「ブチ込む鉄拳!!!」 (Buchi Komu Tekken!!!)
“Drive It Home, Iron Fist!!!”
I absolutely love Shigaraki’s plan. I don’t respect it—he’s a bastard through and through—but I like what it does to the dynamic, because it (1) proves that Shigaraki is growing as an antagonist, and is going to be much more problematic going forward, and (2) he can’t lose. He’s a terrorist, right? The point of this operation isn’t to kill anyone, though that would be nice (and preferred). It’s to strike terror into the hero establishment. If even your students are not safe, if the League of Villains can find them even when you do all this, where can you be safe? No where, is the answer Shigaraki wants them to arrive at. If even the children aren’t safe, no one is. He can’t lose, though he can certainly win less.
Izuku already ensured that (in part) by taking out Muscular, and Aizawa-sensei is doing his part too. I didn’t have an expectation either way as to whether Dabi got him, but I had a big ol’ smile when it was revealed that he did not. That’s Eraser Head for you! But his bigger contribution so far is taking the students off their leashes. They don’t yet have hero licenses, so they can’t do what Izuku just did (knock out a villain) without getting in trouble. That was the point of this whole training camp. Letting the students off the chain—and agreeing to take the reprecussions of this decision—means that they all have a better chance of surviving, even if it could mean bad things for Eraser Head down the line. He has all the luck, and all of it is bad.
There’s so much to talk about—the factions within the League of Villains, Aizawa-sensei’s words to Kouta, more—but the coolest fight of the episode was undoubtedly Tetsutetsu and Kendo vs Mustard (Furushima Kiyotaka). Mustard is a young man with a huge chip on his shoulder, and exactly the kind of poisonous brat who would bring a gun to a quirk fight. Not that it isn’t (admittedly) smart, but he’s so drunk on his own sense of self-righteousness that he couldn’t take it all the way. I’ll admit that I was surprised the UA duo didn’t let the boy unload his six bullets into Tetsutetsu and then take him down when he was reloading, but that would have lacked the karmic retribution of what actually happened. Mustard’s flaw was hubris, he thought he was better than even these “elites” at UA and had anticipated everything they could do, so best that he lose by underestimating them. Kendo’s quirk isn’t flashy, but as she said, it depends on how it’s used (Tsuyu comes to mind as well—“all the abilities of a frog” doesn’t seem amazing, but she makes it work), and Tetsutetsu is a good kind of stupid. He might have a one-track mind, but he doesn’t give up where others would. It was a thrilling battle, complete with dark moments where we’re not sure how they’ll win. Bravo! HeroAca shows how it’s done again.
The episode ends with Izuku running to save Katsuki, which is a bad idea. I have a feeling that the villains will find Katsuki harder to flip than the expect, because his iron will won’t get twisted as easily as it seems, but it could still happen, and Izuku will likely be the reason why. Katsuki must be the best, but he’s not so far, and he probably won’t be in the end. A large part of his self-image hinges on his being better than Izuku, so Izuku coming to save him… No no no. Bad idea. He’d rather die, and it might be better for the world if he does rather than have Izuku save him. What’s worse, the target going out as “Kacchan” told Katsuki that Izuku is already meddling. Not good.
That will have to wait for later, though, because first Izuku and the maimed Shouji have to get past, or save, the out of control Tokoyami. Dark Shadow is unleashed, and it’s going to take some doing to put that genie back in the bottle. I guess Tokoyami is one of the ones who most needed real combat experience. His first night battle isn’t going well so far.
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, the latest post: Forbidden Island, coast to coast.