My Hero Academia
Episode 31

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 31 of
My Hero Academia (TV 2) ?

Whenever you've got a big episode of MHA, it's natural that its follow-up will be much more low-key. Last week's episode was fantastic, probably one of my favorites in the show thus far, and as a result, this episode is appropriately titled "The Aftermath of the Hero Killer", following Stain's arrest. The Stain conflict seemed like less of a standalone arc and more of an unexpected explosion that brought to light a lot of the unrest that goes on in this world. The source of that unrest is still shrouded in mystery, however.

This gets touched on through a phone conversation between All Might and Gran Torino this week. Stain's general philosophy still has me asking questions—his rhetoric is still too broad based the information we've been given so far—but his story purpose shines through. Gran Torino makes it clear that Stain's most dangerous quality is divorced from reason or logic; it's his passion and charisma. Even I'm sitting at home asking for more hows and whys about him because his screen presence is so engaging. It's not hard to imagine a person who actually lives in this universe, especially a young wannabe villain, finding his worldview attractive.

There's a lot going on with the villains here. Stain is silent for the brief moments that we see him, but Shigaraki and company don't seem too pleased that their attack on the city was a mere footnote compared to him, all while everybody on the outside is assuming they were on each other's team. In Gran Torino's conversation, there's also a suggestion of another significant villain in All For One, and an assortment of colorful/horrifying faces are on their way to meet with the League of Villains in the aftermath of Stain's big night.

Beyond that, the bulk of this episode is taken up with the kids' debriefing in the hospital, where the chief of police (a literal dog-man) explains to them the problem of having used their Quirks offensively against Stain, a big no-no for uncertified heroes. Endeavor is the one who must take credit for Stain's defeat at the expense of Midoriya and the the others getting the public acknowledgement they deserve. That's the price of breaking the rules. From there we continue to catch up with the other students' internships, but at this point that stuff is getting pretty samey.

When it comes to the show's pacing, the fights get fantastic treatment, while the slower, more conversational connective tissue seems to be the weakest part of the adaptation. An episode like this is necessary, as a chance for the audience and characters to catch their breath, but anything that isn't a big info-drop can start to feel repetitive (like the internship stuff) in an otherwise tight and snappy show. In the realm of Shonen Jump anime, it's still lightning-fast, and I'm sure it continues to cover a consistent number of manga chapters, but this is how I felt before and after the Sports Festival as well. It almost never feels like there's material you could cut from this show until you get to these breather episodes.

So yeah, we get a little more insight into what Stain's arrival means as the show gears up to put much more focus on the villains, and we get some sweet moments with the kids in the hospital, but this is largely a breather episode. Stain definitely feels like he's going to be the inciting incident for the next arc or two, but it looks like we've mostly got a clean slate for whatever's coming up next. I know there are a lot of crazy future events that won't make it into this second season, but I'm still interested in whatever's left to finish us off for the year.

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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