「ビッグ3のサンイーター」 (Biggu 3 no San’iitaa)
“Suneater of the Big Three”
A bromance for the ages, five ways.
For all the last two episodes had issues with slow pacing, this one was awesome! What I love so often about Horikoshi-sensei’s writing is that he presents heroes and villains as mirrors of each other. Sometimes fun-house mirrors, nearly inversions, but always there’s a link between them that’s deeper than something as simple as “they have the same powers” or “they have opposite powers.” Naw. Horikoshi-sensei don’t go in for anything so shallow. Take here, where the mirroring has little to do with quirks, and everything to do with relationships.
On one side we have Tamaki, and his relationship with Mirio. The tricky thing is that we’re coming late into these characters’ stories, after they’ve had many of their trials and tribulations, and trying to get the pay off like we’ve been there the whole time. Certainly we don’t get it to that level, but it’s admirable how much their relationship is fleshed out in this single episode—probably because everything we see in flashbacks here rings so true to the characters we’ve seen so far. And it feels right, yeah? Like when Mirio says that he can do his best because Tamaki is there, because Tamaki doesn’t run away even when he gets nervous. It’s true, and seeing that little courage celebrated is uplifting. Mirio really is the sun, and, slash-fic jokes aside, Tamaki is one helluva Suneater.
Then take the three thugs. They would seem to be a good match for Tamaki, especially once Tabe woke up, because being able to eat his food manifests is a bad matchup. Add on their teamwork, and the trio is a mirror image of Tamaki’s story less in their quirks, and more in their bonds. It’s the trio’s bonds that allows them to fight even when their future is utterly weak, just as it is Tamaki’s bonds with Mirio that allow the emotionally weak hero to stand up and fight. So it is a good bit of poetic justice that bonds is what causes the thugs to lose, and Suneater to stand triumphant at the end.
The blow-by-blow fight was great, such as when Tamaki ate the crystals to manifest their power. But best for me was how Tamaki won by exploiting their bonds. Not very heroic, eh? But effective, because as he aptly noted, you can’t eat your friends. And if anyone would know the strength of bonds, it would be Tamaki, right? That’s why “bonds” is the theme of this episode, and how Horikoshi-sensei managed to execute it so well without even needing Mirio to be there. Mirio’s effect on Tamaki was more than enough. Hopefully the next episode, starring Red Riot, will deliver a similarly thematic (and action-packed) payload.
- Mirio’s costume is made from his own hair? Effective, but gross.