Every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from it all and get away somewhere fun. Perhaps visit the sunny coast, or take a flight to countries unexplored, maybe return to school for an additional test or two? For those with particularly keen eyes, you may have noticed that that third option is a little different and is definitely the one we are going to talk about; because who would want to spend a special episode at a dumb beach? Certainly not every anime in the history of ever.
With its very first movie running in Japanese theatres, My Hero Academia is doing its darnedest to ramp that ol’ interest meter ever higher. How? By taking a break from all that pesky Provisional Hero Licence Exam malarkey and giving us a soft introduction to the basis of said film, throwing in a splash of mystery solving for good measure. That being said, the movie references don’t really hit hard until the end of the episode, at which point the notion of promotion rings true. Honestly, what are they teaching students these days? Maybe Stain was right and Heroes are a corrupt bunch who worry more about their image than actually saving people…either that, or who cares and it’s funny to see All Might brag about him and Midoriya wearing matching My Hero t-shirts. All Might is also rather self-aware regarding the audience’s desire to return to their/our regularly scheduled arc and his enthusiasm is infectious enough to curtail any rage out there about being made to wait an extra week. That’s the power of love…or something.
As far as the plot itself is concerned, I was was not expecting a Danganronpa-esque romp through Ground Beta. With promise of a practical test that would analyse their skills in a hostage situation, the left-turn of finding the Villain (played by All Might) already dead was a fun one. Though it did set the stage for Midoriya to once again stand in the spotlight, the scenario was interesting enough to draw attention away from the general uselessness of his comrades. Okay, Uraraka using her ability to gain a better vantage point was neat and tactically sound, but Bakugo was merely present to push the episode along and Iida and Tsuyu added nothing of value to the group’s efforts. There wasn’t even a conversation regarding what they could have done. I’m no expert, but I feel like both of their Quirks hold significant value in a hostage situation and no aspect of that was even hinted at. I know this whole thing was a comedic pit-stop on our actual journey, but that’s usually a good time to bench the protagonist and showcase the rest of the cast. If everybody was just going to stand around, why not throw Hagakure in there? Or Ojiro? Also, I just remembered that Todoroki was in the episode, which I think proves my point…
In the vein of inclusion via popularity, Midnight, Cementoss and Present Mic all make their acting debut as the hostages in this little exercise. With a variance of skills, the three teachers play the part of helpless victims and sources of exposition both, relaying their terrifying ordeal at the hands of the Villain. Though to be expected of their character types, its still pretty amusing to witness Present Mic screaming and posing about his average reasons for entering the jewellery store before it was robbed. It’s made even better with everybody taking it in stride and focusing on the mystery, paying him no more attention than necessary. The accompanying fake flashback visuals is also rather charming, full of the same hammy acting as the hostages’ interviews. The eventual reveal of Midnight and All Might’s overly-dramatic love story definitely takes the cake though, chock-full of wistful glances, teary confessions and passionate outbursts. It also really drives home just how goofy this whole endeavour is, spiralling ever further into chaos until All Might simply gets up and legs it when the students aren’t looking. Turns out his corpsing was an intentional part of his performance and not just, you know, All Might being All Might. Who’da thunk?
To remind us all that this divergence holds some manner of reasoning behind it, the introduction of David Shield and his daughter Melissa serve as an immediate link to My Hero Academia: Two Heroes. Having apparently been a sidekick to All Might in his time abroad, David is presented as both an inherently good man and an important figure in the wider world. Though we’ve obviously never heard mention of him before, Mr. Shield is apparently successful enough to live on an island of some renown (if Midoriya’s reaction is anything to go by). His relationship with All Might is also solid enough that The Symbol of Peace can only smile when recalling their days as a team. Melissa also adorably uses the term “Uncle Might” in her email and her invitation is enough to spur All Might into immediate action. Though obviously created for the purposes of the film, it’s nice to see the youth of All Might explored a little more. The simple fact that he has a friend who he seems to view as an equal is also a surprisingly refreshing scenario, as characters thus far have treated All Might as either an unobtainable goal or a frightening nuisance. I know the U.A. teachers talk to him fairly normally, but even that seems a touch on the professional side. I am now reminded of All Might’s buddy Tsukauchi, but he hasn’t turned up in quite a while, so I’ll stand by my fresh gaze of the All Might/David Shield dynamic.
And thus, with a twinge in our hearts at the death of false love, we say goodbye to this aside in the saga of My Hero Academia. Though most would’ve preferred simply continuing on with the canon story, I can’t deny that this was a fun little jaunt. All Might was given full reign to act like Villain once more and Detective Midoriya managed to crack the over-dramatic case of the century. A bunch of favourites were also there, so I guess that’s neat, too. The glimpses into the movie also provided a little spark, drawing our attention to a new aspect of the world and our favourite Hero…ex-Hero? Whatever, some stuff happened and it was fun. Did you guess who the culprit was? I didn’t. I was kinda banking on Bakugo being a plant, teaching the students to doubt even those who claim to be Heroes, but no. Turns out he really is just that impatient…never let Bakugo handle a hostage situation. Ever.