My Hero Academia
Episode 11

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 11 of
My Hero Academia ?

The battle for USJ continues as Midoriya, Tsuya, and Mineta barely escape the villains sent after them. As far as the action among the children goes, they all seem to be holding their own okay, with the various schmucks being taken down with relative ease. The ice kid seems to be kicking the most bad guy behind, with Bakugo and Yaoyorozu's groups also keeping up. It didn't even occur to me that many of these kids had yet to get their own big flashy title cards explaining their Quirks, but we get a few more this week.

However, the drama really kicks in when we cut back to see what the adults are dealing with. Among the few dozen bad guys present, there seem to be three really important ones: Mr. Zombie Hands, the weird purple shadow man, and a muscle-y bird-raptor guy with his brains showing. The characters decide to break the scenario down for the audience with video game terminology (the episode is even titled “Game Over”), as Aizawa spends his fight trying to deduce the identity of the "last boss." It seems obvious that hands guy is the brains of the operation, through ironically he's not the one who's brains are actually exposed. Speaking of, bird-brain appears to be the muscle of the group, with the terrifying revelation that he is approximately on All Might's level in terms of super strength. Suffice to say, Aizawa eats pavement.

The villains' plan revolves around keeping this whole incident quiet and out of sight from the world of pro heroes. Their primary goal is All Might, as bird-brain seems to be the key to killing him off. There's even a scene where Midoriya has it out with the guy, dealing his first recoil-free punch of One For All - and it fails despite connecting. Even when Iida manages to escape the USJ and call for help, the villains' sudden disappointment only makes them scarier and more threatening to our present company. The episode ends with All Might's arrival on the scene, though his heroic theme song is accompanied with an unusual, frustrated grimace.

I can't imagine this arc not wrapping up next episode. All Might has appeared, help is on the way in the form of other pro heroes, and the villains had already called it quits before being graced with their target's presence. I think there are just two more episodes of the season left, but I'll be surprised if the conflict isn't over by next week already.

The USJ arc has been an interesting balance of My Hero Academia's strengths and weaknesses. It hasn't been a very sentimental arc, so it's not really relying on its sense of heart. Instead, it's focusing more on the style and texture of the world, i.e. the thing I've been most unsure about in this series. I continue to be surprised at how fun and inventive the demonstration of various quirks and personalities can be, but there's a limpness that I can't quite shake the feeling of when it comes to the world itself. Something about it still feels very formless and uninteresting.

Still, that hardly gets a chance to matter, since the show is so good at keeping your eyes on its strengths. There's always a cool fight going on or a great character who's ready to entertain you and so on. Though as we near the end of the season, I'm becoming more and more aware of this unsatisfactory aspect of MHA, compared to the emotional peaks we experienced getting here. People keep telling me the manga really outdoes itself in the arcs following the USJ, so I hope I get to see that in the anime at some point.

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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