My Hero Academia
Episode 10

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 10 of
My Hero Academia ?

Last week we ended on the cliffhanger of a group of villains arriving at the scene during a class field trip to the USJ (“Unforeseen Simulation Joint"), marking the beginning of a proper story arc to serve as the climax of the season. For the most part, it appears that the mysterious blue-haired man with creepy, zombie-like disembodied hands is leading the charge, with a bunch of nameless goons and their variety of quirks by his side. We don't know much about these people or their motivations, but they seem to be under the impression that All Might was supposed to be present.

Aizawa really gets to shine at the front of the episode. As a hero, he's known as “Eraser Head”, and he gets to put his powers to impressive use by defending the class. He uses his goggles to prevent the villains from being able to tell whose Quirk he's turning off in a given moment, and then uses his fighting skills and weird bandage ropes to wipe the floor with the crowd in a really great spectacle-driven fight. There's a genuine fist-pumping “hell yeah!” feel to seeing an experienced pro hero doing his pro hero thing.

Then another of the really important-looking villain characters, some purple shadow man in armor, gets past Aizawa and uses his undefined powers to send the students flying throughout the USJ in the hopes that they'd be easier to pick off once separated. Midoriya is flung into the water zone alongside Tsuya the frog girl and Mineta the grape boy. Tsuya in particular stands out in this episode, when we see her saving Midoriya from some villains using her superb swimming skills.

My Hero Academia is back to taking its time, since most of this episode consists of the kids sitting on a boat and contemplating the situation. But the slow pace feels more fitting now that we're in a proper arc with a few good “To Be Continued”s ahead of us. That's what Shonen Jump is all about, in my opinion.

There's a scene where the kids are all explaining their Quirks to each other, trying to think of the most practical use for them. This episode gets most of its value out of how characters use and interpret their unique abilities. Mineta's description of his weird grape/sticky ball powers just before falling into a panic over how useless they are is especially entertaining. Though that doesn't stop him from coming in handy during their big team-up escape at the end.

Every time I see this crowd of villains I keep getting worried that they're going to bore me. Since every person in the MHA world gets a power unique to them, it's weird to see that demonstrated in a group of schmucks. There's an unfortunate dissonance between the thought put into their designs and abilities and how small of a role they play in the story. Thankfully, the direction of the show keeps our eyes on the established characters, so we're more preoccupied with the stuff we already know the show is good at.

You can feel the way this season is aiming to wrap up, with a big battle between the kids and the villains. We'll be given everything we need for a climax of sorts, but it's not pretending like the story is anywhere close to an endpoint. I think we're playing the ‘assume season two is happening’ card.

Rating: B+

My Hero Academia is currently streaming on Funimation.

Sam Leach writes and records about One Piece for The One Piece Podcast and you can find him on Twitter @LuckyChainsaw

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