I’m just wondering how much My Hero Academia actually expected the audience to care about that ending? It seemed they were trying really hard to have a big, dramatic moment and yet my lack of emotional attachment to the central character in the situation more or less meant that while I felt bad for a few of the onlookers, the situation itself I was more or less indifferent to and so the quietly devastating ending that I believe we were supposed to get seemed mostly a fizzle at the end of what was actually a pretty solid episode for season four of My Hero Academia.
However, before I get to what I liked about this episode, and there was actually a lot, I’ve got another issue with this episode. After getting to do practically nothing for the entire arc, Uraraka finally gets to swoop in and arrest someone, after they are already beaten and mostly unconscious. Really? This is the girl who went one on one against Bakugo way back in season 2 and made him work for the victory, and now she gets to be the clean-up crew? It seems like a horrendous waste of a character to be perfectly frank and I am kind of sick of the girls in the class getting shafted any time anything cool actually happens in this story. – Okay, sorry, rant over… except, why even include her in the arc if she doesn’t actually get to do anything useful? Literally anyone could have done what she did. Ahh! So frustrating.
Alright, now that I’m over that, let’s discuss what this episode did very well and why overall I still actually quite liked the episode. In the aftermath of the fight, The League of Villains actually make an entrance. They don’t just go in guns blazing against the heroes. Nope, they make one strategic attack against a transport well away from the scene, exact their revenge against a certain arrogant man, and claim a very crucial package. It is an almost perfect moment. We didn’t need as many episodes as we had to get to this point, and Overhaul as a character wasn’t anywhere near developed enough for me to really care too much about the rivalry between him and Shigaraki, but honestly it was a solid sequence with some short, tight action, some interesting use of the three villains’ known quirks against a throw-away hero who for once was treated as throw-away and there was no stretching out of this sequence. Very nicely done. Okay, terrifying ramifications, but this was so much cooler than any of the overblown fights we have been watching for the last month.
There’s also the very real aftermath for the heroes at the hospital with broken bones and other injuries to deal with, including one that leads to the aforementioned, less effective than they want it to be, conclusion. But I always like that My Hero Academia, after major incidents, does deal with the fall out. Characters are injured and recovery takes time. Some things can’t be healed. There’s real consequences to being a hero unlike so many other super hero stories where no matter what injuries are sustained during a battle at the end the characters get up, dust off and they are ready to go again more or less instantly. My Hero Academia always makes its heroes very human and also breakable. It adds a bit more weight to everything they do.
On the very positive note, the reason I’m really walking away from this episode happy, is because I am very keen to find out what direction they go from here. There’s a lot of possibilities and I’m actually quite excited to see it.
Oh, my goodness! Karandi! Beautiful wrap-up of the episode; there’s very little I could add on to it. Part of me simply wants to respond to the points you raised throughout your piece, so I’ll try and mix and match some things.
Regarding the impact female heroes have made on the story so far, I have actually had a similar mindset since the very beginning of the operation! Notice how all the heroes that went in were male, and all the females were outside, away from the spotlight. When Uraraka, Tsuyu, and Dragon Hero entered the plot again in a way that implied that they would help, it reversed course and had them play observer yet again to Midoriya’s heroics. If one were to watch this from a socio-political perspective, women have had no significant impact on anything this season. I absolutely understand the frustration, and part of me is glad that you brought it up.
As for the ending, I actually appreciated what they tried to do, even if it had little impact on me. I was gracious of the series to include some sort of negative aspect to heroism, because the sequence before Nighteye’s situation was continuously forgiving and merry, which I thought was silly. “Everyone was kind of injured, but they’re fine! Teehee!” It even managed to have me audibly say, “Nice touch,” at the very end when they muted the volume to everything, forcing everyone to take in what had happened and imagine how it must have been to be within that moment. Nighteye was a logical choice, considering his ability would’ve been a nightmare to explain and justify now that the future he saw had changed (his theory of “amount of energy” affecting the outcome was laughably stupid), so it was, in a twisted sort of way, convenient. And hey, he meant a lot to a lot of people. I think that’s enough.
But yes! The League of Villains making their grand entrance and making quick work of Chisaki was extremely cathartic. A group of characters we have, for better or worse, gotten to know over the last two-ish seasons being back in the forefront is a welcome addition. Quick, clean, and pretty well executed, their scene was among my favorites from this entire season… perhaps because it was like getting a smoothie after feeding on sand for the last fourteen episodes. More time with them, even if just them lazing around and interacting, would be most appreciated. Seriously, why do I like the villains so much?
I suppose the only thing I can add is that, with Chisaki now incapacitated, what’s next for him? There has been way too much attention given to him for them to simply write him out of the story completely, right? He was given a pinch of sympathetic irony here (having his quirk taken when his entire goal was to take quirks away), and he was kind of just… left there. Will he join the heroes? What of Eri? How will she play a part in the story now? It’s almost as if the season had essentially rebooted, and now we’re back in a place where anything’s on the table, only with a few key additions (and one subtraction).
This is probably my favorite episode of the season. Not one moment (except the very beginning when I thought it would spend a million years from the perspective of the bad dude and Aizawa) left me bored and I actually found myself enjoying the progression of things happening onscreen. The ending was solid, despite my generally apathetic demeanor, and there is a lot to go off of, along with a lot of potential for further “adventures” to be had. Man, I’m almost in the mood to watch another pointless preliminary exam!
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Images from: My Hero Academia Season 4. Dir. K Nagasaki. Bones. 2019.