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

My Hero Academia - Episode 56 - Kaminari

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

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Kapodaco:

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

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

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

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

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

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Karandi:

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

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

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

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

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

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Midoriya

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

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

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

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Kapodaco:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Karandi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Karandi:

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

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

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

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

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

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Kapodaco:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kapodaco:

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

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

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

So about that dorm prospect…

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Karandi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kapodaco:

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

At least they got Bakugo back.

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

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

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

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Karandi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 8

By far the best episode season 3 of My Hero Academia. Kapodaco and I compare our thoughts on the episode and disagree on whether there was anything wrong with the episode or not.

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Karandi

For an episode without a single fight, though there was definitely a punch thrown, episode 8 of My Hero Academia really managed to keep me engaged from start to finish. First we have the dramatic consequences and fall out of the previous trials on Midoriya. We knew he needed to stop breaking himself and this time around he did a fairly spectacular job of it. But the blunt way he is told that he may not be able to use his arms again if he does it even two or three more times is pretty sobering and hits the perfect amount of emotional impact.

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Following on from this we have the group of kids who have decided to go after Bakugou. They are walking a very fine line choosing to justify their actions by claiming they aren’t going to fight, but to infiltrate and recover. It is sophistry at best and deep down they know it, but they can’t sit still and wait. This continues to examine the issue of what makes a hero as they try to justify it. I’m kind of glad Iida and Yaoyorozu have decided to chaperone the expedition but I still think they are all about to get themselves into massive trouble.

Finally, we see the villains talking with Bakugou. Here is where My Hero Academia directly raises the question it’s been exploring since the beginning. What is a hero anyway? Bakugou is the perfect audience for this given his ambiguous nature. He’s someone who wants to be a hero so desperately but his personality seems incredibly ill-suited to it. However, his response to their speech was pretty fantastic and while I’m desperately worried for his well-being in future episodes after that, I have to admit I loved it.

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So that this isn’t just a rave of the episode, I’ll point out two things that stopped this episode from being truly amazing. The first is the narration by Midoriya. Normally I don’t mind this and it is a device that has been used since the beginning. However, mid-way through this episode when he feels the need to remind us that something big was starting, it just felt really clumsy and awkward and kind of broke the tension of the moment when we kind of already knew things were heading in a pretty big direction. The second is of course the kids playing dress up and that very brief comedic moment before the news kind of plunged them back into depression. It just wasn’t very well executed even though I do get what they were aiming for.

All and all though, I loved this episode.

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Kapodaco 

Okay, hold on, missy. That dress shopping scene was great. Here I complained that the show would be forever gloomy and serious from the results of last week’s episode and the writer says, “I got you, dude!” It’s silly and stupid, but we got to see a cute side of Yaoyorozu and co. It’s a reminder that they’re still just kids when all is said and done, and they’re interested in things like fashion and coming up with emotionally-charged plans of rescues and such. I had absolutely no problem with it—I was really pretty happy they did so.

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As per the rest, this episode is packed with things to digest. The stakes of Midoriya overdoing his ability. Iida going against his own development from last season and manipulating it to appease the wishes of his dear friends. The gathering of the top heroes in the world to go on what I presume to be a direct attack against the League of Villains. Bakugo showing his true intentions (for the moment). Society’s role in the dealings of heroes (“Is society just?”). U.A.’s status in society and the weight of their responsibility amidst repeated villainous incidents. And among all these little trinkets that one could glaze over without realizing it. The underlying intricacy to this episode is phenomenal, and if one doesn’t find it overbloated, they’d be hard-pressed not to find this episode thoroughly entertaining.

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I’ll go ahead and make a semi-bold statement: there was nothing wrong with this episode. I thought everything was handled exceptionally well and everything had the appropriate amount of impact behind the words being said by characters and the ideals being stated by both sides. There is so much to look forward to from this point that the series could take any number of branched paths and still be successful, even if they answered only one of the many things they’re trying to build up to. I’m excited for the consequences of Bakugo’s actions, I’m excited for Midoriya’s party’s plan, and I’m excited to see what the gathering of the top heroes will amount to in what will likely be the near future.

This isn’t just the best episode of season three, this is among the best episodes this series has ever had. Should I rate episodes individually, this would be an easy 10/10.

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Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 9.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 6

And here it is. My Hero Academia as we remember it. Exciting, amusing, a little bit over-dramatic, but just fun to watch from start to finish. It took six episodes to get here, but season 3 seems to have finally launched. Kapodaco and I share our thoughts on Episode 6. Be sure to leave us a comment about the season so far and if you’ve missed any of our other episode reviews, check out the links below.

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Kapodaco

What can I say? It’s more of the same.

Not so much the same as this season has been putting forth, but the same quality of excitement as this series has historically been capable of in the past. Season three has finally taken a full grip of me, pulling me around an assortment of places I rarely get the pleasure of visiting. And because of this, there isn’t much to say about the episode in general that hasn’t been appreciated from seasons’ past. My Hero Academia’s third season has officially caught up.

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I will say this though: called it on Bakugo. They wish to bring him up on the side of villainry, possibly to disorient the side of the heroes by having them face a friendly foe. But now they even have Tokoyami for the moment. At one point, they took blood from Ochaco, so perhaps they have a cloning mechanism handy, as well? There’s a lot of character and a lot of future prospects on the table thanks to this episode. I for one am excited for the next episode already.

If I may predict the next episode in writing, I think the villains will succeed in capturing Bakugo, but Tokoyami may be freed by a last-ditch effort from the heroes to save them. Or hey, maybe it’ll be the opposite and Tokoyami will end up the one being captured. But really, Bakugo’s more important of a character than Tokoyami. Surprisingly little perspective from the heroes currently in the care of the retreat building and Aizawa/Kota, but otherwise a generally great episode.

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Karandi

I have to agree with Kapodaco here, season three has finally got me hooked. This episode did what My Hero Academia has always been best at and it did it well. There were quite a number of moments I genuinely appreciated this week and the whole package of this episode was just fun and dramatic from start to finish.

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One thing I loved was that when faced with the choice of help Tokoyami or allow Shoji to be a diversion so that he could go and help Bakugo, Midoriya once again demonstrated his ability to think outside the box. This was what was missing from his one on one fight with the muscle guy where he simply went for the ‘hit him harder’ approach. It also gave us one of those comically over the top moments with the boys running through the forest, pursued by Tokoyami’s Dark Shadow before they collided with the villain who was pinning down Todoroki and Bakugo.

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The other thing I loved is that all the characters continued to play true even in the face of a crisis. Bakugo is still uncooperative verbally when told he is going to be protected, but doesn’t actively fight his friends. Uraraka and Tsuyu demonstrate what they’ve learned and their generally cautious personalities. Even Yaoyorozu, who has been criminally underused as a character despite an awesome quirk, demonstrated that her exam last season with Todoroki helped her find some confidence to act in a crisis with what might be a fairly important plot device for later episodes.

Basically, this episode was a ride and it very much reminded me of season 2 where I was fully immersed in the story and the characters and finished each episode just happy to have watched it. Hopefully this means this season has found its feet and we’ll continue from here.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 7.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 4

While both Kapodaco and I found this episode a definite step forward in that at least we weren’t introducing characters or recapping this week, both of us are definitely feeling that some of the shine has come off this franchise as it returns for its third iteration. Did it peak in season 2? Or is it just taking a bit of time to get going? I guess we’ll find out as the season progresses, but for now, here we are discussing episode 4.

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Karandi:

Yay! We finally had an episode where they didn’t frantically try and re-introduce every single character in the class but instead it focused on the current events that were relevant. They cut back in time to show us what the students doing remedial classes were up to when the attack started and we get a little bit of the teacher interactions as well as catching up with a handful of the students who were doing the test of courage before the episode gets down to its focus, which is Midoriya saving Kota literally from a villain who is a mass of muscles and saving Kota from his own negative feelings about heroes because it really important that he buys into hero worship (for some reason).

Sarcasm aside, the focus certainly helped. While there are set-ups early on for the other classmates to have their fights with the villains in future episodes, this episode was very much about Midoriya and going beyond his limits. I was pretty sure he was told to stop breaking himself when he fought, though in fairness, I’m not sure what else he could have done given he genuinely couldn’t have run from the guy he was fighting even if he had wanted to.

The one real cause for complaint, and technically it is kind of expected from this show, is that it completely surrendered to the cliche of hero getting power up when needed in a fight. Previously, Midoriya had worked and trained for every power up he’d found. He never just suddenly pulled more power out of his back pocket mid-fight. And while My Hero Academia is pretty good at using all the standard shounen tropes, I was kind of happy that we hadn’t seen this one. I will admit I am disappointed that Midoriya didn’t think of some clever plan or using the power he had in a new way to get around the villain, but essentially just hit him harder.

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Kapodaco

Alright, I finally get to let this one out:

THE POWER OF EMOTIONS!!!

About eight minutes into this episode, I had a discouraging thought. This thought, continuing to fester in the back of my mind as the villains continued to make a mess of things, kept poking at my inner feelings by saying, “Is this really what you wanted with the third season? Aren’t you kinda bored?” And I had to admit, I was kind of bored. Despite the lack of recaps and the tensile situation, I still wasn’t very emotionally invested.

So, naturally, I went into a mental investigation mode. Why am I still bored? The things I once complained about are no more, so what’s the deal? A number of theories flowed into the critical analysis section of my brain, but if I had to point to a likely suspect without much substantial evidence, it would be my general aversion to the mood of the anime’s genre. For those who don’t know, Shounen is among my least favorite genres and a genre with very few well-rated shows from me, with My Hero Academia being a rare exception to the rule. I think part of that is, as Karandi mentioned before me, the anime’s tendency to steer clear of the genre’s common clichés. With this episode specifically, it felt very much like the good vs. evil setup with uninteresting villains testing the heroes (basically just Midoriya) and how far they can push their limits. Because clearly all villains should just be murderous killing machines who only enjoy killing for the sake of killing and name-calling. Okay, I can let some slide, but not all of them.

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Still, it was rather captivating to see Midoriya face off against the killer of my—I mean Kota’s parents, and part of that is thanks to the stellar animation that was attributed to that final scene. It boosted a little bit of energy to the episode that made me remember what I liked about the show in general, but is—and believe me, I tire of saying this, too—still a far cry from what the previous seasons made me feel in terms of excitement, immersion, and entertainment.

What I believed was the most intriguing part of this episode by far is the sudden declaration of who may be the target of the league of villains: Bakugo. I’m getting some PTSD from the days where I watched Naruto religiously as a young teenager. Bakugo, who despite being a hero, is very crass, violent, and fairly un-hero-like. Could the league be wanting him to join up with them to serve as an emotionally-challenging handicap for the heroes who know and love(?) him? Could Bakugo want to join them in the pursuit of his own goal to be the strongest hero on the planet? The possibilities present made what little was made of that comment all the more intriguing for future episodes.

Overall, still a pretty mild episode when compared to prior seasons, but likely the best the third season has to offer at this point. It’s building, but much more slowly and without that same energy as I felt the series had before this season. We could do with some more, I don’t know, characters probably? The personalities are severely lacking outside a select few. I can only hope they find some time for them.

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Previous Reviews:


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kapodaco’s blog next week when we review episode 5.

Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Season Three: Episode 2

After a recap filled first episode, My Hero Academia now sends the kids to camp. How is this going to play out? Kapodaco and I share our thoughts on the episode. Be sure to share your thoughts on the episode in the comments. If you missed our first episode review, the link is at the end of the post.

Karandi:

A reasonably exciting episode for the super-powered teens as the long awaited Summer Training Camp finally begins with the usual UA twist of trying to kill off its students (only no one will really die, at most they will be maimed). I often wonder how the invisible girl is still alive given her quirk is incredibly ill-suited for most of the challenges they face, such as being in a landslide that sweeps them off a mountain.

However, if I felt the first episode lacked purpose, episode 2 steps things up quite a bit. The episode is book-ended by meetings between villains who are clearly plotting evil doings that will impact upon the main cast and hopefully this will be worth the build up. It would be terrible if this plot was a fizzler after all the build up it is getting. The kids themselves get time to interact as a class before being plunged into their first challenge of the camp where the main boys get to show off their moves, but then the rest of the class are given a chance to remind us that they also made it into Class A for a reason. A fun fight sequence in the forest followed by arriving at the camp facilities.

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If there was any downer on this episode it would be Mineta who essentially destroys the mood of the episode just by existing. Though angsty boy who hates heroes comes a close second this episode and unfortunately it looks like next episode is going to focus on him. Seriously, if the kid wants to hate heroes, let him and move on with the plot.

That said, best moment of the episode goes to the look on Bakugou’s face after seeing the results of him throwing the ball.

While episode 1 didn’t get me really hyped for this season, episode 2 certainly feels like a return to what I enjoy about this series.

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Thankfully, this week’s edition of superhero super-antics did not feature many flashbacks, but that doesn’t stop it from still feeling slightly like it’s trying to find a groove. A good portion of the first half of this episode continues a vibe of flashy non-substance through showing every hero’s quirk in action one by one, all against monsters that serve as dummies. In addition, Mineta’s pervy pursuits continue to find time to build a home in this season, serving as one of the most prominent running jokes after only two episodes. While I by no means think this series is “mature,” it at least tried to steer clear of the low-hanging fruit of the anime genre in sexual fan service.

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These aren’t enough to discredit it as a definitive improvement over the first episode, thankfully. They only serve as potential weeds to an otherwise very expressive and fun show that didn’t need to resort to pandering to make it mark. The ending left me excited for the next episode and this new character in “Kota” (Gets me every time) leaves some potential for an intriguing character plotline that the third season can build off of. Perhaps a further exploration of the negative aspects of being a hero, whereas the second season more elaborated on what it meant to be a hero. The perspective of the general public praising heroes for a “heroic death” is something that has great “oomph” for dialogue and development, especially when it clashes with the idea of parenthood or a similar label.

And of course, the characters still embodied the spirited personalities many have come to know and love, though it was deterred by more plot set-up. I still love Iida and his assertiveness. I’m looking forward to seeing more situations where these characters act as a team, as the action sequences in this episode were (minimally) satisfactory with how well many worked together as if it were natural. The random fluster between Midoriya and Ochaco near the beginning (again, a reminder) was the most substantial showing of character interaction. We are still in the intro stages, so my expectations haven’t been cooled by below-par episodes. It can only get better from here. Probably. Hopefully.

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Previous Reviews:

UQ Holder Series Review – Well, I Made it to the End

Overview:

Tota is your usual powerless nothing in the village from the sticks but his guardian is something quite special. Their ordinary life disrupted, Tota is going to learn about fighting, magic and immortals and his ordinary life is never going to be the same.

This is a follow up to a series of OVA’s about the grandfather apparently though I hadn’t heard of them and hadn’t watched them.

Review:

This review is going to be pretty brief because basically you either like the formula UQ Holder is delivering or you don’t. Check list of things you need to like to really get into this anime:

  • All types of girls and many excuses to blow their clothes off or leave them disrobed
  • Generic protagonist that wants to be strong and protect everyone and for some reason is actually able to get strong (though may not end up protecting everyone)
  • Action sequences that go on a little bit too long and rely heavily on spectacle
  • Humour that mostly involves nudity or physicality
  • A story line that drifts from one thing to the next

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I didn’t actually dislike UQ Holder at any point but it isn’t exactly something I would rush to recommend to someone. You can kind of just turn your brain off and watch Tota charge at more or less everything and power up when it is suited to the narrative for him to do so. There are some interesting bits of history and lore in the story, though having not seen or read any of the prequel material I probably missed a few things there.

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Probably the worst thing about the show is that it ends with the bad guy doing a ‘I’ll get you next time’ and disappearing. So no resolution there and then the show ends the final episode on a cheap gag.

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The show really plays off the fact that most of the cast can’t be killed. Fights get seriously over the top very quickly and regardless of how you slice and dice the characters you know they are just going to get back up later. There’s seldom a reason to feel any real concern.

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Anyway, if you are curious, try the first episode. The first five minutes more or less tell you what sort of viewing experience you are going to have so you can make your own call. Don’t expect it to get any better or worse than its opening as consistency is one of this show’s key strengths.

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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