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Boku no Hero Academia – 20 »« Boku no Hero Academia – 18

Boku no Hero Academia – 19

「全てを持って生まれた男の子」 (Subete o Motteumareta Otokonoko)
“The Boy Born with Everything”

This would be a very different story if Todoroki was the main character.

The first half of this episode was all about Todoroki, and wow—now we know, at least in part, what makes the guy tick. It was already clear that his asshole father was a big part of it, and Endeavor’s actual plan (having his son rise to the top where he failed) was exactly what I expected, but everything with Todoroki’s mother is a new layer of terrible. Quirk marriages, and his father picking his mother like she’s a pokemon—that’s abuse of status/power and almost certainly spousal abuse, for those keeping track at home—is another layer of horrifying, albeit not surprising either. But her pouring boiling water on her son, which is how he got his scar . . . yeah. That adds a new layer to Todoroki. It’s not that he’s trying to honor his mother by using her quirk only, not fully, because that was some pretty heavy child abuse she got up to, even if she was psychologically damaged by her rapist husband and the family who sold her to him. It’s probably part that, but above all else, Todoroki wants to stick a finger in his father’s eye, and succeed despite his twisted, immoral plan. If he was the main character of this story, it would be a much different tale.

What I like is that, like with Katsuki, Shouto could so easily be a caricature of a real person, and he’d still work. He could be a dark and brooding asshole, the kind of gritty antihero who may or may not have a heart of gold. But he’s not. He’s brooding, sure, but he remains unbowed despite the abuse he experienced and witnessed as a child. He may not be a pleasant young man, but his past hasn’t poisoned him. Like with Katsuki, he’s more than he seems, and more than he easily could have been. That’s what makes him feel like a real, living, breathing person, rather than merely a character.

Tone is important in this series, and while it delves with serious issues it always seeks to keep the preceedings as light as can be. Not shallow, but not heavy either. Or not as heavy as they might be! Enter the cheerleaders, courtesy of Mineta and Kaminari. The interesting part about this—aside from the obvious, down you pervs—is that the tone was lightened without pulling the punch of the serious stuff that went before. By which I mean, another author might have done all the Todoroki stuff, and made something funny happen then—the storytelling equivilent of saying something serious (and true) and then saying “Just kidding!”. Instead, they did it in the next scene, where it was silly, but didn’t poison the well. Plus, ya know, cheerleaders. Nice trick, that.

Then, the 16 vs 16 tournament. I cannot even begin to tell you how pumped I am! You all know my love for tournament arcs, and this is that concentrated, with the first two (potential) fights in the Izuku & Todoroki side of the bracket illustrative. It’s no surprise that Izuku is going up against Shinso, since all the new characters from the OP are destined to play a role. But since it’s a tournament, Izuku could conceivably lose. Probably not, but maybe! And then, assuming both Izuku and Todoroki advance to the next round—and one or both might not! But both probably will—we’ll have an early battle between them. If it was later, it’d be easier to guess who’d win by the battles that came before (who was open to the most character development from losing), but with only one previous battle each? Who knows! That uncertainty is the spice that makes the tournament so great.

First though, Izuku has to beat Shinso, and it looks like it’s not going to be easy, since he either doesn’t know the full truth of Shinso’s quirk, or, if he got enough of a scoop from Ojiro—a true hero among heroes, and an honorable young man—he didn’t pay enough attention. Or so it seems. Add on all the uncertainty on the contestants’ faces, and we’re bound to have some fun matches. Bring it on!

Random thoughts:

  • It’s also no surprise that Todoroki guessed that Izuku is All Might’s secret child. It makes sense! Occam’s razor and all that. Who would another think that quirks can be passed along in some novel new way when the old way works so well? Though if Izuku was smart, he’d say that they have similar quirks but aren’t related, it’s bound to happen eventually (case in point), and it’s reason enough for All Might to keep a special eye on him. That’d be too easy though, so alas.
  • Notice how Kacchan was eavesdropping, but this time he didn’t get angry? He just listened. That boy never ceases to surprise.
  • Notice how the American cheerleaders have big noses? Comically so, but I’ll allow it, because not all of them are blonde. Finally, a Japanese mangaka admits that Americans can be brunettes too! (Says the blond-haired guy.)
  • Mineta is the worst, and Kaminari is second worst. Poor Yaoyorozu, she’s matched with all the worst boys! (Except for Yuuga, who is, of course, a trash person like usual.)
  • If Izuku is only at 5%—wow. He’s going to be a juggernaut later on. Which means the story can advance a LOT from where it is, and keep throwing more and more vicious villains at Izuku and co, before he ever hits his stated cap. I couldn’t be happier!

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: I get it now!; Guardians of the Galaxy, Glee, & Firesign; That’s not supposed to go there . . .; and The Carcer Principle.

 

Preview

May 7, 2017 at 11:21 pm
30 comments »
  • May 7, 2017 at 11:45 pmUrahara

    we have only seen what Deku has seen but it was pretty obvious this guys has some sort of mind control thing

    • May 8, 2017 at 12:10 amHunter-Wolf

      That much is obvious, but tbe realproblem is “how” his powers work, does he make you do his bidding by making you say certain words, by looking into your eyes, by being at q certain distance, by touch .. etc etc, no one knows how he makes people do his bidding evenif everyone at this point knows he has some sort of mind control, it probably has to do with his secondary ability to make people forget about the time they were under his control, in a way he reminds me of the purple-man from Marvel (whose power was based on words or sound to be specific), we will have to wait an see how Izuku deals with this problematic fellow.

      • May 8, 2017 at 8:22 amstarss

        Clearly not by touch. At the very end, he was able to make Deku freeze in his tracks by so much as watching him run towards him.

    • May 8, 2017 at 1:14 amStilts

      Aye, what Hunter-Wolf said. Mind control or compulsion of some kind is a pretty safe bet, but the devil is in the details. And the details of how Izuku (hopefully) breaks free.

      • May 8, 2017 at 5:48 amSv

        By sheer will power of course! Remember this is a shounen series.

      • May 8, 2017 at 6:02 amTourneyDog

        Quite possibly, but I don’t think so. Time and time again, Izuku has always solved his problems through either quick thinking or his control over one – for – all further develops.

    • May 8, 2017 at 2:57 amUrahara

      What I meant was Deku is really not being careful about it

  • May 8, 2017 at 12:00 amNex

    I expected as much, but glad to see you’re really giving Todoroki’s backstory a proper critical look, Stilts. I’ve seen way too many other people get to the boiling water line and instantly attack Todoroki’s mother only, despite the situation being far from that black and white.

    There’s some blame to go around, but well… it’s easy to see why Todoroki puts everything on Endeavor, especially once we get more details. I’m still shocked at times how dark this series can really be beneath the surface.

    • May 8, 2017 at 12:46 amStilts

      There’s certainly blame to go around. Even if she was horribly traumatized in all sorts of ways, that doesn’t make child abuse okay. Even so, it’s easy to see Endeavor as the real villain of the family, because his are the original sins from which the other horrors spring, and which form the crux of what Shouto has had to, and will continue to have to, overcome.

      Basically, yeah. There are no heroes in that family, aside from Shouto. He’s the only one without blood on his hands, as far as we know.

  • May 8, 2017 at 12:07 amUrahara

    The scene where Ojiro cries and then asks the girls why they are wearing cheerleader outfits made my day

  • May 8, 2017 at 2:25 amfrubam

    Oh boy… here comes Sasuke w/the family issues =01

    • May 8, 2017 at 2:44 amNex

      Though in this case Todoroki is a much, much better character, thankfully.

      People keep trying to pin him or Bakugou as “The Sasuke”, but I’d say it really doesn’t fit either one.

      • May 8, 2017 at 3:28 amyoloalchemist

        Funny how subtlety makes the difference between Todoroki and Sasuke the same difference between the ground and the sky.

      • May 8, 2017 at 1:34 pmStilts

        To my knowledge, Todoroki has betrayed or murdered zero people, so I don’t think he (or even Bakugo!) deserve the label. Plus, he might be haunted but he isn’t consumed by it. Not enough to become more than aloof, at least.

  • May 8, 2017 at 2:52 amTourneyDog

    Hope Kacchan doesn’t beat Uraraka that badly, poor girl! :))

  • May 8, 2017 at 3:07 amyoloalchemist

    Thanks to Passerby for inspiring me to use the phrase ‘you can do a lot worse’, because I’m sure gonna use it here: You want masterclass pacing and structuring, you can do a lot worse than My Hero Academia. Shouto’s vow to use only his freezing quirk in order to spite his father was obviously gonna allude to how Endeavor merely considers him a means to a selfish end, but it was the how and the effect it had on Shouto that was still to be known. One may have been able to anticipate how he got 2 quirks if one kept theorizing about it -After all, a quirkless boy had a powerful quirk passed on to him, so anything can happen with quirks- but it wouldn’t matter until the story itself confirms it, because the quirks’ function in the story is to serve the characters, and the story wouldn’t delve into the machinations of the quirks because why spend time in that when you can instead build the characters and throw challenges their way to spice up the story and develop them further. So when the time came for the truth about Shouto to be revealed, after having witnessed those challenges unfold for him (the calvary battle), one would be surprised, but not as interested in the update on those machinations as one would be in their effects on said person, and then the story immediately drops such an eye opener of an answer to that concern in the form of the mother’s abuse, and how it resulted in what we initially thought was just a stylish-for-the-sake-stylish different character art design. We knew his brooding persona was gonna have a backstory. We knew it was gonna be somehow more impactful than Katsuki’s backstory because the author had Shouto shatter Katsuki’s prideful expectations. The author had raised the bar for our expectations for his backstory, but not by much as we still didn’t know a lot about him beforehand… and then he easily surpassed them not just by punching us in the face with those reveals one after the other, but by giving us time to process them all and letting us bring the circle to a close by giving us a scene of pondering in the form of Izuku stating “Had he been the main character, it would’ve been a different story” so that we can understand for ourselves how all his actions up until now have made perfect sense and how it shapes him for who he is. He could’ve easily turned into a villain to get back on his father. It would’ve made perfect sense story telling wise. But it would’ve probably been cheap and unsubtle in comparison, not to mention a charted territory. And, like with Katsuki, it leaves a territory of more surprising challenges that should push his character even further than there would’ve been on the villain side of the fence.

    This is Horikoshi Kouhei. This is what he’s capable of. This is also what Studio Bones is capable of with their adaptation prowess and care for the source material, having been able to pace it all like this in a way that couldn’t be anymore balanced. Never in my wildest dreams did I think My Hero Academia would be anything like this. I love it. Quite a lot. I even think it earned the right to be called essential.

  • May 8, 2017 at 8:17 amstarss

    … is anyone else really liking Kendo? I just like her design, and how she gives up her placement for the finals for one of her fellow classmates out of fairness. Also I read that she’s the class rep, so cool! You go, Kendo! :3

    Now why does Momo even LISTEN to Mineta by this point!? Come on! You could easily just disassociate yourself from him, but I guess it’s just bad luck. Plus, by the time the finals come around, the girls of 1-A STILL haven’t changed out of the cheerleader uniform! Oh well, at least the guys are pleased.

    I wanna hug Todoroki. Clearly the arranged marriages are old shames by most of the people there but it doesn’t excuse how some of that is still going on, because it results in abuse and mistreatment to their children. Again, spectacular episode!

    • May 8, 2017 at 8:35 amjhpace1

      http://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2019%20-%2010.jpg
      Mineta-kun wins again! Keep working at your maximized youth, Grape-kun. We’re cheering you on too!

    • May 8, 2017 at 1:49 pmStilts

      I like what I’ve seen of Kendo so far. And in the preview it shows the girls having changed back, so at least they didn’t stay in the uniforms—that would have been past a joke and into shameless fanservice of the wrong kind, so glad they’re switching back.

    • May 8, 2017 at 7:05 pmGuile

      Yaoyorozu seems to me the kind of person that could be described as ‘high int, low wis’ in D&D terms, or maybe ‘book smart, street dumb’. That is, she’s intellectually brilliant, and her quirk is one of those that leverages that intelligence directly into combat power. She’s also a strong tactician. But she’s not the type to see a trick coming.

      She’s too pure; she believes people when they say things. ‘Why would they lie?’ she probably thought. ‘There would be no point.’ She doesn’t realize that seeing her in a cheerleader uniform IS the end goal.

      • May 10, 2017 at 5:53 pmSMinstrel

        I think you are spot on at this one.

    • May 8, 2017 at 10:04 pmRedRocket

      Arranged marriage where the parents on both sides try to find the best match for their child and the child buys into the arranged marriage are more succesful overall than marriages for love. For a species that is designed not to be permanently monogamist that is.

      But here it just sexual slavery putting a child into harms way probably by threats and intimidations of a large power structure.

      • May 8, 2017 at 11:08 pmGuile

        Japanese arranged marriages are still holding at <10% even in these enlightened times and are seen as being perfectly fine, if a little traditional.

        Todoroki's situation is definitely held up unequivocally as a bad one, though.

  • May 8, 2017 at 8:19 amprime_pm

    • May 8, 2017 at 8:24 amstarss

      Thank you Mineta.

    • May 8, 2017 at 10:12 pmRedRocket

      Yep I’m sure very conflicting for the girls, they been taught to some degree body shame but on a instinct level are designed to be attractive naked and have a desire to show their bodies. A whip saw of emotions. It interesting that Yaoyorozu who exposes her body all the time to use her quirk does not warm up to the cheerleading outfit.

      • May 9, 2017 at 4:51 amMonimonika

        …why would Yaoyorozu warm up to the cheerleader outfit?

        Her skin-exposing hero outfit serves the purpose of giving enough… actually, no. Her hero outfit is not skin-exposing enough to allow her to create large objects, but adequate for most creation purposes while sustaining some public-standard modesty. If need be, Yaoyorozu has no hesitation in ripping that hero outfit apart to create large objects (she can just create the outfit to cover herself back again later).

        But what’s the point of the cheerleader outfit? She created the cheerleader outfits out of the mistaken belief that it was required by Aizawa for an event for which she and the other girls missed the time to get pre-prepared cheerleader outfits. After finding out the true purpose was to sexually objectify…

        (*sigh*) Let me spell it out for you, since it seems your logic circuits have been fried. Yaoyorozu has no compunction against showing skin if it’s for practical purposes. Being taken advantage of to be sexually objectified is NOT A PRACTICAL PURPOSE. Therefore, the cheerleader outfit (which represents not only sexual obectification, but also represents how Mineta fooled and took advantage of her) is not something she would view in the least bit positively.

        Her thought-process is not: I like exposing my skin for any reason. => Some random outfit exposes skin. => Random outfit is automatically an outfit that I like.

      • May 9, 2017 at 8:28 pmRedRocket

        Interesting in contrast to other girls who do get active and seam to be enjoying themselves when she has the least body shame. And your at least half right if not all the way right on her when I used the word interesting I was being very neutral and already considered your idea of her thoughts and did not reject it.

        And I do think this prank should be punished, not expulsion level either though. Here a bit of eye for eye would work make him do something embarrassing with a huge audience.

        And I am feeling some for the girls being tricked and exposed when they have been taught body shame and the irrational nudity taboo.

        Counter intuitively women tend to have more rights and power in cultures where they can be sexual objects. One of very many examples total lack of sexualization in media, no ad’s, in Chairman Mao China along with the unisex body covering clothing for both sexes did nothing to lift women out of second class status even though women’s equality was the official position.

  • May 8, 2017 at 10:51 amBigFire

    Todoroki is a stubborn one. He will excel just to spite his father without using his father’s talent. Beit in heroism, schoolwork or being a better human being. That last one isn’t exactly a stretch to knock out.

  • May 8, 2017 at 7:06 pmGuile

    I have to say, I don’t really like Ojiro. Even here, where he had something important to say, where he took a stand for his morals, where he had that gag with the cheerleader costumes… none of it lands, for me.

    I’m not sure if it’s his VA or the lines he’s given, but he’s a great big… nothing.