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Defiant Gravity – My Hero Academia Episode 22 – Season’s Writings

Tenacity, thy name is Uraraka

Since the bombastic Bakugo first blasted his way through Midoriya’s life (and notebooks), we have all longed for the moment when the bullied would rise and take a stand. And we got that. So now let’s get wacky with things and see what happens when Bakugo fights Uraraka. Aren’t tournament arcs magic?

So yeah, Uraraka vs Bakugo. Who saw that one coming? Not I, for one. Not I. And yet I find that this is one of those situations where you don’t know what you want until you get it. Because Uraraka vs Bakugo is awesome and so totally worth every second of this episode. For more than the reasons you’d expect. But let’s start with the reasons you’d expect: Explosions. Say what you will about his personality, attitude, the way he treats people, his overall willingness to work with others, his insurmountable pride, his anger, his disrespect, his violent tendencies, that thing he does where he makes explosions in his hand when he has a dangerous idea and…what was the point of this again? Probably something about how he’s cool to watch regardless. But man does Bakugo have issues. Makes it all the more impressive that he’s still somewhat of a likeable character, doesn’t it?

Anime.

Speaking of likeable characters: Uraraka. Poor, sweet Uraraka. Poor, sweet, badass Uraraka. We certainly see a new side of her this episode and it is amazing. Actually following up on her musings of being stronger, of following in Midoriya’s footsteps (who she finds amazing by the way, shippers), the unsuspecting heroine manages to do a damn fine job of challenging Bakugo. With her strategy revolving around touching Bakugo in order to utilise her gravity manipulation, a majority of this episode is Uraraka charging headfirst at a character who can literally explode. That alone is an action worthy of respect, if you ignore the insanity of it all. Regardless, it sure does make for some interesting television. Uraraka’s simplistic assault also harks back to Midoriya and Shinso’s bout, reminding us all that there are still humans beneath the Quirks that we love so much and that sometimes raw physical abilities do matter. It is, yet again, oddly refreshing. If that’s not your speed however, Bakugo does cause so many explosions that a near perpetual smokescreen hangs over the battlefield, so that ought to make you happy.

Unfortunately for Uraraka fans however, this episode subverts the traditional success that is held by a hero’s last ditch plan and has Bakugo take the win. Though her plan was clever, taking even some professional heroes aback, the gap between her and Bakugo’s power was simply too immense. Now, to Uraraka’s credit, it did seem like quite the effort for Bakugo to destroy her impromptu meteor shower, but this fight simply serves as more proof that power simply wins. As pointed out by Eraser Head not too long ago, most UA challenges gear towards the physical, placing all of those with less combat oriented Quirks at a severe disadvantage. Though this arc has brought this imbalance into the spotlight, it has done little to disprove it. Not one of the weaker, yet smarter, participants have bested their physically stronger opponents, having at best put up an entertaining fight. Which is a little sad. Though it would be even sadder if it wasn’t so cool to watch.

An unpleasant, burning sensation

Turning back to the conflict of the episode, Bakugo once again presents a more interesting side to his character. Painted as a villain by everyone from Tsu to some random pro hero, Bakugo goes all out against Uraraka. Like, all out. Explosions everywhere. And whilst trying to explode a girl as peppy and sweet as Uraraka seems villainous, it is actually a strangely powerful sign of respect from Bakugo. As explained by a rather fed up Eraser Head, going easy on an opponent is not only a sign of disrespect, but a sign of short sightedness and stupidity. In holding nothing back, Bakugo silently admits that Uraraka is a serious threat and a worthy opponent, something he failed to do once before. Though his fight may have been against Midoriya back in the bomb retrieval test, Bakugo certainly remembers that it was Uraraka who actually cinched the victory that day. And it’s that level of detail and consistency that I appreciate about this series. Taking moments that are spectacles in and of themselves and making them progress the plot, removing any traces of guilt from enjoying the simplicity of a really cool explosion.

The abyss gazes back…

With a dejected Uraraka putting on her bravest face for Midoriya, an angry Bakugo blaming Uraraka’s strategy on Midoriya and Endeavour making a new enemy in Midoriya, the next episode is pretty well geared to return to focus to Midoriya. And Todoroki. With the aforementioned Endeavour’s dialogue providing a nice opportunity for Midoriya to stand up to the number two hero and call him out for his terrible treatment of Todoroki, we are also assured that this upcoming bout will carry far more weight than simply victory and defeat. That and it’s a satisfying burn on Endeavour. At least as satisfying it can be just short of punching Endeavour in his stupid on fire face. I hope Todoroki eventually does that. I mean, in reality I hope he proves himself stronger as a person an ultimately stops clutching the rage he holds for Endeavour, realising that his father holds no true power over the hero he is already on the path to becoming and that said so called “professional hero” is so hell bent on being the best, yet subconsciously accepting of the fact that he is not the best, that his name is Endeavour, thereby proving the innate weakness present within him. But a punch in the face would be fun too.

It’s fine now. Why? Because My Hero Academia is on Crunchyroll

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