「何をしてんだよ」 (Nani o Shitendayo)
“What’s the Big Idea?”
I loved this episode. It did so much right, and it’s an exemplar of good writing in many ways. Chief of all: characters made mistakes, informed by their established personalities/histories, and without making them seem ridiculous or stupid, in a way that heightened the tension and led to growth. Most stories don’t manage this even once, and Boku no Hero Academia has done it many times over. This episode is its strengths in microcosm.
Yoarashi’s grudge against Shouto could so easily have been shallow. Endeavor is a dick, he doesn’t like Shouto because he’s Endeavor’s son, done. Most stories would have stopped there. But Yoarashi tried to look past that. When he met Shouto, he didn’t like his eyes, but he tried to be friends with him in his own loud, hamfisted way. Shouto was a dick, and thus the grudge was born. Good. Personality informed their decisions and actions, and Shouto’s past mistakes came back to haunt him, all without Yoarashi seeming petty.
That the two of them then went on to become what they hated—to let their egos and personal bullshit interefere with their jobs and heroes and role models—is a special bit of poetic justice. I loved them squabbling, and suffering for it. It was deserved, and it put them in a bind. That they then realized their mistakes and tried to make amends—that Shouto remembered Yoarashi, and felt bad, and the two of them finally worked together, without words needing be spoken—was a stirring moment. I won’t say I teared up or anything. It wasn’t that sort of scene for me. It was heartening on a more fundamental level. Here was two people, making mistakes, and then doing their best to make up for it. They might not pass the exam—they’re both in serious danger of failing, though maybe they’ll squeak by—but they’re definitely grown as people. I wonder if now, the two of them can be friends. I actually think they have quite good chemistry.
All of this happened while Izuku kept his eye on the prize. Even Shindou did, even if his pleasant face fully fell away. He proves that you don’t have to be pleasant to be a hero, you can even be a conniving sonofabitch, but you’ve gotta focus on what’s important: saving people. Izuku sometimes comes across as too perfect, so it’s good when he struggles, like when he was struggling with his ultimate move, or last episode (canonically) when he wasn’t assuaging the HUC kid’s fear. Here, though, it was electrifying to have him shout some sense back into his idiot contemporaries, and to steadfastly do the right thing. He’s not perfect, but he’s a hero through and through.
I’m totally hyped for next episode. The serious talk is finally coming? One of the greatest questions of HeroAca has always been whether Katsuki will turn into the Endeavor to Izuku’s All Might, and next episode may shed light on the answer to that question. I can’t wait!
- I love the Heroes Public Safety Commission’s plan. Rather than waiting for/depending on the singular individual (such as All Might), they’re going to build a system that’s more resilient, even if its individual parts aren’t as outstanding. That’s exactly the correct answer.
- The framing in anime can sometimes be uninspired, but it’s illustrative that this frame showed Shouto’s right side, that of ice/his mother.
- The flame spiral was damn cool, right?
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.