OP5: 「Make my Story」 by Lenny Code Fiction
「編め必殺技」 (Ame Hissatsuwaza)
“Create Those Ultimate Moves”
First: new OP and ED! I like them both, but especially the ED, because it doesn’t have the huge tonal clash with the series the last ED had. Seriously, I jammed the pause button down every time that one came on, because it was almost always wholly inappopriate for what was happening in the series right prior. See the editorial I wrote on OPs and EDs a while back. I should probably revisit that sometime.
Into the meat of the episode. I find the whole ultimate moves thing a little silly, it’s one of the times when it’s more noticeable that HeroAca’s competing loyalties between the tropes of the superhero genre and having greater fidelity to reality than most other superhero stories are straining at each other. Simply put, it’s a little too tropey, when what pitching many of the same ideas in different ways would require less justification (and, crucially, less exposition and boring conversation). That said, the actual process of developing said ultimate moves is really fun, and when we consider it as the characters diving down into their strengths and building out their toolkit with powerful moves that will aid them in a variety of situations, it’s a thoroughly worthy exercise.
And the answer that Izuku ultimately arrives at is a satisfying one. He’s been imitating All Might so much that he’s made decisions without even realizing it, and that is indeed a set of shackles, as Gran Torino so rightly put it. The simple switch from using his fists to using his legs is a profound one, because while punches are usually better in a fist fight (they’re more reliable with fewer downsides), Izuku has long been developing into a more surgical version of All Might, more suited to leveraging his greater tactical affinity to apply his power at the right place in the right moment, as opposed to blasting his way through all opposition. He’s more of an aerial/agility hero, not a ground pounder, and this suits him better. It also reminds me of a paragraph from Conan O’Brien’s Commencement Address at Dartmouth back in 2011. Quote:
“Way back in the 1940s there was a very, very funny man named Jack Benny. He was a giant star, easily one of the greatest comedians of his generation. And a much younger man named Johnny Carson wanted very much to be Jack Benny. In some ways he was, but in many ways he wasn’t. He emulated Jack Benny, but his own quirks and mannerisms, along with a changing medium, pulled him in a different direction. And yet his failure to completely become his hero made him the funniest person of his generation. David Letterman wanted to be Johnny Carson, and was not, and as a result my generation of comedians wanted to be David Letterman. And none of us are. My peers and I have all missed that mark in a thousand different ways. But the point is this : It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.”
That, but with superheroes.
But perhaps my favorite part of the episode was the return of Hatsume Mei. Not just because her actions and oppai were getting all sorts of reactions out of both Izuku and Ochako, though yes, heartily enjoyed. It’s also because of the way genius, in her case, is portrayed. With Hatsume Mei, it’s not necessarily that she’s good at creating gadgets. What makes her special is that she’s intensely driven, creating even in her free time, and that she’s very comfortable with failure. It’s not her skills that make her special, it’s her worldview and mental paradigms that are pivotally different, and that’s a much better map for what makes a true innovater than any seemingly inborn “genius” skill. That kind of genius may exist, but it’s frequently useless. I know people who are better writers than me, and yet I’ve written two books and they have not, because I applied and developed my skills whereas they did not—and I also know people who are worse writers than me, but have published more than two books, the latest of which are better than mine, because they have applied and developed their skills more than I have. (A state of affairs I intend to rectify, by the way.)
All of which is to say: I don’t care how naturally good someone is. That’s nice, but it’s not especially important. What matters is what you do with it, and what makes Hatsume Mei so formidable is that she does. She does and does and does, even when she perhaps shouldn’t. She will, indeed, be a formidable name in the hero ecosystem in the future, provided that ecosystem can survive the assault from the League of Villains. We shall see.
- Oh, All Might. You’re adorable!
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: Risk Tolerance in the Creative Life.
ED6: 「ロングホープ・フィリア」 (Long Hope Philia) by Suda Masaki