This Week in Anime
My Hero Academia's Lovable League of Villains

by Nicholas Dupree & Michelle Liu,

My Hero Academia has unloaded a whole new slough of baddies this season to deliver a series of knock-down-drag-out brawls with dire consequences. This week, Nick and Micchy discuss their favorite moments and characters from this explosive arc.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.





You can read our weekly coverage of My Hero Academia here!

Nick D
Well Micchy, I just got a letter from my son about his summer camp! Looks like he's having a great time. At least, he's making new friends?

Can confirm, summer camp is the absolute worst. You gotta deal with bigger kids beating you up, kids the same size beating you up, and sometimes tiny balls of rage beating you(r crotch) up.

Nonsense, he's having a great time!

In fact, I had to read between the lines, but I think he might have a special lady friend~

Oh good, I was just about to introduce my daughter! My blessedly pure daughter...

No introduction needed. This has basically been my entire social media feed for the last two weeks.

The people have spoken and the people apparently like to be stabbed.

Toga is a murderous psychopath who needs to be protecc. I would die for her.

In a sense she is the most pure character in MHA, but we may be getting ahead of ourselves. A lot's happened so far in My Hero's 3rd season, most of it quite painful for our aspiring superheroes.

Most of it's involved Deku getting beat up six ways from Sunday, that's for sure. Our boy hasn't been having the best of times. First he gets his nuts crushed, then he gets his arms crushed. Things just ain't going his way.

I'm genuinely shocked Deku came out of this with both arms still attached. The boy really needs to learn how to high-five properly.

But seriously, Deku's fight with Muscular still gets me hyped just thinking about it weeks after the fact. It's easily the gnarliest, most high-stakes fight in the series so far and just the voicework left me breathless at the end.

The aptly-named Muscular is basically what you'd get if you put Bakugo's head on All Might's body, except Bigger. That whole fight is so great; Deku's putting everything he's got into protecting one little squirt, but some villains are just too swole to beat on your own. Deku may lift, but that ain't no match for Quirk steroids.

It's also the first time Deku's come this ridiculously close to death in the show. Even against Shigaraki or Stain, there was always the sense that he could get out of it with some help. But Deku actually feels like he's gonna die here. Like god damn, my heart hurts just reading that.

And if he was really alone then, he could very well be a pancake! But that's where the beauty of MHA comes in: the little squirt squirts to save him. Kota, the little ball of rage who doesn't get why heroes are even a thing, is inspired enough by Deku's show of selflessness to distract Muscular for a second. And if that's not the most gotdang heartwarming thing ever, I don't know what is.

The smol bitter child might be pissing his pants in fear, but at least he can channel it into more useful wetness.

It's so good. Kota's got arguably the best reason of anyone to hate heroism. All it's ever done for him was take his parents away. But in that one moment, when Deku is putting his life on the line, it inspires him to use his quirk - the one thing he has left from parents - to try and fight back. It's classic MHA; heroism is acting in the face of danger and inspiring others to act in turn, and that cycle is what gives Deku the drive to fight to the end.

Beyond saving them from immediate danger, the best thing that people can do for each other in MHA is offer each other the courage they need to keep going. All Might, Deku, Kota and everyone else's efforts are linked, and that's what makes these heroes great.

Sadly - for the rest of the class at least - things start going downhill after that. While Deku saved Kota and took out the most dangerous opponent, there's still nine more villains out there, and Deku has no more arms to shatter to stop them.

Wait, nine? There's only one for me.

The other members of the League of Villains include a guy with freaky metal teeth, a Cirque du Soleil reject, a Frankenstein, and A Gun.

I just want to call attention to the fact that one of the dipsticks in the League of Villains brought a gun to a Quirk fight. Here's this fantastical world where most of the population has implausibly dangerous superpowers, and then here's this child with A Gun.

Listen, when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. And when life gives you a superpower that amounts to a really rancid fart you find new ways to be dangerous.

To be fair, acquiring that gun in Japan is probably the most illegal thing the League of Villains has done so far.

This kid also chose "Mustard" for his villain name, so we know he's just full of bad decisions. I'm very glad SteelSteel SteelSteel and Ms. Yaoi Hands took him out.

Anyway, back to the new star of the show:

Has Toga usurped Froppy as the unspoken best girl of MHA? You decide.

What's most interesting to me about Toga is that she doesn't really do anything. She threatens Tsuyu, gets some of Uraraka's blood, gets a crush on our Very Hurt Boi, and then just disappears. But her character design and uncanny personality alone have made the world fall in love with her. No joke, in the last English readership popularity poll, Toga was already in 3rd place.

What can I say, she's a woman of culture. Not many people can properly appreciate the appeal of watching anime boys get completely destroyed. She may not do much (we don't even know her Quirk yet!), but I only need a second to know I want her to be my best friend. I don't even mind if she slices me up a little! I readily welcome my upcoming dissection.

Fun trivia about that mysterious quirk: MHA is so infamous for punny names that people were able to guess her power two years before it was revealed just by the characters in her name.

That sounds like a very MHA thing to do, in a series with names like Winner Explosion and Electric Lightning.

Y'know I feel like we're forgetting something.

Oh right, Winner Explosion?

Yeah, Bakugo got yoinked!

Shows what you know, smartass...

So yeah, the League of Villains is after this little dipshit, presumably because his anger issues make him an appealing recruit. And it's true that this boy cares less about the ethics of heroism than proving himself the best. Since he has no real moral code to dictate his actions, you can bet shady folks want to take advantage of that. Also, have you noticed he looks a lot like Muscular? I'm guessing that's not an accident.

I'll just say this season will reveal something about Bakugo's family that will get a lot of people's attention and leave it at that. Otherwise, you can certainly see why the League would consider him a prime candidate. Shigaraki's entire motivation is that he's an impulsive pissant who wants to tear things down for his own satisfaction. But I think this scheme might be a little too simple for their own good. For one thing, Bakugo's proven that while he's a ball of impudent anger, he does at least have a concrete goal in mind: to be the #1 Hero. And I don't think he's gonna give up on that so easily. Plus he's even learned to work with others recently!

Granted, he immediately uses that as a chance to gloat, but it's progress!

But yeah, I don't see Bakugo really becoming a villain at this point - Sasuke Uchiha he ain't. But what's more interesting to me is the decision that this leaves in Class 1-A's hands.

Now that they know where the villains' secret bar is located, their options are to either leave Bakugo's rescue to grown-ups (like they probably should) or undertake the operation themselves (like a bunch of dummies).

It's a difficult and emotional choice. Like, obviously the responsible choice is to leave things to the professionals and not risk their lives for the fifth time in three days. But at the same time, they're training to be heroes themselves, and just standing by would be a betrayal of their own ambitions.

Plus Kirishima wants to protect his boyfriend.

Kirishima is so blessedly patient with his utter garbage pile of a bae, too pure and good for this world.

Meanwhile, Iida's got firsthand experience with taking the law into his own hands, so he rejects the idea.

He's right, and he knows more than these other kiddos, but Iida's also kind of a chode sometimes, so all bets are off.

For Deku and Todoroki, they jumped into the fight with Stain willingly to save Iida, but from his perspective, it's been less than a month since he risked the safety of his friends for his own myopic impulses, and now they're considering doing it again. That's gotta be rough. And right now, the choice seems to lie in Deku's (very, very broken) hands.

Hey, they've been through what, three life-threatening situations already? I'm sure they can handle it.

I can safely say that compared to what's coming, they ain't seen nothing yet.

Oh geez, big things are happening soon, aren't they?

Oh yeah. Things are gonna get bigger, more intense, and even meatier than ever.

And I'm not just talking about All Might's ass.

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