「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.
- 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.