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Boku no Hero Academia – 22 »« Boku no Hero Academia – 20

Boku no Hero Academia – 21

「奮え!チャレンジャー」 (Furue! Charenjaa)
“Battle on, Challengers!”

I love episodes like this. Time for the other characters to shine, and to build up tension for the big battle to come.

I never know how clearly some of my preferences come through in my writing or blogging, so let me make this one clear: I love multi-protagonist or large cast shows. Negima was an influential manga to me, and my love for shows like Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, Log Horizon, and Arslan Senki (to name a very few) is well documented. Having a clear protagonist is fine, but I love it most when there’s a core of protagonists without all of which the story wouldn’t work at all—ala the main four in KonoSuba or the main three in my own books—or where the supporting characters are clear and distinctive enough to engender fans of their own. This is actually one of the reasons some harem shows work, by the way—series like High School DxD wouldn’t work as well without all the varied and interesting personalities.

HeroAca is one of the large cast shows where there’s a clear main character (Izuku), but it would be a pale shell of itself if that was all it had going on. This episode features action from only one of the main characters—Iida—and even his whole fight is a joke at his expense. Which means that all the other characters got to strut their stuff, in fights that were interesting, sometimes unpredictable, and always funny. I LOVE episodes like this so much because they deepen the world, they bring it to life beyond the limited scope of its main characters, and because it’s flat-out fun to see different quirks go head-to-head. It being written and animated so damn well doesn’t hurt either.

Kaminari’s fight against Shiozaki Ibara (Masaka Miho) was amusing because, while it’s expected that Kaminari would end up the butt of the joke, he got to be cool in the cavalry battle, so I’m fine with him getting taken down a peg. It also gives him room to grow, because him expending his entire payload right off the bat was a dumb tactical decision; better to figure out what she can actually do before you dull your own reaction time in an attack you don’t know if it can be blocked. Which it turns out it could. I did love how Ibara was so seemingly pure, mostly because that, along with this fool’s reaction, made everyone in A-gumi realize that everyone in B-gumi is just as weird as they are. Hah!

As for Iida-kun versus Hatsume Mei, I repeat: hah! Iida-kun got totally played, because Mei was playing an entirely different game than the rest of them. Sucks for Iida-kun, he technically won but really lost, but it was a solid win for us, because it was the funniest match of the episode!

Aoyama versus Mina proceeded about as well all expected, and I’m okay with Aoyama continuing to be the butt of all the jokes, because dude deserves it. He’s silly. I did like how it tied into Deku’s nerdery, and his realization that he undervalued Mina’s physical abilities. I feel like that’s a lesson that will come back up later on. Remember Eraserhead, children—sometimes, being able to deliver a regular old punch, and take a few as well, is as much a part of being a hero as any number of fantastic abilities.

Tokoyami versus Yaoyorozu was definitely the one I was most looking forward to, and here I think Yaoyorozu psyched herself out too much. She had the lower speed but the most tactical versatility, which means that if she could have survived the opening round, the match would turn in her favor; Tokoyami, on the other hand, has more limited options, but they’re better suited to the situation. Momo’s mistake was defending instead of dodging, though there’s no assurance that dodging would have served her any better. Still, I have a feeling that had she fought with the hunger of Izuku, Bakugou, or Shouto—someone with the drive to get to the very top, rather than simply not lose—she would have acquitted herself better.

Tetsutetsu versus Kirishima was, obviously, the best fight to cut away on and focus on something else. I like the two of them, and their rivalry is funny, but it’s a straightforward fight. Instead, we focused on Uraraka, and—look. Fiction will tell you that you should do things on your own, but I’ll tell you now that’s bullshit. Students out there, I hope you’re listening. You got friends who can help you? Ask for their help. You got connections that’ll help you get a job? Use ‘em. It ain’t cheating, it’s fine. Humans like to help humans, and building connections helps you do all manner of things in life better. I would not have blamed Uraraka for taking Izuku’s help, and would have thought her smarter for it.

But I’m an adult and she’s a high schooler, and just because it was perhaps unwise not to take the assistance, that doesn’t mean I don’t understand her feelings. As happened with Yaoyorozu, if she had entered this battle without the grit and determination to strive for victory regardless of the odds against her, she would be doomed. As it is, despite her fear, she’s showing that she has that crucial ingredient. She may not defeat Bakugou, but I have a feeling she’s going to acquit herself far better than anyone expects her to. Anyone except for maybe Izuku and Iida. They know who their friend is. But they also know who Katsuki is, so this is going to be one helluva fight.

Random thoughts:

  • Ojiro-kun is a good example of a character whose design isn’t all that interesting (he has a tail and does karate stuff), but who’s personality makes him much more vital (& interesting) to the story than he would be otherwise. Which is to say, good writing matters more than great ideas much of the time.
  • “But, well, I don’t think even Bakugou would use a full-strength explosion on a girl…” “He would.” Hah! Katsuki is egalitarian in a very violent way.

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 20, 2017 at 2:31 pm
48 comments »
  • May 20, 2017 at 3:11 pmLittleForest

    I’m totally hyped for the next episode, as a manga reader, I already know how it goes, but I prefered not to read it again for the sake of seeing it animated. And the preview gave me just enough to know I will not be disappointed.

    About Uraraka, I don’t think she doesn’t want help from Izuku because she think she should do it alone, i’m more inclined to believe that she want to go at it like they’re rivals. In the same way that having Iida in the team during the cavalry battle would have been great, but Iida wanted to confront himself with Izuku, here Uraraka want to fight Bakugou with what she herself can do and think, because she will not always have Izuku’s notes to help her against future opponents and she need to be able to do it herself.

    • May 20, 2017 at 4:49 pmStilts

      Isn’t that the same thing? I never said I thought she’d succeed, or that even she thinks she will. She just feels she should do it alone. That’s what I was saying that adults realize is bullshit—no one does it alone. Use your network if you got it, and build one if you don’t. She is taking the less wise choice, but well. She’s a young’un. Let ‘em learn that themselves, sez I.

      • May 20, 2017 at 5:00 pmLittleForest

        What I meant is that this tournament is based on how heroes will work later, and once there will be real villain, you will not always have allies to help you and give you advice about how to beat this villain. Uraraka most likely want to know if she is able to find a solution to beat Bakugou by herself, so that she would be capable of doing it in a more “real” situation.

        But I can see your point, and I agree than in normal everyday life, getting the help of friends and family when needed is not a bad thing, but more likely a good idea. I just think that in this situation, getting helped by Deku would help her for the tournament, but not for what come next where she may need to do things by herself.

      • May 21, 2017 at 9:30 amSMinstrel

        “Getting help from your friends/connections to overcome trouble” is very different from “getting tips from a rival/competitor to advance in sport” though. The later is…unsportsmanlike, I suppose.

      • May 21, 2017 at 12:18 pmStilts

        @SMinstrel

        Not really. The other classmates are BOTH friends and rivals, and do you think that rival players on sports teams never talk or give each other tips? Hell, I’ve even seen it happen in business, though I’ll admit that the industries I work in (craft brewing & fiction writing) are a bit atypical. But they’re closer to the atmosphere of this tournament than the cutthroat oil business or industries like that.

      • May 21, 2017 at 6:09 pmSMinstrel

        On second thought, Izuku also received tips about mind control stuff from Ojiro…so I guess it is alright..

  • May 20, 2017 at 3:44 pmUrahara

    Bakugo , Shouto , Tokoyami and Izuku seem to be the obvious contenders for #1 since they are so far ahead of everyone else
    but if what all might said is true , that Izuku is using 5% of his total power and that much was
    (as we saw ) immense , that means when he gets to 40% he will be miles ahead of the other 3

    • May 20, 2017 at 4:51 pmStilts

      Izuku certainly has the potential to be the best, but recall that Shouto’s father is the #2 hero, and Bakugou’s quirk (and determination, and ferocity) are nothing to scoff at. Knowing what we know, Izuku might be the favorite, but miles ahead? I’m not so sure about that.

      • May 20, 2017 at 6:11 pmUrahara

        Will they grow ? yes , will they become more powerful ? yes
        will they be 20 times stronger than they are right now ? I’m gonna say no here
        At most they will be 4 times stronger than they are now , also Shouto and Bakugo have dazzling quirks but hey Izuku has literally the strongest quirk obtained directly from the #1 hero
        btw I wasn’t talking about this tournament specifically , I’m just saying that if he controls even half of his power anytime soon he will be way ahead

      • May 21, 2017 at 5:24 amGlutton

        I’m afraid I don’t know where you are basing your claim on if you are not talking about this tournament specifically. Deku may have the strongest quirk from the no. 1 hero, but it does not necessarily widen the gap between him and the other heroes. We have seen in season one that there are countermeasures to One for All, such as the shock absorbing Noumu.

    • May 20, 2017 at 4:59 pmGlutton

      Not to mention that by the time Deku can use about 40% of his power the other characters would have grown, and let’s not forget that Shouto is only using half of his power, too.

    • May 20, 2017 at 6:40 pmKuro

      At full power in the blackest of nights, Tokoyami is quite terrifying to behold.

      Good thing he is a good guy, even if he is kind of chuuni.

    • May 21, 2017 at 1:01 amSMinstrel

      Bakugou can generate charged explosions with the help of his grenade bracers that’s in many ways comparable to Izuku’s 100% power arm-breaking punch, as seen in their first sparring match (which means his explosion is at least only slightly weaker than the power generated by 100% ONE FOR ALL, and that’s ALL MIGHT level of power there).

      Izuku’s 5% threshold is only to avoid injuring himself. If he goes beyond that, his bone breaks. All of his bone-breaking punches are using the full 100% of ONE FOR ALL power (since he can’t control it).

  • May 20, 2017 at 4:24 pmWanderer

    Regarding Uraraka: it is entirely possible that Deku’s strategy would help her fight better against Bakago. But at the moment that isn’t precisely what she’s trying to get out of the situation. Sure she wants to win to achieve the chortest path to her goal of becoming a hero to earn money for her parents… But right now she needs to prove to herself that is actually capable of being the sort of hero she is aiming to become. She needs to know that she can handle her problems without relying on Deku to solve them for her: because when it comes down to it he has actually been doing that for her right from the beginning. She needs to know, for the sake of her own self-confidence, that she can accomplish something without relying on him.

    From a coldly rational standpoint, sure, she almost certainly should have taken whatever advice he could give her. But people aren’t coldly rational most of the time, and just because a choice is the rational one doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best one, once all that is considered.

    • May 20, 2017 at 4:53 pmStilts

      Oh, I agree. It’s just a narrative that I feel has infected too many people IRL. That’s why I point out that if you can get help in real life, take it. No shame in it. Don’t let fiction cloud yer judgement too much. Testing yer mettle in an academic tournament like this, though… There, it’s more understandable that someone would want to confront the challenge with their own power alone, even if it is less wise.

      • May 20, 2017 at 6:54 pmRedRocket

        And in modern sport, you have a team that gives you information on your opponents always. Getting advice is built into the system now. Not yet in hero world. I see this contest being treated like a school function that only parents watch. Yet we have been told that this competition is Olympics replacement in popularity and this is a super elite school. I’m sure this hero world will adjust and future years, opponent research and support team and coaching will be preliminaries that students work through before the event. Of course, this is first years, normally a sideshow, maybe the normally most popular third years and maybe even second years already have the coaching advancements.

      • May 20, 2017 at 8:34 pmSMinstrel

        To be fair, in order to simulate the real hero-rescue situation, even the subject of the competition is kept secret until the very last moment. So I doubt there will be any information support team like a real-life sports event.

  • May 20, 2017 at 4:29 pmGuile

    Ojiro’s head seemed weirdly big this episode.
    http://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2021%20-%2026.jpg

    I also wonder if Kaminari CAN do anything except blow his load all at once. Has he ever done otherwise? I guess during the cavalry battle he held enough back not to turn into his idiot form, but even then he was outputting enough volts to take down 4 horses.

    I uh, I’m not sure electricity works the way HeroAca thinks it works, that a vine-y shield blocks the whole blast, but whatever, it’s shonen.

    • May 20, 2017 at 6:37 pmKuro

      Kaminari definitely can do more controlled bursts, or even precision attacks with the aid of some equipment. The problem is that he doesn’t think that far ahead, at least not until later.

      He is last in class academically for a reason.

    • May 20, 2017 at 6:56 pmRedRocket

      I agree the vines should have grounded the charge ending it there.

    • May 20, 2017 at 7:49 pmMonimonika

      Kaminari didn’t take down 4 horses. He stunned them so that Todoroki could freeze them in place.

  • May 20, 2017 at 5:17 pmMaou

    I’m really love when kaminari making that saitama “okay” face everytime he overload

    http://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2021%20-%20Large%2015.jpg

    Lose the battle, win a war

  • May 20, 2017 at 5:20 pmBob

    Silly Kaminari, he should’ve remembered that Electric is not very effective against Grass.

    Also Mei v. Iida was absolutely hysterical. Poor boy, just used for his body…

  • May 20, 2017 at 5:21 pmyoloalchemist

    While Hatsume was clearly the star of the episode (she killed me with her infomercial and exploiting Iida LOL), Tokoyami vs. Momo was the highlight match for me, even though it didn’t last long. Tokoyami’s quirk is such a killer; he already trained it a lot with his reflexes and intuition. If he can polish those 2 skills further, he’ll be almost untouchable. But you see, reflex and intuition are what Momo needs to work on. Anyone can have a lot of knowledge like she has with the molecular structure of the different items and substances her quirk can produce, but without experience, that knowledge won’t bear its fruit. Which is to say, Momo isn’t really battle-hardened enough at the moment. I want her to get better because she has a lot of potential.

    Win or lose, I’m expecting Uraraka to give Katsuki a fight he’ll never forget. If the author has respect for his characters (which he’s more than just proven so far), he will make her do that. I’m rooting for her. PLUS ULTRA FOR URARAKA!!

    P.S.: If Iida was that pissed at Hatsume, just imagine Katsuki in his shoes XD

    • May 20, 2017 at 6:18 pmStilts

      I actually think Momo has a LOT more potential to become untouchable than Tokoyami does. The issue is that she can almost do too much. Tokoyami can only operate along a few lines, whereas Yaoyorozu can do all sorts of things. Picking what to do each time, though, is hard. So you’re right, she’ll need more experience—a LOT more experience. She can fight in so many different ways that she’ll have to get good at each one, and add other options from her toolkit on top of those, and layer them all together again and again until she’s damn near unstoppable.

      She’s gonna be formidable, she’s just going to have to work a lot more deliberately than most others to get there.

      P.S. I’m not everyone could get the knowledge of molecular structure that she’s displayed, but let’s just set that aside since she’s got it, so it’s a non-issue.

      • May 20, 2017 at 8:18 pmyoloalchemist

        Yup, that’s right. And part of what makes that hard is that, like you said, because Momo can almost do too much, she’ll have to simulate a lot of different kinds of situations and then, like maou below said, she’ll have to make a different set of items to create and use in each situation. Which will be incredibly time consuming, but ultimately worth it, because even if a new kind of situation she wouldn’t see coming nor simulated would occur, because of how many situations she would simulate, and because of the experience she would pick up from them, somewhere along the way an intuition will begin to develop within her that will enable to use her quirk more efficiently without much thought.

        Apologies if ‘anyone’ can come across as everyone in this case. Surely no one would have HER level of knowledge, but they can still work at it like she did.

      • May 20, 2017 at 8:25 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

        And Momo would also need to work on speeding up her materialization as she specifically brought up how Tokoyami’s Quirk, unlike a lot of others, has no lag time in its use, instantly appearing when used, whereas most other Quirks, aside from ones like Katsuki or Shouto, including her own, tend to require a second or two to use (Iida usually needing to rev up, Izuku needing to charge up at the moment, and so on), so against an insta-use Quirk like Tokoyami, just that second or two already gives him a big advantage right off the bat, regardless of what your own Quirk actually is.

      • May 21, 2017 at 6:10 amSv

        She needs Unlimited Blade Works

    • May 20, 2017 at 7:31 pmmaou

      Agree,I think momo problems were pyshical reflex and focus. if momo can make a set of what item to create for each situation, she can operate faster.

      • May 21, 2017 at 11:51 amMatroid

        Indeed. I think Momo is a reflection of smart students who have a lot of knowledge (i.e., superpower of creating items) but are indecisive and lack planning skills. She did not even start thinking about strategy until she stepped into the arena.

      • May 21, 2017 at 12:21 pmStilts

        @Matroid

        I don’t think that’s fair. It’s not that she didn’t think about it, she just realized the formidable challenge ahead of her and was overwhelmed by all the options—and, in my opinion, centered her tactical assumptions around the flawed “shield or attack” dichotomy. She probably also wanted to prove that she deserved her recommendation, which probably weighed her down (mentally).

      • May 21, 2017 at 4:26 pmMatroid

        Re: Stilts

        “Overwhelmed with options” = analysis paralysis = lack planning skill

        Momo totally failed to anticipate her opponent’s strategy and did not plan accordingly. As a result, she was wiped out before she even realized it.

    • May 21, 2017 at 12:02 amRedRocket

      I wonder if Momo requested to modify her uniform as the more skin she can expose the better and faster she can produce items so requiring a covering uniform harms her. Several students have totally bare arms, Iida has exposed lower legs. At a minimum like earlier in the contest, she needs to open her shirt to have a better chance. In a life or death battle later in her career she must consider wearing little into battle and as a last trump card have it with a quick release as she would fight best nude.

      • May 21, 2017 at 12:46 amStilts

        I think you have ulterior motives here :P

      • May 21, 2017 at 4:08 amGlutton

        I don’t think exposing more skin would give her more advantage. In season one, we have seen than she can rip off her clothes when she needs to make something large. The bigger and more complex it is the more time it takes to make it whether she is clothed or nude.

  • May 20, 2017 at 6:24 pmSfalcin

    I really loved this episode.

    I was hoping they would extend some of the fights (since Mina VS Aoyama and Tokoyami VS Momo were only one panel each in the manga, for exemple) and they did it perfectly!

    Only Bones can stretch one chapter into an entire episode and make it look even better than the original source.

  • May 20, 2017 at 8:04 pmNex

    This episode really was a fun surprise, it’s great to see some of these fights expanded on more than the source material.

    In comparison, from this episode Iida vs Hatsume was the only one the manga really had in “full”. The rest were still there and went the same way, but were more like one or two-panel little teases. I’m so glad the anime staff is using the opportunity to flesh things out!

  • May 20, 2017 at 8:26 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    I was hoping to see more of Mei and was not disappointed, lol.

  • May 20, 2017 at 9:52 pmsouma

    i’m just thinking if momo quirk can create all type of inanimate object as long she understand the structure, can’t she copy the item that hatsune mei made…heck all item from support class can be copied..that’s hax

    • May 20, 2017 at 10:17 pmTsuzurao

      There are slightly more details involved in Momo’s Creation quirk than you’re realizing. For a couple of points that don’t spoil anything past this point in the anime…

      1: The larger the object, the more time Momo needs to make it (as she mentioned back during the villain attack in Season 1 when she made the large insulator sheet). She already barely had the time to make a shield before Tokoyami’s Stand Quirk was speed-blitzing her.
      2: Complex items (like anything with electronics in them) will require Momo to know the molecular make-ups of a lot of various parts, such as the wiring, the outer casing, all of the various internal components, whatever makes up the power supply… etc.

  • May 21, 2017 at 12:17 amRedRocket

    Mei has proven a Batman, no quirk just gadgets could go far in this world as a superhero. Her supervision quirk not really needed for her gadgets at least as explained. I would tell Mei and maybe one of the gadget companies would tell her that she needs to go on and be a super hero at least part time so that her brand will sell even more. Yes, superhero takes away lab time, but any researcher trying to lead a project knows that tons of time have to go into selling the projects.

    It hit me this episode how much the superhero costume fits this world. The superhero costume was drawn from circus acts and popular wrestlers outfits when the superhero was invented in comics starting in the 30′s I believe. The costume both good for the acrobatic and combat needs while being showy to please an audience. Here we are told public popularity has a big deal to do with how successful a Super Hero is.

    Momo needs to adopt a moral code like “if you got it flaunt it” members of a Gay Pride Parade have if she wants to be successful in the Superhero world. Both male and female hero’s use their attractiveness to gain popularity and many of the male outfits expose. She still can get mad at being punked by a chearleader outfit prank after she gets the rat in private but needs to be like the other girls who got into cheering and the only reason she does not expose it all is the law if she wants to be content in the superhero game. Or chose a different path.

    • May 21, 2017 at 1:07 amSMinstrel

      She has no problem flaunting it (S1 and her hero costume reflects this), but this is a school’s sports event, so it must be family-safe.

      And there are indeed modesty regulation for the hero costume, since even the SM-themed Nemuri sensei cover herself up.

  • May 21, 2017 at 1:09 amAiko

    I agree that Uraraka should have taken on Deku’s advice, but chose not to because of her insecurities of relying on others too much, especially Deku (more her perception, I doubt the others see it this way). As you say, she’s at the age where she’s still trying to finding herself (and the demographic this anime is primarily targeting).

    Lastly, I have to say, I’m a big fan of Uraraka. Her sincerity and kindness is admirable. She hasn’t stood out throughout the series, so hopefully the next episode will be her turn to shine.

  • May 21, 2017 at 3:52 amrunner

    It’s never occurred to me that Aoyama’s quirk can looked kinda kinky especially when used continuously until I saw it animated like this, with him grunting and everything.

    • May 21, 2017 at 12:23 pmStilts

      Haha, yeah. Definitely intended, since it makes the sparkly/vain guy look ridiculous. It just becomes more obvious when he’s repeatedly hip-thrusting.

      • May 21, 2017 at 4:37 pmGuile

        I kinda feel for Aoyama.

        A guy who shoots lasers out of his bellybutton should be awesome, but he’s saddled with all these nasty drawbacks. He gets tummyaches the way Ochako gets nauseous, but her hero outfit fixes that quirk of her, well, Quirk, while Aoyama’s belt doesn’t seem to do shit?
        He obviously is willing to do anything to get into the limelight, while Ojiro is going all ‘my honor’ Aoyama is like ‘Yeah, but I’ll take it anyway let me compete please!’
        He’s got this whole, like, persona he puts on which is… what, fancy-pants foreign exchange student? But there’s at least ten people in his class who are effortlessly cooler than he is trying so hard to be.

  • May 22, 2017 at 2:16 pmlunascha

    I am pretty sure Uraraka will not win against Bakugou but it still will be interesting to watch their battle next episode. And I don’t think they will make it a quick battle too since the writers sort of emphasized Uraraka’s dedication to this battle. I wish they both would have gone up the tournament.. it sucks to see Uraraka go down but who know. I might actually be wrong lol

  • May 23, 2017 at 3:55 pmDuzz

    IN a shonen show a girl will never beat a rival. It’s the rule.

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