「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!
- 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.