OP2: 「Our」 by (Eve)
「極々、地獄」 (Gokukoku, Jigoku)
Recap episodes are an occupational hazard with Boku no Hero Academia (as with virtually every long-running shounen). Starting episodes with a recap as well, unfortunately. This, oddly, was a hybrid of the two – half-recap episode, half new material. I’m going to guess that pacing drove that decision, and I won’t make too big a deal about it – as recaps go this wasn’t badly done. But it is sort of irritating just the same. At least the new OP and ED are first-rate (I especially liked the latter).
All of Izuku’s narration in the A-part can be boiled down to “things are really bad”. A lot of stuff did actually go right, of course. A bunch of high-level baddies from both the Paranormal Liberation Front and the League captured. A shit-ton of zaku as well (16,929 to be precise). And the real Garaku-sensei. On the other hand, a lot of heroes (including Midnight, seemingly) lost their lives on the battlefield. And even more civilians, of course, as the devastation Shigaraki and Gigantomachia rained down on the city was widespread and deadly. As for the students, their involvement in the affair is largely covered up in the official reports.
In the end, though, the battlefield is as much public opinion as anything else. All For One is a big picture kind of guy, someone who plays the long game. Schadenfreude is his middle name – the angst of the masses fuels his power and drives his strategic thinking. The faith of the public in heroes is badly shaken – heroes generally, and specific heroes too. Best Jeanist may be alive but Hawks still killed Twice in Dabi’s snuff film. And the allegations against Endeavor were especially effective, mainly because he never really won the public trust – much less affection – in the first place. And with good reason, too. All Might may have been the ultimate hero, but even his reputation takes a hit – where was he, after all, as the country was being ravaged in this war?
The most powerful moment of the episode, I thought, was when Ochaco saw that nameless (if we know his name, I’ve forgotten it) punch the clock right in the middle of the disaster. “It’s hopeless. I’ve got to find another line of work.” That would be music to AFO’s ears. For an idealistic kid like Ochaco, forced to confront powerful darkness far earlier than she should have, what kind of impact does such a thing have? You get the sense she’s about to take a more important role in the story – Deku certainly needs her more than ever – but the faith of all the students is being tested as never before.
It’s pretty much official now that All For One is back in the saddle. Shigaraki has proved a useful vessel, and even if as AFO says things didn’t turn out exactly as he expected, the cards havre still fallen favorably for him. He’s ready to enter the fray in his real body again, and ready to use the nomus to make that happen. That puts the loyalties of all those who supported Shigaraki to the test – what are they in this for? That’s a question being asked of both sides at this moment – and neither can defer the answer for much longer.
ED2: 「Kitakaze」 (キタカゼ) by (SIX LOUNGE)