「策策策」 (Saku Saku Saku)
“Strategy, Strategy, Strategy”

Expect the unexpected, from all sides.

A cornerstone rule of storytelling is this: First, figure out what the audience expects you to do. Second, do something else. So it was with Izuku trying to pick Iida-kun, and Iida refusing because he sees himself as Izuku’s rival as well. A teamup of Izuku/Uraraka/Iida is the most natural expectation, and would have worked well. Fulfilling part of that expectation wasn’t bad, either—when Uraraka came up to Izuku, I clapped and cheered. Good for you, Izuku! No problems with throwing the audience a bone once in a while, especially if it enhances your unpredictability for the next move. If you always do the unexpected, the unexpected becomes expected, so you’ve got to do the expected sometimes, just to throw them off. See what I mean?

Basically, storytelling is all about playing mindgames with an audience you’ll rarely, if ever, see. That’s why it’s the refuge of crazy people, like me.

Once the most obvious combination was shut down, that’s when the team building game got fun. It’s obvious that all the new faces from the OP would eventually come into play, and this time it was Hatsume Mei (Sakura Azu). What I didn’t expect (do the unexpected, etc), but was thoroughly delighted by, was how Uraraka seemed to get jealous every time Izuku nerded out with, or complimented, Hatsume. Shipping furiously!!! Mostly though, adding Hatsume to the team adds a new dimension that all Class A characters wouldn’t have added.

Then, Tokoyami. Love it. He’s Class A, but we haven’t gotten to spend nearly enough time with the secret badass, and seeing that his quirk can talk? Its omnidirectional defense? Not only a great choice to fill out the team, but a treat to see a thus-far underutilized character strut his stuff.

Once again: do what people don’t expect. That means both the audience—I was especially tickled by the Shoji, Mineta, Asui team, which is a great set up and I wonder how they even managed to lose their headband at all—and the characters. Enter Class B! If the whole match was people chasing Izuku’s team, it could have been fun, but it would have lacked multi-directionality and given fewer chances for victories and defeats. That’s fine in the obstacle race, but the cavalary battle is a different beast, and should be treated accordingly. That’s why, when everyone realized that the Class B teams were running up the score at the expense of the Class A teams (sans Izuku’s), it changed the dynamic completely.

Managing to divert Katsuki from his pursuit of Izuku is an impressive feat, though perhaps not wise. Has anyone told these fledgling heroes to not explain their masterstroke until after they’ve already won? I swear, it’s like they’ve never watched a bad villain work. All of which is to say: the cavalary battle is just heating up. Next week we’ll see how it ends, and I have a feeling we’re due a few more reversals before all is said and done.

Random thoughts:

  • I find it fascinating that the sports festival is more meant to simulate the life and business of a professional hero, as opposed to the actual heroics. Kicking people down from the top, but also cooperating with business rivals at other times. Which is nice, because if it was truly all about the heroics, it would lack an extra dimension of story that this gives it.
  • That Katsuki, not paying attention to anyone else. Never change. I mean, actually do change, you’re an asshole and should pay attention to your damn classmates, but, uh. What was my point?
  • I’m not sure how effective Hagakure’s plan to take off her top was ever going to be, given that the headband was still visible. Which future events bore out. But it was funny to watch her teammates blush, so!

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. I’m actually surprised that anyone would ever join Izuku at all, especially Uraraka after she gave him that evil red-eyed gaze like everyone else. I can’t speak for Tokoyami since we barely know anything about who he is (which makes his joining all the more worth it indeed), but Hatsume made the most sense to market her “babies”. Gotta love her eccentricity. But Uraraka, my girl, you’re torturing me with your relatablility :’) Friends make the best partners? That is admittedly impractical, especially after seeing Todoroki’s strategical reasoning for selecting his teammates, but damn it if it isn’t sweet, because it just so happens to have been my reasoning for selecting my teammates for some of my practical training back in college 🙂 Sigh, please Uraraka, don’t stop.

    Todoroki’s motivation seems to involve his father, a seemingly formidable hero, who he apparently despises? Some sort of family trouble?

    Class B. I wonder what their thought process is like. Are they aiming for true heroism, or simply attention seeking? This one guy seems to be leaning towards the latter.

    *GUSHING* I can’t wait for next week already! The tension is too much!

    1. I feel like Uraraka had the same thought as everyone else—If I take the 10,000,000 point headband, I’ll win!—and then she realized that if she was on the team that had those points from the beginning and kept it, it’d be the same.

      Plus, I’m sure she honestly believes that friends make for good teammates, and she’s right! Potentially. You’d assume that good friends who already communicate effectively would work together better than strangers who don’t know each other, though it also depends on whether their skillsets mesh well. That’s why Izuku/Uraraka/Iida would have been such a good combo—good friends, good communication, good teamwork, complimentary powers.

      But also, too expected. Can’t let that happen! :3

      Uraraka is awesome, though. Such a good friend T_T

      1. Ooh, I didn’t factor in communication when I made my comment, good point. But yeah, when I said “impractical”, I meant the risk that skillsets may not mesh well, but it all turned out good in the end, because of course Izuku was gonna thoroughly think it through. Good team work starts with good communication before anything else indeed, and what easier way to acquire good communication than with good friends. Thanks Stilts 🙂

    2. To be fair, how many in Class A are doing this for true heroism? Bakugo seems to want to fight bad guys more than actually save people in need. Even sweet Uraraka is doing this to earn more money for her family. Best way to earn more money and notoriety is to join a successful agency and to do that is to stand out at this competition. Sneaky? Yes. Decent display of strategy that can aid an agency? Also, yes. Anyway, just like the entrance exam, they’re testing more than just pointless points.
      Also, Mineta is the real villain to be feared. All Might step in before it’s too late!

      1. Yes that is fair. And I actually kinda agree with blondy here that some of class A’s students are too simple minded, Bakugo being the most obvious example. But I was simply referencing how at least Blondy, of his class, may or may not have the mindset of a true hero from the likes of All Might, Izuku or any of the licensed heroes in the business, because ideally the path of a rising hero, I think, should start with that. Yet as I say that, there is also Todoroki and Aoyama (the belly-button show-off) who clearly don’t apply to this. So then again, that may not be all that necessary, just as long as the hero students do their job right when they become licensed. After all, not everyone is gonna follow All Might as an example of a perfect hero. It’s too tiring I think, even for him.

      2. Just remember: it doesn’t matter why someone does something, it matters what they actually do. (I mean, it kind of matters why they do it, just not as much.) Actions are what matter in life, so even if someone does something great for selfish reasons, they’ve still done something great.

        Basically, intentionality does matter, but not as much. People with good intentions are liable to do the right thing with less chance of going off the rails—I’d be much less worried about teaching Izuku than I would Katsuki—but if the results are the same in the end, it never really mattered. They just might not be the same, and it’s us humans’ attempts to predict the future that lead us to put so much value into intentionality—and there may be some correlation, so it may not be entirely unwise. Maybe.

        Lot of equivocation there, because it’s messy. It has the benefit of being true, though.

    3. tokoyami’s reason is probably because…
      Show Spoiler ▼

  2. I’m not sure how effective Hagakure’s plan to take off her top was ever going to be, given that the headband was still visible. Which future events bore out. But it was funny to watch her teammates blush, so!

    It may have been inteded more for offenseive benefit. When she isn’t wearing sleeves you can’t see where her arms are, so you can’t defend against attempts she might make to grab a headband except by never letting her get close enough.

    But yes, Hagakure mainly exists to cause awkward and humorous situations involving nudity.

    1. It’d also be easier for her to block a grab herself if you can’t see her arms… but then she got beaten off-screen, same as Mineta. Too bad. I agree the little blushes on her male teammates’ parts were cute. Sure, you literally can’t see anything, but you are holding a naked woman! *blush blush blush youth etcetera*

      It’s been long enough since I read the manga that I remember purple hair’s power but not the blond B-class guy’s, which is fun. Definitely looking forward to next week.

    2. Oooo, good point! Though yeah, too bad she got surprised off-screen. Still, a solid plan despite that, unless anyone has a quirk which can let them see what’s invisible, in which case. Well. One would have to assume she’s prepared herself for that possibility? :X

    1. They haven’t really done anything though, Tetsu Tetsu has been cool and caring and the rest have seemed nice to me.

      Blonde haired guy is no more of a dick than Bakugo is, he’s just a quirky character.

      1. Well, she’s basically alt-Spiderman and Mineta is roughly the size of an elementary schooler, so she can certainly keep him in check, but still.

        Huh, I wonder if that’s why Mineta is so small? So his lechery isn’t physically imposing.

      2. To be honest? That’s probably why Mineta can be so shamelessly lecherous and it doesn’t inspire the revulsion it probably should. That and he’s a teenager, we put up with more idiocy from teenagers because we were all teenagers once (or actively are), and are aware that all teenagers are nuts (yes, including past-Stilts, and probably most people who are teenagers now), but if Shoji acted like Mineta, it would NOT work. Which isn’t cool on a few levels, but I’m not sure how to reprogram that aspect of the human brain, other’n continually pointing out that Mineta’s action aren’t cool.

    1. I totally agree she’s awesome! She reminds me a lot of Hotaru Shidare from dagashi kashi, both are so energetic, fun and devoted to their passions 🙂

      Mei seemed to like Izuku, though not too likely I’d like if she’d crush on him or something ;D

    1. I think Hagakure is permanently invisible. She shows another ability in the later chapters not related to it.

      For her, being invisible is part of her appearance, not her quirk. Just like how Tokoyami has a bird head, it is not his quirk but just how he looks. Hagakure is just born invisible.

      Also, if not, then she would turn visible every time Eraserhead looks at her in class.


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