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My Hero Academia Season 7
Episode 142

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 142 of
My Hero Academia (TV 7) ?
Community score: 3.9


Questions of retribution and redemption have defined much of My Hero Academia across these latter seasons. Early on, those ideas were all pretty simple, at least within the comic-inspired framework we started from. It's hard to meaningfully interrogate ideas of morality when the bad guys are cartoon bank robbers and the good guys are literal children playing capture the flag in Halloween costumes. Over eight years later, things are far more muddled. Our heroes understand that the “villains” they're fighting are more complicated, nuanced, and undeniably human than they first appeared, and how even the kindest of souls can make mistakes.

So what do we do with that? Where do we draw the line between hero and villain anymore, if we can at all? Regardless of where we draw it, what should we, as a society, do about those villains? Should we keep on doing what we've always done, writing them off as lost causes and locking them up until mortality resolves everything? Do we offer them redemption, even if they won't take it? Hell, what does redemption even look like when they have taken lives, or put them at stake? How should we consider those who have been victimized? How can we ask these questions about the bad guys when our “good” guys have made countless mistakes with dire consequences? Are we, by the nature of the human heart, doomed to be defined solely by our worst choices?

These are loaded, sensitive questions with no easy answers. So instead of thinking about them, let's all look at some anime boobs for a minute to cool off.

That's about what this episode feels like, as the ever-ebullient Mei Hatsume crashes back into the show in the middle of Aoyama's storyline. It's not so much that I dislike getting some comic relief amid all this heavy drama—I quite liked Deku and Iida's little sphincter faces. I'm always grateful when this show utilizes its vibrant extended cast, so I was pretty tickled to have Hatsume get some short spotlight, exemplifying her heroic spirit from behind the scenes. My issue is more that the opening and ending chunks of this episode carry important drama that is critical for MHA's overall message, and it feels odd to have that split up by the bubbly inventor girl having a chest-on collision with Deku. Add in the frankly redundant planning session with All Might right after, and it leaves this episode feeling disjointed where it should have way more impact.

For whatever problems I had with Aoyama's reveal, the drama itself is powerful. We've taken a goofy joke character and given him a resonant backstory and some genuine pathos in the show's larger thematic conflict. In many ways, Aoyama is now dead center within MHA's increasingly grey spectrum of hero and villainy—a character who was manipulated and threatened into betraying his friends, but who nonetheless put them at great risk, and must answer for his actions before anyone involved can know peace. The other kids might be understanding, and willing to offer their friendship despite all of that but in a way that only makes Aoyama slip deeper into his shame spiral. It would be easier if his friends simply hated him. To Aoyama, every ounce of grace they offer just adds to the pile of sins upon his scale.

It's potent stuff, and I love how Aizawa, the ever-astute teacher, recognizes the spiral happening in his Aoyama. He's no less sympathetic to Aoyama's circumstances but knows that self-loathing is, in its own way, an escape route that he must cut off for the kid to move forward. So he impresses upon him that he will fight. He will take action to make up for what he has done, because that is what, in the end, a hero does. That kind of thoughtful character writing gives MHA its wings during the downtime between battles and is a wonderful way to bring this conflict full circle.


My Hero Academia is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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