「てめェの”個性”の話だ」 (Temee no “Kosei” no Hanashida)
“A Talk About Your Quirk”

This is huge. Everything is shifting. Whether it will be for better or worse will be determined by the next few moves.

I’m not surprised that Katsuki, Shouto, and Yoarashi didn’t pass. They didn’t deserve it. What I didn’t expect was that they will be able to get their provisional licenses soon anyway, without having to take the exam all over again. On the one hand, I’m kind of disappointed. It feels like they should suffer more for their failure, to learn. On the other hand though—and this is the larger hand, the more I think about it—I’m glad. Supremely so. Not only because a retake would have been tedious storytelling-wise, and its outcome would have been all but preordained (and thus, useless and a waste of time), but it also reaffirms the forward-looking and fundamentally kind worldview of Boku no Hero Academia. This is the story about the powerless nerd who becomes the new #1 hero. It’s a world where passion is rewarded, hard work is rewarded, and people who give it their all, even if they screw up, are rewarded for their attempt. Having Shouto and Yoarashi do all that and be discarded would have felt callous and cruel. Having them be nurtured into even greater heroes feels life-affirming. And Katsuki … I have a feeling the association wants to have a hand in guiding his development. He has so much potential, and he’s not so proud as to turn down a second chance, but he definitely needs work. I think this honey will capture and guide Katsuki’s potential far better than vinegar ever would.

Toga, though. That’s another one I should have expected, but did not. Now it makes sense why “Cammie” could turn into Ochako, and why she was so fanatically focused on Izuku. Why create another yandere girl after Izuku when the existing one will do fine? Two is too much of a coincidence/pattern. One is just right. It’s one of those reveals that’s perfect, though, because either you figured it out ahead of time (the clues were there), or you go “Ohhhh, that makes sense!” when it’s revealed, because once again, the clues were there. Either way, bravo, and I’m super frightened for what her having a drop of Izuku’s blood means for him.

All Might’s discussion with All For One struck me as … well. It was striking. It really does feel like All For One is playing chess while All Might is playing Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. So far, All For One’s scenario is all playing out like he expected, and it doesn’t feel like All Might has the power to turn it aside. His determination was stirring, but it felt hollow, like the protestations of a child or the griping of a lone citizen without the power to effect change. The latter of which is literally true. Not that I entirely disbelieve him, though.

The key, I think, is Katsuki. I think everyone thinks they know who he is, and they’re mostly wrong. I think most people also think they know who Izuku is, and they’re mostly right. Izuku is who he seems. But Katsuki is both what he seems, and more. I think he’s the key because he’s the X factor people are incorporating into their plans, but they’re doing it wrong. I think he’ll be the one who sets things into motion so that the good guys win in the end, because there’s strength in that boy’s soul. He’s going to make an impact. And perhaps only Eraser head has him pegged correctly.

And maybe Izuku, too. It’s no surprise that Katsuki figured out how Izuku got his Quirk, with only one slight misunderstanding vis a vis All For One that makes it sound like Katsuki thinks All For One had a direct hand in transferring All Might’s power to Izuku (or maybe I misread that statement; Katsuki isn’t acting like he thinks Izuku and All Might consorted with a villain). Like I said, no surprise. Katsuki is the kind of guy who would see straight through Clark Kent’s disguise. What matters is Izuku’s response. He could lie. He could deny it. He could run away. He could even gaslight Katsuki for the rest of their lives. Some of these things could even be argued to be wise, because the secret of One For All is too great to let out into the world. Izuku was already reckless to let even a hint get out to someone he doesn’t trust fully.

But he already made that mistake, and that was the crucial piece Katsuki needed to collect all the rest. Izuku’s choice now is whether to face Katsuki head on, to accept his feelings and work through it together with him (with their fists), or to cover his own ass. I think we all know what his answer is. As I said, I think most people think they know who Izuku is, and they’re mostly right. He’ll do the right thing, and he’ll keep his faith in Katsuki, a bully who is exactly that, but also more. What remains to be seen is whether his faith will be rewarded. I have a feeling it will be, in the fullness of time, but things could get rough in the short term if Izuku doesn’t thread this needle perfectly.

Random thoughts:

  • Ochako just can’t get that boy out of her heart.

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.

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  1. Yup, confirmed. All For One will always give me chills no matter what his current circumstances are.

    I am pumped for the next episode, but more than that, I’m just plain curious. What is Katsuki looking for in this fight? Self-satisfaction? Nothing will change his current situation. Maybe he’s just looking for something that can let out all his anger. At this point, I think it’s more than anger at Izuku. This time, it’s also anger at feeling really left out like he never felt before. This is the turning point for his character. And IMO, the difference will be whether he will finally see something wrong in himself, or sink himself further into his pride due to his insecurity. In my view, this turning point is the “more” you referenced, Stilts.

  2. Kinda funny/ironic to note that somehow, in a universe filled with superpowers and professional heroes whose real identities and powers are not only put in a public register but promoted as branding, the main character still gets his version of the age-old “do i let my loved ones in on the secret of my powers or lie to them for their own protection” storyline. Talk about having your narrative cake and eating it too!

  3. So yeah. Camie is actually Tooru. I’m sure a lot of people were at least suspicious of her before the reveal, even if they didn’t read the manga ahead of time. Also, we probably should’ve seen this coming when we found out what Tooru’s quirk was, and that ANY kind of superpower can exist in this world (except playing with time). However it does bring some horrific undertones when you start to wonder what became of the REAL Camie! She only took over her identity for the exam, only 3 days ago, and she couldn’t compete, totally against her will!

  4. All in all, I’m happy with the way the anime recreated the Yoarashi-Shouto debacle.

    The previous episode ramped up Shouto’s anger and frustration with Yoarashi, while in the manga he was much calmer and his eyes and mind trying to stay focused on the task. That both paid for it here makes more sense, and sounds less like some unfortunate instances in Japanese schooling where both the bully and the bullied may be considered at fault for disrupting the class.

    The sad irony is that, ultimately, Yoarashi’s grudge against Endeavor’s line is pettier and more disqualifying for a hero career. He hates them because the hero was a dick and the hero’s son was a dick too when he tried to befriend him. Shouto hates his father because he’s a domestic abuser. The former needs a reality check (spoilers: a lot of people are jerks, you have to live with it). The latter needs a therapist. No color.

    1. Good to hear that was changed. I can’t abide by the bullied being punished too, so that woulda been annoying.

      And Yoarashi is such a kid. I agree totally that he needs a reality check, but I’m also happy because at least it makes sense he’d make this mistake. It’s good writing all around once again.

  5. And here we have it, everyone. All of Bakugo’s supposed ”character development” just got thrown into the trash by plain old jealousy. Can’t say that I’m surprised though, considering his anger issues and ”the hottest sh*t in town” attitude. But I find it hillarious in a mundane way: that the prodigy continues to be outshined by the nerd who he considered to be just a pebble on his road.This just goes to show that hard work and determination really do mean something, and that’s why I love stories like HeroAca.

    1. Wait till next episode.

      Show Spoiler ▼

    2. I haven’t read the manga, nor clicked on any spoilers, but I agree with Rislan’s first sentence. I don’t think Katsuki’s character development was thrown away, and I have a feeling the last few episodes will bear that out.

  6. “It’s no surprise that Katsuki figured out how Izuku got his Quirk, with only one slight misunderstanding vis a vis All For One that makes it sound like Katsuki thinks All For One had a direct hand in transferring All Might’s power to Izuku (or maybe I misread that statement; Katsuki isn’t acting like he thinks Izuku and All Might consorted with a villain).”
    In this case I think it’s more that All For One being able to transfer quirks makes transferring quirks a possibility, so regardless of the method it’s not unthinkable that All Might also knows how or has the ability to do the same. It was all about what was possible.

    “What matters is Izuku’s response.”
    Izuku already responded. Izuku knows Katsuki is no fool, because Izuku himself is no fool. Him telling Katsuki “And once you have the answer, what good will it do to you?” is in itself saying “You’re right”, even if Katsuki got to the same conclusion in a way not just roundabout but also pretty disrespectful of Izuku; a “don’t care what you have to say, all that matters is that you didn’t say no”.

  7. Something that was left out of the anime, for the second time, was that Stain is also in Tartarus. And from the looks of it (in the manga), not very far from AfO’s cell either.

    Take that however you will.

    1. I’m not sure how important it is that that was left out. I, for one, thought about Stain as soon as we were shown Tartarus, and remembered that he was in there too. Not showing it both avoids extraneous fluff in the episode proper, and reveals a level of trust in the viewer. Even for those who forgot Stain was in there, I don’t think they’ll be surprised to be told (reminded), so no big loss.

  8. Why the hell would you keep All For One alive? He’s basically Satan! He threw the world into six generations of darkness as the goddamn Demon King of Quirks!

    You just know that guy is going to bust out right at the end when Shigaraki needs him most.

    1. Funny thing is that it happened in real life too. A famous Mexico Mafia drug gang boss was arrested a few years (decades?) back and was put into a high-security cell with a life sentence. Expectedly, he broke out, multiple of times, was re-caught, broke out again, rinse and repeat. Mexico doesn’t have death sentence so that’s all they can do. And I think it was the same for HeroAca’s society

    2. Because they don’t know they’re in a story. Criminals don’t often break out of high security prisons in modern, highly developed first world countries, and even if you add superpowers to the equation, I suspect that’s still the case. That’s what Tartarus is for. So they don’t “know” he’s going to break out, because intend to do everything they can to hold him.

      Which leads to the other reason: laws and morals shouldn’t be abandoned for reasons of expediency. Maybe it would be best if All For One were dead, but that has to be a matter of laws. Society must try him, find him guilty, and execute him based on the laws of the land, otherwise it’s murder as well. It reminds me of what Jon Stewart once said:

      “If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.”

      Their values are being tested. If the death penalty aligns with their values, that’s fine, but they’d still need to kill him based on their laws, not some extrajudicial killing. Though, to bring it back to my first point, I don’t think this is that kind of story.

      1. I guess that’s fair. And it really does feel like My Hero is pushing the idea that the old generation’s time is passing, and now it’s up to the new kids.

        Still, he’s like if Hannibal Lecter had a hundred different superpowers on tap. Trying to keep him prisoner is going to end really, really poorly for somebody – or more likely, everybody – someday.

  9. It feels like the original character designer is back for the next episode, basing on the preview. I hope that’s true, plus I wish Yutaka Nakamura would come back to animate some parts as well.

  10. I wish you guys wouldn’t always use the characters first names in your posts, unless that’s how they are referred to in the anime. I honestly had no idea who Katsuki was, despite following this series since day 1.


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