Nobody likes tests. they’re stressful and nerve-wracking and if you say that you actually do enjoy tests, then I think you’re lying. Fine, sometimes they’re necessary to measure the growing skills of their participants, but how many people in this world actually need to know the total internal angles of a triangle offhand? It’s 180° by the by. I know this and never have I needed to know this. I’m not some kind of…triangle-making guy. Now, if tests were used to test how well I could fend off 1,530 budding Heroes whilst simultaneously keeping myself from failing…it would go horribly. Who the heck could actually pass a test like that? Why, you’d have to be part of the main cast of an anime series to pull of something that monumentally tough.
You see, because we’re watching an anime that has a main cast. Infallible humour aside, it’s finally time for us to watch our Heroes-to-be shine as they take to the grandiose stage of the Provisional Hero Licence Exam. Not just in intensity, mind you, the place is huge. Although, it kind of has to be considering 1,540 students are going to be throwing around 1,540 Quirks. Remember when Midoriya and Todoroki almost blew up the U.A. Sports Festival? That was 1,538 fewer Quirks in effect. Needless to say, if there isn’t at least seven explosions by the time this test is over, I will be rather disappointed. Considering our first ten seconds into the test saw most of Class 1-A showcase their newly developed powers however, confidence in the explosive spectacle of said test is fairly high. And you know that the action will take a step up if Mineta was one of the U.A. students on display…no offence Mineta.
Before we even cross those hallowed testing grounds; however, we are treated to a slightly more in-depth explanation of Midoriya’s new kicks. Equipped with iron soles (as per Hatsume’s request), Costume Gamma is the culmination of Full Cowling and every trick Midoriya has learnt thus far. His insistence that every physical addition to his costume not alter the original design too much is; as always, a nice nod to the work Mama Midoriya put into creating it. Even if he only wore the mask part once. Thought is also given to Midoriya’s shift in overall Hero style, as focusing on his legwork will see him compete directly with speed-type Heroes. It isn’t presented as a major issue yet; however, it is interesting to think how utilisation of Quirks can affect a Hero’s career. I mean, I wouldn’t exactly call Mt. Lady in on a stealth mission. With that in mind, the practicality of a vague power increase (a la One For All: Full Cowling) really shines through. For those graced with specificity; however, a more unique adaptation is called for and this series loves to provide stages for those to shine just as bright.
Speaking of bright, how ’bout that Ms. Joke? Natural foil to everything Aizawa, Ms. Joke stands as a glimmer of insight into the circles Eraser Head ran as a Hero. Though obviously present to clash with the glum archetype we’ve all come to know and love/tolerate, it never hurts to have a smiling face around in times of stress. It definitely helps that her jovial personality is not devoid of substance, as she questions a number of truths Aizawa may have neglected to tell Class 1-A. Her comment that Aizawa hasn’t expelled any of this year’s class also implies some manner of continued contact between the two; as does his blasé toleration of her numerous marriage proposals. On top of all that, Ms. Joke’s presence reminds us all of a simple fact we may have overlooked for far too long: U.A. is not the only school with a Hero program.
Midoriya has mentioned other schools in his various ramblings across the series, but we’ve never actually seen any of them before. More than providing a window through which to throw 1,520 new characters at as, the arrival of other school grants us another classic story element: rivalry. With U.A. so often topping the list, the hard-working students of every other school in Japan are understandably irked. So much so that each Provisional Hero Licence Exam begins with the same time honoured tradition: The Crushing of U.A. To put it bluntly, jealousy is a dangerous force to be reckoned with, especially in the hands of stressed out teenagers. Stressed out teenagers with Quirks. Said despised prestige also happens to bite U.A. in the backside, when it is noted that every other participant of the test knows Class 1-A’s Quirks already. Remember that awesome U.A. Sports Festival? Remember how it was televised? That, my friends, is what we call a distinct disadvantage, the very same disadvantage Ms. Joke claims Aizawa should have warned his students about. To his self-proclaimed, far-thinking credit, Pro Heroes have their Quirks known by everybody anyway; so, overcoming such a hurdle is necessitous to attaining the status they so desire. Of course, naming yourself something like Ms. Joke probably gives away a little something regarding your Quirk, so people in glass houses and all that.
All things considered, this is definitely one of those wind-up episodes that is gearing up to something grander. That something of course being the actual Provisional Hero Licence Exam. With the bulk of our time spent meeting the new faces that will provide varying degrees of challenge to Class 1-A, I am already excited to see what Quirks and personalities they bring to the table. Considering that only 100 of the 1,540 students are set to pass this test, I am also curious to see if there will be any upsets for our favourite Hero wannabes. Initial impressions and comments place Inasa Yoarashi as a serious contender, having notably performed better than Todoroki. The small group of Shiketsu students accompanying Inasa, as well as the select group from Ketsubutsu, also imply a higher level of importance than the 1,512 other students present. Regardless, I hope our cast can surpass the below 1% odds placed before them and ascend to the position of Provisional Hero. Now, we just have to hope that Uraraka’s budding feelings of love don’t screw her up like they did in her last test. No matter how cute it may be.