As a wise and fictional man once said, “There’s always a bigger fish.” Now, whilst he may have actually been talking about a literal bigger fish, one can extrapolate the message of his statement to be far grander. No matter how strong or smart one thinks they are, there is somebody out there in that wide and crazy world who stands just a little taller, jumps just a little higher. When faced with such a harsh reality, many may lay down their arms and submit to an inescapable fate; however, those are not the people we are talking about. This is the world of Shonen and in this world, willpower alone can topple the very foundations of rhetoric and reality.
With last episode planting the idea in our heads that Todoroki may not be as cool and in control as he appears to be, we are immediately reminded that characters we have never seen before are seldom allowed to make valid points. It takes, like, two minutes before the technicolour ninja brigade is sent, flying and frozen, to the realm of the fallen, with only themselves to blame. I’m sure there’s a lesson in there about focusing on your environment as much as you do your opponent, but it was honestly just an avenue for Todoroki to remind us that he’s a pretty tough customer. Maybe that whole arrogance comment will come back to haunt him, but for now it seems as if he’s doing fine. In fact, he is the first Class 1-A student confirmed to have passed the test. Good for him. Not so good for everyone else who desperately needs to scrape into the final forty, but good for him.
Speaking of the others, this test once again provides us with an eclectic grouping of some of our favourite students. Yaoyorozu, Jiro, Shoji and Tsuyu all find themselves grouped together, unknowingly walking into the clutches of a very real threat. With an ability to ramp up her IQ to super-genius levels, a student named Intelli is able to predict a foolproof plan to trap our group and render their Quirks ineffective. It’s honestly a pretty smart plan, lowering the temperature of the building to trigger Tsuyu’s hibernation, cracking windows to prevent Shoji’s surveying of the area, rendering Jiro’s listening inert by blasting music, all great ideas. They did make me ponder the degree to which students are able to go in this test, since potentially deafening and/or freezing multiple people seems a tad excessive. Then again, this is a world where All Might almost snapped Midoriya’s spine during training, so who am I to question it? Regardless, this turn of events once again poses the very real notion that Heroes may often have their Quirks broken down to critical levels by their opponents. Intelli was even aware that Yaoyorozu’s Quirk is based on the lipids in her body. Whether an educated guess or a fact known to others, such knowledge is a major detriment to any Hero in the field. Realistically, any ice-based Villain could defeat Tsuyu in a matter of seconds, if not do far worse. I shudder to think of what would’ve happened if this was not a test.
With that in mind, one can not help but wonder what the holy hell is going on when Seiji enters the fray. Promising to face-off against the combined efforts of Bakugo and Kaminari in episodes to come, Seiji’s Quirk presents one of the most disconcerting things this series has ever brought forth. With the apparent ability to control his enemies’ bodies, this bastion of Shiketsu High pride transforms his opponents into lumps of flesh. Does that sound gross to you? Because it sounds gross to me. Maybe because it’s gross, that’s probably why it sounds gross. Now, there’s no confirmation yet whether his victims feel pain, but I cannot believe that being turned into a meatball is anything other than weird. I mean, there’s been weird body Quirks before, but those are usually enacted on the user in a conscious manner. Shoji’s Dupli-Arms is a wilful decision of his and he controls their actions. Stain paralysing people by licking their blood was kind of gross, but they were still discernibly people when frozen. This is just…ewww. It also doesn’t help that the Quirk user is a bit of a jerkbag, but that fact is still overshadowed a little by him holding a lump of flesh that was once Kirishima. did I mention that this Quirk was gross?
Not to be left out of the story for too long, Midoriya also appears throughout the episode, though mostly in the minds of others. Having placed himself within the purview of Class 1-A with his bold actions, Midoriya serves as somewhat of a goal for his classmates. When she found her back against the wall, Yaoyorozu imagined what Midoriya would do and say, using the answer to drive her forward and help her friends. Uraraka does similar, using her previous experiences with Midoriya to steel her belief that she can trust whatever crazy plan he cooks up. It may sound like your standard Shonen protagonist never existing too far from the spotlight, and it sort of is; however, Eraser Head chimes in unexpectedly and adds another layer to it. With reference to all that has happened before, Eraser calmly states that, through motivations and personalities all their own, Midoriya and Bakugo have had the greatest influence on Class 1-A as a whole. With his insistence on saving everybody, Midoirya stands as an ideal of heroism at any cost, whilst Bakugo presents a stalwart example of fighting no matter what others may think of you. It may sound a little trite, but one cannot argue that Midoriya and Bakugo impose themselves on the class, whether they want to or not and whether they realise it or not. Personally, I am happy for any self-awareness this series wants to throw at its own focus and using it to add to the story is a nice touch.
So, another episode down and another few students cross the finish line. With four Class 1-A faces in the clear, our focus is narrowing and parts are clenching as the very real limit on success is drawing thinner. We’ve got sixteen students still in the mix and forty places left in the victory circle. Though maths is on our side for now, the continued presence of a few faces presents the very real possibility of some level of failure looming on the horizon. Though I doubt we have seen the last of Class 1-A students pulling off a victory, I am not entirely certain that we will see all twenty of them in the final hundred. That being said, I am definitely interested in seeing their collective attempts and any attention given to the lesser showcased students is always appreciated. I mean, how can Hagakure not do well in this test? Show me that. Though maybe save that as a palate cleanser for after we deal with the flesh-bender. Again, ewww.