Babysitter Club Edition
I considered editing my initial thoughts. I thought of maybe toning them down, stepping back, looking for more positives… But you know, ultimately my initial thoughts are how I feel about this episode so I’m just going to let them go.
So last week I went and said I was looking forward to seeing Todoroki and Bakugo trying to get their provisional licence. I take it back. I hated this episode. I hated it with an absolute passion and spent the majority of it resisting the urge to skip ahead or just exit out of the window.
Why did I hate it?
Largely because it reminds me of the episodes of Bleach that focus on Don Kanonji. Ultimately relatively pointless and with an annoying central character. In this case, they unleashed an entire class of annoying and pointless characters in the form of an elementary group on four of the students resitting the exam and then made us watch them fumbling around for far too long before ending the episode with the would-be heroes deciding that challenging the group to a battle would somehow be a good plan. I’m calling this absolute idiocy and going to forget it and move on.
The only redeeming parts of the episode came from the conversations between All Might and Endeavour but this could boil down to about three minutes of the whole thing.
Yeah, I’m just going to go with ‘ouch’ and move on.
…Well, I can’t say I share in my colleague’s resentment, but the whole of the episode is pretty reminiscent of the season itself. Stilted, uninspired, a little off, and containing only hints of genuinely interesting material.
Whatever significance the episode had in making these heroes try and do good by, uh, doing good, I guess, was not lost on me. Clearly stated by the Orca dude, these heroes were lacking in the mental compartment of heroism, relying on the strength of their quirks to blaze through without any second thought. This is especially apparent of Bakugo and the Wind Dude, but Todoroki can be a little stiff and… uh… Camie? Who is she again? I remember her from last season, but was she always this… sexualized valley girl type? Why is she here? To make breast jokes? Yeah, probably. Anyway, to try and quell the sullied hearts of these problem children makes sense in theory. Inspire and impact these brats to do good.
The issue is that it’s played off as mostly comedy… that isn’t really funny. This anime’s had some comedic moments, sure (a lot more this season, it feels like), though the spirit has always been a sort of action/thriller type. If they had brought in, say, a few kids who were reserved, maybe rude and standoffish (mini-Bakugo’s, perhaps?), and had them individually try and get them to feel inspired by the might of heroism or whatever, with a serious enough intent and tone, it may not have felt so inauthentic. Instead, they paint it like some zany babysitting gig that everyone in the audience is using for vapid entertainment. And the fact that they basically push all the no-name heroes aside and just focus on the four “important” characters was laughably apparent. That blonde kid in the corner spouting painfully mature dialogue was also hysterical.
Like Karandi, the only bits of the episode where things began to swing in its favor were the dialogue between Endeavor and All Might. I’ll say this now, but I think All Might is the best character in this show, as he’s had so little done with his character that hasn’t been in ill taste or of little importance. When he’s onscreen, it always leads to something more, and his very figure moves people just from its representation and past. A true hero, and one that thinks and acts like one, too, complete with inner struggles and faults that make him human. He’s great. So to see All Might involve himself with a former rival, who now takes his place, and for said rival to reveal to him some indecision of his worth as replacement, that means something. And it’s taken with enough conscious consideration to not make it feel dumb. More of that, please.
I can’t really describe the worth of this episode in words. I’d rather go with a single action: a shrug. Whatever. Okay. Fine. Yeah. It exists and it continues to masquerade as the great show this used to be. The writing’s too far gone, and it seems like it’s said all that it wants to say. Anything past this is icing, so hopefully people like that enough to keep watching. I want a bratwurst.
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Images from: My Hero Academia Season 4. Dir. K Nagasaki. Bones. 2019.