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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My Hero Academia Episode 24

Review:

This episode is a bit blur like given we get 5 separate match ups and we get a lot of time out of the stadium dealing with the fallout of Midoriya and Todoroki’s fight from last week. I’m not upset about this as everything that is covered is kind of needed to get us to the end of the tournament and I’m glad they didn’t overly dwell on anything in this episode in particular, but it means that this episode works as a transition and not a lot else.

That said, there’s still a few major points that come up.

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Firstly, Todoroki is confronted by his father and it seems that My Hero Academia isn’t going for the instant healing of childhood trauma. Certainly Todoroki has a bit of a break-through in his fight with Midoriya but he isn’t about to let go of all of that baggage just because of one fight. My respect for the writers of this show shot up enormously after that revelation.

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Secondly, one of the teachers at the school finally acted like an adult and pretty much told Midoriya to stop breaking himself at the drop of the hat. The permanent disfigurement suffered already should have been incentive enough for him to tone it down but this is Midoriya we’re talking about so hopefully he pays attention.

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Also, we get a new villain in the mix who I’m guessing will become a bit more relevant after the tournament wraps up (unless the villains actually are psycho enough to attack a stadium full of pro-heroes – that could be amusing but deeply stupid). Okay, he does take out Iida’s brother here and that is probably going to lead to some other character trauma but that point, while made, wasn’t exactly prominent.

Lastly, Todoroki and Bakugo both made it through to the final round (like we were expecting anything else after Midoriya was taken out of the running).

As I said, this episode isn’t particularly good as a stand alone episode (unlike the previous two stories that have been phenomenal to watch just because of what they delivered in the episode), but it works well enough at getting us from point A to point B and has more than enough relevant plot points to ensure it isn’t an entirely skippable bit of filler. Looking forward to the next episode.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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Friday’s Feature: My Hero Academia and Hero Culture

Okay, I’ve been reading a lot of My Hero Academia posts over the last couple of weeks as my recent In Case You Missed It post kind of highlighted and what I’ve really loved about these posts is the range of issues and topics they have covered. Given how excited I’ve been about this show the last few weeks it did make me want to write about it but I’m pretty sure my thoughts are still really confused as this is a series the packs a lot of social commentary into what is otherwise a relatively simple shonen anime.

So while I’d like to delve into the school system and a few of the other issues bubbling along in this show I decided I’d start with the main point of the show and that is the idea of being a hero. When I first read the premise for season 1 of My Hero Academia and realised in the world they were creating almost everyone had a super power I couldn’t help but think of Syndrome from the Incredibles.

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It seemed like by giving everyone a hero that having powers would cease to be something special and as a result things should just level out and everyone be back on the usual playing field so how would they make that setting unique. Obviously the few without powers really did get a raw deal and would probably face discrimination (kind of directly opposed to something like X-Men where it is the minority with powers who are facing continuous discrimination) and the story was going to focus on a character who wasn’t born with a power so maybe that would be something. However, they rapidly overcome that particular hurdle by transferring a power to him (admittedly one he still can’t control properly). Whichever way, back to the original point in that you have to wonder how a story where everyone has some sort of power will actually be interesting and not just a case of endless one upping.

What Syndrome’s theory fails to take into consideration is that even in the world of The Incredibles, some super heroes stand above others. This is an issue My Hero Academia takes very seriously even if it isn’t always front and centre.

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The obvious example from season one is All Might (that name is so pretentious). He’s the epitome of heroism if one assumes all the typical clichés for someone being classed as a superhero hold true. From physical appearance and prowess to his courageous acts of rescues and even the way he speaks with confidence and yet just enough humility that you don’t want to smack him one for being completely egocentric. This is a very deliberately contrived persona that All Might has donned and his motives for it are clearly explained as is the consequence of his power quickly failing him. All Might is a symbol in this world. A world full of people with absolutely incredible powers and yet someone who is strong, fast, and good for the sake of being good, still stands above as an icon and something to strive toward for young people, and something to fear for villains.

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But what happens when his power leaves? Midoriya, being Midoriya, has learned All Might’s secret and knows All Might’s time as a hero is limited but still looks up to and admires All Might. For Midoriya, it isn’t just that All Might was strong, it was his attitude and way of living that inspired and even the loss of his physical prowess is insufficient to snuff out Midoriya’s fan boy focus.  However, I think we might all agree that Midoriya and his overall attitude is something of an anomaly in the world of My Hero Academia.

How will the rest of the world respond once All Might’s power leaves him for good, or even leaves him when he is exposed to the public? Will his many years of service and hard work be respected or will he be ridiculed and cast aside? Worse still, would he be left to the mercy of the villains who so far have been kept in check by his mere presence?

From what we’ve seen of this world and the way that it measures strength and worth, you would have to unfortunately believe that even if he wasn’t scorned he would most definitely be cast aside. Serving no further use as either a rescuer or deterrent he would literally just become another has been and fade into the dark recesses of some history book that maybe future heroes would read about. That seems a tragic ending for someone who actually served a greater good even while he built quite a good brand name for himself.

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Which actually highlights the entire issue of hero culture as it is presented in My Hero Academia. There are new up and coming heroes appearing every year. The new generation of students graduating from UA and probably plenty of less well known schools that still train students to become heroes. Each one of these would-be heroes has a reason for wanting to be a hero as we’ve seen exemplified by the students in the class. They all want to be a hero but to get there and to succeed they are going to have to beat their friends, they are going to have to put themselves first, they are going to have to brand themselves, and even then they still only have a small chance of success in an already over crowded market. Essentially heroism has become the new Australia’s Got Talent (or equivalent) and ultimately just being good at being a hero isn’t going to be enough. Everyone who got into the school is potentially good at being a hero but the world doesn’t need entire classes of heroes running around. They have to stand out even at the cost of those around them and that by its very nature would lead to some fairly unheroic personalities making it through the rigorous training processes and reaching the top.

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What I find interesting about this set-up is that normal people on the street have stood back and watched as fairly low level villains have committed crimes. They wait for a hero rather than taking action even though some of their own Quirks are more than capable of dealing with things. They hold the ‘heroes’ of the story in awe even as this show goes to great lengths to humanize the current group of students and to help us realise they are all just kids working toward a dream.

Heroism as a commodity isn’t a new notion in anime or any other story telling medium. Even Clark Kent made money off Superman through writing stories about him and we know Spider Man wasn’t above peddling his own acts of heroism for cash. And it is maybe this part of the story that really sums up this show’s comment about the modern world. Everything has a price and everything is for sale. Even acts of heroism, morals, and dreams.

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But in case that seems a little depressing, just remember Midoriya has so far managed to defy all common sense in his optimism about more or less everything so maybe, just maybe, the seeds of change are already being spread amongst the students in his class.


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My Hero Academia Episode 23

Review (again, spoilers this week if you didn’t watch yet):

I’m not certain which battle was more impressive during this episode. The physical battle between Midoriya and Todoroki was visually amazing and absolutely intense. We had ice being blasted into a million pieces and strong gusts of wind and that was even before Todoroki caved on his not using his left side in combat stance.

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But as impressive as that was, it couldn’t have one-upped Uraraka and Bakuro’s efforts just for lasting longer and taking a more physical toll on both contestants. Certainly the audience was feeling the effect of some of those attacks. And it was the first time the teachers nearly intervened before the fight was over so they clearly felt both students were pushing themselves just a little too far for a tournament fight.

Yet, the fight that was more impressive was the one Midoriya declared when he decided to shatter Todoroki’s view of himself and his power. Having clearly told Endeavor last week that Todoroki wasn’t Endeavor, this week Midoriya makes a very similar declaration to Todoroki pointing out that his power is his own and not using it when everyone else is giving their all is not the kind of action a hero would take.

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With Todoroki declaring clearly he wanted to be a hero and reconnecting with the child who had genuinely wanted to be a hero, he wins the fight (or at least the match) but I can’t help feeling that this is also Midoriya’s victory.

Besides, even if Midoriya had made it to the next round, his body was kind of done after this match. So, no Midoriya/Bakugo fight for a final which leaves me wondering how this whole tournament arc will come to a close and I must admit at this point I’m really kind of excited to see what is next.

Truly amazing episode following on from a very strong episode. I’m going to be honest, the preview tried really hard but I just don’t know how the next episode is going to stand up after these last two.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Girls in a Shonen Anime

I was inspired to write this list after watching My Hero Academia episode 22 on the weekend and then seeing this tweet:

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It got me thinking about all the female characters in shonen anime and how usually they get sidelined or end up in support roles (healer, archer, etc). So I started thinking about my favourite female characters in these shows who defy the odds and actual get to be a front line fighter (even if only in the lead ups to final battles where the male protagonist of course steals back the show – it is shonen afterall). My other criteria for a spot on the list was I actually had to like them as a character. Just being a crazy fighter didn’t quite cut it if I couldn’t stand them whenever they were on screen.

Anyway, this is my list and I’d love for you to tell me who you would have included on yours.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: Mikasa from Attack on Titan and Morgiana from Magi.

Number 5: Lenalee from D Gray Man

I really wondered about Lenalee and whether to include her or not. Mikasa was looking fairly tempting given she’s undeniably a better fighter, but Lenalee wins in terms of mostly having an actual personality other than save Eren. So what makes Lenalee awesome? During the early half of D Gray Man, she’s a very active fighter. She shows Allan the ropes of being part of the order and she holds her own in some pretty horrific fights. The first battle Lenalee and Allan have against Road Camelot takes a massive toll on both Lenalee and Allan but Lenalee is in that fight all the way. The second half of the original 103 episodes Lenalee gets a couple of exceedingly cool moments with a fight that literally destroys her innocence and ends up encasing her in crystal. She’s pretty much out of active combat at that point until we get to the final battle of that particular run of episodes where Lenalee’s innocence evolves and she gets a brand new power up just in time to help Allan win the fight. Admittedly though, you are just as often going to see Lenalee serving various characters cups of tea.

Number 4: Rukia from Bleach

Rukia is another strong female character that suffers from having her power broken/stolen/whatever in order to allow the male character a chance to actual grow and catch up. It would be lovely if we could just a female character strong and not need to be crippled for a good chunk of the plot for narrative convenience but apparently that is asking for a little too much (back to Mikasa, she hasn’t been crippled physically but emotionally she’s pretty stunted). Anyway, Rukia doesn’t get to show us how amazing she is for pretty much the entire first three seasons given Ichigo takes her power at the end of episode 1. Still, if you make it past that point, when Rukia comes back into the show you see the very capable shinigami that she is and her sword definitely does have one of the prettiest attacks in the show, if freezing your enemies solid can be considered pretty. What I really like about Rukia is her versatility. She uses her sword but she also uses a range of other attacks and thinks through her fights.

Number 3: Uraraka from My Hero Academia

Okay, one tournament fight does not make her an awesome fighter but seriously, Uraraka has been hanging in there right from the beginning. Despite a pretty timid personality she has stepped up to every challenge so far. She’s also a nice person. We’ve recently learned how fierce her desire to be a hero is and yet she still tried to give away her spot to Midoriya after the entrance exam. That’s a pretty impressive move for someone who is desperate to succeed. However, nice or not, hanging in there through every challenge including villains attacking the school, none of that is the reason for her place on the list. That one tournament fight is enough to show us that this girl is deadly serious about becoming a hero one day. She may not be there yet but her tenacity, skill, and focus were amazing and this girl really needs more attention on her.

Number 2: Akari from Hitsugi no Chaika

This one might be a weird choice and I will admit her weird brother focus does kind of make her a weird character at times, but Akari is fantastic. As a saboteur she’s got a fair range of skills at her disposal. I know most of the focus is on Toru, but Akari is in pretty much every fight and the majority of them wouldn’t have succeeded without her presence given the two siblings plan and one acts as bait or a distraction while the other usually either sets up the trap or pulls off whatever goal they are currently working towards. Also, there are two occasions where Akari turns on Toru (once for fun and once after brain washing). Both times, Akari pushes Toru hard. If you think Akari is just there for comic relief or rival love interest, think again. She’s a cold fighter and you better not be her opponent.

Number 1: Maka from Soul Eater

Okay, this was a given from the get go. Maka is not only an awesome fighter, hard worker, and academic, she’s also one of the few girls on the list who doesn’t lose her powers midway through a series and gets to be the main character and doesn’t lose out to the main guy in the show. Admittedly, she does go a little mad during one of the story arcs, but crazy Maka is kind of fun too (and a significantly stronger fighter due to a lack of care for personal safety). Actually, Soul Eater gets a double hit here because I’d love to also add Tsuabaki (Black Star’s weapon) to the list. She doesn’t get the spot light much but when she does, she really shines (plus she deserves a medal for putting up with Black Star).

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So that’s my list this week with my top 5 girls in shonen anime (okay, technically 6). I’d love to know who would have been on your list and which girls stand out to you.


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My Hero Academia Episode 22

Review:

When I finished watching episode 22 I kind of had to take a minute just to sit and process. That doesn’t happen often as usually I get to the end of an episode and either flick to what’s next on my watch list or just start jotting notes about the episode. With the exception of ACCA and Kado which both have a similar effect due to having to try to piece things together with the plot, the last action anime that gave me an episode that had me so still at the end was Assassination Classroom after THAT episode. It took me a fair while to get over that.

What this means is, I’m not touching this episode in 100 words. So let’s get into it.

A few spoilers below if you haven’t watched the episode.

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Episode 22 is very creatively titled Bakugo vs Uraraka. Then again, My Hero Academia isn’t exactly known for imaginative episode titles, nor does it need to be, and at the very least it can’t be accused of false advertising. What we got this episode was Bakugo vs Uraraka. This shouldn’t have been an exciting episode. The victor was almost absolutely guaranteed because of character arcs and plot necessity if not just common sense about which one had the more combat ready quirk. And yet, I think a lot of us went into the episode expecting some sort of showing from Uraraka which meant we couldn’t just dismiss the very smallest chance that she might actually win (or at the very least land a hit). Yeah, people who read the manga probably missed out on some of that pre-episode anticipation which would definitely change how they related to the pacing and delivery of this fight but that’s true of any anime or movie where you’ve read the source material compared to someone watching it blind.

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I’m going to be honest, the fact that Bakugo even remembered Uraraka’s quirk kind of surprised me. Given he’s been shown to be totally negligent in paying any attention to his classmates I was thrown for a moment and then I realised why he would know her quirk. She’s spent the entire first season and most of this one hanging around Midoriya. Given after the fight, Bakugo confronts Midoriya about him being the one planning Uraraka’s strategy (something Midoriya is quick to correct) it seems like that is the reason Bakugo knows anything about her. I like that character consistency for Bakugo. If he’d just suddenly pulled some random information about a classmate out of thin air when he doesn’t even remember most of their names it would have really broken the plausibility of his personality. I also liked that even though he remembers what she looks like and her quirk, he doesn’t remember her name, or at least he doesn’t acknowledge it at the start of the fight.

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And then Uraraka pulled off a nice opening move. It didn’t land her a blow but it was an impressive feint against an overwhelmingly strong opponent and part of me kind of thought, ‘oh, she tried but now it’s over’. I expected the fight to end fairly abruptly after this point, Uraraka to feel sad and Iida and Midoriya to cheer her up before we moved in to the next round of the tournament. This is where this episode when from being interesting enough with a good character moment for Bakugo to highly impressive. It’s no secret I do not like tournament arcs and battles that seem to have no point given there is no real consequence of losing. Yet both of these characters have so much desire to win for reasons beyond just wanting to be the very best. My Hero Academia does a very good job this week of making you want both these characters to not lose this fight and yet you don’t really want either to win either.

What that means is you are an emotional mess as you watch what is a fairly visually interesting fight play out. The combat itself isn’t spectacular. There are better fight sequences out there. Its the combination of decent enough visuals and pacing with those very complicated emotions of wanting to cheer for a character and just enough clever twists to keep things from getting too predictable even while they aren’t exactly pulling the rug out from under you and turning this into a case of ‘look what secret move I was hiding’.

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At this moment I kind of despised this section of the audience. Even though I didn’t know what the actual twist was, it was obvious that Bakugo wasn’t playing with Uraraka. He was genuinely trying to beat her within the limitations of the tournament because he couldn’t just blow her away without risking seriously harming her which would get him removed from the tournament. The blasts he was using were intended to knock her out of bounds and she was just really persistent. I felt that the audience were devaluing Uraraka’s fairly heroic efforts. Describing her as a poor girl was so belittling to how hard she’d been fighting. As an added bonus, it belittled Bakugo as well for assuming he wasn’t giving his all to the fight. Fortunately, Eraserhead put them in their place really quickly and then I realised how well this episode had manipulated me. I was supposed to despise them and it was supposed to make me feel that both students were getting the raw end of this. Emotional manipulation like this usually makes me roll my eyes but in this case I just got swept away with it. And, this idea came back after the fight giving Bakugo yet another very cool moment in this episode when another character mentioned they couldn’t have gone all out against a frail girl.

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I couldn’t believe it. Actual character development for Bakugo. He actually acknowledged another student in the class besides Midoriya. I’d love for this tournament to be over right now because I would love to see if in future classes if Bakugo actually does start paying more attention to some of his class mates. That would be an amazing outcome for him and might even lead to the development of a personality besides explosively angry all the time.

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Right, so I just smashed the thousand words on a single episode of a shonen tournament fight so I’m going to wrap this up by pointing out that Todoroki’s father, Endeavor, is definitely a new candidate for the anime father of the year awards. This guy deserves his own post, and an on call therapist, but I’m wrapping up my episode review there by saying this episode was awesome, go watch it if you haven’t.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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My Hero Academia Episode 21

Review:

From a plot point of view, this episode mostly determined who else will make it through the first round. I say mostly because we have one more match to go (more on that later) and another match ended in a mutual knock out which means they still have to decide who is going ahead. So not really a lot of development going on in terms of plot. Did that make this a bad episode? Absolutely not. I was in stitches laughing at quite a bit of this episode. Watching the girl from the support class pedal her wares while Iida was pretty much given the run around had me in hysterics. From the crowd reactions to the commentators, to Iida’s indignant reaction, to her absolute focus on finishing her sales pitch (which I have to admit was pretty impressive), everything about that sequence was fantastic.

In slightly less upbeat news, we then get to Uraraka preparing for her fight and she’s against everyone’s favourite hot-head. Even if the audience already knew there was no way Bakugo was going to hold back when fighting the more timid Uraraka, Midoriya confirms that in a fairly touching pre-fight scene. Points to Uraraka for turning down Midoriya’s strategy guide though. She’s determined to win, or lose, on her very own merit and the preview for next week looks like she’s not getting taken out in one hit so I’m kind of looking forward to seeing what she can do.

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Still, I’d be inclined to levitate out of the square if he was taking aim at me.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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Spring 2017 Week 7

Some of these shows just get better and better. Meanwhile those that were just kind of ordinary remain that way and get a little bit less exciting each week. I have dropped both Sword Oratoria and Alice & Zoroku in the last two weeks so it isn’t as though the list is stagnant (Grimoire of Zero is still hanging in there by a thread). Still there are so many shows where I get to the end and I’m just really anticipating the next episode so this season has been a lot of fun to watch. Getting closer to the end of the season and I’m kind of hoping these shows can deliver a strong conclusion (though I know a couple are continuing on into the next season). Let me know your thoughts on the season below.

I’m also going to try a few shows that I didn’t get to at the start of this season because dropping Alice & Zoroku left a small hole in my schedule that I’d rather fill but if I don’t find anything I’ll do some random movie reviews or something there.

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Must Watch

Kado: The Right Answer (Episode 6)

Recap episode – no movement.

Natsume Yuujinchou 6 (Episode 6)

I want to find a way to bottle the emotions I feel when I watch this show. There is no mood so bad that Natsume can’t make me feel better and even make me smile. I knew from the preview that this week was going to focus on Natsume’s normal human friends but I hadn’t realised we were flashing back to Natsume transferring into the school. This was a really great episode and continued to fill in our knowledge of the world these characters exist in. Absolutely great fun to watch.

The Eccentric Family Season 2 (Episode 6)

Nidaime was conspicuously absent this week but we did get a healthy dose of Yasaburo and quite a bit of Benten as well as a surprising return from a certain character from season 1 (though I guess that shouldn’t have been too surprising). Add in a brief field trip into a painting of hell and you have a fairly fun and interesting episode even as the tone takes a shift for the slightly more serious.

Attack on Titan Season 2 (Episode 8)

This episode really does feel like it’s taking a moment to have a breath before plunging us toward the end of the season (given it is apparently going to end after 4 more episodes). There was a lot of reminders of key players, then we had some flash backs and some motivational reminiscing, before most of the characters got on their horses and rode out. Dramatic conclusion and all but really this felt like we were being deliberately held up to ensure the story ends where they want it to given I don’t think we learned anything new through the flash backs or discussions.

My Hero Academia Season 2 (Episode 21)

Fine, My Hero Academia, you win. You are a must watch this season. You make me laugh, you make me nervous for the characters, you make me care about their daddy issues, you have some pretty cool action, and mostly you’re just fun to watch. Please keep it up.

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Usually Entertaining

Sagrada Reset (Episode 7)

And I’m back to being totally confused by this show and yet completely unable to stop watching it. This isn’t the fun puzzling out that ACCA gave me or that I experience while watching KADO. This is at times genuinely frustrating because of how this is being delivered and how it is being executed. It doesn’t stop me from being any less intrigued and curiosity almost always wins out with me, but maybe sometimes it shouldn’t.

The Royal Tutor (Episode 7)

The charm continues and pretty much I have to admit I like this show. It isn’t ground breaking or spectacular, nor will it make a favourites list for me (unless that is a list of slice of life/comedies that I’ve actually watched through to the end), but it is a fairly light and entertaining entry into my weekly viewing and I’m quite enjoying it.

Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor (Episode 7)

And after praising this show last week on its recovery from a poor start, it spent all of this week reminding me of each and every thing I didn’t like about episode 1. Another episode like this will definitely knock this out of the usually entertaining category for good because while one or two episodes that aren’t great is pretty standard, if it starts to become a real trend it is time to admit the show is just not very good.

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Okay, I Guess

WorldEnd (Episode 6)

The week after I dropped this from usually entertaining we get episode 6 which kind of pulled the overall feeling from this show right back up. This show is very up and down and I think it is going to have to wait until the end of the season before I know where in this list it actually belongs. For now I’m leaving it here but I definitely enjoyed this episode more than last week.

The Laughing Salesman (Episode 7)

No change here as the show remains watchable and kind of amusing but isn’t exactly going anywhere (not that it really needs to given its absolute episodic formula).

The Silver Guardian (Episode 8)

This show has definitely peaked already. It is becoming increasingly silly and they are just withholding information for the sake of it at this point. I don’t know how many episodes there are going to be of this but I’m kind of hoping it wraps up soon because otherwise I’m never going to find out how he saves Riko Rei. It’s a good thing these episodes are short because the last two have been barely tolerable.

Granblue Fantasy (Episode 8)

Grandblue Fantasy remains watchable but becomes increasingly pointless. This peisode in particular screamed filler or sidequest and while it was fun and all did absolutely nothing to advance a plot.

Grimoire of Zero (Episode 6)

Having dropped Sword Oratoria and Alice & Zoroku, this one is probably the last of my possible drops for the season. That said, episode 6 managed to get me interested in where this might go and so I’m sticking with it. The world the story is set in is fascinating it is more the characters and the plot so far I’ve had issues with. So, if they character are finally going to do something in a world that is inherently interesting, then I am all for seeing that.

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They Made This

Nothing this week.

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Tried and Dropped

Alice & Zoroku (Episode 6)

I knew this didn’t have much chance of staying in my watch list, but wow episode 6 definitely put the nail in the coffin as it focussed on all the parts of the show I wasn’t overly interested in and kind of just moved away entirely from the few things I was hoping to see explored or developed. This is more a failing of my own expectations rather than the show being poorly done, but still, this is where I part ways with it.

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)

This is the halfway point for the season, what do you think will be the best of Spring 2017?


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Karandi James.

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My Hero Academia Episode 20

Review:

There were three things I took from this episode that were truly brilliant and then the rest of the time I was stuck watching a slow moving tournament. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the episode. It was fantastic. But what made it fantastic were the reveals and character moments and not what was actually happening.

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Firstly, someone finally acknowledges how stupid that entrance exam is. There are so many different types of powers to deal with so many different types of situations and yet if you can’t beat a giant robot, sorry kid you’re out of luck. We see the obvious issue with that because if Midoriya wasn’t the protagonist, the general course student who failed the practical should have most definitely won the first round of this fight. It’s a great acknowledgement of the flaws of the world and the flaws that are inherent in any system of measuring someone’s merit. This was further acknowledged by some of the heroes in the audience after the match when they wondered why someone so powerful was in the general course.

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Secondly, Midoriya won and that’s great and all but what was more important about this was how he overcame the brainwashing. Seems One For All might be a bit more complicated than it initially seemed and Midoriya is having visions that may or may not include All Might, which may or may not mean that the power really is leaving All Might for good and that torch passing moment may nearly be complete. I’d love to know more about this power to be honest given it isn’t an inherited power like pretty much everyone else (though it seems likely there must be other powers that can be transferred because surely the ones who created One For All weren’t the only people who thought making a power would be cool).

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Finally, Todoroki. I may seriously have to go and write another top 5 list for cool users of Ice Magic because in the last five minutes of this episode Todoroki blew me away. He may have been angry and that may have been overkill but it was damn cool to watch and I’d love to see more of that.

So yeah, great episode, though limited actual plot progression given we’ve only seen two matches of round one.

My Hero Academia is available on Crunchyroll.


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

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Karandi James.

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