It’s cold right now in Montreal and people are freaking out. As if there was anything special about February in Montreal being cold… We do that every single year. Montrealers that is. Every year we get surprised that Canada gets cold in the winter and there’s snow. And in the summer we’re whining about how hot and humid it is. Montrealers have weather blindness. And I kind of like that about us.
Also, I’ve noticed that I start my collabs with Crow with these little elevator conversations. Not sure why. I don’t do that for any of my other collabs or posts in general. Maybe it’s because Crow is always so polite that I feel compelled to ease us into things. Not sure it’s working… How are you Crow??
I’m fine! I’m riding the Ohio February temperature roller coaster. Completely normal, but like Montrealers, Ohioians completely forget weather year to year.
Actually, I thought I was following your lead in opening with the elevator chat (sans elevator, of course!). So if you prefer to dive right in, I can take it!
For the record (as if anyone couldn’t tell at a glance who’s who!) I’m bold.
I’m generally not as descriptive as Crow in my reviews. I take it for granted that most of you have seen the episode we’re about to discuss. If not, then you probably should as there will be spoilers,
Generally speaking, this week’s My Hero Academia had 2.5 parallel storylines going. I’m going to attempt to explain that. I might fail.
By number of minutes, I would say most of the episode was dedicated to the ongoing preparations for the culture festival. Jiro has been now well and truly coaxed into leading the event and we discover she also has a beautiful singing voice. Something that isn’t always true for people that have a good ear although the two often go hand in hand. I don’t always agree when anime tells me someone is a great singer but I have to give it to Kei Shindō (or whoever did the actual singing), that really was very pretty. And singing acapella is not easy at all. Props!
I loved the animation surrounding everyone’s reaction, with the sheer beauty and understated power of her voice blowing away characters like Mineta with god rays.
I also have to say that I appreciate how shy Jiro is about the whole thing. I think she really wants to perform, but she’s still not confident. I suspect that won’t last for long!
We also discovered that Bakugo is an excellent drummer….of course. Somehow that doesn’t surprise me at all. What did surprise me more, was his attitude. There was a clumsy bait and switch where they made it seem like he wouldn’t participate but ended up inspiring everyone instead. Kirishima may have been right in principle. There are more important things to worry about than a festival… on paper. But these are all kids that have gone through some pretty difficult times and everyone can use a bit of celebration now and then. Still it’s a nice little subversion that Baku would be the one to pick up on that and it’s in line with how they’ve been evolving the character this season.
I think it’s good therapy for him, too! It’s a very constructive outlet for his anger.
All in all, the festival is a pleasant distraction in the narrative as well. It’s nice to see the kids acting as kids again and getting excited over their performances. I hope we get the chance to actually see the show but I have a feeling it may never come to pass.
Maybe whoever is planning an attack (I see you’re about to talk about the one we know about in a second!) will be so blown away by their performance that he’ll take a moment to watch?
The second thread is sort of ¾ of a story lately. It’s the establishing arc of Gentle and La Brava. I still really like these two, although we didn’t get the chance to see that much of them. I still get the same `vibe from them. Mostly harmless and fairly likable comedy relief villains. Almost like a team rocket. But their storyline does bring a few interesting things to the foreground.
Most obviously, they are trying to become something analogous to YouTube stars, which grounds the universe of My Hero Academia is a much more topical and self-aware atmosphere than it’s been up until now. These sort of tongue in cheek narratives usually don’t work well with the simplistic naivité that has been part of the charm of My Hero Academia, and I wonder how they will reconcile it.
If they don’t, it might end up seeming annoying and disingenuous. But if they pull it off, this could be a mildly meta turn in the narrative that pushes the show towards the maturity it seems to be reaching for.
Meta is exactly the word I thought during this sequence. Much more obvious in reflecting our society back at us!
What captured my attention though, was a line spoken by Gentle in one of the videos. “It was a time when the line between heroes and villains was still vague”. That sentiment is what fascinates me most about My Hero Academia and a theme I’ve been longing to explore through this show since the first episode. O.k… maybe the 3rd.
This is why I’m unhappy when they effortlessly redeem unlikable heroes or make villains do an unforgivable act just to solidify the black and white. I like grey zones and I like that in it’s optimistic and slightly innocent way, My Hero Academia had started to build up this universe where actual bad people could be the good guys and vice versa. It was something very unique about the series and I think it would be a loss if they gave up on that.
Gentle and La Brava exist in that gray area. Like Stain, from their perspective they’re trying to do something good, like expose the corrupt executives at the convenience store chain. But — and this goes back to the meta aspect — they reviewed their view YouTube counts and comments and decided they had to do something a bit more radical.
I have to say I laughed when one of the comments said to show more La Brava. Talk about feeling authentic!
Also — did you notice how La Brava called the League of Villains “wicked?” Their society may only have the vocabulary to describe the black and white villain/hero paradigm, but even the villain La Brava judges the League of Villains!
As for the .5, it’s really two .25s. Two scenes really. The first is Midoriya continuing to struggle with mastering One for All. That scene was some grade A fanservice showing us how far Deku has gone and logically laying out his evolution as a hero and character. I got a little misty eyed. It was good stuff and seamlessly integrated into the narrative. Generally speaking, I enjoy when the series explains quirks in down to earth ways. Showing the math and physics behind it all.
Given the show’s physics, I thought it was realistic, too. Very cool moments.
As an aside, All-Might has been looking quite healthy lately. He seems to have bulked up a bit too. Seems retirement is treating him well.
Coughing up less blood as well. That’s got to help his constitution!
She was so adorable! I really hope she had a good time (and doesn’t injure or maim anyone!). She deserves some fun.