Anime Season's Writings

Breakthrough – My Hero Academia (Episode Forty-Two) – Season’s Writings

Cry for help

Fate, destiny, call it what you will, the proverbial, primordial force that drives coincidence and chance can be a real jerk sometimes. Sure, more often than not it drives fictional characters together through a series of meet cutes and charmingly playful happenstance, but it also has the potential to drop the murderer of your two superhero parents right in front of you. Is there a much slimmer chance of the latter? Yes, but that still isn’t a risk I’m willing to take. Which means a lot, because I’m pretty sure destiny is like Tinkerbell…only less mentally scarring to small children when it might fade away come Act Three.

Since the self-proclaimed bad guys can’t get enough of our protagonists, for various reasons all similar and their own, we once again find ourselves witnessing a superpowered attack. Now, whilst I will go into how that is a cool concept that makes for some dope visuals, I do wish to take a handful of steps back and really drive home the horror of this fictional reality. This is a class of high schoolers. Sure, many of them hold the focused power of an army, but they are children nonetheless. With that in mind, a gaggle of self-obsessed, psychopathic adults hunting them down in the middle of a forest becomes far more terrifying. I mean, it was still frightening before, but on a fundamental level it just becomes so much more…evil. But hey, let’s park that nihilistic attitude around the corner for a moment and focus on the more heart-pumping aspects of this episode, the ones that really excite you about the idea that not everybody in the world is a meanie head bad guy who wants to kill because it’s fun, apparently.

The Muscles from Nightmares

Taking centre stage this episode, Midoriya is once again up to the usual, body-destroying heroism that placed him firmly within our hearts way back when. As the only person within a comically stated radius that knows where Kota likes to chill and hate the world, our hero-in-the-making is thrown into the deep end yet again. Remember Nomu, that freaky monster who turned out to be one of a series of freaky monsters? Well, imagine if he tried to punch Midoriya into a bloody pulp and was also constantly raving about how he was trying to punch Midoriya into a bloody pulp. That’s…whoever this guy is. Dude doesn’t even drop a name before the fists start flying, which is poor fight etiquette and more than a little bit absolutely rude. Regardless, Muscle Fibre Overload is a terrifying beast who is so unbelievably jacked, that his muscles cannot be contained by his own flesh, which seems more than a little unhygienic. Still, muscle shooting forth and amassing in an eventually inhuman manner does for a frightening visual make. I mean, he does also have a freaky false eye that looks like teeth eating a smaller eye, but the muscle thing is probably enough to confirm that he is, without question, a bad guy. Also, he killed Kota’s parents which, suspension of disbelief regarding coincidence notwithstanding, was pretty evil. In fact, I may even go as far as to say it was very evil. Shame on you unrepentant killer guy.

Giving his right arm

Though, as many a person who loves to dissect fiction will tell you, a hero is only as interesting as his villain. So, by tweaking the thought behind this sentence a little, we can also deduce that a hero is only as strong as evil necessitates. Maybe. It might not actually be the case, but screw it, it sound legit. But any way you slice it, Midoriya definitely plus ultras this episode. I mean, I will never get over how painful it is to watch Midoriya destroy his body, but damn if it doesn’t make for some powerful imagery. Just imagine throwing your full force into a punch when your entire arm is already shattered, let alone continuously pushing against a retaliatory force that is only increasing. It just…it hurts so much to even imagine and Midoriya has endured it dozens of times over and over and over again, all in the name of being a hero. However, this week gives us a little more than that. More than being a hero, more than defeating a villain, Midoriya is Kota’s hero. And as smile-inducing as the almost title drop that caps this episode is, the personal quality of Midoriya’s actions ring louder. For the first time, he is an inspiration to a younger child, just as All Might was to him. Sure, that might be pushing things a little too far, but even the vaguest of similarity speaks volumes about how far Midoriya has come throughout the series, if only in regards to how he presents himself to others. Kota now respects a hero, believes in a hero, was willing to use his own Quirk for a hero. Midoriya saved Kota, in more ways than one.

Now, I have heard it said, or at least I half read it somewhere once, that the Kota storyline is placing a great deal of pressure on its dramatic elements, at a rather escalated pace. Which is true, I won’t deny it. The journey of discovery we have ventured on about this moody little kid with the bonkers cool hat has been pretty damn fast. We knew nothing about him two episodes ago and now we are watching Midoriya push himself beyond the physical limitations of his own Quirk and the theoretical limitations of percentages. Which is partly why I like this manner of storytelling. Protagonists, especially of the Shonen variety, are known to push themselves further than anyone could possibly imagine, to scream at the heavens and pull impossibility from the seams of reality…for their friends. Luffy will curb stomp you if you touch his crew, Naruto defied logic itself to help Sasuke, Ichigo damn near declared war on the afterlife to rescue Rukia…Midoriya almost dies to save a boy he has know for two days, a boy who called Midoriya’s dream stupid and kicked him in the One For Alls. We aren’t supposed to feel intrinsically connected to Kota, merely understanding of his situation, because, at the end of the day, that’s all a hero needs to want to take action.

His Hero

Barely three episode into the season and we’re already here. Villains assaulting hero and student alike, trees burning to the ground and some degree of poison threatening to claim those who avoid the former. Our hero is also pretty far from okay and finds himself with an innocent child to protect and two fewer functioning limbs than he started the day with. From zero to grim in, what, ten minutes? Say what you will about story escalation, this is about as realistic a spin as we can get on superheroism. Not every villain will build up a personal grudge against you, not every organisation will announce their actions via social media, sometimes things just go bad in a major way, major fast…they may also continue to do so. Let us not forget, there are still a bundle more villains roaming the forest and one of them is that creepy guy with the bondage gear. Who is creepy…and possibly a cannibal. Not to mention the Stain fanboy, the one with the magnet power, psycho schoolgirl, blue fire and gas. So yeah, it’s going to be a tough one. Not to say that Class 1-A can’t hold their own, still, bad time to explode your arms Midoriya. Honestly, did you learn nothing from the Battle Trial?

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