「スタートライン」 (Sutaatorain)
“Start Line”

This is how superheroes should be. Superheroes don’t just save people. They make you believe that people are worth fighting for.

A Test Within A Test

It’s remarkable; I knew that Izuku was going to pass, but for the first few minutes I had serious doubts about how. It just goes to show what I said in a recent post, that even if you see it coming, it can still work. (Warning: Inside Out and Kanon spoilers in that link.) That is, until the big robot showed up, and I knew where this was going.

Of course the U.A. staff wouldn’t reject someone who saved others. The whole point of the test is to see if someone would make a good superhero, and as All Might has been showing us, personality is a huge part of that equation. This test reminds me of a project I did back in college, a market simulation during my final marketing course. Each group created a company, and we had to decide how to position our product in this simulated market. It would go for five or six rotations, and we would only be graded based on the last two. Can you guess what most groups did?

They took it slow. They conserved money, repositioned slowly, advertised moderately, and planned to turn on the afterburners when it came time to be graded. Whereas my group treated the simulation like it was real. We aggressively repositioned, gobbled up market share, and by the time the grading rotations came, we were so far ahead we coasted to an A.

I’m telling you this story mostly because it was my idea to treat the project like it was real, and when one of my crazy ideas actually works I’m gonna talk it up as much as I can, ’cause ego. But it also shows that there’s some reality to U.A.’s madness, and that this is relevant to real life. There will always be an excuse not to give it your all. It’s a test. I’m not invested in this job. It won’t work out anyway. Someone else will save them. But if you won’t take a test seriously, how can anyone trust you when the real thing happens? Because there will always be excuses.

Of course they wouldn’t reject someone like Izuku. He’s exactly the kind of hero they want.

Izuku’s Mother

I love Izuku’s mother. Parents in anime are rare enough, but even the ones who show up are seldom like this. From her weight gain to her worrying for her son to her Izuku-style tears—I guess we know where he got them from now, d’aaawww—she feels like more than an accessory to Izuku. She feels real, and…grounded, I suppose. She feels very much like a person, and a mom.

This Is How Superheroes Should Be

I think critically-drubbed (and rightfully so) superhero flicks like Batman vs Superman—yes, I’m going to keep beating up on that movie until everyone realizes how toxic it is, or until I get bored—miss one of the greatest elements about superhero stories. Superheroes are inherently ridiculous. Powerful people dress up in spandex and save the day on their own schedule and according to their own moral codes (or lack thereof)? Those are called vigilantes, they’re dangerous, and modern governments would have several decisive things to say about them. The point I’m getting at is that realism, even when a Christopher Nolan Batman series does a pretty good job of taking superheroes seriously, misses the point.

Superheroes are aspirational. Not because we want them to exist, but because we want to believe that if the world needed superheroes, they would exist. We want to believe that, if everyone started developing Quirks, an All Might would appear. We want to believe that if we had that power, we would stand with those heroes. Most of all, we want to believe that hard work is rewarded, that “no good deed goes unpunished” is never true, and that people are worth saving—including us.

Superheroes are idealistic. They’re idealism incarnate. Why are we trying to bring gritty “realism” to an inherently idealistic endeavor, when we can instead do what Boku no Hero Academia is doing and wield that idealism like a torch in the night? Once again, for three straight episodes in a row, this series has given me chills. It’s given me reason to believe. It’s rejected cynicism in favor of unabashed optimism. It’s not that I think Boku no Hero Academia is the best show out there, nor even the best superhero story, but it is wholly, unequivocally, and uncompromisingly a superhero story. I want more of these, and less gritty frownfests—realism, after all, is overrated. Why must we be so serious, when we could be having fun instead? This is fun!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Izuku takes the practical, & though he doesn’t get a single point, he saves a life. You better believe he’s rewarded for it #heroaca 04

Random thoughts:

  • The other parts of U.A.’s practical were good too. Testing information gathering, speed, discernment/poise, and sheer power are all necessary ingredients. Plus, the announcer dude is right—there aren’t countdowns in a real fight. Go! (The healer helps too.)
  • I’m glad that megane seems to have realized what happened with Izuku. He was being a pain in the ass, but realizing his mistake and Izuku’s worth means there’s more to him than there initially seemed.
  • *pats back* Don’t mind, don’t mind
  • .

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Dying idols, Frictionless routines, Even if you see it coming, it can still work, and Batman does not kill. Superman does not kill.




  1. The voice-over of Best Jeanist was screamingly funny, to me. He’s the winner of the Best Jeanist award, 8 years running! Fucker MADE HIS OWN AWARD, and then he won it consecutively.

    It’s just funny if you don’t know Best Jeanist, and it’s even funnier if you DO read the manga, because he’s the kind of OCD ‘my way or the highway’ superhero that WOULD make his own award to encapsulate all the virtues Best Jeanist holds most dear. And then he would win it. With a big award ceremony and everything.

  2. Oh, and that bit where Ochako was willing to give up her points for him? Freaking perfect delivery on the gag, there.

    Ochako: “Um, about that guy, with the wavy hair, and the freckles…”
    Izuku, /not daring to dream.
    Ochako: “And um, he’s really plain looking–”
    Izuku, /instantly: “She’s talking about me!”

    Just… great. I was smiling all the way through this episode.

    1. Izuku’s low self-esteem manages to stay just the side of the funny/depressing line. Probably ’cause he’s so earnest, we get to laugh with him while he steadily pushes forward and keeps winning. Go, Izuku! 😀

  3. Oh man, the music in this series is bringing out the onion ninjas, they are killing me. I never expected My Hero Academia to be such a good series.

    Izuku’s mom is so cute.

  4. When the anime can evoke the same emotions like the manga did, you know that this is a great adaptation. I’m relatively new to the series and I think it is brilliant. I wish I hadn’t read the manga, because I’m dying for a certain character’s appearance now.

  5. When their instructor reminded them to avoid that 0 point enemy in the previous episode, I already had a feeling Izuku was going to fight and defeat one while everyone was going to do as their told. What I was still speculating on is how defeating a 0 point enemy was going to make him pass. That was answered in today’s episode. The moment they showed Nice Girl there stuck and needing help, it instantly came to me how Izuku was gonna pass. Admittedly a little predictable, but still a fun watch. I wanna think with All Might working in U.A. now, things will be a bit easier for Izuku but I’m pretty sure All Might will be testing him more along the way. On that preview, that teacher reminds me now of Kakashi when All Might said he never hesitates to expel students. Interesting insight btw Stilts on superheroes in media. Batman’s non-kill rule for me has been his defining trait. That and his genius level detective skills. I wonder if it’s because now idealistic superhero stories are considered outdated generally, and people want something realistic and different. In past Superman movies, Superman does something heroic the people cheer. Now, Superman does something and people are divided between supporters and haters. That’s why I said despite it being a bit predictable that Izuku’s heroism is what’s going to pass him in this exam, it was still great. Something worthy of the Awesome section in TV Tropes.

    1. Agreed on the Batman no-kill rule. As another writer noted, having Batman kill isn’t being edgy and realistic. It’s failing to write a Batman story. It’s like writing a 5/7/6 haiku. It might be a great poem, but it ain’t a haiku.

      I don’t think idealistic superhero movies are completely outdated. The Marvel ‘verse ones aren’t all Silver Age idealism, sure, but they’re MUCH less grim than the DC movies. They can still be FUN. DC seems determined to wring all the fun out of their franchises, for some damn reason.

      1. Well maybe not outdated yeah, but I wonder if writers these days think they won’t sell anymore. And I don’t mean just the movies. I remember years ago when Marvel’s Civil War comic series came out, I thought maybe writers thought of pitting heroes against each other because just fighting super villains already looks redundant and people might be tired of it. Another Civil War is gonna happen in the comics even. With the Civil War movie coming out I wonder if Marvel is following the same formula as DC (I hope not). Personally, the Bruce Timm shows (Batman TAS, Superman, Justice League) were the ones that struck just the right balance between light and serious. And to still relate this whole thing to Hero Academia, Izuku’s heroism is something I definitely wanna see shining through every time. Tracer from Overwatch said it best: “The world could always use more heroes.”

      2. Agreed…I think it’s quite telling when it’s only OTHER characters making you chuckle and NOT the heroes themselves at all in a movie…

        In terms of Marvel fun, even the Captain America movies, despite being much more modern, realistic, and slightly grittier, still don’t lose their sense of goofy fun along the way (like, they could have easily just skipped all the war bond touring and just thrown Steve into the middle of a bunch of WWII action in The First Avenger, but it’s not only part of his build-up, but also goofy fun) while the heroes themselves are still inspirational in one way or another. And from what all early reviews have been saying, Civil War is going to be taking it to even greater heights with Steve and Tony’s beliefs. The two of them in Civil War sound like what Batman v. Superman wishes it was doing but completely went off-track and missed all the points.

      3. The Marvel movies are, thus far, striking a good balance. It’s the same kind of balance I try to hit in my own fiction, actually (warning: Stilts is talking about his books again! *grumbles about having to say that*); while the plot/action is still serious, and it’s entirely possible that main characters could die (and secondary-to-minor characters are probably going to), it’s not so far up its own ass that it can’t have fun along the way. Both mine and MCU characters still quip, they’re are funny scenes, they have fun on occasion, and some even enjoy fighting! (Thor, etc.) It makes it a lot more fun, not a frowning slog.

        I hoooope that the Civil War movies don’t swing too far away from the light-hearted comedy secondaries of previous MCU films. They might, and they might still be good because we’re invested in these incarnations of these characters. It’d be a risk though.

      4. You guys made me remember why I like The First Avenger the most among Cap’s movies (Might change after Civil War). Steve Rogers was a guy willing to enlist despite his poor health and covered a grenade to save his fellow soldiers. Cap is a hero in every sense of the word. And since you mentioned the marvel movies’ sense of humor, I’ll always remember Steve’s out-of-the-box way of getting that flag. I guess you can also count Peggy shooting Steve to test if his vibranium shield was effective as funny too. Winter Soldier was pretty serious but that elevator scene was still pretty funny. Actually I’m seeing a lot of Steve in Izuku now. All Might’s Quirk even reminds me of the super soldier serum effects.

  6. Saw a lot of first time anime watchers insulting Iida which surprised me (for where the stories at right now, not making any comments either way for how his character is in the future, and whenever I talk about series i’m caught up on with other people I make sure to talk from my perspective at the moment I was where they’re at).
    I mean obviously he was pretty grating, and in the last episode where he stood up, asked the question, and chastised Izuku, when I initially read that I thought he was doing way too much and being dickish, but during the test he seemed decent enough too me with the comment on Ochako and when he at least stopped to consider Izuku and when he reflected on him after (which is actually the moment I saw the most people calling him “pussy” and other things).
    I always saw that scene as less of an indictment on Iida (though it did tell you something about him) and more of a celebration of Izuku’s mentality.

    1. I agree. I don’t see it as an indictment of Iida. I actually see it as adding depth and strength to his character. It’s so rare that people are self-aware enough to realize that they’ve screwed up and misjudged someone, and he seemed to be realizing that. He was grating, sure, but now he feels real again. Another good character in the making, I think.

    1. I… don’t really know what you’re trying to say, here. That Izuku shouldn’t be crying at the idea of failing to enter superhero school and getting his dream crushed, disappointing All Might who believed in him in the process? Or that Izuku should just man up and stop crying about getting three of his limbs shattered?

    2. @Private

      Lifting weights and dragging trash around a beach is a far cry from being in combat, even if it’s a test. Add onto that how he’s never actually USED his new Quirk until here, and that his recent training does only so much to change his existing nature/personality by itself, and if he were not still the same crybaby runt he’s always been, it would be wildly unrealistic (in the bad way, in the unrealistic character way).

      Humans don’t change quickly, but they can change. Izuku is going to have to keep faking the courage he has up until now never had until he actually has it. That takes time and experience.

      1. And let’s not forget that he had crushed his arm and legs.

        I loved how another participant asked:
        “What kind of life did he live that made him so jumpy?”

        Izuku lived his whole life without a quirk, being bullied, and feeling powerless. I love to see that the author is taking his time to make him go from zero to hero. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

        (on a side note: I love how people are so reluctant to change their ways, but still love to criticize young protagonists for not changing quickly enough)

  7. Loved this episode and loving the show so far. I laughed hard and felt chills throughout the episode. I don’t easily laugh at anime or get warm fuzzy feelings….so that’s saying something about the quality here. Slightly reminds me of HxH….miss that show…

    1. Worldwidedepp
  8. https://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2004%20-%20Large%2020.jpg
    That punch gave me the chills. But really, the way his arm and legs were flailing lifelessly when he was falling was painful to look at. Just looking at how discolored his arm became makes it worse. Makes you wonder how All Might was when he first used One for All.

    Luckily, they have a nurse on the ready(Baba!). But this is just the beginning of many more injuries to come if Izuku doesn’t start to learn how to regulate his newfound power. Just like Recovery Girl said, it’s like his body is not yet used to his Quirk. That’s going to be part of the journey, to see how Izuku will learn to tame this power that can change the weather and topple a giant robot with one punch.

    Fun fact: the name of the school that Izuku is going to attend to from now on, UA Academy, comes from the reading of its kanji, 雄英(yuuei), which when switched around becomes 英雄(eiyuu), which means “Hero”. There’s a lot of wordplay like this on the names of the characters, some of which are direct hints to their powers.

    1. Yeah, when his limbs were flopping around at wrong angles, it made me cringe. Which means it was a great moment, ’cause it showed his self-sacrifice, but damn. *cringe*

      That’s cool on the school name. Thanks for the heads up!

  9. i think one of my favorite moments in this ep (and i appreciate the subtlety of it all) was when izuku was pretty sure he had failed the exam and yet we still see him on the couch working out to get stronger. Man this kid is on a straight path of self improvement and it seems nothing is going to crush that innate drive he has in himself to be a better him everyday; going above and beyond.

  10. I like that at the end of this episode they cut away to showed the meal list on the fridge implying the Isuku wasn’t in this fight alone. He had support from his parents too.
    This wasn’t in the original comic but I just love small nice addition like this.

  11. It was obvious since the last episode that Izuku’d somehow pass the test fighting the 0-monster, but it didn’t change my enjoyment levels at all. That delivery… Pure determination, emotion and idealism. Give me more, BNHA.

    Izuku’s mom is amazing. I love that she’s clearly a great parent, but not idealized – she doesn’t know what to do and makes mistakes like in the doctor flashback. I wish for more (alive) moms like this in anime.
    I wonder where the father is though? She mentioned him once in the past, but maybe they’re divorced? That’d be another blow for Izuku’s self-esteem.

    Oh well, now he has All Might as a father figure, so all is good. Am I the only one who prefers seeing him in his “weak” form?

    1. Y’know, I don’t remember him in the manga, either. Odds seem about 50/50 of him just being gone, or secretly being a supervillain that Izuku is going to meet someday and go full Vader.

      It’s that kind of show, y’know?

  12. Izuku and his mom are putting me through the feels. I have not been able to hold back my tears once during this show. This is a new feeling for me. Maybe All Might is filling the void of the superhero i desperately wanted to look up to as a child growing up. Maybe Izuku is my continuous cycle of trial and failure personified. Watching him succeed just makes me throw my fist up in the air and just cry.




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