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This Week in Anime
The Highs and Lows of MHA's License Exam Arc

My Hero Academia finished out its third season with more of a whisper than a bang. This week, Nick and Micchy break down the standout moments of this low-key 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. Not Safe For Work warning for language.

@Lossthief @Liuwdere @itsbonedaddy @vestenet

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

So Nick, I never expected this show to show me the stuff of nightmares, but My Hero Academia's given me a new fear and his name is Buff Naked Tintin.
Nick D
Who'd have thought that the greatest super power of all was to just be naked?
You don't understand Nick, I don't want to see that face on that body, it makes my brain go weird and terrifying places.
Clearly you just need to read more smutty Mother 3 doujins.
But before we get to Nude Lucas, I suppose we should check up on our main hero kids.
They're not kids anymore Micchy. They're ADULTS. Or at least Deku is after he made a new friend.
Since last time, they've moved out of their parents' homes, gotten their permits, and Deku at least has gotten to see multiple people naked. Basically a grown-up already!
They grow up so fast ;___;
Little do they know that being an adult is less kinky shit and more constant exhaustion.
Well, most of them have gotten their Hero Learner's Permits. There are two notable exceptions and neither have taken it very well.
Yeah, hero road rage isn't looked on very favorably. To the surprise of exactly nobody, Bakugo's temperature ain't exactly what the Hero DMV is looking for in a prospective hero.
What's more interesting to me is that Todoroki gave in to a pointless pissing contest against this Golden Kamuy-ass mofo.
To be frank, I think the License Exam arc is easily MHA's weakest. It's not bad and has its entertaining moments, but overall it's a sizable step down from the world-changing events that come before (and after) it. But I do appreciate what it does for Todoroki's character. Since the Stain Arc, he's mostly been on the back-burner, providing support and helping the other kids, but there hasn't really been a follow up since he started using his flame powers.
That is until the loudmouthed steampunk kid up there starts calling him his father's son, and it turns out anger and trauma aren't quite so easy to overcome.

Todoroki's been trying so hard not to be like his dad, but the brutal irony is that to Inasa, he comes off the same way Endeavor does: cold, arrogant, and career-driven to a fault. We know now that's not the case—Todoroki's mostly a clueless kid who doesn't know how he looks to other people—but to an outside observer, he seems like a mini Endeavor.
And that comparison is enough to distract him from the exam and get into a truly teenage pissing contest with Inasa, so they both get their asses kicked by Shamu.
I mean, of course he explodes at this rando who keeps reminding him of his trauma! But he's so caught up in trying to prove he's not like his father that he makes the same damn mistakes, prioritizing his ego over the thing he's supposed to be doing. Basically, get this child in therapy.
Overall, it's not enough to make the whole arc worth it for me, but I do appreciate it. And I also appreciate the anime team inserting some blessed material into the filler episodes.
Yeah, the exam arc is a trifle, but at least it offers an excuse for Horikoshi to come up with increasingly weird quirks and BLANKET BURRITO TSUYU.
I really like the ojou-sama character whose quirk is literally Galaxy Brain.
Personally, I appreciate the fucking Cronenberg nightmare that is Mr. Meatball.
I was going to cite Overgrown Chewbacca as my least favorite quirk in this arc, but I changed my mind, that's the worst one. Junji Ito "Collection" ended already, dammit.
We'll have plenty of time to discuss existentially horrifying superpowers in season four. But for now, you know who else could use therapy? This violent boy:
I was gonna say! Bakugo may have a reputation as an angery boi, but sometimes he's angery for pretty good reasons. Just never mind the way he takes it out on other people. Mostly Deku. Actually just Deku.
Some ppl beat up their childhood friends to cope, okay?
Since All Might's fall at the hands of All For One, Bakugo's been grappling with the fear that he was the one who fucked everything up and took away the world's darling hero. Which isn't necessarily true, but from his perspective it's the logical explanation. That's a pretty heavy load for a teenager to carry!
It's a really raw moment for him, and I want to give props to Nobuhiko Okamoto for his performance. He's been spot on with Bakugo since day one, but you can hear every ounce of pressure and pain in his voice when he finally breaks down.
And god do I love that moment. It's this perfect epiphany that even though Bakugo's a shitlord with way too big of a chip on his shoulder, he also places a ton of pressure on himself to be #1. But after getting kidnapped, seeing his hero retire, and figuring out Deku's secret, failing their exam tips him over the edge.
The thing that makes it for me is when All Might comes to reassure him that it's not his fault. Everyone's been treating Bakugo like a problem child, but at the end of the day, he needs to be reassured and supported like any other kid.

He also needs to be taken down a few pegs because his ego is the size of a space whale, but y'know, he could do with some affection now and then. Is this the first time we've seen Bakugo cry?
Not quite! We DID see him tear up after he lost to Deku in their training battle in season one. So it's fitting that it doesn't happen until now, when every bit of frustration that he's been holding in since then finally spills out.
But speaking of ego, that's the other thing I love about this fight. It's the moment that Deku finally has a real conversation with Bakugo as an equal, and we figure out just why he's stuck around the jerk for so long.
Deku idolized All Might, but he also wanted to emulate Bakugo's power and determination. Bakugo sees it as mocking him, but to Deku it was the closest thing he had to a real life inspiration for years.
You know, that's pretty sweet! For all his (many) glaring flaws, Bakugo's persistence is still pretty admirable. But now Deku's finally come far enough in his growth that Bakugo has to acknowledge and learn from him.
And vice versa! All Might takes the time to tell both of them that they need what the other has to progress. Bakugo has to learn to act more selflessly, but Deku also has to gain the confidence to face any threat without hesitating.
They're both good boys, Nick, and I really want to see them succeed.
And I'm sure they will! But first they gotta get the shit kicked out of them by Vault Boy.
I'm really amused by the fact that Mirio has noclip powers, but does he have to lose his pants every time he does it? I'm sorry I'm so hung up on this, but it's really upsetting me.
I mean, there is a solution to the pants thing but I don't think you're going to like it.
If hair is involved, I don't want to hear it. Unless you want to talk about Aizawa's ponytail instead, I'm perfectly willing to gush about that.
For real though, I've been waiting nearly two years for anime-only fans to finally meet this buff Gasoline Alley motherfucker. We only get a little bit of him this season but I promise you, come next year, everyone is going to love this large cinnamon roll. I mean, he's already done us a favor and punched Mineta right in the gut, so that's gotta count for something.
He's doing the Lord's work there, bless him. In fact, as long as he's taking up screentime that could otherwise go to Mineta, I think I can live with his pantslessness. Though now that I think about it, it's not so much his lack of clothes as his Tintin face that bothers me. I'm thinking about that face and peen at the same time. Do you see how this character has broken me? I hate this.
I mean, you're not alone. Tintin's chinchin broke Jiro too.

I'm gonna go lie down now okay.

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