My Hero Academia
Episode 7

by Sam Leach,

How would you rate episode 7 of
My Hero Academia ?

“I had heard from young Midoriya that young Bakugo thinks well of himself, but this is too much.” This is what All Might says to himself as he and the rest of the class watch the fight nervously via the monitors in front of them. The hero vs. villain mock trial has lead to an intense fight between cinnamon roll extraordinare Midoriya, and master of the chip on his shoulder, Bakugo. If there was ever any doubt, this episode seals the deal on the suspicion that Bakugo is straight up deranged.

To me, one of the defining characteristics of shounen anime and manga is size. Size of the world, size of the emotion, etc. Even taking plot similarities out of the equation, the Jump property that My Hero Academia still reminds me of most is Naruto, in that we're putting all of our dramatic eggs into the basket of teenage squabbles with the promise that we'll detour into the much bigger world of superheroes as our students progress through their course. My guess is we'll be getting into some kind of equivalent to the Zabuza arc during the second half of this season.

Whether MHA graduates from its currently modest scope stands as my only real concern, but knowing how this show has been operating so far it'll probably have an answer to that worry soon enough. In the meantime, that enormous, explosive passion that I've gotten to gush about several times this season is in full effort and probably at its most effective we've seen yet. It's Kōhei Horikoshi's artistic fervor combined with Studio Bones' astonishing presentation in perfect harmony. That's a line that sums up most of this show but this week in particular is no joke.

Raw emotion is My Hero Academia's biggest selling point by far. The hyper-active roller coaster aspect of it is most reminiscent of Tetsuro Araki's Attack on Titan anime, but obviously MHA isn't anywhere near as dark. I can't think of another show that's felt so equally hellbent on making your heart race and making your blood to feel like it's on fire from the pure adrenaline kick. That was always what I liked most about AoT, and I honestly didn't expect to find another piece of entertainment any time soon that felt just as proficient at it.

The fight between Midoriya and Bakugo, continuing from the end of last week, takes the majority of the episode to play out. Midoriya seems to have the advantage with his knowledge of Bakugo's fighting style, but as we learn about Bakugo; "He is definitely a ball of instincts." Since Midoriya is trying to limit his use of One For All, the fight amounts a lot of hide and seek, hand to hand combat, and Bakugo's explosion powers, which we get to see become more and more creative as he grows more vitriolic. Even though this is all just supposed to be a test, some of the action still ends with chunks of the building being blown to smithereens.

The music is especially strong this episode, too. Just about every great track we've heard in the show prior makes an appearance as they each carry us to the different segments of the fight. Also in attendance are flashbacks to Midoriya and Bakugo as children, telling the story about the latter growing into his superiority complex. There's a real descent into madness on Bakugo's end and if you connect at all with MHA's more compassionate heart, there's a sense of tragedy to it.

As the clock runs out on the mock trial, Midoriya is left with no choice but to go on the offensive. Bakugo is still confused and angry about Midoriya's Quirk so it's time for Midoriya to show it off right in front of his face. However, instead of using it as a regular attack, he uses it to blow a hole in the ceiling. The resulting destruction of the the floors above them is the big spectacle moment of the episode, with the camera following the explosion of air upward in a soaring motion as the orchestra swells a la All Might's big shows of strength. The attack was meant to give Ochako, his partner in the fight, a chance to nab the fake bomb from Iida. Midoriya's final blow wasn't an attack on Bakugo as much as an extension of his sense of teamwork.

The emotions in My Hero Academia are just so big. There's no other way to describe it. This episode did a phenomenal job of immersing us into Midoriya and Bakugo's complicated relationship and found every chance it could to make it feel like it was the most important damn thing in the whole world. I almost want to nitpick that Ochako and Iida could have been given more to do during the episode, since their stuff feels like such an afterthought, but it's so clear who we're supposed to be focused on in their stead.

Bones' MHA is such a wunderkind right now. It's a story so clearly in its adolescence (it's just kids fighting each other so far) and yet it's practically showing off how effortlessly it can make the heart sing. When last week ended with the beginning of Midoriya and Bakugo's fight, I expected something insightful about their relationship to be touched on in this episode, but I didn't expect anything near the intensity that we got. Every time this show peaks emotionally, it feels like such a celebration. It feels like it's celebrating that it ever got to be made at all, let alone with so much fire. What an episode.

Rating: A+

My Hero Academia is currently streaming on Funimation.

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

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