They say you should never meet your heroes. Something about expectations and the improbability of meeting them. Still, I doubt the people who spout such rhetoric ever took into account actual heroes. Like, superheroes. Although, if you ever did meet a superhero, chances are you are either in life threatening peril or are a bad guy…so the whole never meeting thing may still apply. You know what, ignore me. I no longer remember the point I was trying to make and am 90% sure I just confused myself…All Might is pretty cool though, right?
Since time began turning in the world of My Hero Academia, Bakugo and Midoriya have been on shaky ground. And by shaky ground, I mean a minefield where every mine is actually ten mines and also the mines hate you. Despite multiple attempts from Midoriya to repair their shattered relationship, Bakugo is a perpetual source of ire and rage, culminating in the duo being paired off in this exam. One of those sink or swim manoeuvres. To nobody’s surprise, the former is a lot more prevalent than the latter and a bulk of this episode is devoted to Midoriya slamming his head against the ever-vitriolic wall that is Bakugo. Even simple attempts to consolidate their plan to best All Might are met with stubborn pride and multiple threats of death, as is Bakugo’s MO. The frustration of this is scaled up somewhat this time around, as the self-destructive nature of ignoring advice threatens to harm more than Bakugo himself. Even so, this foolhardy nature is complimented somewhat, cited as the reason Bakugo has managed to make it this far, despite the opinions of others. The negative, screaming opinions of others.
For what it’s worth, My Hero has never sought to make Bakugo an unforgiving villain. From day dot, we have seen how his brash nature belies his analytical skills and his unyielding fury conceals his actually heroic heart. This time around, we see Bakugo’s hatred for Midoriya continue to burn both students. For Midoriya, having the boy he idolised as unbeatable despise him hurts him. For Bakugo, seeing the boy he always marked as useless surpass him is a crack in his very identity. Though every child believes the hero always beats the villain and saves the day, Bakugo holds the belief that said hero is him…and only him. Even the simple act of accepting help is tantamount to forgoing his principle. Ironically, as stated by Midoriya, as his refusal to win with assistance is bound to result in loss. The confusion of this probably leads to at least a portion of Bakugo’s indiscriminate fury, especially when forced to admit Midoriya is right. Still, if even their begrudging teamwork is enough to stun All Might, albeit momentarily, I shudder to imagine the frightful headway they could make together.
Speaking of All Might, holy crap are we lucky he’s a good guy. Taking a leaf out of Iida’s book of playing the villain in an exam, the Number One Hero showcases just how far above the rest of the cast he is in terms of raw power. With a single punch, he strips the concrete from the ground, decimating an entire city street. Did I mention the punch was directed straight forward? As in, the wind pressure alone did that damage. Sure we’ve seen his frightening might before, but with even a shade of antagonism it becomes terrifying. Moreover, elements of Midoriya’s One For All usage shine through, with All Might showcasing just how fast physical power allows one to move. Hint: It’s very fast. Combine this with tactical thinking and we are reminded once more why All Might is the Symbol of Peace and and idol of people with personalities and issues as multitudinous as Bakugo and Midoriya, though their reasons certainly differ.
As part of his establishing character moments, we witness the extent of Midoriya’s hero worship tendencies. Born Quirkless, every ability was amazing and every hero an impossible dream. However, none were as important as All Might. The number one unobtainable goal. The trouble in this arises this episode, in Recovery Girl’s observation that Midoriya still idolises All Might. Even after learning of the various ways in which he is a person with flaws all his own, like his injuries or shortcomings as a teacher, Midoriya’s fanboy admiration of All Might has never wavered. So naturally the guy thinks the only way to pass the exam is run. Bakugo, on the other hand, admires All Might with one slight twist: He wants to beat him. To the self-proclaimed number one, All Might is a trial that he must destroy. Certainly a more violent interpretation of idolisation, but valid in its own way. It also stands as yet another reason why Bakugo and Midoriya are so inherently different, despite their similarities. Must make it burn all the hotter when Bakugo finds himself lagging behind his old pal Deku.
Internal conflict and development aside, seeing two holders of One For All clash, for even a single second, was a pretty satisfying course of events. Heck, seeing Bakugo go all out against a hero we don’t doubt can survive an explosion or two is awesomely freeing. That being said, despite the top level billing of this final exam, the action carried a little less weight than the fights of the Sports Festival. There was just so much more behind Midoriya and Bakugo fighting Todoroki and Uraraka, respectively, that leave this bout somewhat in the dust. It is still certainly a situation to remember, but moreso for the baggage that is carried in than the resolution carried out.
And thus closes another chapter of UA exams, the students made stronger for the experience and painfully aware of their shortcomings all at once. Some surprised us, some lived up to our expectations and others really did nothing of consequence. Still, in their own ways, they rounded out Class 1-A a little and reminded us that a world exists outside of Midoriya’s purview…before reminding us that Midoriya is still very much the main character. It’s a give and take, really. Speaking of, the episodes to come are sure to give us a few new villains to worry about, given who their idol is. Let’s just hope they don’t take any of the cast away from us. Except maybe…hmmm. I was going to make a joke about who I wouldn’t mind losing, but I’m actually quite fond of everyone. Imagine that.
It’s fine now. Why? Because My Hero Academia is on Crunchyroll