Attack on Titan Season 3 Series Review

Attack on Titan Season 3 Episode 12 - Sasha

Less Shouting, More Plot, Still Great Action – Yes!

It’s taken awhile for me to get to this review and it isn’t because I didn’t enjoy the anime or that I didn’t have a strong opinion. It was more that the anime ended at a weird time of season and I’d already finished drafting my Summer anime reviews and scheduled them but I hadn’t yet gotten in to my backlog of anime to review and so Attack on Titan season 3 went on the list to catch up on at a future time and then I got busy.

Attack on Titan Episode 5

But, now that I’m writing about this anime again, the only thing I can really think is ‘wow, I really had a lot of fun with season 3’. If you recall my pre-season thoughts, I was pretty pessimistic about Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin). Season one started great but meandered. Season two did whatever it did. I guess we did get an amazing reveal but it really felt like the plot was lost and we spent a lot of time just kind of reacting to things or rushing from action show piece to action show piece. Don’t get me wrong, some of them were cool, but it felt like the plot was lost or stalled.

Well, season three has come along and it has brought us some wondrous things. Levi getting into the action as Kenny attacks his squad in the early stages of the season is a solid and exhilarating beginning to season 3.One that captures the adventurous spirit as well as the danger and idea of life being pretty cheap very well and reignites enthusiasm for the series in a way that was badly needed (at least in my case).

Attack on Titan - Season 3 - Episode 2 - Levi

Sure the fight across rooftops and through the streets of the district is over the top and from a physics point of view highly improbably(how dead is Levi if he actually attempted those stunts), but it is beautiful,fast paced, the sound perfectly complements it, and everything about the sequence just works from a raw emotional point of view. And it opens up the characters of Attack on Titan to us in a way we’ve never really had the chance to explore before.

From Eren and Historia, to the Ackerman’s, the  false King, Eren’s father, Kenny, all of the cast get some life breathed back into them as we take a break from riding around on horses and fighting and actually look at what is behind all the mystery and intrigue. Do we get all the answers? Well, it is Attack on Titan so not really, but it brings together a lot of the plot threads, the half hints and ideas, and it seems to throw them back into forward motion in a way that ends up being immensely satisfying.

Attack on Titan Episode 10

While I’m at it, I’ll mention that the OP this season is fantastic. I get that when you first hear it, or if you hear it without watching the show you will be wondering what that song is doing attached to Attack on Titan, but the opening perfectly captures what this season aimed for and ultimately accomplished. We see that the characters have grown up but that their pasts haven’t disappeared. Who they were and what they have been through has shaped them and continues to have an influence over their lives even as they try to find their own paths. The song and the visuals that go with it capture that, as well as the relationships these characters have formed. It really works and there’s a reason it ended up on my list of favourite OP’s for the year.

However, while the world and characters are being fleshed out there is a trade off. If you are after continuous bouts with Titans you may find season 3 a little bit of a disappointment. For me though, they more than made up for the lack of number of Titans early on by the sheer grotesqueness of the titan they fight just after the mid-season. And of course, by the end of the season we are back to many titans.

Attack on Ttian Episode 9

Still, the greatest accomplishment of season 3 is that it finally made me appreciate Eren as a character rather than merely tolerating him. As a shouting protagonist type, one of my least favourites, Eren has always been a sore point for me with Attack on Titan. While I joked early on in this season that gagging Eren helped immensely, when the gag came off, I found that Eren had finally moved forward as a character. Sure, there are still some stupid moments with him, such as his fist-fight with Jean, but Eren managed whole moments of character introspective later in the season without a single shouted line and with thoughts that I felt I could relate to and understand.This was quite the break through moment for him.

There are negatives of course. As I mentioned, there are less fight sequences this time around and so there are a lot of scenes of people standing or sitting around talking. There’s also a lot of characters from the political groups and military that you probably won’t be all that attached to getting a lot of screen time. And some of these moments could have been trimmed a little, though mostly I enjoyed it. The other thing of course is that we are still unfinished so now we’re back to waiting yet again.

Attack on Titan Episode 11

Attack on Titan really does like to keep us waiting.

Overall though, I’d definitely recommend continuing with season three if you made it through one and two. In my view, this was the best Titan has offered us so far and I’m looking forward to see where they go from here.

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Karandi James
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My Hero Academia: Two Heroes Movie Review

I was pretty surprised that I got to see this. I knew I was going to the city for work but the odds of my intended travel lining up with the week this movie was released were pretty low so I hadn’t even checked where it was airing until I realised that I was in the city at the same time that this was about to be released. Imagine my surprise when not only was it the same week but the local cinema was playing it (even if not a single staff member there seemed to know what the movie was, that it was on, and couldn’t correctly identify the language it was playing in given I was told at least three times when trying to buy a ticket it was in Japanese and then I got the English version). That said, getting to see an anime movie at the cinema is a rare novelty (I’ll be honest, getting to the cinema at all is a novelty for me these days as I’m only in a location with a cinema two or three times a year) so I was pretty excited about going.

And I almost had a private screening. Almost. No surprise. While the cinemas website had the movie listed there wasn’t a single poster or advertisement in the cinema for the movie. The title was listed on the printed schedule with the viewing time but nothing else. No synopsis or description (the only movie on the list lacking additional information). I’m not exactly amazed that not many people were aware of the session. However, right as the lights dimmed and the ads started playing, two groups came in and so six of us got to watch My Hero Academia.

So how was the movie?

Review:

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I’m going to skip to the punchline and then I’ll explain, but really this was not a good movie. Much like my experience with the Sword Art Online movie which was my really only other anime movie experience, as a fan of My Hero Academia, there were moments I appreciated, but the movie itself is riddled with issues. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Fans of My Hero Academia will definitely get something out of this film and will probably have a great time. However, looking at it as a film it is lacking.

However, if what you are after is seeing your favourite cast of super hero teens in a new location, wearing formal wear, and fighting off villains and robots before seeing a fight where Midoriya and All Might are side by side in the dramatic final punch, this movie is going to deliver. Beautifully. And part of that tells you that the writers know what the target audience is wanting from this show. If a sketched out set up is enough for you to lead into a bomabastic series of fights leading up to an overblown final battle that very much suits the tone of the series, then you will have little to complain about.

That said, it kind of misses a lot of what I liked about the series and as I said, as a film it is kind of wanting. So specifically what were my issues with it? (Keep in mind, I did have fun with this, I just kind of wanted a more balanced film given all the hype.)

My first issue is with the art itself. While the animation is beautiful and fluid, as you would expect from Bones, there are some really lazy scenes where characters who aren’t in the forefront of the scene become really distorted, particularly faces. And while this isn’t the end of the world and there are some very pretty scenes in the movie, it was noticeable. I kind of expected slightly more consistent quality given the build up to this movie and to be honest even main characters suffered at times when they weren’t foregrounded. This was really noticeable during the opening sequence which is a flash back showing All Might at the beginning of his career. While it seemed to get better, or I stopped paying as much attention to it as the film progressed, it wasn’t a great first impression because while the movement was lovely, the characters in particular were not.

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However, looking at the story itself, it suffers from its desire to have its cake and eat it too. They set up a story where All Might takes Midoriya away for the Summer and yet they want the entire class to make an appearance in this film. Let’s now waste a lot of time in the first half wandering around and ‘bumping’ into groups of classmates with increasingly contrived reasons to be on the island. Half of them don’t even end up in the final fight at all because while they are on the island they aren’t at the party so we literally just get occasional cuts to them waiting in hotel rooms. Why even bother wasting time with these characters? They aren’t important to this story? Why can’t My Hero Academia ever commit to just cutting the extras when all including them does is destroy the pacing or make you wonder why none of the other students ever really get a moment to shine?

We also then have the villain’s plot which is pretty transparent though I guess none of us were expecting much more from it really. The villains in My Hero Academia haven’t exactly come off as the strongest of points for the narrative so I guess we’ll settle for what we get including the ‘reveal’ that anyone with half a clue saw coming from the moment we met the character.

I did enjoy meeting Melissa Steel. She was a great character and worked well with Midoriya in this film. I really would have liked even less of the usual classmates so that we could have had more time with her as she was quite interesting and you can totally see her being Midoriya’s supporter in the future (rather like Q in James Bond).

And, as overblown as that final fight was, it was still kind of cool. Logically in makes no sense and why the building didn’t fall over is a little beyond me, but still cool. What I don’t buy is Bakugo waiting with the others while Midoriya and All Might go for the final blow, but again, whatever. Just another case of having a character in a scene and not knowing what to do with them.

While we are discussing Bakugo though, he and Todoroki did get a fairly fantastic fight sequence against some villains. Kirishima was there but got taken out pretty early on. Anyway, if you ever wanted to see Bakugo and Todoroki wearing formal wear and fighting back to back, this scene is everything you ever hoped for and I really enjoyed that particular sequence.

The female cast from the class are as usual criminally underused in vague supporting roles and not getting to really get into any of the fights. Uraraka didn’t even get one moment of hand to hand fighting and while her floating ability did once again offer valuable support, we’ve seen how tough this girl can be and her lack of active roles in fights is really starting to be annoying.

Basically, the film is a mixed bag. If you just want a fun movie with the cast you already like, then go for it. If you were hoping this would be some epic film that could stand alone or even convince others of the sheer brilliance that My Hero Academia sometimes has to offer, then it probably is going to fall short of those expectations.


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Karandi James

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Visualist x 100!! – My Hero Academia Final Impressions with Kapodaco and Karandi

Karandi: Well, season three is now over and Kapodaco and I now have the chance to look back over the last six months of our lives viewing My Hero Academia and to think about how we feel about the series as a whole. That’s kind of a hard ask right now for me given I’m still kind of looking at that final episode and wondering what that was supposed to be, but I guess we’ll muddle through it. Kapodaco, what are you thinking?

Kapodaco: I was thinking about it at work today. It feels so perfectly succinct. I rated the first season a 7, the second a 7.5, and now I’m feeling a 6.5 for the third. On MAL, I have a 7 for all three of them, so if one isn’t looking to dig deeper, they’ll assume I saw them all the same. But that’s personal perks.

There’s a lot that the series does that got me just as excited as any other season, even more so on occasion. At the same time, there’s definitely some big befuddlement with the scope of the story and fighting off the temptation to introduce a thousand characters to keep the story spicy, but then having to keep up with said characters and make it harder to keep everything in focus. It detracts from the characters one actually cares about and wants to see more of. It happened a lot during the end of the season with other classmates simply noting their observations and little more, and I said very early on with this season that I was looking forward to seeing these classmates have more of a role—by the end, it was definitely underwhelming in that category. What say you, Karandi?

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Karandi: I’m in agreement. One of the biggest issues season three has had is that it insists on trying to keep the whole class in each of its sequences and has all of these characters essentially standing around and doing very little. All of these students got into the hero course and class A and yet they so rarely get to do anything.

Then season three had the fight sequence against the villains where we saw a couple of characters we’d already met but it introduced the pro-heroes doing the training, the random kid that Midoriya had to convince that heroes weren’t all bad, and half a dozen villains. We moved into the exam arc with a whole bunch of schools and characters. Then right at the end we have the Big Three introduced. None of these characters had anywhere near enough screen time or development to make them anything more than their name flashing across the screen and maybe their quirk so I have zero attachment to them.

I will admit, that while I’ve been throwing a lot of rocks at season three of My Hero Academia, compared to the vast majority of seasonal anime that I’ve been watching, even season three is pretty solid entertainment. My biggest issue is that it isn’t as good as season two. Which might seem a little petty but at the moment it is still a disappointment.

Outside of the characters though, I felt the overall narrative structure this season let it down a little bit and I touched on this a couple of reviews ago. What did you think?

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Kapodaco: I may have said a few times that the clichés had piled on a little more than with previous seasons. Even when they weren’t, I think a lot of the issues stems back to the fact that there are a thousand new characters introduced, such that the mangaka is biting off more than he can chew. He wants to make the scope huge so that it can feel like a giant world of all-encompassing heroism, much like how Capitalism is the entire world of my home country of the U.S.A. I can feel the mangaka wanting to do more with his script that perhaps anime isn’t accustomed to doing with a “mere” two-cour season.

When the season wanted to do more with the state of the world after the fall of All Might, it was fairly intriguing, because while the end result is fairly inevitable (villainy skyrockets), he tends to paint these villains as more than just “I’MMA BURN SHIT BECAUSE WHY NOT?!” These characters, who will inevitably have more of a point in the story at earlier junctions and with higher stakes, are better incorporated than the random heroes or one-off Big Three™ groups because their motivations are clear(-ish) and they have more to do than to let the pacing methods of introductory writing take the wheel.

In a phrase, he’s biting off more than he can chew. I may have said that before. And while I was writing that, I made the horrid realization that Mineta had more character-distinguishing moments than anyone else in the minor cast.

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But let’s ignore that and focus a little on the positives, yeah? I think I know the answer to this, but what was the best part of the season for you?

Karandi: Tricky question (not). My favourite part hands down was All Might’s final battle. Not so much for the fight itself (though that was pretty cool and Midoriya helping Bakugo without actually getting into the fight was also kind of cool) but more because of the greater implications in the world. I really wish that we’d get more on this because every time they touch on it, we get a moment that actually feels like it has weight and gets me very interested. Even during the exam arc, as dull as I found that, when they were actually discussing specific changes to the exam format because of how they wanted a different type of hero in the future, heroes focused on team work rather than individual achievements, it just felt like the previous events with Stain, All Might’s arc, and everything else were coming together to have a real impact on the society within the story.

That remains one of the great strengths of My Hero Academia even though, as you have said, the writer may very well be biting off more than he can chew. Unlike so many other super hero stories, this one really feels like events are shaping the lives of everyone in the world and the structure of society rather than just being a cool fight and then life goes on unchanged. I really enjoy that aspect of it and I really hope it continues as that is what keeps drawing me back into the story. How about your favourite part of the season?

Kapodaco: I am in total agreement. All Might’s final fight was the high point of the series bar-none. I don’t recall exactly, but I think I mentioned that the episode itself, the one where everything becomes “resolved,” was an easy 10/10 episode. So it wasn’t just the best episode of this series for me, but one of the best episodes of any anime I’ve ever seen. I can and cannot be emotional dependent on the subject matter, but that aspect of All Might and the significance of his passing of the torch was something that got me really hyped. It made me a fan of All Might, ironically in the same way it made everyone within the universe of the show a fan of All Might. That sheer, unquestioned passion and charisma to do what’s right was something this series can do phenomenally well with the amount of attention to detail in building upon it.

Though I will also give credit to a point where we tend to overlook because it directly followed a long chain of “meh” episodes. I really liked the final two episodes concerning the U-A students being ambushed by the League of Villains. It properly gave me what I wanted in other characters getting the spotlight and it presented an interesting potential for Bakugo’s character (which ended somewhat dully, but there’s still time) that I thought was intriguing at the time. It showcased the power of the League of Villains and the experience needed for the young heroes before they could properly handle a full-scale villain attack. There was a lot going on in those episodes that I really appreciated. I may also simply like it because it followed a lot of dull episodes, so I was really just looking for something to cheer for.

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Karandi: It is a good point that the power of the villains doesn’t get showcased very often and it is something that is somewhat lacking, particularly in the latter half of this season. We know there’s this threat sitting out there but we so rarely see them and that threat doesn’t feel overly connected to the main characters all that often, so this ambush was a really great moment in terms of seeing the students being at times overwhelmed by the villains and unprepared for dealing with the attack. It also gave them some great moments where we could see them working together and helping each other out in a fairly intense situation.

Alright, so which characters do you feel really shone in this season, if any?

Kapodaco: Well, the easy answer is Midoriya and Bakugo. Then again, they are the most important characters in this series, I think. All Might is definitely up there in importance, as well, but the moment he retired, it all fell to the younger generation, and Midoriya and Bakugo are two people who were totally inspired by All Might’s heroism. Their fight scene was a rare highlight in the second-part of the series, and they continue to be the only characters (okay, just Bakugo) that I see anyone I follow on Twitter care about. They were the shining spots of the season as an obvious answer.

If I had to give an answer concerning a minor character… It’s fairly difficult. A lot of the minor characters had some time to shine, specifically in the Provisional Exam Arc when they all had split up and what-not. I actually recall not minding the group consisting of Yaoyorozu, Asui, Jiro, and the masked dude with wings whose name I can never remember. Still, one episode—half an episode, really, doesn’t give them the credit of a “Shining spot” in the season. I guess if I had to pick a character among the minor cast… Aizawa. He may not have had any immensely notable scenes or important parts specifically to his character, but he’s the only character I’d consider minor who had an ever-present place on the season and provided enough input—whether serious or not—to give him a place in my memory banks. And hey, Aizawa’s cool. He should get a shout-out. What about you? Who do you like most rather than Wind Guy™?

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Karandi: What is Wind Guy’s name? He must have one, but I just don’t care enough to look it up. I think you are right about Aizawa. He was a fairly constant presence this season in each arc and while I still feel the basic education system in this world leaves a lot to be desired, he genuinely does look out for his students even if he doesn’t insist they all get a lot of therapy. I particularly liked his role after the first arc where he and All Might were apologising to parents and then his observations during the exam arc were fairly well received.

That said, if I was going to give a shout out to a minor cast member I’d probably go with Kirishima. He doesn’t do a huge amount that has a major impact on the plot, but I feel his presence with Bakugo has really helped to moderate Bakugo’s more extreme moments this season and it is a friendship that has formed gradually since season one to the point where you aren’t sure when they actually started being friends but it feels right that they are. I especially liked that he was involved in Bakugo’s rescue but even in the provisional license exam he was in Bakugo’s group for the duration. Anyway, he’s a character I hadn’t paid a huge amount of attention to previously and this season just made me realise that he’s a fairly useful presence with the dynamic of the group.

As far as main characters go, I was a little disappointed with Todoroki and Uraraka this season, though they both had their moments I just felt like they were just rehashing the same moments we’d already seen from these two characters. Don’t get me wrong, Uraraka is still adorable as she stares out the window at Midoriya and her decision to put her feelings to the side to focus on becoming a hero are pretty logical, but she’s just so underused in the story at this point. And Todoroki’s moment was a definite step backwards. So, yeah, I’d have to say Midoriya and Bakugo got the best moments from the main cast this season as well.

My Hero Academia - Episode 55 - Todoroki

Anything else you want to discuss before we wrap this up?

Kapodaco: Well, I would’ve suggested a worst moment of the season as a whole, though I guess we did sort of go on a spiel above about the series’ pacing and all. If I could say something about characters that disappointed me, I would agree with Todoroki, but would also like to throw in Iida. He had some good short moments here, but he was one of my favorite characters coming out of the first and second seasons, and here he’s basically a nagging mother to everyone and that’s kind of his shtick. Really would’ve liked to have seen more from him.

Karandi: I actually agree. Iida really has become a nagging mother and that’s his sole purpose at this point in the story. I’d really like to see him having a bit more personality next season, or they could just move him to the background rather than having him in scenes just to lecture.

Kapodaco: He’s not Mineta, though.

Karandi: True. And for the most part we’ve avoided mentioning Mineta. Though I wish the show would avoid mentioning Mineta. Or showing him. Or actually having him as a cast member. He gets more irritating every single episode. Or maybe I already hit my tolerance for his shtick and I wish they’d just drop it already.

Kapodaco: I regret bringing that up, because now we’re sort of just lingering before the finish line.

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Karandi: Right, so final thoughts?

Kapodaco: It was a letdown, but not so much that I think it hurts the overall appeal of the show. A lot of good foundational things are still present in the form of the League of Villains growing stronger, Midoriya (and now Bakugo) having more motivation to get stronger, and All For One promises to still be around, and I think he’s infinitely more interesting than half the other characters introduced in this show since the beginning. I’ll reiterate again that I want some focus on other characters, but it’s definitely hard with so little time for such hard, time-consuming work as animation. I’m still fairly enticed to watch the fourth season. I was actually a little intrigued by the end of your analysis this week on the final episode. Will you continue the series?

Karandi: I think I’m realising now how viewing seasonally changes my views on shows. My Hero Academia has a rich world and some really interesting ideas but season three I found really challenging to watch week to week. Between deliberate cliff-hanger endings, arcs that didn’t feel rewarding to watch, and just low points, I will admit that this season was a bit of a struggle. And it is a challenge I didn’t face when I watched Bleach because seasonal viewing wasn’t a thing (and I’m comparing to Bleach because other than Hunter x Hunter (still unfinished), these are the only long running shounen anime I’ve attempted). But if I picked season five of Bleach (or really any season after season three) and tried to review it episode to episode in a weekly format, I can imagine I’d be every bit as frustrated. Looking at the whole, there’s still a lot to like about My Hero Academia.

That kind of leaves me wondering if I will do episode reviews of season four or just wait until it is done and binge it. I did just buy the second season on DVD as a cheer me up present to myself and I’m really looking forward to binge watching that, and I think it might be my preferred viewing method for this kind of show. So, am I continuing? I think I’ll start season four episodicially, but I might end up bailing and waiting until it is done airing.

However, if you wanted to review it together again, I’d probably really enjoy that. It has been really great working with you on this and I’ve enjoyed discussing the show each week even when I haven’t enjoyed the show so much.

Kapodaco: If you want to collaborate with me again for the fourth season, I’d be more than willing. I came to you with this collaboration, if you recall. And this was certainly an experience I won’t ever forget. It’s likely the most rewarding thing I’ve done in the ani-blogging community ever. Should we do this again, however, I want the exclamation mark quantity increased to four.

Karandi: I think it’s agreed then (although maybe not about the exclamation marks). So on that note, let’s finish this because I think we’ve gone on quite long enough. I’m thinking we need a ‘Plus Ultra!’ or something to finish with, but I’ve got nothing.

Kapodaco: Leave it to me.

Everyone! Look forward to Karandi and I’s next collaboration on the fourth season of My Hero Academia! Visualist x100!!!!™ Coming again to a blog in the near future!!!!!!!! Plus Ultra!!!!!!!

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Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed following along with us this season. Looking forward to the next one. Plus Ultra!

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

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

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Karandi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kapodaco:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Hero Academia Episode 60

Kapodaco:

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Hero Academia Episode 60

Karandi:

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

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

My Hero Academia Episode 60

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

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

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

My Hero Academia Episode 60

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

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

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

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Kapodaco:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Karandi:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Hero Academia - Episode 56 - Kaminari

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

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Bakugou

Kapodaco:

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

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

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

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Pigeon attack

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

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

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Celebrations

Karandi:

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

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

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

My Hero Academia Episode 56

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

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

My Hero Academia Episode 56 - Midoriya

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