My Hero Academia
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 89 of
My Hero Academia (TV 5) ?
After another year away, it's finally time for a new season of My Hero Academia! When we last left our heroes, Endeavor had just barely survived a brutal attack against a new, high-end Nomu creation. Broken and battered, he stood just barely triumphant, with both his body and society at large hanging on by a thread. Though the battle was won, there are any number of questions remaining about all of this: Who sent that Nomu in the first place? Endeavor may have survived, but what condition will he be in when this is over? And how will his abused family react to their violent patriarch's turning over a new leaf?
The answer to those questions and more will come...next week! Because in MHA tradition this season opener is a broadcast-station mandated original episode that's partially recap to get the many kids in the audience back up to speed. This episode still manages to be entertaining, but be prepared for several minutes of Present Mic narration telling us for the 20th time what everyone's quirk and hero names are. The actual plot of this premiere is that there's a sudden emergency drill for Class 1-A, where they have to leap into action to resolve a simulated disaster. That likely sounds familiar, because it's the setup for nearly every filler anime-original episode of the franchise, and coming right after the perfectly mediocre “Do or Die Survival Training” OVAs, even I was getting pretty tired of the setup.
Thankfully, things pick up once the Big 3 from last season arrive to play the role of villains for the drill. Well actually Mirio plays the part of a hapless civilian caught up in the disaster, but he seems to be having fun with it so good for him. It's here we get the good kind of filler content, where instead of just reminding us of information we already knew, we just spend time with side characters who otherwise wouldn't get the spotlight. Amajiki giving up on being threatening immediately and begging to go home is pretty funny, and Nejire basically bullying him into villainy is great. Then you have just ridiculous stuff like Bakugo forcing Kaminari to hotwire a car so he can make a cool entrance into the fray, and suddenly this premiere becomes a whole lot more fun. It's still far from necessary viewing, but the episode does just enough to not feel like a waste.
But really, who cares about that? A new season means new Opening and Ending themes, which are way more important. The new OP is “No.1” by DISH// and it's a solid one. It's not as catchy as “Star Maker” or layered as “Sora ni Utaeba”, but a straightforward and upbeat rock song is a good fit for the upcoming arc. And I do like the crunchy guitar riff at the end of the chorus. The visuals aren't much to write home about – they're mostly the 1-A kids prepping for the upcoming Joint Training battles – but there's at least a neat sequence during the chorus showing off the entire class in action. The real star of the show is ending theme “Ashiato” by The Peggies. Like just about everything the band has released, it's an instantly endearing burst of pop-rock energy that's already stuck in my head for the foreseeable future. The visuals are also cute, following Class 1-A through a shopping trip for a dorm party. It's simple, but there's something undeniably charming about getting to see this big lovable cast in their casual looks, having fun like regular teenagers.
So yeah, predictably we'll be waiting until next week for MHA to start up again proper, but at least this time the recap episode came a week early as opposed to a week late. By now fans know what to expect from these season openers, and for those not interested in this pit stop it's thankfully only another week to get to the real meat and potatoes.
...Okay, now that all the impatient people who don't watch through the ending credits are gone, guess what? There IS plot to this episode! They tricked you!
It's not a lot, but in the after-credits sequence we see that Endeavor did indeed survive and make it to a hospital, though he and Hawks had a run-in with Dabi before getting out. We don't see how that confrontation went down, but while Endeavor is convalescing we start to get an idea of how two battered, worn-down heroes managed to escape from one of the League of Villains' most dangerous members. Hey there Hawks, why are you having a secret meeting with Dabi? And boy now that you mention it, it sure is convenient a Nomu attacked right when you were talking to Endeavor about rumors of Nomu spottings in the area. Hmmmmmm. Presumably things will become clearer next week, but for now that's a neat twist to end things on.
p.s. There's a new PV out for the next MHA movie and I have so many questions:
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