「むけろ一皮」 (Mukero Hitokawa)
“Stripping the Varnish”

Five more matches down, one more to go.

Since we’ve got multiple matches, let’s take these one at a time again. First:

Uraraka & Aoyama VS Thirteen-sensei (Part 2)

I ship Izuku x Ochako something fierce, so of course I loved the second half of the this battle. Blushing Uraraka is a national treasure (doesn’t matter which nation; it’s all of them), but by far the most surprising thing is DID AOYAMA JUST EXECUTE A SMART PLAN!? Holy hell, I never thought I’d see the day. It’s even more surprising than Mineta being competent—but we’ll get to that. For now, more blushing Uraraka. Hng~!

Ashido & Kaminari VS Nezu-sensei

I was looking forward to this one, because Nezu-sensei was the one I had the least knowledge of how he would fight. Turns out knowledge is a good word for it, because Nezu-sensei is smart as heck! Intelligent heroes—or villains, which he seems predisposed to, so it’s a good thing he decided to walk the path of good, eh?—are tricky to write when intelligence is their only power, because it can come off as contrived. If they said that Nezu-sensei was anticipating what Ashido and Kaminari were going to do via calculations, I would have been pissed. Humans, even ones as baka as these two, aren’t so easy to predict. (One an individual scale, at least. When you get humans into crowds, they become depressingly easy to figure out.) But since Nezu was instead using his brains to cause a chain reaction of collateral damage designed to trap the students, a common pitfall of intelligent villains was dodged. Granted, it’s still a little silly, but not as bad as it could be, and Nezu-sensei’s laughter was great. He might be a hero, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good guy, does it? Or not a nice one at least.

I love it. More Nezu-sensei pleeeease!

Kouda & Jiro VS Present Mic-sensei

This is definitely one that seemed totally hopeless through much of the bout, which, of course, is how we knew the students would win. But it was Kouda Kouji’s (Nagatsuka Takuma) time to shine, and we finally got to hear his voice! Which was oddly cute, though he always came across as cute and small despite his stocky body, so that really fit. This one ain’t complicated; it’s nice to see the shy, wallflower character get over his fear long enough to help his friend and win the day. Good on you, Kouji-kun! And on Jiro-chan for figuring out the plan that could work, using her partner’s quirk instead of her own. That’s quick thinking.

Hagakure & Shouji VS Snipe-sensei

This one was short, and at first I was confused. Snipe mentioned something about being able to sense their presence, but that’s not actually what his quirk does, is it? Otherwise he would have sensed Hagakure coming, and Shouji’s diversion wouldn’t have worked. (Also, I looked up what his quirk actually does, and it has to do with controlling his bullets.) Mostly this one seemed too easy. Hagakure could have just walked out the door when he was distracted. Might need to tweak this test for next year, teachers.

Sero & Mineta VS Midnight-sensei

I don’t get the allure of Mineta. Or rather, I understand it, but I don’t buy into it. He’s whiney and so consistently filled with resentment that, while comedic scenes work great with him (especially when he’s the butt of the joke), anything even semi-serious can go sour in a heartbeat. And his desire to become a hero so he can become popular with women . . . well. I don’t think one’s reasons for acting matter as much as the actions themselves, so someone who does something great for an utterly selfish reason is fine in my book—albeit more worrisome, because they might not keep doing the right thing, but the initial action is still fine—and at least Mineta treats women better than, say, Endeavor (domestic abuser that he is), but that doesn’t mean I like the little twerp. Without the resentment he might work, without the petty attitude towards women he might work, but with them and everything else—look, he’s not boring. That’s good! But I don’t much like the kid.

Not that I don’t give him props for the victory. Understanding Midnight-sensei well enough to trigger her sadism and draw her away from the goal was absolutely vital to winning, and baiting her to attack with her whip got the job done. It’s just that the one moment I can say I wholly liked was when he referred to Midoriya—showing that the little perv might not be the lost cause, if he sees a nerd like Izuku as cool now. At least Sero’s quick thinking wasn’t for naught, in many ways.

Next Week: Izuku & Katsuki VS All Might-sensei

They’re totally screwed. Not because they can’t beat him (though they probably can’t, if he were going all out), but because they’re not going to work together anything like well enough to deserve the win. They might still get it since All Might won’t be going all out, though. Can’t wait to see!

Random thoughts:

  • One other thing I liked about the Mineta battle: the talk about how a concrete goal helps one get past trials. “People whose end goal is to become a hero have no future,” is correct, because once you become a hero, what’s next? You’ve won. It’s why boxers so often fall off after they win a championship. They did it, they’re done—and keeping their edge after that is difficult. The lesson: choose your goals wisely. You want a goal with a future.

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 updates. At stephenwgee.com, I’ve begun blogging again! The latest post: Help Houston.




  1. https://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2036%20-%2033.jpg
    I will admit to reading the wiki about how Mineta-kun won the practical exercise, so I think this anime adaptation was a bit short, compared to the LN. Every high school class has the not-jock wanting to not be a virgin by the time they graduate. Grape-kun is that kid in U.A.’s 1-A class. He’s only got his grape balls quirk, but he knew how to use it to stop Midnight-sensei. So that’s a win in any book.

    But there were two boob-touches in this episode, one by Snipe-sensei on underage Hagakure, the other by Seta on Midnight-sensei! So two Mineta-kun thumbs up on this half-hour! And Hagakure really needs to prepare herself for in the future. If her invisibility is only when she is naked, there’s going to be a lot more touching, accidental or not, in her future.

    And my recommendation for Deku-kun? Run. Run really fast to the exit.

    1. The problem with “run really fast to the exit” is that the preview shows us that All Might is doing what most of the teachers have done – stand by it knowing the students have to come here eventually. Hopefully All Might has a plan to teach Baku that he has to stop being a lone wolf short of just folding over. Then again, Deku has to learn a little less hero worship. Of course Deku saved Baku from the slime monster and that didn’t seem to teach him anything, so…

  2. It should be made clear that All Might, great of a hero as he is, is a very bad teacher. One week of indirect instruction by Gran Torino did Izuku more good than the months he had under All Might.

    1. Yeah, All Might is another example of “just because you’re the strongest, it doesn’t make you the smartest”.

      I mean, in Naruto, a lot of people like to praise Itachi for a lot of stuff, but one thing he clearly was not was a good teacher. His way of trying to “teach” Sasuke was to scramble and screw up his mind while trying to tell Sasuke to find him when he “has the same eyes”, which Sasuke took to meaning the Mangekyo Sharingan when, at least IMO, Itachi meant “seeing” things beyond just the Clan, his own ego, and so on as he himself did.

      Or Kakashi and the way he “trained” Team Seven most of the time. The couple of times where he actually does take teaching seriously, he shows he CAN do it (Sasuke during the Chunin Exams or Naruto with elemental training), but initially, it was basically just telling the team the basics of something, then just leaving them to figure the rest out themselves, like with Tree Walking (which he didn’t even start teaching them until the middle of their first C rank mission).

      Or Jiraiya, where a majority of his “training” of Naruto in-between parts one and two consisted of simply trying to unlock more of Kurama’s chakra and Naruto controlling it, but nothing else besides just basics, even after the Kurama chakra training failed (and nearly got Jiraiya himself killed), resulting in Naruto looking really weak compared to most others in part two until he learns Sage Mode, but what really makes it look worse for Jiraiya is the fact that Akatsuki was not just a group of extremely powerful, S Rank, Kage level shinobi, but ones whose abilities were meant to directly counter Biju and Jinchuriki, so you’d think Jiraiya would make sure to train Naruto in other things as simply using more of Kurama’s chakra, especially against the likes of Itachi and Kisame, would ultimately mean nothing (especially when Kisame is finally able to showcase his abilities against Bee and would have easily owned him were it not for Ay’s last-minute intervention, and even then, Kisame escaped).

  3. In Mineta’s defense, I think he always thought Deku was cool – he just didn’t initially understand the “cart-horse” relationship that had with his being a hero.

    The thing is, Mineta is smart. He gets good grades, he reads people and situations well. And his quirk is deceptively strong, and easy to dismiss unfairly. The problem is (as Recovery Girl points out) motivation.In that sense he’s actually not all that different from Bakugo…

  4. Still not 100% no-board with Mineta, even though I do enjoy pervy characters when they’re placed well in the show. He did learn to be more confident in his strategy skills and to focus, but after the fight, he is still clearly into hot women. He at least thought to carry his teammate out of the area, which the tests’ guidelines didn’t require.

    Headphone Jack remains a kickass character. …so wait, Kouda CAN talk! And has a women’s voice! … in fact, I didn’t even consider that Kouda might not even be male from the start. I would love to see more of these students’ back-stories in more depth if this show was more about them.

    What I love about this writing is that these don’t just give you the outcomes of the tests. They show you why each student wanted to apply to UA in the first place, why they each wanted to be a hero!

    1. I don’t think there was any inference here that Koda is a girl. Lots of male anime characters have female seiyuu (Mineta, for one). I think Koda got a female seiyuu because he’s portrayed as being rather gentle and timid.

      EDIT: Turns out Koda is actually played by a guy, Nagatsuka Takuma. Ironically, his other role this season is Akira in Nana Maru San Batsu.

    1. Changing the tests so they’d be more suited to teach students how to go up against legit threatening, dangerous villains isn’t going to work when you go out of your way to create openings for them.

    2. I’ll admit, I wish another team or two had lost. I feel like the students only needing to get one of the handcuffs over any limb tilted it in their favor too much. Then again, this is the first time the teachers have done this. If they decide it’s too easy, they can just change it for next year.

  5. Aww, Aizawa did the quirk explanation for Mic. Obviously reading what Mic prepared for him, but still.
    Jirou is a really good character, no wonder she’s placed so high in the last popularity poll. Kouda turned out to be endearing, too. Mineta, on the other hand… I could maybe stand him if not for the jealousy and resentment. I wouldn’t mind if they swapped him with literally any introduced student from other classes. Yes, even Monoma.

    I feel bad for the four students that lost. Kirishima and Satou especially (15th and 12th in terms of grades, better than Aoyama for example), they were portrayed like total morons in their battle. Ashido and Kaminari at least got an excuse of not knowing where their opponent was.

    1. >Kirishima and Satou especially, they were portrayed like total morons in their battle.

      Well, you know that saying about how when all you have is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail…


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