「１年A組」 (Ichi-Nen Ei-Gumi)
Even if they’re not physically there, their presence raises the standard for the whole class.
This episode, better than I could have stated it otherwise, explains what makes Izuku and Katsuki different. Comparing them to the others who have gone off and gotten into trouble on their own—Iida and Shouto against Stain, and those two plus Kirishima and Yao-momo to rescue Katsuki—reveals what makes them special. Iida is a leader, Shouto and Yao-momo are the honor students, and Kirishima is the mood maker/best friend, but what Izuku and Katsuki do is provide a moral center and driving force to the rest of the class, even if they don’t preach it. Well, Izuku preaches it, and it shows how much of an effect he has, the boy who was once quirkless and looked up to heroes, even more than the boy who now wields One For All. It’s that big beautiful brain of his that makes him to stellar, both in his plans and the reasons why he does what he does. That’s why Yao-momo took inspiration from Izuku when she came up with her plan, and why she and the others were all but quoting Izuku when they had their big damn heroes moment. He’s the emotional, moral, and philosophical core of the class, and that’s going to lead to him having an outsized impact on the next generation of heroes, just as All Might did on the last.
Katsuki is trickier. It almost feels forced, to put him on the same level as Izuku in this. Yet it’s undeniable that Katsuki is driven from within. He doesn’t worry about what others think like Yao-momo, he doesn’t angst about his family like Shouto, and while he’s not above a little revenge like Iida against Stain, he will never let it get in the way of his central goal: to be the best. He’s such an Endeavor in the making, isn’t he? Though in a way, that’s not true. He might develop into an Endeavor, if he gets bitter with age and inability to top Izuku. But for now, he is another philosophical and passionate driving force of Class 1-A. Where Izuku is selfless, Katsuki is pride. A heavenly virtue and a deadly sin. Rather poetic, don’t you think? That’s what drives 1-A, to be the best, but to also be the best in the right way.
As for the actual text of the episode, this one went down a lot smoother than the odd kilter previous episode, since it had a real cohesive arc. I especially like how Yao-momo didn’t choke and defied her adversary’s assumptions, and how Ochako has such unwavering faith in Izuku. Yeah, I’m shipping them, but that’s also some heady nakama stuff. That’s what I’m here for, here in shounen action land. (Also, this dude is gross, and hibernating Tsuyu-chan is cute.) As for Shouto passing after all, I kinda wish he woulda gotten smacked upside the head for his presumption, but it was also nice to see him triumph over those who thought they had his number. I’ll take it. It was fun. Let’s do this again next week, ne?
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