「飯田から緑谷へ」 (Iida kara Midoriya e)
“From Iida to Midoriya”

Much of this episode is just an extension of the second half of last episode, and thus doesn’t require further discussion. The protagonists are wrestling over the fallout of the training camp attack and the abduction of Katsuki, and their decision (to go rescue him, even if they know they shouldn’t) isn’t a surprise, because, all else equal, an action shounen manga story will always go for the option that leads to more action. That was a bit pithy—in truth, good stories always opt for conflict over not-conflict, and while Iida and Yao-momo convincing the others not to go would have been unexpected, and would have led to plenty of character conflict, the conflict would have had to be resolved for them to mutually decide not to go. That was possible, but not likely. So them going was expected, and there wasn’t enough there to this decision for execution to elevate it. It it what it is.

I do think, once we’re in the most expected timeline, that having Yao-momo and Iida demand to come along is the best possible solution. The other three going off on their own would be (1) negligent on Iida and Yao-momo’s parts, and (2) wouldn’t allow for as much potential in-group conflict as having the five of them go together. It’s a much better idea, storytelling-wise. Their plan is also all predicated on the assumption that Katsuki is in the same place as the Nomu, of which there’s no promise (and I’d be more annoyed at the spoiler preview if I hadn’t already anticipated exactly this). Which is damn good, because Uraraka is correct in saying that Katsuki would be humiliated if he was saved by everyone. They lucked out in a way by heading toward a Nomu factory instead of Katsuki’s location. That’s probably the only way they’re lucky, though. Except for all the bad luck.

I did love their stop in to the Don Quijote store for disguises, which is a discount retail chain that Japanese viewers wouldn’t have had to google to know about. I’d like to say it offset the tension, but really it enhanced it, but adding a humorous absurdity in the middle of a tense infiltration. Plus it was funny. Yao-momo so cute.

Then we have Katsuki. Katsuki remains one of the most compelling characters of Boku no Hero Academia, and the one I’m most consistently impressed by. Not by his actions, but how difficult it is to make a bully character a primary protagonist without whitewashing or excusing his worst impulses. He’s still a bully, and his relationship with Izuku in particular is toxic. He’s done a lot of damage to our lovable dweeb. But he’s iron. The idea that he would go over to the League of Villains is, to us, laughable. Not impossible in the fullness of time, but it would take a lot more than a little monologuing to to turn him. Where Izuku wants to save everyone like All Might, Katsuki wants to win every time like All Might—and the “like All Might” part is important. It’s likely that All Might saved Katsuki a long time ago, by being so damn cool at an impressionable time in Katsuki’s life. What if it had been Stain instead? And what happens to the young boy who’d very much like Katsuki now, who will see Stain or Shigaraki instead of All Might? Symbols matter. Role models matter. Katsuki had a good one, and it turned his iron will toward the light. It could have gone the other way. The world is lucky it didn’t, as are we.

I do think Shigaraki is getting pretty good at understanding and manipulating people. His media war against UA and the hero establishment is going swimmingly, and against anyone else, his decision to untie Katsuki would have been smart. He accurately guessed that Katsuki was smart enough to know the odds, and by untying him, he would in some ways make the boy complicit. What he didn’t factor in was that Katsuki does not give a fuck. He knows the odds, and he doesn’t care. What was that line? “Top heroes have stories about them from their school days. Most of their stories have one thing in common: Their bodies moved before they had a chance to think.” Katsuki ain’t any different. His drive might be to win rather than to save, but his body still moves.

One final thing. First:

“Izuku … do you have to go to U.A.?”

Oof. I understand. I understand Izuku’s mom completely. No parent wants to see their child battered, hurt, and suffering, much less on a path that seems like they’ll die before their parents. I get that. Parents are scared for their children—but that’s not enough of a reason to stop. Parents want their children to be safe, but safe isn’t always the best path. I wish it were, but sometimes, to live the best life you can, it requires doing risky, dangerous things. And I don’t mean just the sort of shit Izuku gets into—they could be financially risky, emotionally risky, or even morally risky. There are many kinds of risk, and parents don’t like to see their children face any of them. But risk is a part of life. Izuku should go forward until (if) his path becomes untenable to him, not because of anyone else. Not even his mother. Though he should spend time with her. She’s going to be a wreck while he pursues this life, so some mother-son time is the least he can do.

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  1. Did you notice that Bakugou was smiling as he prepared to face off 1v8 against the villain alliance? It shows that All Might is very much his role model – All Might himself revealed that he smiles to “trick the fear inside of [him]”, so no matter the odds, he will always smile.

    Bakugou, apparently, is no different.

    1. Bit more of an edge to his smile, but you’re right. Katsuki might be heir to another part of All Might’s legacy, because Izuku is more of a determined grimace kind of guy, while Katsuki is all smiles. And teeth.

  2. Im kinda surprised you didn’t bring up the Iida’s hard punch to Deku’s jaw. The doctor bringing up the possibilty of Deku completely losing the ability to use his arms and the assembly of the Bakugo rescue squad (#AvengersAssemble)
    The very real consequences to Izuku’s self destructive heroics honestly shocked me. It also fel so fitting that Iida had such an intense to Todoroki and Dekus actions since the betrayal feels 3 fold. The still fresh guilt of having let his emotions get the better of him, the shared history the 3 share and the recent reminder of what heroics does to you.

    1. Post was getting too long, tbh. I probably would have talked about it anyway, if it weren’t for Kouta’s letter. I was preparing to talk about the lifetime of helping people that he was potentially throwing away by putting so much into rescuing people now, but then that letter came, and I found myself thinking: maybe it’s worth it. Maybe, even if he can only help a few more people, it will be worth it. Kouta will be changed for the better for the rest of his life, and will have a rest of his life. That’s worth a lot.

  3. Honestly, I fail to grasp what so many people find appealing about Bakugo. To me, as developed as he may be, he remains an egoistic bullying egomaniac obsessed with winning no matter what, and somewhere along the line this attitude is going to come around to bite him in the backside really hard, and I can’t wait for that time to come. BHA is, after all, a story about Midoriya and his road to becoming the #1 hero, not a story of him being overshadowed by his bully.

    1. All true. I don’t find Katsuki appealing, I just find him fascinating (as a character) and interesting (as a person). That’s why I always go out of my way to point out that he’s a bully that has done harm to Izuku and others, and how dangerous his worldview is. It’s just that he hasn’t cracked yet, and I find that compelling. It’s in exactly the same way a good villain is compelling—I want to see what they’ll do, even as I don’t endorse it.

    2. Depending on how many manga chapters this anime season will cover, you’ll probably see why people like Bakugo (or generally find him appealing).
      Not giving spoilers, but I too was pretty uninterested in him until things that happened during (ad shortly after) this arc.
      I really do hope the anime will get to those point in this season, it would be ideal.

      1. My best guess, it will cover to chapter 120.

        Show Spoiler ▼

  4. https://randomc.net/image/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia/Boku%20no%20Hero%20Academia%20-%2046%20-%20Large%2024.jpg
    This is in stark contrast to who Izuku is as a person. That’s why it works XD

    I honestly didn’t expect Shigaraki to grow as villain like this. In the beginning, I thought I’d always look forward instead to another villain to come and take the story to new heights. Now, not only is he a really formidable villain with a clear, good, and sinister plan for society, but he now made me also wanna find out where he comes from. To know what shaped him into the damaged-beyond-all-repair person that he is. I shouldn’t have expected any less TBH.

    1. Yes, I mentioned before the lack of regeneration or high-level healers is a mystery (plot demanded concept). We have Normu doing full limb and body regeneration yet there is no hero able to use that on others? Not to mention all the quirk users who are able to modify their bodies requiring a power similar to full healing. This is why DC and Marvel have put together your pieces together level healers and many full body repair healers not to mention healing devices. In DC and Marvel when they just don’t blow it and forget this they have to use some sort of super-powered injury or illness to cripple people. So the healing throwing drama a problem is something all hero stories fight with at times at other times it is useful to have the hero’s fully healed next episode every time.

  5. Man, Stilts. The moment you said what you said about Katsuki, I wanted to say stuff concerning that, but all the things I can think of are spoilerish. As I’m a manga reader.

    Let”s just say I love this post and you’ll be able to look back on it later on. 😀 Don’t think that’s going to be spoilerish to say that.

    Personally think that Katsuki just has a part of him that’s probably broken that’s why he’s like this all the time. I mean other than the obvious “I’m great, so pick on everyone” type of deal. Though that’s speculation as nothing has hinted that in either medium.

    Dorian S.
  6. Given the preview spoiled that the place they’ll stumble in is the Nomu factory, the area they’re in being called Kamino ward is pretty apt. Hori loves Star Wars references and BnHa is littered with them.

  7. This was another excellent episode. I love how the medium and public perception are being used, as well as Deku and his classmates all making a good point in their “should we stay or should we go?” discussion.

    As much as I’m glad we’re getting the Rescue Bakugou plan underway I definitely see the wisdom in Yaoyorozu’s and the others’ argument. On a side note, I am damn suspicious of how many top heroes are being gathered to supposedly deal with the League of Villains.

    I was downright giddy when Shigaraki said to untie Bakugou, because even with the smallest smidgen of worry, I banked on him being true to himself and BLOWING THEIR DAMN HEADS OFF. That grin at the end was fantastic, and I cannot wait to see how Team Deku contributes when the inevitable confrontation occurs.

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