My Hero Academia
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 64 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
How would you rate episode 65 of
My Hero Academia (TV 4) ?
With the past few seasons of My Hero Academia opening with clip show episodes, I figured it would be easy to just turn my brain off during season four's kick-off, but episode 64 disrupts the pattern just enough to be worthy of a closer look. It may be filler, but it's far better than any ole recap episode. We find ourselves following Taneo Takuda, a freelance journalist who is investigating the possibility that one of U.A.'s students could be All Might's successor. Takuda is a peculiarly endearing character whose desire to get to know the future number one hero supersedes his journalistic intentions. He was personally moved by All Might as a child—as everyone seems to have been—and his conversation with Midoriya is poignant. I only know bits and pieces of what this upcoming season has in store, but I understand things are about to get pretty dark, so this moment of tenderness strikes the right chord.
As for the canon material, these episodes focus on two important characters: Overhaul, the plague doctor-looking Yakuza villain who desires a meeting with Shigaraki, and Sir Nighteye, a former sidekick of All Might's. The feeling that the world is left with in the wake of All Might vs. All For One is that heroes and villains are both now without role models. The future is ready to be taken by whoever wins this idealogical war, but the upcoming generations are without much guidance. Overhaul wants to be the director of the League of Villains, because he has a plan, but that doesn't sit well with Shigaraki, who is meant to be All For One's successor. Overhaul demonstrates his power by ruthlessly exploding Magne into a fountain of blood—a shockingly violent scene for such a colorful series. Episode 65 is fairly rudimentary in terms of direction, so the full impact of this gesture doesn't get to fully hit, but I know Kōhei Horikoshi has some hardcore horror manga chops that he's been sitting on, waiting for the right time to strike.
Nighteye is another interesting figure. Despite his creepy demeanor, he's on the heroes' side, but for some reason he's fallen out with his mentor, which is intriguing because it's hard to imagine any of the good guys having a problem with All Might. What kind of beef went down in the past? Sadly, this episode ends on a strange note, with Midoriya trying to win Nighteye's favor King Kai-style and trying to get him to laugh with a goofy All Might impression. The cliffhanger makes it appear as though the joke didn't land, but I can feel an additional punchline coming. You can't trick me with this faux-drama!
A very small detail that's worth a mention are the number of on-screen visual sound effects. I know MHA has always gone for the comic book effect, but it seems to be ramping up in frequency unless my mind is playing tricks on me. I noticed an excess of Japanese sound effects romanized with English letters, meaning a lot gets lost in translation in either language. Hardly a nitpick, just an observation.
Of Shonen Jump's new blood, I think My Hero Academia continues to have the strongest grasp on a wide audience. I'm mostly excited to see where the story goes now that All Might has hit retirement and we're moving into the next "big" arc that isn't just another exam. The good-natured and the black-hearted want to lead the future, and both sides will have to conquer their own inadequacy and inexperience in order to chart the path forward. How the story tackles the one-two punch of inner and outer conflict is its most interesting prospect to me at the moment. Surprisingly, of these two episodes I thought the filler episode was the stronger one for its more delicate sense of tone. Episode 65 was more by-the-numbers in terms of execution, but at the end of the day it's simply setting up for more dastardly business to come, and I can't wait to see where the show goes next.
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