Never Was An Episode Title So True
Let me make it abundantly clear that I don’t mind when action-oriented series don’t employ action in a particular episode. Just because we got to see Kirishima show off his newfound(?) abilities in the last episode doesn’t mean the following episode, which has no action whatsoever, is worse overall. What does ultimately make it worse for me is when the episode feels like it’s barely trying to do anything at all.
Cutting to the chase immediately, the big reveal of this episode is that of Eri supposedly being used as a siphon for the quirk-erasing drug. That the evil dude whose name I can never remember is conducting experiments through her blood to mastermind a plan to erase the quirks of any adversaries. Mirio and Midoriya are obviously horrified by this fact and regret not doing what they could to save her when they could, but as an audience member, I continued to stare semi-entertained as everything played out in the most slow way imaginable.
I got goosebumps when I read the name of the episode: An Unpleasant Talk. Oh, okay, so they’re going to sit at a roundtable and talk the entire episode… yes, that is exactly what occurred. Not only that, but very few things of note were discussed while at that roundtable. The only highlights were the proposed situation with Eri, how the quirk-erasing drug worked, and a deeper explanation of Nighteye’s quirk (which still didn’t explain anything deeper than “I just see stuff”.) If those things don’t sound completely ground-breaking, this will likely be a pretty dull episode for you.
Let me reiterate from last time that the first ten to fifteen seconds had great animation… randomly. From that point, it returned to a normal competence the likes we generally see from this series. In this episode, animation was pretty lackluster, mostly on the part of it barely being there. Up until, like, halfway through the episode, when Fat Gum shot up and started playing with candy, the most that would happen in a scene would involve people talking or making casual movements. When the dialogue isn’t engaging and the characters aren’t really doing anything, what’s there to entice me? Yet another episode with a lot of foundation-setting and introductory elements that lead up to something bigger.
Thinking back to it, there weren’t really any highlights for me. The one thing that piqued my curiosity was at the very end, when Eri was shown clutching her pillow and reminiscing about Midoriya’s “kind” grasp. It’s a minimal, though worthwhile connection between characters that establishes a bond of underlying trust that could lead to interesting interpersonal interaction. (How’s that for alliteration?) Otherwise, a very blah episode that provided little stimulation for either the heart or the mind, but hey, maybe it’ll lead up to something amazing? The final episode is shaping up to be a modern spectacle at this rate.
I’m probably going to be even less kind to this episode than Kapodaco. Part of that is because my brain is already entirely melted down from one of the most arduous weeks of work I’ve faced in a good long while (and things haven’t been smooth sailing at work for a good long while). So watching characters sit around and do a poor recap of the little that has happened in the five episodes prior (and it really is very little) and throw a chunk of speculation on the top of that in order to call it some kind of plan was actually a pretty painful way to come back to watching anime after a few days of break from it.
Honestly, this kind of sequence could have easily occurred entirely off-screen with the characters shown leaving the meeting and doing their brief reaction to the decisions reached before bounding off and doing literally anything else. This is almost as though someone decided we wanted to see the secret life of a hero and then made us watch them write and file their reports for several hours after they had one brief altercation. It just isn’t interesting and it added nothing.
Sure we got to see some faces of heroes we’d yet to meet but given every time any hero shows up on screen they still, four seasons in, feel the need to float their name over half the screen even when they are a main character, does it matter if we hadn’t seen these characters in this meeting and met them for the first time in the field?
There’s also the comment made by the guy sitting next to Midoriya about the lack of need for the kids to be there. Sure they were involved in some of the incidents being discussed but they have all the information so realistically, no, the kids shouldn’t have been there. The agencies they are working with were represented so in reality they’d get the recap after the fact rather than actually attend the meeting. So even in the context of the show it kind of makes no sense that they are all sitting there and end up speaking more than the actual heroes. Speaking of which, why aren’t some of the other heroes around that table actually speaking or asking questions? They weren’t there for some of the events and yet just kind of nod along. If everyone already knew everything being spoken about, why are they even meeting?
Up until now I’ve held the opinion that while My Hero Academia was taking awhile to get going this season, it had earned enough trust that I would wait and expect it was going to take off. Six episodes in, and seeing some of the choices being made about how to roll out this story, I’m starting to wonder if maybe this story as lost sight of what makes it interesting in the first place. I’m still kind of hoping that season four recaptures the energy of the earlier seasons but as more episodes roll by that hope seems to become more and more wishful thinking.
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Images from: My Hero Academia Season 4. Dir. K Nagasaki. Bones. 2019.