My Hero Academia
Episode 55

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 55 of
My Hero Academia (TV 3) ?

I suppose the one "downside" to My Hero Academia being by far the best Shonen Jump anime adaptation that ever was is that I'm at such a loss once it starts to slow down and act like any other long-running shonen property. It's still miles ahead of One Piece and Black Clover (the two other Jump series I'm covering for reviews) in terms of execution, but I just can't pace myself the same way. I need gratification now!

A large portion of this episode is an anime-only subplot following several 1-A students who otherwise would have been ignored by the story if the anime would have adapted the manga straight. You can smell the filler, but it keeps itself humble and manages to snuggle into the story naturally. The stars of the show this week are Momo, Jiro, Shoji, and Tsuyu facing off with the students of Seiai Academy within the confines of a building. The ringleader of Seiai is a girl named Miss Sai, who has a Quirk that allows her to increase her IQ when she drinks tea, which she uses to formulate a plan against 1-A.

I'm a weirdo in that I've never really cared whether or not every character gets comparable screen time, and I'm still waiting idly for the main story to ramp up to something. The divergence is harmless, but when the punchline to your filler subplot is to have your villains stunned that the heroes would care about teamwork (gasp!), it's hard for it not to come across a little mawkish. If there's one aspect of the story that the filler does unanimously support, it's that sense of watching 1-A splinter off and each group organically stumbling into their own individualized conflicts. The Forest Training arc felt like one of the rare occasions that the show had the chance to indulge in that kind of structure.

Things get a little more intriguing once we return to canon material, with Bakugo and friends confronting Seiji Shishikura of Shiketsu High, who apparently has the power to turn people into lumpy meat potatoes. This is poor Kirishima's fate, and it's up to Bakugo and Kaminari to fight and get him back. The creepy little potato people are just weird enough to add a little freshness to the episode, and I hope to see Kirishima return to his normal self sooner rather than later.

I didn't end this episode feeling like we've progressed in the story as much as I would have liked, which isn't the most damning criticism, considering the genre. Normally I feel like I've got enough to chew on weekly, but this License Exam is so much more thematically straightforward than other arcs. It's not going for big feelings or intricate plotting. It could very well be laying groundwork for later, but it also feels comfortable being a standard shonen exam arc and not much else.

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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