You know those people who always talk about what would happen if the heroes didn’t save the day? Well, I hope they’re happy, now that their dreams have come to fruition and made us all feel emotions and such. Like, I understand the objective concept of differing world views, but how do you slide so far down that scale that kidnapping a teenager seems like a good idea? First of all, they’re obnoxious and second-through-infinity, it’s just plain wrong. Now, I don’t mean to compare fictional kidnappers to the aforementioned people who want to see the villains win, but if the shoe fits…after a paragraph written in such a way that said shoe fitting seems likely.
When we last left our heroes, they were attempting the most intense three-point landing in history. With the kleptomaniac villain who stole their friends quite literally underfoot, things were looking up for ol’ Class 1-A. Heck, they still were riding into this episode…then they weren’t. With a demonstration of why sleight of hand is simultaneously awesome and devious, the non-secretively named Mr. Compress managed to steal away with Bakugo, despite our heroes best efforts. And…and that really stings. Sure, Bakugo is a bastion of pride and arrogance, but we’ve seen enough of the kid to glean that he isn’t all bad. Hell, even if he was, nobody deserves to be kidnapped by a magician, sentient cloud of darkness, insane schoolgirl, insane masked guy and somebody who should be deathly afraid of magnets. If not for the humanitarian implications, then at least because that’s a really weird story to have to explain to somebody. What drives this event home, however, is the solemness of Bakugo as he is spirited away. He doesn’t scream, or explode, or call anybody a name that will really hurt their feelings, he simply tells Midoriya to stay back. He even manages to say Deku in a tone that doesn’t bubble with rage and misguided contempt. After everything they’ve been through at UA and beyond, Deku and Kacchan are in the exact same place they were when we began this journey oh so long ago. Except, this time, All Might wasn’t there to save the day.
But then, are we where we were? In a sense, sure. Midoriya rushed in to a situation he couldn’t handle and failed to save his friend(?) from a villainous jerkbag, whose eyes were on Bakugo. However, Midoriya was far from alone this time around and, lest we forget, he, Todoroki and Shoji did manage to save Tokoyami, which was no small feat. All three had also expended a fair amount of energy on previous bouts, with no shortage of broken and missing limbs between them. It may sound a touch callous to revel in their accomplishments in light of Bakugo’s kidnapping, but it does go a ways to show how far these kids have come, even if it is only within the scale of their world. Don’t get me wrong, the trials and tribulations of UA are nothing to scoff at, however this series does a fantastic job at reminding us all that the world beyond them is, well, exactly that: beyond them. Midoriya can punch a building in half, Todoroki can create ludicrous amounts of ice, even Tokoyami showed that his power can defeat a villain in the blink of an eye…but so what? Midoriya destroys himself still, Todoroki consciously monitors his body temperature and Tokoyami loses all control when it gets dark out. These are not the call-signs of heroes who can rush in and save the day. Training arcs may not be as glamorous as that time All Might fought Nomu, or when Midoriya and Todoroki almost destroyed a stadium, but they are necessitous and teach the fundamentals that may have seen Bakugo saved.
With the Vanguard Action Squad acquiring their target and throwing our main cast into various levels of sadness and hospitalisation, a decent chunk of time is spent dealing with the realistic repercussions of an assault on a high-school. It’s namely panic, if you were curious…panic and outrage. Though the Quirks may make us forget, our group of focus are a bunch of children, children whose parents are very worried about them. And despite the constant interference of no-name characters threatening to hinder or harm the ones we care about, I can’t entirely fault their reasoning. I don’t necessarily agree with the belief that recent events undo the public’s faith in All Might, but that doesn’t make it untrue. Hell, the real world flip-flops between love and hatred often enough, why not the fictional one too? Still, I can’t say I dislike the simplicity of Kirishima’s response to this whole event. Somebody took his friend, now he aims to take him back. It’s doubtful that any attempt at executing such a belief will be equally as simple, but the sentiment is nice nonetheless.
Let’s face it, this episode…was something. A large part of me wants to focus on how terrible I feel that the villains won and stole away with Lord Explosion Murder, while the other part is interested in seeing where this unfortunate turn of events takes our heroes-in-training. Similarly interesting is the fact that the League of Villains is continuing to grow and improve as time goes by. Even without Shigaraki present, his gaggle of ne’er-do-wells proved quite a dangerous threat and sewed more chaos than we’ve seen in a long time. Playing angel’s advocate, they also specifically attacked a group of under-prepared teenagers and released poison gas into a forest…which they also set fire to. Although, Pixie Bob took a horrendous blow and Ragdoll is missing, so the Vanguards have some bite to their bark. I just don’t know anymore. Are the League of Villains a real threat, or are they simply opportunistic jerks who pick on people far from their own size? Does it matter either way? Is UA still a viable home for heroism, or has it been left too exposed? Should the children of the world be trained to use their Quirks, or is society too reliant on them? So many questions, it’s like somebody is trying to undermine society’s confidence and force them to lose faith in everything they beli-oh now I get it.