「飯田くんファイト」 (Iida-kun Faito)
“Fight on, Iida”
Meddling when you don’t need to is the essence of being a hero.
This episode blazed through a lot of fights, so it’s hard to know where to focus. Though, the purpose was relatively clear: showing just how badass Todoroki and Bakugo are. First that involved making it so their soon-to-be opponents knocked out their previous opponents quickly, and then through the fights themselves. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t already know they were strong, but we needed to get to the final match, so might as well burnish their street cred along the way.
Of them, the battle I think I enjoyed the most was actually Kirishima vs Bakugo. Mostly because it’s such a foregone conclusion that he’d lose that how well he did comes out looking great. In contrast, Iida did well, but it was over so fast it didn’t feel like it, and Tokoyami had a serious mismatch, quirk-wise.
To me, the more interesting parts of the episode were less action-oriented, and more interpersonal. To wit: Shouto’s conversation with his father. That was just about the best way Shouto could have handled that. It wasn’t a confrontation, since he hasn’t yet decided whether he wants to go all-in on using his father’s quirk or not. It wasn’t emotional in the least. Instead, he merely admitted the truth: that, in the face of the challenge that Izuku represented, he simply forgot about his father. Endeavor did not matter when Shouto was faced with Izuku. No anger, no spite, none of that. Just dismissal. In that moment, the villain of Shouto’s life simply wasn’t important.
I can’t think of a better way to stick it to the old man in that moment.
Then there was Izuku’s conversation with All Might, which just about made me cry. When All Might revealed that he was originally Quirkless, my reaction was the same as Izuku’s. Heart tightened, tear ducts revved up—it hit me hard. Izuku’s flaw is self-doubt, that’s what holds him back—and trying to silence his own doubt (and live up to what he sees as other’s expectations) is most often gets him into trouble. But his kindness is the mark of a good hero—of “meddling when you don’t need to.” Seeing All Might reward that with the faith he has in Izuku is sweet medicine. Is it wish-fulfillment, wanting kindness and earnestness to be rewarded, when so often the world spits in good people’s eyes? Yes. But damn if I don’t want to live in that world even so. Give me this moment at least.
Then things escalated. While Iida-kun was fighting his match, his nii-san was off getting sliced the hell up. The Hero Killer Stain (Inoue Go) is a serious godsdamned villain, totally clashing with the youthful striving of the UA Sports Festival in a way that underscores the danger. That he seems to be teaming up with some old friends is even worse news. But great news for us in the audience, because challenge and conflict is what makes the storytelling world turn, and the Hero Killer, with his anti-All Might agenda, promises that in spades.
- Izuku got some hype from his matches, even if the crowd was badmouthing him a bit too. He’ll have to prove himself all over again next year, when he can control his quirk better. Which he’s gonna have to do, because Recovery Girl just cut off her healing services for self-inflicted wounds. STAKES RAISED.
- D’aaawww, they have a bandage in the same spot. ADORABLE!
- It sucks that everyone knows Tokoyami’s weakness now, but seriously, couldn’t they have straight up guessed? His quirk is called Dark SHADOW. Context clues, children.
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.