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Grip of the Grape – My Hero Academia Episode 36 – Season’s Writings

Uraraka: Fighter Mode

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Exams would be so much more interesting if they just gave students superpowers. Who needs logical thinking and problem solving skills when you can just fly under your own power? Or bend water to your whim? Well…it turns out those things are actually vitally important to surviving in the big wide world, so everybody. But I do not rescind my comment about the powers…as long as I can get in on that evolutionary action. Also, My Hero is still going strong…so that’s neat and far more relevant.

With Yaoyorozu coming into her own last episode, there is a whole lot of catch up needed if we ever want to get to Midoriya vs Bakugo vs All Might (and yes I meant to include all of those versi). So we find ourselves in somewhat of a lightning round situation as the remainder of Class 1-A blast through their practical exams. Definite care was given to some students over others, but the overall result provides a series of nifty vignettes that chip a little of the mystery away from the faces we’ve seen for nigh on thirty six episodes. Case in point: Koji Koda. Despite possessing the ability to talk to animals, this is episode is literally the first time we ever hear him utter a sound. That being said (irony not intended), the Koda portion of this ex(am)travaganza is not about having him pipe up, but rather him coming to understand how shirking one’s burden merely shifts it to another’s shoulders. It’s a swift cross-section of anime to be sure, but his acknowledgment of Jiro’s tenacity in the face of Present Mic is sweet and gives that triumphant adrenaline kick we all expect from Shonen series.

Taking the “pal” out of Principal

Speaking of triumph, Mineta of all people manages to steal the show this time around. Paired of with Midnight, his dream woman (due to her being an actual woman…who puts people to sleep), the oft chided pervert is forced to confront his own inner weakness and come to terms with why he wants to be a hero in the first place. Recovery Girl drives this point home, noting in her musings that those whose goal is to simply become a hero have no future. After all, what would they do when they become one? If they only care about the status itself, would they go above and beyond to help people? Would they risk their life to spare another? Mineta certainly hasn’t presented himself with the same drive as his peers, even when compared to Uraraka’s more personal reason of making money for her family. Still, a brief flashback and a panicked monologue from Mineta reveal a simple desire to be popular, to have people like him. Does he go about this dream in a polite way? Hell no, he’s a creep most of the time and seems to exclusively drive away the girls he so longs to be loved by. Which is a whole separate can of worms that requires far much more soul searching than this episode had time for. Still, a step was made in the right direction.

Though he opened bemoaning his fate as the one Midnight didn’t knock unconscious, Sero instead taking a napping place on the 18+ Only Hero, Mineta ended his exam with the respect of his peers and teachers. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t as grandiose as all that, but people were certainly impressed when Mineta managed to lure Midnight into a trap and successfully pass the exam, even “saving” Sero in the process. Ol’ Grape Juice himself even figured out his own personal logic was 180 degrees wrong and that his idols are not cool because they’re heroes, they’re heroes because they’re cool. Though certainly a positive message of self belief, it still carries with it the reminder that heroes are more than their own person and stand as a goal that many strive towards. Lest we forget that Stain was a huge proponent of heroes…in his own twisted way. And with that in mind, I’m a little happier with Mineta’s goal of being popular with ladies…as long as he stops being a creepazoid.

Sweet and Sound

In the scramble to push through the multitude of exams laid out before us, I would like to take two seconds to note that not every student of Class 1-A has succeeded in their attempts. That is to say that only Ashido, Kaminari, Kirishima and Sato have been bested by the teachers. The powerhouse duo of Kirishima and Sato seemed to present the possibility that not all students would pass these exams, their failure occurring pretty early in the rotation. However, victories abound and even the least expected duos have pulled out a victory. Even Ashido and Kaminari’s loss lacked the same message as the previous, focusing more on how devious Principal Nezu is than how the students could have overcome their own personal flaws. Yes, it was fun seeing Nezu flip his proverbial top and reveal his malicious tendencies (and Quirk), but it does seem a skosh unfair to use Ashido and Kaminari as means to that end. Again, Mineta of all people received a heroic moment. Koda, a character who has never spoken commanded an army of bugs to shut Present Mic up. Aoyama…helped Uraraka. Although…maybe this all goes to show just how far behind these four students are. I mean, Kaminari can’t use his power without hurting himself after a point, something Midoriya was scolded for. Okay, I’ve changed my own mind on this situation. I still feel bad for the kids, but their losses are not unfounded.

Every dog has his day

Though very much another episode speeding towards Midoriya and Bakugo’s return to focus, there is a great deal to take away from the snippets provided. Even characters presented as jokes hold hidden depths that, in the right light, make them a compelling force to watch. A Pro Hero who can lull anybody to sleep was bested by a piece of tape and some sticky balls. The actions of a boy who can create lightning and a girl who produces acid were quashed by a rodent drinking tea. Bugs toppled sound waves capable of rupturing eardrums. Anime found a way to make us feel panicked about seeing an invisible girl. Strange circumstances that arise when the minuscule details that support and contribute to them feel real and important. Case in point: Present Mic’s Quirk description being handled by Eraserhead. An overall pointless moment that expresses the pedantic heart of this series that beats ever strong…give or take a beat.

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

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