「みんな個性的でいいね」 (Minna Kosei Tekide ii ne)
“In Their Own Quirky Ways”

OMG, Izuku is so cool!

If the previous two episodes could be called a slower burn, with more setup and less of the signature action that makes Boku no Hero Academia so thrilling, this episode was a true return to force. Not that those were bad, not in the least; they were necessary to set this up. But it’s not like I’m going to pretend that the payoff wasn’t so much sweeter. There’s no two ways to slice it: this was awesome, and Izuku was so cool!

I like how they showed off all the other characters getting ahead, and talked about how Class A acted first because they’ve been in combat before. Next to facing down a bunch of villains, what’s a bunch of dumb robots? It’s not a lack of fear, but a familiarity with fear, and putting it into context. Not that the others couldn’t manage this—some among Class B were charging ahead immediately, proving that training has a large part to do with it as well. But having been in the line of fire, Class A didn’t hesitate. That gave an edge, even to unlikely heroes like Mineta.

Speaking of, Mineta-kun: stop it. Whatever you’re doing, stop it. No! Bad. Leave Yaoyorozu alone, you devious genius.

But nothing tops what Izuku did in the minefield. He’s right that he was lucky; had he not seen the armor plating, and had he not gambled by bringing it along, and if the last obstacle hadn’t been what it was, he wouldn’t have been able to get ahead. Yes, he certainly was lucky. But! Luck is made as often as it is given; the lucky put themselves in positions where serendipity is possible, and are on the lookout for it, which is why some people seem to get lucky so often. (And yes, sometimes it’s just bullshit luck. That’s just a smaller percentage than most people would admit.)

He got lucky, but he was also smart. Izuku thinks like a weakling, which is actually a huge advantage. Rather than blasting into the field like Katsuki did, he didn’t depend on his strength, opting to use his wits and his will instead. All that, combined with how far behind he was at the time, came together in a moment that was just so. damn. COOL! Izuku flying through the air, the little runt who used to get bullied hurling himself ahead of the competition into first place, and, when it seemed the natural talents would reclaim the lead, he did not let them. Bam! Seeing the crybaby, with his eyes filled with determination, winning the race and taking the gold—wow. To see the kind kid push himself to win, and to do so, was just a treat. This show is so good.

This is why I love tournament arcs!

That was the highlight of the episode, but it got better. Izuku got lucky to win the race—but did he? The cavalry battle is sure to delight, because the bonus for taking down the top-place finisher in the obstacle course race—ten million points, compared to a lowly 110 for last place—made sure that Izuku would get another chance to prove himself. He’s in everybody’s crosshairs, even his friends. This is going to be great! And while the preview revealed some of the teams, it kept Izuku’s hidden. If I didn’t delight so much in relishing the coming reveal, I’d be itching to know who he’ll pair up with right now. (Spoil it for me and I’ll rip your legs off and beat you with them.) (Related: remember to tag and label spoilers.) This arc is already great, and it took a leap in a direction I didn’t expect. I can’t wait for more!

By the way, if it wasn’t clear, I’m blogging this series. I mean, obviously, right? Not like I was ever going to let this one pass me by. That would be like Izuku letting his friends down. Not gonna happen!

Random thoughts:

  • Looks like I was right, and the little pre-OP scene is actually part of the OP. They’re still doing a fair bit of summarizing from the previous episode before the action really starts, though. I don’t mind, if it helps keep the pacing so spot on.
  • More good characterization with Katsuki: rather than blasting through, he blasts around. He might be determined (and incensed) to the point of giving himself a hernia, but he’s not stupid.
  • No, All Might, I don’t think your worry was misplaced. Izuku needs a fire lit under his butt on occasion. He has the potential to both help others and strive for the top, though. You got lucky as well, in your choice of proteges.
  • One thing that confused me: did purple hair make it? He didn’t seem to be among the 42 shown. Or is the cavalry battle the chance to prove themselves that Midnight-sensei was talking about?
  • I think my favorite screenshots are this one, because Izuku looks so strong and yet so aware of his tenuous lead, and this, because he’s standing on their shoulders to put the hurt on them. If Izuku really were a wimp, he would never do something so mundane yet outrageous. What a kid.

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: Guardians of the Galaxy, Glee, & Firesign; That’s not supposed to go there . . .; The Carcer Principle; and Fire, further.




  1. One thing that always stands out on Boku no Hero Academia is how interesting every single character is, even side characters, the ones with one to no lines, even the crowd! None of them are faceless and they spare no expense in designing them. Seeing the top 42 finalists I feel like each one could star in their own arc.

  2. I don’t remember the last time I rooted for the main character in an action anime but GOD DAMN IT IZUKU USE YOUR F**KING QUIRK , you are better than all of them !!!

      1. The mine field thing was super cool , I agree
        but when it comes to other aspects of the tournament or even out there fighting villains he can’t keep messing around , he needs his powers
        hell , the audience are so hyped because todoroki is the son of the #2 Hero and has half of his power where as Izuku literally has the full power of the #1 hero , in a 1 v 1 fight it should not even be close

    1. We also have to remember that, as Izuku discussed with All Might, he doesn’t have full conscious control over All For One yet, so he can’t just carelessly use it on a whim lest he risk crippling himself in some way early on and is unable to continue in the festival.

      There’s also the fact that not using his Quirk yet will make most of the other competitors – ones that obviously haven’t seen it used yet (or heck, even those that did see it used given its power) – cautious and wary of him, which will give him a bit of a mental advantage against them in later events. No doubt Izuku will eventually be driven to use it, but until then, it’s actually pretty smart to keep it under wraps as long as possible, and when he does, it will most likely be quite the show that will really make him shine even more to those watching.

      Not only will Izuku show that he can be quite the hero WITHOUT his Quirk, but then his Quirk making him seem virtually unstoppable, it will only boost his standing among those scouting for sidekicks and the media and such.

      1. The trick is, if Izuku could use his quirk reliably and was still hiding it, it’d be a smart move. As is, it’s something he feels driven to. Which is actually much better for amping up the drama, because we keep wondering when he’s going to crack out his quirk—and, when he does, if he’s going to hurt himself in the process or not.

    2. I say he was wise to hold off on it. Not only does he not have full control over it yet, but heroes are still capable of doing the more human things like leaping, using their brain, and battling bare-fisted. So this means that if he can win without depending on his quirk all the time, it makes him truly stronger.

  3. Purple-haired guy did make it, he was 27. Just an unfortunate bit of scene composition, he was the very last one shown on the vertical display before they moved on to the wide shots.

    And yes, one thing that stays beautifully consistent in this arc especially, Izuku can be really, really cool.

  4. Izuku thinks like a weakling, which is actually a huge advantage.

    Exactly the reason why others didn’t do something like that. They all have their quirks(or in that pink haired girl’s case, equipments) to rely on. Izuku had nothing. He has One for All but it’s not reliable. So he has to rely on something else. And the way he’s known is to fight and think like the weak. And the weak always has different ways of doing things. But sooner or later though, he has to think of how to use the power entrusted to him. It’s still the fundamental difference between him and others. They’ve had their quirks since childhood while he got it recently. It’s a part of himself now so he needs to know how to use it like a part of his own body. Making use of it combined with his way of thinking will take him the distance. The opportunity will present itself in due time though so let’s see first how he handles this new obstacle with everyone aiming to take him down.

    One thing that confused me: did purple hair make it? He didn’t seem to be among the 42 shown.

    He was #27. Easy to miss because the scene changes immediately when it reached his face.

    I’d be itching to know who he’ll pair up with right now.(Spoil it for me and I’ll rip your legs off and beat you with them.)

    Show Spoiler ▼

  5. And now we get the unique bit that makes this tournament stand out, the huge point disparity.

    I do feel like the race section was a little weak, because time seemed to get all wibbly wobbly. Todoroki had a huge lead that vanished right around when he was two thirds through the minefield, and Izuku had plenty of time to dig out a dozen mines and pile them together for his stunt.

    And I share Iida’s frustration with his sixth place finish, what the heck was he doing? We know Exit Sign Iida can get some crazy air time if he wants to, but he didn’t even think to do so.

    1. Time getting all wibbly wobbly is an old author’s trick, and we all use it. It even has a trope: traveling at the speed of plot (trope!). It’s used because keeping things like travel speed constant is a GIANT pain in the ass for almost no benefit, so we usually just try to get in the ballpark and then fudge it.

      That’s the same reason I rigged the magic system in my books the way I did. Instead of making a character’s mana pool a discrete amount that the reader can measure, I made it a vague amount that is described in relation to other characters, which allows me to fudge things when I need to, and either run them low or give them more than they maybe should have if I was strictly keeping track. It helps me dial in the drama when needed 😀

      All that said, the swap did surprise me a bit. I feel like they painted Todoroki like he was too far ahead early on, but not by too much. It only bothered me for half a second at most.

  6. Truly exciting. “He’s a badass normal even without his quirk!” Very true.

    I love the opening because it shows something that most people watching Superhero shows do not often think of. Most superhero’s don’t get physically built from their powers their muscular builds are done by working out like normals.

    For someone who other players at my war-game club would not let me touch their dice because I’d suck the luck out of them I know I don’t have that luck. (wargaming 1978-84 at club, the golden era, but board war-games are still around) My first time at club managed to roll the wrong result a dozen times plus. But I love how Izuku knows how he has to try to depend on luck because that is the only option he has. More currently playing the card game bridge, chess level game that you play with a partner, there are times that though careful study you realize their is only one way to win even though the odds are against you so you take the shot and the feeling when it works for a good score is wonderful. Yes I have found that that if I try to win by skill first without luck and then luck second luck sometimes comes though.
    Yep leave Yaoyorozu alone, she has became empowered and strong in part though exposing her body to win, don’t drag her down horn dog. Yes empowered chauvinists people who want to oppress women always want to force women to cover up.

  7. Why have a realistic “Meh, makes sense he’d lose against these odds” reaction when you can have your jaws dropped, eyes wide open, hands slapping your cheeks, screaming “WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F*********?!! IZUKU YOU’RE F****** AWESOME! BEST MAIN CHARACTER EVAAAA!!” as he wins against those odds, and then immediately punish the main character (who hasn’t yet mastered his power) for his awesomeness with a penalty that should push his limits even further?
    That Horikoshi-sensei, what a genius!

    1. Amen! It shows how good Horikoshi-sensei is at a couple of tactics: doing what we don’t expect, and pacing.

      Doing what we don’t expect is a cornerstone of good storytelling, and it’s one of the reasons tournament arcs (or sports stories in general) are so good—as I’m fond of noting, the possibility that the main character can lose increases the possible number of outcomes. Once failing becomes a real possibility, winning seems more unlikely, and it’s even more awesome when it happens.

      Also, Izuku could have easily come in second or third, which were options right up until he won, keeping us on the edge of our seats.

      But pacing is a huge part of it too. The pace was just quick enough to sweep us away during the race—and then, afterwards, it went far enough (and quickly enough, though not too quickly) to get us to the reversal of fortune (Izuku being worth so many points) before we had time to consider such a thing. Thus the next thing we didn’t expect is still shocking!

  8. I think it’s guaranteed that Deku is the emotional vessel in this entire show to the viewer. Any time he manages to pull off a victory against all odds by either sheer force of will, massive smarts, luck, or a combination of the three, I wanna fuckin cry. He’s adorable, and flawed without being too annoying, and he’s got a sweet and caring mom who supports him.

    In fact, I don’t know how the writers manage to escalate the enjoyment out of these episodes, constantly topping the previous one. The world is set up extremely well with new information that doesn’t really contradict what was set beforehand. Everyone, no matter how minor, has a time in the spotlight here, and through the story they seem more real to you! I now know why Todoroki is presented strongly in the poster of this season- he’s got a legendary father, and it seems like he’ll factor into this arc in a major way.

    1. Izuku is definitely the emotional linchpin of the show, and meant to be someone every viewer can see themselves in and root for. That’s not uncommon, though. Most MCs are intended to be that. What’s impressive is that Izuku is an example of how to do it RIGHT, because he’s not a faceless, bland, traditional light novel-style MC. (I know this is based on a manga, I was giving a contrasting example.)

      Which goes to show you that, if you’re making a main character, maybe look to shounen manga before you look to light novels. Izuku, Naruto, Luffy—well, Ichigo is a bit shit, but the others are all good main characters who are full of unique personality and life. Not that they’re all perfect—Naruto could get annoying from time to time, especially early on, which is basically the only parts I read/watched lol—but at least he had personality. Most “audience insert” main characters, who are MEANT to be the audience’s emotional vehicle into the work, don’t have that.

      Izuku is a main character done phenomenally RIGHT.

  9. https://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2016%20-%2035.jpg
    Katsuki, Todoroki, Iida, and all the others had me literally in stitches last night as I watched the “frustrated they weren’t first” participants go through the lineup! Talk about working up a hatred for Izuku!

    Whatever it takes, Mineta-kun, whatever it takes. Pretty but talented girls beware!


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