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Boku no Hero Academia – 23 »« Boku no Hero Academia – 21

Boku no Hero Academia – 22

「爆豪VS麗日」 (Bakugou VS Uraraka)
“Bakugou vs Uraraka”

Now there’s a hero.

That fight was a thing of beauty, even if it wasn’t the kind of fight that had me wondering about the conclusion up until the end. With the next match, Izuku vs Shouto, I could see the story going either way, but with this one, Bakugou’s victory felt preordained. That should always be cause for doubt in fiction, for as soon as you think you know what will happen, a disreputable storyteller will throw you a curveball—and all storytellers are disreputable. Yet Bakugou’s power is such that it didn’t feel like Uraraka had a shot. That meant it came down to how it happened, as opposed to the straight result.

This time, we were right. As an occasionally wise, albeit thoroughly evil man lich once said:

“There’s always a level of force against which no tactics can succeed. You can have your finely-crafted watch—give me the sledgehammer to the face any day.” -Xykon, The Order of the Stick

Bakugou proved that. Uraraka had a good plan, and an even better secret plan, and the toughness to see them through. But Bakugou possesses a level of force against which none of Uraraka’s tactics could succeed, at least this time. She gave it her best, she laid it all out on the field, and he blasted her hopes away—even if it took more for him to do it than either Uraraka or most of the audience realized. Force won the day, as it so often does.

Bakugou wins, but it’s in two sentences from him that the real glory of the fight is exposed:

“All right, let’s get serious then, Uraraka!”

“What part of her was frail?”

Some people will say you shouldn’t hit girls. They’re right. You also shouldn’t hit boys. Don’t hit people! In everyday life, I mean. But if someone enters a tournament such as this and fights you with all they’ve got, you do them the courtesy of punching them. Or blowing them up, as the case may be. Bakugou isn’t really a good person, and he’s often blinded by rage, but in some ways his eyes are clear. He doesn’t see Uraraka for the slight girl she appears to be. He sees the resilience, and the determination, and the threat she poses as a competitor who’s gotten this far. Like with Todoroki, Bakugou could so easily be a cliche. It’s moments like this that prove he’s not, and illustrate why a raging asshole of a bully is often one of this excellent show’s most interesting characters.

One last thing on Uraraka, though I could write a thousand words more. Did you notice how, when the chips are down and she’s reaching deep to keep going, it’s either her parents or Deku-kun she thinks of? I don’t know that she loves Deku any more than she loves Iida, which is to say, as friends. But he might be her hero. Or at least he’s her star. This is a relationship that feels meaningful and earned, and I love it.

Though, well. One more thought on Uraraka: her father is right. She’s so kind, it’s clear that she’ll be a great hero. Her strength is Deku’s strength, the strength to cry, to feel, to care. She’s one of the good ones.

I’m not crying, you’re crying! *sniffles*

I was stoked for this episode’s fight, and it delivered. I’m equally stoked for the coming clash, for all different reasons. This is one that could go either way, even if I certainly have my guesses. (Mark and tag any spoilers, you glorious bastards.) But the faces of the competitors, especially after Endeavor just had to stick his nose into things—shudders, man. Izuku will stick up for Uraraka in front of Kacchan, and for Shouto in front of his father. He might be a scaredy-cat by nature, but when it comes to doing what’s right, his courage incarnate. I think Endeavor galvanized Izuku, and he’ll fight even better for it. Which Endeavor will probably appreciate, but I’m fine with agreeing with him, just this once.

Just as long as someone punches that smug attitude off his face eventually. That’s another time punching is okay, by the way. I’ll make an exception for this guy.

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 29, 2017 at 2:03 am
30 comments »
  • May 29, 2017 at 2:46 amyoloalchemist

    That match… just glorious. I just hope Uraraka doesn’t beat herself too much about her loss, though that’s easier said than done. She actually kinda reminded me of Izuku in the very beginning when I said that his faith is too big to not be rewarded. This is what happens when someone’s faith doesn’t get rewarded, especially because her faith in herself this time resulted in her fight plan that shattered Bakugou’s expectations about her, but she wouldn’t know about his impression of her, and so she wouldn’t realize how much impact she had on him. This wasn’t her time to win, because her body just couldn’t keep up with her spirit and determination. All this tells how heavy her loss is. And yet, she cried and cried, eventually exhausted her tear ducts, accepted her loss and moved on…when she could’ve utterly despaired to the idea that all her best couldn’t amount to much. Uraraka may not believe it, but she is stronger than she gives herself credit for. I want her to realize that. I want her to feel proud of herself and keep getting stronger, because she can. And I’m sure she will. I love her. All the glory of this match belongs to her. Izuku, you’d better be strong for her sake. She earned it with her own hands.

    • May 29, 2017 at 3:16 amDorian S.

      Actually, just to add to this, I think Bakugou’s expectations of her were because of his previous loss to Deku and her. She executed her part of the plan to perfection and it allowed Deku and her to win.

      I’m also thinking that his loss to Deku also made him cautious of anyone who could be on this stage with him. They are the people he needs to take seriously and if he doesn’t, he’ll never be number one. Because Bakugou would’ve never been this cautious before.

      Oh, one more thing. At the very end, he assumes that a plan of that nature was Deku’s plan. This is because he’s always assumed he’s special. It’s a key part of who he is. Yet, this match basically shows he’s not special. Uraraka lost only because her stamina gave. I’m quite sure that Bakugou isn’t feeling like he’s number one after that match. Probably feels more like getting a technical knockout, for someone who’s used to getting full blown knock outs.

      • May 29, 2017 at 9:54 amyoloalchemist

        I agree, but his expectations were still shattered when he found out Izuku had nothing to do with Uraraka’s plans. That meant that everyone around him is strong in their own right, even ones that may be associated with Izuku more others, and that he’d better give them the respect they deserve independent of Izuku.

  • May 29, 2017 at 3:44 amUrahara

    Bakugo is the most objective character in the academy , certainly the smartest

  • May 29, 2017 at 3:49 ammf9769

    This kinda reminded me of the fight between Neji and Hinata during the Chunin exams arc. Naruto grew the beard in that moment and the Neji/Naruto fight right after for me. This is giving me the same vibes, and has easily been the best show of the season, imo.

  • May 29, 2017 at 4:26 ammaou

    not pulling any punch is the biggest respect you can give to other competitor, well as long you don’t kill him/her.

    can’t wait for next episode, sven vs jakiro :p

  • May 29, 2017 at 4:44 amrunner

    Actually, I don’t think Bakugo’s got blinded by rage that often. Despite his usual demeanor, he’s usually calm in serious situation except only when he confront with Izuku that he’ll lose his cool.

    Also, I think this is the first time in this series that Bakugo actually called someone by their name.

    • May 29, 2017 at 5:08 ambelatkuro

      He called Kirishima by his name when he got pissed off by Monoma, the jerk in class B with the Copy quirk who stole his headband the previous round. He mentioned his name and said to him that they’ll change targets for the moment and kill Monoma.

      • May 29, 2017 at 7:01 amseltzermx

        I think he calls people by their name when at least by his standards, he recognizes they’re tough. He’s fought side-by-side with Kirishima during the villain incident and Kirishima was a good horse for him too.

        Which is what make it interesting here when he calls her name by the end. At the beginning of the match, he simply called her round face. but after all she did, he acknowledged her as a tough one.

      • May 29, 2017 at 6:13 pmGuile

        I do love that. She went from ‘the round-faced kid who floats things’ to ‘Uraraka’ in the space of a five minute fight, to him. Watch when she’s inching forward, and he reassumes his fighting stance like he expects her to get back up and punch him in the face.

        Also, I really like her muscle shirt look. Wow.

    • May 29, 2017 at 8:46 amStilts

      Bakugou’s not usually calm. He’s focused. They’re not quite the same. Calm is a serene ocean, where he’s a roaring river being channeled tightly through a steep reservoir. As long as it doesn’t bubble over, he can be ferociously effective, but I’d never call him calm. He’s wound too tightly for that.

  • May 29, 2017 at 7:31 amWarriorsHeart

    Awwww, Ochako is such a sweet kid.

  • May 29, 2017 at 9:16 amKyuubiRocks

    I have mad respect for Uraraka. She is such a fighter.

  • May 29, 2017 at 9:45 amKuro

    • May 29, 2017 at 10:16 amSyaoran Li

      Yeah, with a fujoshi in the background… or a sadist in this case.

    • May 29, 2017 at 6:14 pmGuile

      “My metal fatigue!” and “I should have eaten more iron!” were great lines.

  • May 29, 2017 at 10:24 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    So…beautiful…

  • May 29, 2017 at 5:46 pmsonicsenryaku

    Great post stilts-kun..here’s pretty much what i said in Enzo’s good write up of the ep:

    Hands down my favorite episode. Everything from Deku’s subtle character growth (pretty much telling Bakugo and endeavor to get their heads out their ass), to Bakugo’s respect for ochako (he even called her by name….gasp), to ochako fighting with every ounce of her being regardless of being scared, and then finally, when she apologizes to her parents for losing because she thinks the loss has set her back from earning money for her parents sooner…Oh man. That one scene effectively captured what it feels like to be a kid in a low-class family putting the burden of breaking the cycle of poor earning on one’s shoulders. To think to yourself: “i want to hurry up and be rich so i can support my family” and then feeling like your losing time because every setback feels like your family has to endure working hard to survive; that’s quite relatable. People talk about best girls like hatsume and tsuyu but for me, ochako has always been the female character i liked the most. She’s got character underneath that bubbly personality, So headstrong and determined; so courageous (true courage is fighting even when you’re scared) and earnest; and most of all, filled with fighting spirit. It’s sweet how she looks up to deku (and how he is so grateful to her without her realizing it); sweet little girl subconsciously fell for Deku after the U.A entrance exams without even realizing it.

  • May 29, 2017 at 5:52 pmjhpace1

    http://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2022%20-%2006.jpg
    Mineta-kun didn’t notice Uraraka-chan’s tank top?

    http://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2022%20-%2014.jpg
    One determined young woman. Great shot. Uraraka-chan had a plan, but the “meteor shower” didn’t work.

    http://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2022%20-%2037.jpg
    Who nonetheless doesn’t have a good “crying face”.

    No screen capture of Bakugo’s “constipated face” at the beginning of the match, Stilts? Y’know, to go with the collection.

  • May 29, 2017 at 7:40 pmsealouse

    It might just be me, but I just wasn’t into this fight that much. I just couldn’t understand her reasons to try so hard and get so frustrated. She wants to help her parents, that’s great, but are they poor and destitute or something? What’s the big deal?

    • May 30, 2017 at 1:08 amMephisto2

      It’s an opportunity for the hero community to acknowledge. This is basically like an international exam. You don’t need to have any “great” reason to try your best at it. People try their hardest to achieve their dreams, and it’s frustrating to have one path closed for them as a result of failure. What’s wrong with your approach is that you’re focusing on whether it’s a “big deal” or not – that’s subjective. What you need to focus on is their determination. You can have a “big” dream and do nothing for it. You can have a “small” one and try your best for it. In real life, people often try their hardest to buy a good gift for others. It’s such a normal thing, so what’s the big deal if they fail to get a good gift? The “big” deal is that they failed to meet their own expectations. You’re not supposed to judge the size or importance of Ochaco’s goal – you don’t do that to others in real life as well. Those are things for individuals to decide for themselves. We judge their efforts. People liked this fight because they admired Ochaco’s efforts. You didn’t feel invested because you were judging the validity of her goal.

  • May 29, 2017 at 8:15 pmRedRocket

    Uraraka proof again that a personality does not indicate how tough someone can be.

    Reminds me of the start of war in Iraq when a female pilot did what critics of female pilots said they could not do. She flew her shot to hell A-10 without hydraulics all the way back to base from Bagdad. That was a strength and endurance feat. And when interviewed with her fellow pilots her call sign was Killer Chick and she really was a bubbly chick type of personality and look that traditionally you would never think she could be tough or a pilot. The A-10 is a slow flying fortress of a plane designed to go in slow and chew targets up with its 30mm chain gun cannon thus getting shot up is part of the price and the responsibility of those calling in the strike, the pilot is expected to get the target regardless of fire. Thus the A-10 has a titanium armor around the pilot and lots of redundancy.

    Male sparkles just like manly sparkles in Full Metal Alchemist for Armstrong.

    Uraraka at disadvantage like several in this format. In many fights vs villains, there would be cover and objects around to use. Start this fight out of sight of each other on the ruined city course and she have a much better chance.

    Again I am amazed at how great this show is my favorite for fun this season. Kado is my favorite for adult thinking.

    • May 30, 2017 at 9:52 pmStilts

      I like that anecdote, nice.

      True on the disadvantage. They’re not always going to fight in a place that’s to their advantage, though. The only one that really sucks is mind control kid in the original UA exam, because he has tons of potential but the test totally prevented him from displaying it.

  • May 29, 2017 at 8:39 pmhaseo0408

    People see Uraraka and think she´s only an airhead with no real talent but she has proven to be worthy hero material after this battle, she managed to give one of three most powerful students in tha class a run for his money with just a simple plan! If her body were strong enough who know who would have won.

    Next episode we have a battle for the history books!.

    • May 29, 2017 at 10:29 pmsonicsenryaku

      Once the jacket came off, it should have been clear to people that ochako is not as frail as she seems; the chick is in shape.

  • May 29, 2017 at 8:48 pmstarss

    Uraraka’s an able fighter and doesn’t hesitate to be rough when the situation calls for it, even though she is also one of the few sweetest people in the world. She will become a great hero one day.

  • May 30, 2017 at 11:57 amfatalblue

    I’m so proud of my daughter. I didn’t expect her to win but I expected she’d put up a damn good fight and that she did. I’ve also soften on Bakugo. He’s still nowhere near a fav character but I give him props for treating Urakara as a legit opponent. Props to Eraserhead too for chastised the audience when they demanded Bakugo go easy on her.

    Good gosh I love this show so much. It’s been a while since an anime really had me anxious to watch on a week by week basis. Literally as soon as the new ep hits hulu i’m on it lol

  • May 30, 2017 at 8:24 pmkageKun

    A great post, and all I took away is how you quoted Order of the Stick. That’s a fine webcomic that does not get quoted enough!

    • May 30, 2017 at 9:36 pmStilts

      Amen! I just read the O-Chul prequel comic from the kickstarter the other day, so it might be on my mind more than usual. It’s always on my mind, though.

  • June 1, 2017 at 2:35 pmRandom

    I don’t know if someone else noticed, but after the Meteor attack, no single rubble fell into the people, Bakugou in a single attack: defended himself, didn’t let Uraraka aproach him and also directed the explosion so the public were unharmed.