My Hero Academia
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 24 of
My Hero Academia (TV 2) ?
Since My Hero Academia got as emotional as this arc can probably get last week, it makes sense for this next episode to be a little more laid-back. The animation has returned to looking like a normal solid TV anime, and the bulk of the runtime is centered around more intimate conversations, with the continued action of the tournament happening mostly in the background at a much speedier pace. It's hard to imagine that any of these other match-ups intend to compete with the intensity of Midoriya vs. Todoroki.
So last week, Midoriya lost his fight despite putting on a great show and impressing everybody. Even though there appears to be even more focus on Midoriya's growth in this series compared to other lead heroes in the genre, this is still a pretty expected turn for these kinds of tournament arcs. Main characters just don't win tournaments on their first attempt. What follows is a fairly sweet scene between him and All Might, where Midoriya is assured that his choice to put himself on the line for Todoroki's sake was a very heroic thing to do, but Midoriya's pained expression after hearing this adds some new feelings into the mix. Helping other people means getting hurt a lot, physically and emotionally, and Recovery Girl makes it clear that she won't be willing to be his Get-Out-Of-Pain-Free card any further, urging the hero and protege duo to figure out a smarter way to use One For All.
Thankfully, as far as the overall flow of the arc goes, this cooling-off episode still offers important new developments, mostly in the introduction of a new villain, Stain. Away from the Sports Festival, this so-called "hero killer" confronts Iida's older brother, and the end result is a bloody confrontation that leads to Stain being contacted by the villain organization who led the climactic fight at the end of season one. The violence here is pretty striking, and it'd be interesting if the Sports Festival got interrupted because of this surprise new character, though I can feel myself tensing up as we return to the costumed superhero world of this series. I think part of why I like this Sports Festival arc so much is because most of the characters are in simple attractive track suits instead of their gaudy hero costumes. I'm just not sold on the American superhero style of this world outside of All Might.
Since this villain confrontation centers around Iida's brother, Iida gets a noticeable spotlight in this episode. He's hoping to live up to his older brother's example, so he's disappointed to lose his eventual fight against Todoroki. (He got to beat the vines girl in the round before, just to drive home how many fights get knocked out in this episode.) Still, this loss is nothing compared to learning of his brother's defeat. I'm assuming his brother is dead, but his mother's phone call was ambiguously worded enough that I can't say for sure. Speaking of Todoroki, he's still using just his ice powers after his fight with Midoriya, so perhaps he's not ready to embrace his fire side at all times yet, but he's at least confident enough to get another good "screw you" line in at his dad. "For that moment, I forgot all about you," he says in reference to his use of fire last week.
Though I balk at the return to the more normal superhero stuff, I really do want to see what this story does next as we move away from the Sports Festival. Last week's episode was so astonishingly good that my investment in this story has changed drastically. Before, it was a cool show that I admired for the things that it did well, but My Hero Academia becoming a personal favorite feels much more possible now. I want to go back and rewatch the first season, and I want to catch up with the manga once this season ends. The fact that it's already preparing to mix things up with the introduction of Stain has me curious for what's next, and episodes like the most recent batch have me confident that we're in good hands.
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