Anime Season's Writings

Burn Out – My Hero Academia (Episode Forty-One) – Season’s Writings

Stalks his prey in the night

Work it, make it and do it, for that makes us harder, makes us better and, if that weren’t enough, faster and stronger too. Wise, wise words, once spoken by a pair of robots who hail from places unknown and make really cool movies about aliens who want to jam. And if words of such bizarre origins cannot find truth in My Hero Academia, then I ask you, my friends: Where can they? True, this is a tale of real emotion and resolving one’s personal demons in order to attain greatness, but it is also one where a bunch of kids run around a forest like crazy, dipping their hands in scalding water and eating chocolate until they throw up.

As is always the case with this series, the wacky bonkers visuals that assault your senses the second you press play on your streaming service of choice all have a purpose, carrying enough vague scientific basis to sate that rampant curiosity which has already claimed six of my nine lives. In order to strengthen the Quirks that we all know and love the students of both Class 1-A and 1-B must undergo a rigorous training schedule, specifically designed to push them each to their individual limits and beyond. Though it appears to border on child cruelty near every moment, the onslaught of exposition and visual representation sets one hell of a kinetic mood. With rapid pans to each student slamming themselves into their metaphorical (and, at least three times, literal walls), we are shown just how harsh the hero life can be. Yes, we’ve seen them attacked and assaulted numerous times, but those were exceptions to the leveling scale, like running into that RPG boss you’re not supposed to beat for another thirty hours. There’s no pomp and circumstance this time, this isn’t even a combat test, this is merely a workout. A super cool workout where things explode every ten seconds and Iida runs through everybody’s shot. Still, even despite the ludicrous nature of what we see, there is a grounded sense of progress that makes it all seem worthwhile. Also painful, it all seems really, really painful.

Where there’s smoke, there’s Dabi

Not to be outshone by physical heroism, Midoriya once again spends a sizeable amount of his time worrying about Kota. Moved by the child’s tragic story and drawing from his own experiences of rejection and sadness, our hero-in-the-making does his damndest to talk Kota around, even if just a little. It’s a nice moment, if not discernibly somber, and Midoriya coyly relaying his own struggle through the guise of an anonymous friend (who adorably/dishearteningly attempted to mimic the Quirks of his parents) adds some weight to what he says. Though Todoroki is right saying that Midoriya has no real right to change Kota’s worldview, it’s hard to be mad at the guy. Even when he helped Todoroki, Midoriya used his own life as a basis for empathy, not comparison. He knows that Kota has gone through something terrible and never tries to deny it, nor does he follow suit with the world and call Kota’s parents noble, he merely recounts that he knew who they were. Still, even he comes to understand that his words will ring hollow until he acts, until he does something to show Kota that the world may not be what he has decided it is. Yet, despite his own insistence that actions speak volumes louder than words, Todoroki (having inquired about Midoriya’s mutterings) does not discount dialogue altogether, simply saying, “If you’re going to rely on words alone, then they’d better be incredibly powerful.” Which is an awesome line, that I love. Still, what I like most about this line, and the scenarios it implies, is that Midoriya has put both methods into practice and succeeded. Even with the episode reminding us that Midoriya’s actions to save Bakugo inspired All Might himself, I can’t help but remember the he also saved Todoroki with words alone. Six words that saw the prodigy literally warm up to his life: “It’s yours. Your Quirk, not his.” How’s that for heroism?

Not OK

And yet even with this cavalcade of training and emotion and a brief foray into a forest with the sole purpose of scaring the pants off of everybody, My Hero once again decides that something else could always go wrong…really wrong. That’s right, friends, villains are on the attack and not even the environment is safe. Not that it ever was, or has ever been a concern, but it certainly makes them sound more evil, doesn’t it? Moreso than when they want to brutalise a bunch of children to satiate and justify their own twisted worldview and the unbridled hatred they feel for a man they’ve probably never met, having simply abused his position as the Symbol of Peace in order to provide a face to their collective frustrations and hatreds. Deforestation notwithstanding, this new gaggle of evil geese are head and shoulders above the goons from the USJ assault. How do I know this? Well, apart from them being smaller in number and therefore stronger, they also outright state that they are head and shoulders above the goons from the USJ assault. Which is kind of a big tip off. Regardless, not ten seconds into their attack, they have split the students up in a relatively unfamiliar landscape, taken out one of the six professional heroes and begun a natural disaster that has the potential to claim a number of lives. Also, they have poison gas. Also, one of them looks ready to fight Kota. Also, one of them is really unsettling, like, way more than the others. He scares me…

The cat’s dragged in…

…nope, still scared. I mean, did you see that guy? He has, like, a straight jacket for his whole body and creepy hooks in his mouth. Who hires that guy? How does that guy come to be? Is that what he wears on the weekends? How does he use the bathroom if his hands are…you know, nevermind. I’d say you should focus on the positives of this week, but that silver lining was swallowed up something fierce when the forest was set on blue fire, which is ten times more evil than regular fire. I suppose we can take solace in the fact that Midoriya knows where Kota is in all this mess, but that ominous cloak leads me to believe it will not be simple stroll back to the hideout…where Kota secretly uses the Quirk he inherited from his parents. Great, now I’m sad again.

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