My Hero Academia
Episode 26

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 26 of
My Hero Academia (TV 2) ?

With the sports festival wrapped up, school is back in session for My Hero Academia. Thankfully, today's agenda involves a little fun: picking out hero names! As a result of the sports festival, class 1-A's top students are being sought heavily by well-known hero agencies for internships, meaning the next few episodes are going to see our cast engaging in on-site hero work. Unlike Todoroki and Bakugo, who have a significantly higher number of agencies after them, absolutely no one is chomping at the bit to enlist poor little Midoriya, despite the strength he's displayed. A kid whose Quirk damages himself so severely must be a liability.

MHA's pacing has not been a detriment to my experience 90% of the time, but this episode might be an exception. The humor here is endearing, but it probably would have worked better at a truncated rapid-fire, giving us a chance to see some of the upcoming on-the-job training this week. However, the next episode is set to mark the beginning of a new cour, so maybe this stuff got stretched out to serve a more distinct change-over coming up. At the very least, I'm super ready to see the new opening and ending songs.

This show has been so good lately that I almost forgot what it was like to struggle to come up with something to say. This is a laid-back, antics-based episode that gets stretched out more than perhaps necessary. Not that that's a terrible thing, but the slightly amusing details far outweigh the emotional broad strokes this week. Most of the camaraderie comes from the characters reacting to each other's hero names, and it's a crapshoot to predict whether each name is meant to be a momentary joke or an actual title we're going to associate with that character from now on. It's hard to go from a kid getting laughed at for their silly, self-indulgent pick to Tsuyu simply wanting to go by the name "Froppy" and having everyone unanimously agree that it's great.

Midnight, the "R-Rated Hero", provides the push and pull between a student suggesting a name and getting a "yay" or "nay". It's here we get a little bit of insight in what kinds of expectations exist in this world, with names serving more as potential brands instead of practical secret identities. "Froppy" is in, while "Alien Queen" and "King Explosion Murder" (guess who that one belongs to) are out. Also, "______ Man" and the like seem to be a safe templates, as well as a variety of cross-language puns that don't always land, but if Midnight likes it, it's gold. Midoriya ultimately goes with "Deku" as his hero name, referring to when he decided to own the insulting nickname Bakugo gave him as a child in favor of Ochako's more heroic reading of the word.

The two main threads connecting us to a new overarching story lie first in Midoriya ultimately finding an agency interested in him in the form of All Might's old homeroom teacher, Gran Torino. We don't get to see much of him in this episode, but All Might's shivers and sweat drops show how terrified he is by the prospect, humiliated that he forgot there was another person who knew about One For All. The second thread is about Iida, who's still troubled by his hospitalized brother. The episode ends with an ominous narration, implying that Iida's choice to intern in the district where his brother was attacked is going to lead to a lot of pain and trouble.

This was not the most eventful episode and probably could have benefited from being sped up. It does its job well, the show continues to look great whether its pushing its limits or not, and I'm sure a lot of people will find the name-picking sequence funny. There's not a ton to get overwhelmed over, but that's okay. Not every episode needs to be the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

Rating: B-

My Hero Academia is currently streaming on Funimation and Crunchyroll.

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

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