Steve Nick, this has been a shocking arc of My Hero Academia in a number of ways, but none unnerved me quite like the revelation that being drawn by Hergé is apparently a dominant gene in this universe.
Nick It takes all kinds to make the world go 'round Steve. Some people are tall. Some people are short. Some people are buff while others are scrawny. And some people were birthed out of a summoning circle with a page of Quick & Flupke in the center. What's important to remember is that all of those people have it in their hearts to be a hero! Specifically a hero who wears a suit made of his own hair.
If it's good enough for Bayonetta, I suppose it's good enough for 20th century Belgian comic book expys.
But yeah, a whole lot has gone down since we last covered MHA - and you can now read all about it in my new Daily Streaming Reviews! Or you can read about it here, with more dick jokes. Either one works.
I think the choice is easy
We need as much levity as we can OK? Because the Overhaul Arc has been a doozy for basically everyone, including me.
Yeahhhhh, I think last time we ended on a note about this building up to be MHA's darkest arc yet, and now I believe it's safe to say that it's delivered on that promise, with interest. Turns out raiding a yakuza group headquarters staffed by violent superpowered weirdos in order to save one cute little girl is more complicated than you might anticipate!
Especially when they throw a bunch of Batman villains at you for good measure.
Out of context, I can relate a lot to that line of dialogue, but in context, these fellas sure put a hurting on ol' squiddy here.
I like that we finally got an episode focused on Tamaki tho! Even if it came at the cost of his bones.
On the one hand, Tamaki probably could have benefited from like, letting one other hero help out. On the other, he has one of the coolest quirks in the whole cast and getting to see him go HAM was pretty rad.
I definitely consider it a very JoJo's-tier Quirk, which is high praise imo.
I just dig how versatile it is. In a brief fight we get to see him pull out a ton of different moves and even eat his enemies' quirks to hold his own. Though the show stealer is obviously his baby gay flashback about his boyfriend.
All of his flashbacks to Mirio are literally glowing. It's beyond cute, and it really helped the naturally-quiet and anxious Tamaki open up as a character.
Most of MHA's cast are decidedly big, loud personalities. Even the usually timid Deku gets plenty of moments of bombast, so it's neat to see Tamaki get a mostly subdued backstory. He's an awkward kid who wants to be a hero to stand alongside his boyfriend, and I'm here to support him.
Very same. Even if I think it's a little on-the-nose, after repeatedly calling your bf "the sun," to don the superhero moniker "Suneater," I wish him nothing but plenty of suneating in the future.
He also gets off relatively easy all things considered. Sure his face gets very acquainted with the ground after his fight, but he's still in better shape than uhhhhh basically everyone else.
This column unfortunately doesn't support the inclusion of emojis, so please enjoy my makeshift grimace emoji.
On the entire opposite end of the spectrum from Tamaki, our boy Kirishima ends up facing maybe the most stupidly simple quirk ever: Punch.
It's a very good Punch.
Let me be clear: Rappa's power isn't that he's super strong or anything. He doesn't have super muscles or even really big fists. His quirk is that his shoulders are fucked up and he can spin his arms around real fast to punch good. I'd call it stupid if I wasn't sure saying it would get me broken in half and buried inside a wall.
He's just working with what his maker gave him. And similar to Tamaki's fight, this turns into an opportunity to peek into Kirishima's past and learn a bit more about what makes our good hard red boy tick. I especially enjoyed the blunt pragmatism of his idol hero.
Not everyone can be as eloquent as All Might, but yeah Kirishima's flashback is a definite highlight of this arc, and not just because it gives us the versatile Mina reaction pic.
Tbh, I am mostly here for the Mina reaction pics.
Smol but fierce.
That last one is dangerously close to channeling Homestuck energy, Steve.
I'M not the one who gave her horns okay.
But yeah, Mina's part in Kirishima's "origin" as it were is pretty neat. I dig that even with characters who we thought we more or less new, there's some relationships and dynamics we aren't always privy to from just following Deku's perspective.
I hope we get to see more of these pre-UA days from Mina's perspective in the future too. She's got one of the best character designs in the whole series, but I don't feel like we know a whole lot about her.
She's a ton of fun, and the glimpse we get of her shows she's got a natural knack for the whole hero thing herself. Which ironically enough is what we find out Kirishima didn't have, which is a pretty interesting reveal for a character who's been so gung-ho the whole time we've known him.
My favorite little detail was the revelation that he dyed his hair red (like his idol) specifically so he could reinvent himself in high school as the gung-ho hero he aspired to be. That's so perfectly dweeby and relatable.
It's also pretty relatable to see him freeze up in the moment when facing a villain. As much as Deku's initial quirklessness was meant to make him an everykid, he also kind of has a preternatural instinct for self-sacrifice that lets him throw himself into danger without thinking. Kirishima, by contrast, had to learn to channel and control his fear just like his role model.
Being scared is actually both totally natural and oftentimes a good thing! It's a reminder that, even with their Quirks, these kids are all humans. Kirishima's struggle here is probably the most compelling his character has ever been. I mean, the fight itself is great too, but seeing him power through his anxieties is even more thrilling.
And on top of it all we get to see Fatgum become Fitgum. It's a great episode.
Dude deffo hasn't been neglecting his core.
Turns out the key to get buff is to just have a big crazy dude beat the everloving shit out of you.
Truth be told that's gotta be healthier than most fad diets.
Hey, some diets can work wonders. Just ask Toga.
YEAH. Forget those heroes. The real stars of the show return for some villainous mischief that may or may be taking down Chisaki's empire from the inside because none of them like him or his dumb plague doctor mask. But most importantly: more Toga content. [Billie Eilish voice]
Always time for a Toga Party
For real though, Toga and Twice are my favorites from the League of Villains for a number of reasons, and they're very much on display in their role this arc.
Their individual eccentricities bounce off each other so well, and they both genuinely love their line of work, so villainy aside, it's just fun to watch them wreak havoc and relish in it.
Team Rocket energy, but arguably more competent.
It's also nice to see that they do genuinely care about eachother. Lots of Shonen series have all their villains be giant assholes who tolerate one another out of convenience, but Toga and Twice see the League as a real family that they're willing to protect - and avenge - with everything they have.
Also boy if you're looking for Team Rocket energy just wait til the next arc.
You know I love me a found family of weirdo misfit outcasts.
Even Shigaraki acts shockingly...well, "nice" isn't the word, but for the first time it feels like he has a genuine bond with his team and is willing to go to bat for them.
Is that bond strong enough for somebody to offer that boy some chapstick?
That'd be a start for sure.
But really, the League's role in all this is mostly to cause chaos and fuck over Chisaki, which oddly makes them the most lighthearted part of all this. Their whole episode culminates in them trolling one of the Yakuza until he owns himself out of pure anger. It's great!
Love these jerks!
The whole "enemy of my enemy" philosophy means they actually end up helping Deku, and that's some sorely-needed fun in the midst of, uh, everything else.
Ah yes, we finally get to talk about MY BOY
What's left of him anyway.
Joke all you want, I've been waiting to see Mirio get to shine for ages and I'm not gonna let a few stab or gunshot wounds bring me down. Like hey, first off, shout out to this Gen Z kiddo repping his love for the Star Wars prequels.
Don't believe those cowardly subtitles, fair readers. Mirio is shouting PHANTOM MENACE right there because he loves Jar Jar Binks and pod racing.
He struck as more of a Paul Thomas Anderson fan but go off I guess.
I bet your favorite Rolling Stones album is Zipperman, huh?
But more importantly, we get to see the heroic spirit that made Nighteye pick Lemillion as a potential successor as the Symbol of Peace. In a solo fight against 4 different opponents, hampered by multiple quirks and having to protect a hostage, Mirio absolutely demolishes Overhaul for a good while.
When Lemillion makes a promise, he keeps it.
Genuinely, I was not expecting him to rescue Eri all on his own! Sure, there are complications later, but he really actually does it all. He's a force of nature (and a force of world-renowned Belgian cartooning).
Sadly he can't save the day all on his own when Deku hasn't gotten to fight yet, but he does a damn fine job of showing that win or lose, he has what it takes to be a symbol of inspiration.
The kicker for me was, even after having his Quirk cruelly stripped from him, my dude STILL does not hesitate to body Chisaki.
That's what makes Mirio so great. It's easy for characters with even "Weak" Quirks to sell that they're superheroes. But even with nothing but a buff physique he shows he has the guts to fight the good fight. Or well, had the guts.
A valiant effort, but at the end of the day, he's not the main character. This friendly green lad is.
Deku would it have killed you get there like 5 minutes sooner?
To be fair, his Quirk isn't timeliness.
After the Assassination of Mirio Togata by the Coward Kai Chisaki, it's time for Deku to save the day, with Nighteye there the lend a hand. checks notes
wait no, sorry, that's LOSE a hand. My mistake.
That's his punishment for popping his shirt open and just leaving it that way for like five episodes. How dare he be hot.
If only "abs of steel" were more literal.
He needed to get on Kirishima's workout regimen. This is really not a good arc for anybody's organs or limbs
Jokes aside, Nighteye gets it rough and it's doubly awful that seeing that happen to his mentor is what ends up breaking Mirio.
Like we said earlier, this gets dark. And we haven't even mentioned the sheer body horror of Overhaul's eldritch Crazy Diamond powers.
Oh it gets absolutely fucked up. Dude turns his own minions into extra limbs just so he can kill more teenagers. And then he decided his messed up plague mouth isn't loud enough and literally uses the hand that's abused Eri for who-knows-how-long to tell her she's the cause of all this.
Boy, this Overhaul guy kinda sucks! If only Deku could unlock some kind of Quirk cheat code that could let him use One For All with no limitations in order to whip extreme amounts of ass. That'd be nice.
I dunno, that sounds pretty difficult and like something that could only happen after a big, emotional climax where the combined efforts of Deku and Mirio are enough to help Eri break free from the psychological stranglehold Overhaul has on her. But what are the odds of that?
What would really seal the deal is Deku saying something in the moment that's heroic but in a reserved, determined kind of way that closes the loop of regret and guilt he's been feeling this entire arc.
That's pretty good, but to really cap it off you'd probably need to score it with some big, sweeping rearrangement of a classic OST like "You Say Run" or something, maybe even with incredibly cheesy but heartfelt lyrics. But that'd never happen and it certainly wouldn't be officially available to listen to on repeat right now.
Anyway this week's episode is pretty good.
Seriously, for whatever faults the series carries, MHA always delivers on action climaxes, and Deku vs Overhaul is no exception. Not only do we get to see Deku kick the absolute piss out of Overhaul, it all happens because of Eri's own power, recontexualizing a part of herself she's been taught to view as a curse into both their saving grace.
Deku's connection with Eri is just so satisfying on both the superpower level and emotional level. Here are these two young kids prone to self-sacrifice, with powers neither of them know how to fully control yet, working together to compensate for each other's shortcomings in a way that lets both of them shine and save the day. That's some good writing!
And some good animation. S4 has had its dips in quality and some less great episodes compared to previous entries, but holy hell do they sell One For All 100%. I never thought this green shrimp of a boy could be so absolutely frightening.
Once again, the REAL titular hero of My Hero Academia is Yutaka Nakamura. Deku looks positively deific here. That's gooooood shit.
That's 1000000% a Fear of God moment. It's only by the grace of Deku's fist and the standards and practices of broadcast television that Chisaki's brain isn't paint right now.
My boy punches so good he literally breaks destiny.
You see Nighteye, there really is hope to change the future. So now I'm sure we can get you healed up and you can finally patch things up with All Mi-hey what's up why are you going black and white right now?
Shoutout to the Crunchyroll player's new framestepping feature for ensuring I could easily get the most misery out of this blink-and-you-miss-it coda to Deku's fight. Thanks!!!
I'm sure he'll be fine.
I mean he's certainly not the only character who lost half of their blood.
Still it certainly wouldn't be out of character for this arc to wring a little more ironic tragedy out of all this. Which reminds me - shoutout to the cruel animators who handled this season's ED; you're all incredibly rude and I will be sending letters.
A rude season on all accounts. And a rather good one I'd say!
There are still some nagging issues to it (HOW DARE they not give us a full Ryukyu fight?) but on the whole the Overhaul arc is still plenty thrilling and chilling, especially the last few episodes.
I was literally about to bring that up as my "but" clause, but seriously, it's nothing short of criminal that we got a giant dragon lady yet BARELY got to see her in action.
And I would've liked to have seen more of Froppy and Uravity taking care of business topside, but so it goes.
The anime owes us a filler episode with the Ryukyu agency. 's all I'm saying.
I'm also willing to accept that as compensation. You hear us, Horikoshi?
That glaring slight against me aside, I'm very much looking forward to both the fallout of this arc and the start of the next. Like I said before, there's some very Team Rocket-esque things to come and I think a lot of people will find it refreshing after what we just went through.
That's good to hear. Although, as always, I have to admit that Toga makes a salient point here.
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