My Hero Academia
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 70 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
How would you rate episode 71 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
How would you rate episode 72 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
How would you rate episode 73 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
How would you rate episode 74 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
How would you rate episode 75 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
How would you rate episode 76 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
Hey there folks! This is Nick, and I'll be taking over Daily Streaming Reviews for My Hero Academia moving forward. I'm very humbled to be covering this series – I'm a big fan, and reading Sam's reviews over the years was always a treat. If you're curious about my own feelings on MHA so far, I've covered it several times on This Week in Anime with the rest of the crew. But for now, MHA is just about closing the curtain on the current storyline, so it's best to hit upon all the ups and downs of the Overhaul arc's latter half before we get there.
Episode 70 – GO!!
“GO!!” is, ironically, the last build-up episode of Season 4. While the final moments indeed show the assembled heroes at last clashing with the Shie Hassaikai, the majority of episode 70 is about the simmering emotions of the cast as they're forced to wait for the right opportunity to strike. The weakest portion is the extended montage of Pro Heroes covertly investigating various leads for Eri's location which, while a solid way of making the tertiary cast feel more involved in the case, feels the most like padding in a season that's already spent half a cours revving its engine and threatening to shift into drive.
Thankfully, MHA has its ever robust character writing to lean on in the meantime. Deku, Uraraka, Tsuyu, and Kirishima are all restless to run straight towards the mission, but are stuck on standby until permission is granted. While this acts as good motivation in their physical training, it's also clearly a lot weighing on their mind. The standout scene is easily when Iida and Todoroki reach out to Deku to support him – the Overhaul arc unfortunately has a problem of sidelining most of the 1-A cast entirely, but it's endearing to see the other characters are still present and observant of their friends despite being separated from the action. It's perhaps a tiny thing in the greater conflict, but it's nice to have both for Deku and the audience.
The other important moment is Nighteye's inner monologue while the heroes prep for deployment. It's the first real look into the stoic former sidekick's thoughts, and it's all about why he chose Mirio as a potential successor to All Might. Nighteye himself recognizes that his history and quirk have made him more than a bit of a pessimist, but he also acknowledges that how one chooses to interpret past misfortune can prepare them for future ones. To him, Mirio has the tenacity and determination to take his mistakes – letting go of Eri – and turn them into drive to more than make up for them. It's a short sequence, but one that will be important moving forward in the arc.
Overall “GO!!” is a bit frustrating in how slow it moves, but it does offer some useful place setting for what's to come. It's thankfully the last test of patience for viewers eager to see MHA return to its superpowered action and tension.
Episode 71 – Suneater of the Big Three
While the Big Three were introduced together at the end of Season 3, it's really been the Big One so far with Mirio taking up all the spotlight. Tamaki has gotten some amusing jokes on the periphery of other characters' episodes, but it's here that he finally gets to shine– a fact the show and character both seem cognizant of with the motif of Mirio's boundless optimism making him shine like the sun. Tamaki's flashbacks of his relationship with Buff Tintin do a lot to flesh out both of them at the same time – highlighting how Tamaki's nervous nature can hold him back from his potential and how Mirio's cheery determination kept inspiring him to push forward despite himself – while also breaking up the action that makes up the latter half of the episode.
The action, for the record, is pretty solid. Sprinkled with some impressively stylistic cuts that show off Suneater's versatile (and incredibly cool) quirk. The downside is the relatively simple characters he winds up fighting. While Larceny, Crystalize, and Food team up to provide a believably difficult challenge for our nervous young hero, their overall personalities are pretty stock and their speech about why they slavishly protect Overhaul does more to flesh out Chisaki as a villain than to make them more compelling. Though it does give us an instantly memeable line of “We're trash, but we have strong bonds as trash.” Ultimately they serve more as a vehicle for Tamaki's development and some cool applications of his quirk, but little else. MHA's best villains have always been at their most interesting as singular personalities, and as a collective these three just don't hold up. As a result, “Suneater of the Big Three” lands as a solid, overall exciting action setpiece, seasoned with some endearing character work, but is far from MHA's best.
Episode 72 – Red Riot
Kirishima got a bit of spotlight earlier in the season, but it's in episode 72 that we really get to see everyone's favorite spiky, red metapod show what he's made of – literally. After being separated from the rest of the hero squad, Kirishima and mentor Fatgum are immediately thrown into a life or death battle with a seemingly insurmountable pair of foes. The vicious brawler, Rappa, instantly steals the show as he wallops Kirishima so hard he dents the wall and leaves him literally falling apart. Rappa's defensive partner, Tengai, is less engaging. Like the trio who fought Suneater he mostly works as a particular quirk for our heroes to overcome rather than a character in his own right, but it's easy to forgive with such a force of personality (and violence) standing next to him.
The middle of the episode then gives us a flashback to Kirishima's pre-UA days where, like Tamaki last episode, we see the moments that spurred him to become the hero we know today. But rather than the support of a close friend, Kirishima's inspiration comes from someone somewhat unexpected – Mina Ashido. While witnessing a pair of schoolmates being threatened by a (mysteriously familiar) villain, Kirishima froze up in fear when trying to step in. Thanks to Mina's quick thinking nobody was hurt, but it left Kirishima stewing in shame and admonishing himself for even thinking he could be a hero. It's only through a serendipitous recording of his favorite hero, Crimson Riot, that he finds it in him to channel his fear into motivation. It's a strong, efficiently communicated bit of character writing that re-contextualizes our understanding of the usually cheery and helpful Kirishima, and sets up for a stirring moment in the climax.
That said, the actual fight suffers from being the most dirt simple one in all of MHA –Rappa pounds on Fatgum's slowly shrinking defense while Fat gambles on his using his quirk's absorption ability to reflect all the damage back on them and shatter Tengai's barrier. When Kirishima steps in and bears the same blows that shattered him before, it's for sure a fist-pumping moment, and delivered with some striking animation flourishes, but it's so simple it can't help but feel a little underwhelming. The same goes for Fatgum's super punch at the end, though that's bolstered by his own line about underestimating Kirishima's determination.
All in all, this episode delivers a strong story to flesh out a beloved side character, and that alone works to smooth over its relatively weak structure and pacing. As a pure set piece it falls short, but as a moment to shine for Kirishima it more than makes up for it.
Episode 73 – Temp Squad
Breaking from the pattern of the last two episodes, 73 is all about the villains. Specifically it's about the standouts of the League of Villains, Toga and Twice. Toga's been a fanged fan favorite for forever, but Twice first surprised me back in season 3 with his pseudo focus episode showing a decidedly more cynical take on MHA's world of flashy superheroes. The bulk of the episode is all about seeing these two unhinged personalities wreak havoc on the entire mission for both sides. First by stalling and attacking the heroes, and then by antagonizing the wall-shifting Irinaka.
Unlike the past episodes there's no big payoff in the episode proper, but as a showcase of two of MHA's most eclectic personalities it's at least a lot of fun. Toga's toothy smile every time she sees Deku is just infectious, and seeing her straight up threaten Shigaraki for offering her up to the Hasaikai goes a long way in making her feel more rounded than just a typical yandere. Likewise, her comforting Twice over his guilt about Magne's death really sells the idea that, regardless of Shigaraki or All For One's intentions, the LoV really are a kind of found family. Plus their little dance sequence at the end is just adorable. How can you not smile at that?
“Temp Squad” is decidedly lean on standout moments, and mostly serves to further complicate an already hectic story arc, but it's a fun ride the whole way through. Fans waiting to see Overhaul finally step into the fray will likely be frustrated, but anyone who enjoys the quirkier (no pun intended) characters of MHA should feel more than satisfied.
Episode 74 – Lemillion
Finally he's here. The man, the myth, the legend. The hero who fights in a suit of his own hair: Mirio Togata. Mirio's been an eyecatcher since he first stepped onto the scene to beat up all of 1-A in the buff, and both Nighteye and Suneater have talked about how inspiring he is, but it's here in episode 74 that MHA finally puts its money where its mouth is. And while there are some stumbling points, it absolutely delivers for its titular hero.
The initial conflict is a little contrived, but serves well to set the foundation for Mirio's story – confronted by Nemoto's quirk that forces him to speak truthfully, he's forced to admit out loud his own guilt at failing to save Eri before. But rather than being crushed, Mirio harnesses that guilt to make astonishingly quick work of Overhaul's minions (revealing his love of the Star Wars prequels with his ultimate move) and come close to saving Eri in record time. The ensuing fight runs into some issues with animation – for moments that are very much hyped up for manga fans, they fall short of MHA's typically stellar action animation – but brilliantly sells that Nighteye wasn't wrong when he chose Mirio as All Might's successor.
Both when dominating Overhaul with one hand tied behind his back and when struggling without his quirk to keep Eri from danger, Mirio's battle is a standout superhero moment. It's a culmination of the indefatigable determination seen in Nighteye and Suneater's flashbacks before and watching it I couldn't help but wonder what this boy could do if he had received One For All in Deku's place. But more than anything it proves that, quirkless or not, winning or losing, Mirio Togata has the heart of a hero. Production quibbles take away some points, but on the whole the writing at the core of “Lemillion” is so strong it's hard to be too disappointed.
Episode 75 – Unforeseen Hope
After an entire season of hanging back, it's finally Deku's chance to have his Big Boy Shonen Hero fight. With Mirio on the ropes and Overhaul growing more dangerous as he's cornered, things quickly take a turn for the worse for the heroes. Aizawa gets taken out by Chrono, Overhaul's closest follower, leaving Deku and Nighteye to defend against Overhaul while trying to get Eri and a quickly fading Lemillion to safety. Unfortunately Nighteye, for all his foresight, is little match and ends up skewered even worse than his protege, leaving Deku as the sole force standing between Eri and Chisaki's horrific experimentation.
From the moment the battle starts, episode 75 is almost entirely rising action. The heroes fall one by one as Overhaul pulls out a classic (if decidedly more gruesome) villain transformation to take them out. As Deku's forced to his limits and every other hero is beaten or captured, both the tension and the animation rapidly ramp up, but the final conflict of the episode winds up being one of words. Overhaul's convinced Eri that she's the real reason everyone around her keeps getting hurt by him – it's classic abusive treatment and one that's especially chilling to see play out with such an obviously sweet kid. And it pushes Deku to make his own stand against both Overhaul's power and Nighteye's prediction – like he promised with All Might ages ago, he's going to twist fate no matter what, and that includes saving Eri.
“Unforeseen Hope” is chock-a-block with enough energy and rising tension that its conclusion with Ryukyu in full dragon form crashing through the ceiling like the kool-aid main almost feels underwhelming. Gripping and fast-paced, it offers some of the best action in the entire arc and sets up for a thrilling conclusion.
Episode 76 – Infinite 100%
Ok, let's get the bad stuff out of the way. After of weeks of wondering what must be going on above ground, it's pretty disappointing that the tiny snippet we get of the Ryukyu team's fight ends up just being a sidenote in the greater battle with Overhaul. While I understand why MHA would want to keep from adding even more happening to an already chaotic and cluttered arc, it's still pretty lame that all of the major heroines got shuffled off into a side conflict that only barely matters.
That said, it's hard for me to stay angry with how bombastic the conclusion to Deku vs Overhaul ends up being. First off, Eri's moment of finally choosing to accept Deku's hand is incredibly heartwarming. We've known the details of what Overhaul's been doing to her for ages, and his continued insistence that she and her quirk brought it all upon her is as awful as it is infuriating, so seeing her reach out from that darkness to the first hand to comfort her is a fantastic emotional climax, especially accompanied with the latest addition to MHA's soundtrack “Might+U” which first appeared in the recent Heroes: Rising movie.
It also sets up for a ridiculously indulgent conclusion. Utilizing Eri's “blessing” of a quirk, Deku powers up to 100% and for the first time in 4 years we really, truly get an idea of what One For All is capable of. MHA's anime has always made OFA look awesome, be it with Deku or All Might, but it's here at its unrestrained peak that we see just how overpowering it can be. In a surprising choice of framing we see the final blows not from the perspective of Deku or the other heroes, but from Chisaki as he looks on at the inhuman power raining down upon him, as if looking into the face of an angry god. Deku is the hero of the story, and by all accounts Overhaul deserves every bit of pain and defeat he gets, but in the moment it's hard to deny how terrifying it must feel to be in Chisaki's shoes. Veteran animator Yutaka Nakamura absolutely steals the show, as he's wont to do in MHA, with the final blows carrying his signature style and kinetic energy and tie a beautiful destructive bow on it all.
“Infinite 100%” doesn't quite manage to wrap up all the loose ends of the Overhaul arc, but it's most certainly the climax. Overall this entry in MHA's ongoing story has some major issues – some inconsistent production, lopsided pacing, and a lot of trouble juggling its already huge cast – but at its best it delivered some astounding highs and resonant character moments. It's not MHA at 100%, but it's still impressive in its own right.
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