My Hero Academia
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 82 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
If you're gonna make music, you need instruments. And if you've got instruments, you need somebody to play them. Thus the first half or so of this week's episode is all about 1-A hashing out who'll be rocking the house for their school festival event. Mineta quickly learns that his stubby character design just isn't made for strumming the ax, but Kaminari and Tokoyami are more than suited for it. Yaoyorozu, sophisticated rich kid that she is, is a trained pianist and perfect for the rhythm section. And if ever there was a girl born to play bass, it's Jiro.
That just leaves vocals and percussion, both of which get decided with a little more deliberation. Reluctant as she is to admit it, turns out Jiro also has a pretty darn good singing voice! I'm not sure if the singing this episode is also performed by Kei Shindo, or if they brought in a dedicated vocalist, but either way they do a good job of selling that her voice would be striking, especially for an untrained teenager. Personally I always thought Jiro's sound would fit closer with The Lippies or Bad Cop/Bad Cop with maybe some Brody Dalle influence, but if they want to go with a more power pop kind of Rock I can live with it.
Meanwhile, it turns out Bakugo's been hiding a talent for the drums this whole time. It makes a surprising amount of sense that Lord Explosion Murder would have a predilection for percussion, simultaneously the loudest and most complex instrument in your standard rock band. What's more surprising is that he'd actually be willing to play along with the rest of the class, but as always Bakugo is more observant than you'd expect and he's realized that for all 1-A's good intentions, their gesture to cheer up the rest of the school is coming off pretty patronizing to some of their peers. So he agrees to join on one condition: this can't just be about charity, it's got to be a show of their own indomitable spirit in the face of all the villains and danger they've faced. It's a pretty thoughtful and unique way for Bakugo to start implementing All Might's advice to “save by winning and win by saving” even without his Hero License, to inspire their compatriots by showing they won't be brought down by anything. He'd never admit it but I bet Bakugo's a fan of Macross: Do You Remember Love? deep down.
Deku, on the other hand, has a more traditional bit of training to undergo. He's been coping as well as can be expected after the raid on the Shie Hassaikai, but as usual all he can see is his own failures during the fight. All Might recognizes by now that the boy's got a habit of stewing in his own shortcomings, and wisely decides to give him a concrete goal to strive for in his quest to master One For All – it's time for his to start learning long-range attacks on top of his punches and kicks. Funnily enough this is actually the first move we ever saw All Might perform in person – the Texas Smash he used to free Deku from the Sludge villain way back in the premiere – and it's a versatile one that promises to greatly expand Deku's options in a fight. Given the guilt he's carrying over how things turned out with Nighteye, it's also a good way to keep the kid motivated and moving forward when he most needs it.
He'll be getting even more motivation in the near future, if our new villains have anything to say about it. No longer content with the low views on his regular petty crimes, Gentle Criminal has set his sights on a new height of villainy: crashing a high school class festival. Truly his evil knows no bounds. In all seriousness though, a villain managing to break into UA for a third time actually could do a lot to shake confidence in the institution. Morepressingly it risks ruining the whole show and preventing Eri from enjoying herself –something both she and her rescuers may need more than they realize.
These are far from the highest stakes MHA's dabbled in, but it's a conflict rooted in character, which makes it work. On one side, Eri deserves all the happiness in the world and if anyone tried to prevent that they deserve to be Detroit Smash'd into the ground. On the other, Gentle and La Brava have managed to charm me with their few minutes of screen time, and sneaking into the most secure Superhero fortress in the world would make for a pretty sweet video. Regardless of how the scales shift, Episode 82 is a mostly laidback and enjoyable showcase of MHA's ensemble cast, with a few solid tidbits of character development in the works. But soon we'll have to put the fun behind us and ask the really difficult questions; What will Jiro and the others name their band?
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