You know how it’s smart post writing to sort of keep the punchline of your post until the latter half? Or you know, until at least the second paragraph so people can’t just know your entire thoughts from the little snippets in search engines or in reader and have to click on your actual post to find out? It’s sort of elementary good post writing basics. Anyways, I loved this episode. I can’t even quite explain why (spoilers for the rest of this posts there) but I enjoyed it tremendously. Let’s see if Crow is better at this building suspense thing than I am!
I’ve seen bloggers able to do that! Let’s see if I can pretend… I loved it, too, but I won’t say why until later. How’s that? I’m building mystery!
Of course, spoilers for episode 84 (Deky vs. Gentle Criminal) of My Hero Academia. That’s the one in which Deku and Gentle Criminal meet for the first time, in case you’re reading this way into the future or something.
Let me just start by laying out the summary of the episode. It’s just about time to put on the show for the school festival and last minute preparations, and nerves abound in class-1. Everyone has gotten into the spirit of things and is desperate to put on a great show. Deku and Aoyama realize that the rope which Deku was going to use to hoist Aoyama above the audience and make him float around is a bit worn, and they worry it could be dangerous. So Deku resolves to go buy one in the morning right before show time.
So far it’s pretty standard festival episode stuff, but it’s charming. They manage to really bring the anxiety and excitement of impending performance across and I was getting psyched for the show right along with those kids.
First mystery reveal: That’s part of what I loved about this episode!
In the morning, Deku darts out to the closest hardware store for the rope, but runs into Gentle just as he is leaving the small café next door. Surprisingly, both of them recognize each other and a confrontation ensued in which we finally get a glimpse at both Gentle’s quirk and his plan! Did I leave anything important out?
Nope! Those are the important details! I also thought it was funny that Deku’s knowledge of Gold Tips Imperial got Gentle Criminal so excited he started to talk to Deku! It was a little detail, but I liked it.
Like I said, the first part of the episode was really sweet. The show did some heavy duty heartstring tugging by throwing in some Eri flashbacks. It was also just fun seeing how everyone dealt with the upcoming show and the pressure of performing in their own way. However, one of my favourite parts was actually Deku getting his gloves.
Some of you may remember that Deku had commissioned some extra accessories from Mei and it seems those were gloves. First of all, Mei is one of my favourite characters so of course I’m going to enjoy any scene she’s in, but the gloves themselves were just really cool. I mean they looked great, I understood exactly what they did, had a vague idea how it could work and it just made a whole lot of sense with Deku’s powers. Practical fantasy is awesome!
More Mei is always better. If I were Deku, I’d be working with her and some of the business course students to build relationships. I don’t care if Mei’s babies blow up as often as they work (or more?). She’s talented and creative. If I were a her, those are exactly the skills I want in a support staff!
The meatier part of the episode is certainly the Deku and Gentle meeting. Their initial interaction was actually very funny and edited in a way that makes us think Gentle and Deku are really very similar. Like Deku could have become a criminal just like Gentle is he had taken a different path.
It’s hard to say without seeing how this all plays out. It’ll come down to Gentle Criminal’s motivations, I think, and exactly what he plans to do once he gets to the school. But that initial interaction was wonderfully awkward on both sides — it’s like they both knew the conversation was wrong, but they couldn’t escape!
I personally don’t think this (that Deku and Gentle are counterparts). Yes, Gentle and Deku do have some similarities in the way they analyze things and in certain aspects of their demeanor, but I think they are fundamentally different. I also think that considering his personality, a disgruntled and disillusioned Deku who turns his back on heroes is more likely to become Stain than Gentle…. Stain was a good character.
Stain was an amazing character! And that’s why I need to see Gentle Criminal’s motivation. If it’s as ideological as Deku, he might go as dark. But then, with Deku’s power, he’s more likely to be the blunt object that was Stain than something more refined. I just argued myself in such a tight circle that I got dizzy.
Let me just say it right now, Elasticity has got to be one of the best quirks ever. Like not the most powerful or anything, although it seems like it could be very powerful, and it’s also really adaptable and can be used in so many different ways. The idea that you can rubberize air itself holds so much potential. Also more than a bit of fringe horror as Gentle could easily encase someone in a cube of rubber air and asphyxiate them if he was a more violent type.
But beyond the practical considerations of this power there’s the anime design considerations. It’s fun to animate and watch things bounce around. It creates a lot of dynamic fast movement scenes and the wobbly scenery it leaves behind is also visually interesting and brings a bit of levity to fight scenes. It’s a good power that’s easy to explain. It’s a wonder it took them this long to use it.
It’s like they kept his power a mystery to build suspense! And in fact, I liked that power so much it’s my next to last reason I liked this episode so much — for exactly the reasons you just explained. Interesting concept with a visually exciting execution. Perfect for anime!
It’s possible that I missed something. Not to mention that I’m not sure to what extent Gentle is a reliable narrator, if at all, but from what I gathered Gentle’s plan is to simply sneak into the festival, for the views. Like those jerks that disturb people at work because they think it will make for good clickbait on YouTube. Putting aside the means for a second, the base motivation here seems to be just personal fame. And that’s not bad at all, in fact it’s kind of cool. After all those anti heroes or broken villains with elaborate plans and deep Freudian excuses, it’s sort of refreshing to have an antagonist that just sort of a shallow jerk. And the entire conflict comes simply from the fact that he’s selfish and not very empathic. That’s not a bad character type and it’s one that My Hero Academia hasn’t used so far, so I like it. The slight issue I’m having is that it sort of clashes with how Gentle has been presented up until now. He always seemed more clueless than self-centered and for some reason, I convinced myself that he had a reason for his actions beyond fame. This is why I’m not entirely sure if I missed something. What do you think, Crow?
I don’t think you missed anything; or if you did, we missed the same thing. I have a sense that the narrative is keeping the full explanation ambiguous to keep us interested, and to be honest, it’s working with me. I mean, can the explanation really be as simple as he’s just a jerk? Or is there something more? I think there’s more to La Brava than we’ve seen so far, but that’s no great insight — the cliff hanger in this episode was her about to use her Quirk, and there’s some hesitation on her part and on Gentle Criminal’s to use it.
And let’s go back to the means. Sneaking into the school festival sounds harmless enough, but if Gentle is caught, the event will probably be canceled, which would be heartbreaking for all the kids that poured their heart into it and were looking forward to it. But it goes way beyond that, it takes away the symbol, the “everything is going to be ok” message that festival stood for. It’s another bit of darkness encroaching on the light.
Much worse would be if he actually got away with it and the festival went off without a hitch with Gentle in attendance. Not only would posting the video afterwards destroy the message as well, but it would send a signal that UA security can be breached. It would announce loud and clear that no one is safe anywhere. That would truly be a disaster.
It’s like a malicious attacker getting into a company’s computer network. It’s bad enough for the incursion to work, only to be detected and repulsed by the company’s security team. It’s quite another to find out days, weeks, or months later that the breach happened — and the security team wasn’t good enough to even realize it.
Like I said, I really liked this episode. I’m still not sure why. And I can’t wait to catch up with Deku and Gentle next week. I wonder if we’ll get to see La Brava’s quirk. Do you want to guess what it is, Crow?
For an instant, I wondered if it was some kind of limited time jump, but with severe consequences for the quirk user. That’s probably because of some of the audio books I’ve listened to recently! Other than that, my second guess would be that she has the ability to capture and arrest movement with her camera; but then, why wouldn’t she use that more often? Do you have a guess?
I also think it’s camera related but I really don’t know what it is. I briefly thought she may have the power to trap people within the video, maybe for a limited amount of time. This would have the potential for a very interesting fantasy episode if the characters ever put on a play or something…
I think one of the things that I liked most about the episode was that the fight reminded me so much of the first three seasons. Deku isn’t zipping around with an Eri power pack (or limiter). He isn’t taking on a villain who can crush city blocks. He’s taking on a criminal who has some skills, but who’s unlikely to crush a city. Ever escalating stakes are fun for a while, but they have diminishing returns. A return of an earlier form is a pleasant break, I think.