「転転転!」 (Ten Ten Ten!)
“What a Twist!”
This episode felt big. Really big. So much happened in it, and they were big events with huge ramifications. Even the littlest tactical moves made a huge difference, like Shouji getting duped by the duplicates, and Aoyama’s attack only managing to shake loose one. There were many a hero moment, but in the end one of the students was still taken away, and now we know better what path this show will go. (Anime-only viewers will, that is. Manga readers knew a while ago.)
Good drama could have been made out of either Bakugou being rescued or him being taken, but I think I prefer this one. The former would have centered on a lot of relationship angst as the fractures between Izuku and Katsuki only grew. This is more unpredictable. I still think Katsuki won’t flip as easily as the League of Villains thinks he will, but he still might, and they’ve structured events so that they win no matter what. Which brings me to another interesting angle of this episode: the media.
This show is showing some of the dangers and difficulties of the media that we’re experiencing in real life as we speak. A free media has an opportunity to report on the events of the day truthfully and fully, because an informed populace is better equipped to hold its leaders accountable … or that’s the idea, at least. And I still think that’s largely true, but there are wrinkles in it that can lead to problems. Take the similarity between villains and mass shooters. By reporting on mass shooters—at least in the US, where we have far, far, far, far too many of them—the media has given these doomed murderers a measure of notoriety, and that can lead to copycats. It depends on how you do it, though. If you center the victims, you deprive the murderer of his 15 minutes of fame. But if you center the killer … and the media in Boku no Hero Academia appears to be centering the League of Villains as they talk about the Vanguard Action Squad and other exciting names. Not only that, the talking heads are giving Shigaraki exactly what he wants—which is what always happens when a society reacts with fear or anger to a terrorist incident. That’s what they want. That’s the point. Yet it’s still the media’s duty to report on what’s happened. These are the very issues media organizations in real life are struggling with, lest they inadvertently harm society or create more mass murderers or serial killers. At least in HeroAca the media get credit for trying to avoid reporting on Stain’s philosophy, before social media (and gaudy vendors) were used to circumvent them.
Another big event that really got me thinking was Katsuki’s last line before he was dragged into the portal. “Don’t come, Deku!” Why did he say that? Because of his pride? Because it’s a habit? Because of his frustration with and hatred for Deku? Or because he’s a smart boy, and he knows that Dabi has a hand around his neck and he’s going into that portal whether he wants to or not, and that Deku doesn’t need to be in danger too? Or, just that Deku would be of no use, beat up as he was. I won’t place a bet on any one of them, because I suspect it’s a combination of several. Whatever the case, it got me thinking. That ambiguity is another reason Katsuki is so fascinating.
The episode sped on ahead after the end of the incident, which is what made the episode feel so big. And it ended with Kirishima giving Izuku a devil of a choice. I think Kirishima mostly wants to go rescue Katsuki because he wants to satisfy himself, when what they really should really do is let the pro heroes handle it, because they’re better at it than these half-trained kids, and because I doubt they have a plan to stop the guy who can just teleport Katsuki and the others away if he so desires. That’s kind of important. (I’d be barking that at Kirishima’s face if I was there.) But offering that option to Izuku when he’s barely functional and still hasn’t called his mom to talk to her is kind of cruel. Kirishima needs to do some growing up himself, because if he were more of a man, he would focus on getting better instead of potentially throwing away his potential here, and on not laying this moral weight on Izuku’s shoulders. The correct choice is clear. I just don’t know which on Izuku will choose.
- Present Mic talked about a traitor, and maybe. Maybe. I wouldn’t be surprised if All For One can track them down without something as tawrdy as an informant. It seems like just the kind of bullshit quirk that man would have.
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