My Hero Academia
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 69 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
Now that our heroes know the criminals of the world are equipped with the power of Quirk-enhancing drugs and Quirk-neutralizing bullets, it's time for them to regroup and plan their course of action. Normally, U.A. students wouldn't be let in on these sorts of pro-hero meetings, but the kids are so entangled at this point it makes the most sense to let them in on the goings on.
This is another low-action episode, but again I think the conversations and themes are interesting enough to keep it steady. The show keeps finding new ways to present its established ideas, including self-doubt and the inside politics of heroism. As the pros detail the connection between the increased drug traffic and Overhaul's machinations, the suggestion gets made that the little girl we saw a few episodes ago—she keeps being referred to as Overhaul's daughter, though I don't think they're actually related?—may be having her body excavated in some way to produce the aforementioned Quirk bullets. This news is especially upsetting to Midoriya and Mirio, who figured she was in trouble but let her walk away with Overhaul because they were afraid they'd make things worse if they attacked recklessly. Now they're starting to think being reckless would have been the right thing to do.
The guilt that our little baby heroes carry with them is palpable through the entire episode. It doesn't take the form of lumbering sadness, but electrifying frustration. Even with the pros assuring them that they did the right thing by staying within the guidelines of the job, Midoriya and Mirio are left uncomforted. Their sense of justice is their own, so there's only so much validation they can get from the adults. The conundrum of vigilantism from a few arcs back echoes neatly here. It's true that if these kids just take matters into their own hands, they'll lose the sense of accountability they owe to the public. The rules of society will be undermined if people just pick and choose what's right and wrong whenever they want, which would be an easier sacrifice to make if this series were about, say, pirates (*ahem*), rather than superheroes. There's a really great scene towards the end here where Aizawa reminds Midoriya that he still doesn't trust him, and it's a strangely heartwarming moment that says, "Hey, you're probably about to screw all this up, but I'm too tired to stop you. Do what you gotta do." Ultimately, there's only so long our protagonists can wallow over not being able to rewind time and fix a problem they had no way of knowing about, so instead they steel their resolve and vow to do better next time.
There's also Nighteye, who gets asked if he can use his foresight powers to predict any of his colleagues' deaths in the event that the future can be changed. This is similarly not a cut-and-dry request, as Nighteye is concerned about the limitations of his Quirk regarding time management and the fact that he can't see the full context of any future he sees. Even if the other pro heroes' want all the information they can get, Nighteye can't stomach the burden of knowing a potentially unstoppable future. This episode really captures that paralyzing fear of not knowing whether your actions are helping or hurting. It isn't any logical counterargument that gets the other heroes to back down on Nighteye's foresight, it's seeing how much pain he's in for being asked to use it for that reason in the first place.
We've been seeing a lot of conversational episodes as of late, but hey, if they're good they're good! I'm repeatedly astonished by how much depth My Hero Academia can mine from these familiar quandaries and still remain fresh. The morality play aspect always feels really thorough and well-balanced. As always I get pumped up watching these characters grab hold of their determination and progress forward, and the show manages to capture the excitement of a rebellious spirit, even in characters who are otherwise complete goodie-two-shoes. That's what My Hero Academia is when you boil it down to its purest essence, and that's the sort of thing that keeps me excited to find out what happens next.
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