out to see which one is going to be the most mediocre fantasy show this season. Both have good ingredients and ho-hum execution. Granblue is losing at being more mediocre than Grimoire though because I actually kind of like the characters in Granblue. Then again, the magic in Grimoire is kind of cool, if only they spent more time on that.

WorldEnd (Episode 10)

Yep, this show has officially made me accept that it just isn’t going to be very good. The first episode is interesting enough and makes excellent use of music and visuals to draw you in to what should be a very interesting world and narrative. However, the rest of the series just hasn’t been able to match the emotional feel of that or actually make use of the interesting setting and plot that has been dropped on it. It all feels like we are going through the motions at this point and while this show remains pretty that’s about all I can say it has going for it at this point.

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor (Episode 11)

The show worked hard this week to pack some sort of punch but it just isn’t working on me given I’m really in a state of indifference toward the entire cast at this point. Possibly this episode will play out a bit better for those who have formed some sort of connection with the main characters but for me this was mostly just watching them build up to a series end and wondering if they’d be nice enough to actually kill off the main character.

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They Made This

Sagrada Reset (Episode 11)

I had to drop this show here. This show is on absolute notice given I spent almost all of this episode thinking I was done and that I was finally dropping it. I had no reason to want to continue. If not for the preview I would be finished with it. It is a sad state of affairs where I’m only continuing to watch because of thirty seconds of preview.

The Silver Guardian (Finished)

Apparently a second season of this is coming out next year (according to MAL at least) but to be perfectly honest I won’t be watching. This is an unresolved meander and a mess of ideas. It still could have been okay if it had managed to tie up any of its plot elements but it steadfastly ignored the actual plot right until the end and its final episode focussed on poor comedy instead of story. Oh well.

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Tried and Dropped

Alice & Zoroku (Episode 6)

Sword Oratoria (Episode 5)

Tsukigakirei (Episode 2)

Eromanga Sensei (Episode 2)

Armed Girls Machiavellism (Episode 2)

Sakura Quest (Episode 1)

Love Tyrant (Episode 1)

Clockwork Planet (Episode 1)

Time to start choosing the best and worst shows of the season. If you haven’t voted in my poll yet, please click the links above and have your say.


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If you like this site and you like what I do, consider becoming a patron.

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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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