Though the old adage/children’s song that once referenced the ability, or lack thereof, to go over, under or through something most certainly never intended to reference gigantic killer robots, you can’t deny that they add a certain flare. They also undermine said adage/children’s song, as it would seem you can indeed go every which way when confronting such an obstacle, provided that you are able to generate titanic amounts of ice, pull a cannon from your stomach, or make yourself really, really hard.
Speaking of, how about that Kirishima, huh? Tearing his way through the remnants of a robot that landed on his head after Todoroki’s latest ice-capade, he stands to remind us that even the lesser shown members of Class 1-A are still in the top percentage of contenders at UA. Unfortunately, as this episode goes on to show, it is a tad hard to stand out when your classmates are the secret heir to All Might, the son of the second strongest hero Endeavour and Bakugo, who is really, really loud. Times are also even tougher for our resident red head, as we (Kirishima included) discover that Class 1-B’s Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu (awesome name by the way) is a near carbon copy of him, from personality to Quirk. Though played off as a wholly comedic moment, you can’t help but feel bad for the guy, whose unique abilities are robbed of their uniqueness and whose moment to shine was upstaged almost immediately. Present Mic doesn’t exactly help the situation either, as his description of Tetsutetsu’s Quirk was verbatim the one he used for Kirishima. At least it sounded cool, I guess.
This episode also briefly introduces another new face, showcasing a wider variance in the students of UA. Hailing from the Support Class, this lovely lady informs us that those who do not undergo combat training on a regular basis are able to supplement their chances of victory with additional gear, provided they themselves created it. And thus a girl with no revealed powers is able to, forever how short a time, pass characters such as Ochaco, through a combination of wit, boisterousness and grappling hooks. Also hover shoes. Similarly shining during this moment, wherein the students are required to cross a series of ropes perilously stretched across a plateau riddled canyon, a la Yoshi Valley from Mario Kart 64, are characters such as Tsuyu. Though the ability to, “Do whatever a frog can,” may not initially sound tremendously helpful, it has never been a detriment to Tsuyu’s capabilities. The simple fact that her innate balance and propensity for moving on all fours also shows how the various students excel in different fields. Kirishima’s aforementioned Hardening, for example, provides him not boost to speed or mobility, an area where someone like Sero would fare better. Inversely, Kirishima would dominate in a close quarters battle, with Sero’s Quirk limiting him, as it requires a certain range to be employed most efficiently. A simple comparison and an even simpler lesson to be sure, but one that is nice to see in effect. After all, if you judged every student of UA by how hard they can punch, barely any would make a passing grade.
Still, with the attention given to other key competitors, this episode pares everything down to Midoriya, Todoroki and Bakugo in the end. With the two latter leading the charge for the majority of the episode, things look pretty grim for our protagonist. For quite a while actually. Everything changes, of course, towards the very end of the episode, where a clever utilisation of landmines literally blows Midoriya to the front of the pack. And yes, that is as awesome as it sounds. With One for All still equal parts positive and negative, we once again witness Midoriya at his most calculating…and dangerous. Without dipping into his near limitless strength, Midoriya force both Todoroki and Bakugo to panic, cast aside their gripes with each other and wholeheartedly dash for the finish line. Keep in mind that Todoroki and Bakugo were also using their Quirks to their fullest from the outset, making this turn even more impressive. Surprisingly enough Midoriya pulls out the win and ranks in 1st of the 42 who move on to the next round. For clarification, there is no sarcasm when I say “surprisingly”, as a protagonist actually winning has seen one heck of a decline in fiction. Though the concept of a story’s hero ranking 2nd was originally a novel concept, it has proliferated across every form of media. Even My Hero Academia itself has had Midoriya place haphazardly within the class rankings. He barely even made it in to UA, if one were to judge by the not-secret guidelines. Said series opener also goes a long way to show Midoriya’s development, literally transforming from worst to first. It was also a nice touch that Kamui Woods and Desutegoro, the heroes on the scene when Midoriya attempted to save Bakugo way back when, both remember him. There’s just an undeniable, underlying joy in it all.
With Round One done and dusted, our 42 most gifted hero wannabes are up for a very different type of contest. A Cavalry Battle. With absolutely no idea what a Cavalry Battle is, I’m glad the episode takes a hot second to explain it. Simply put, teams of two to four people must work together and accrue points by taking down other teams. The real kicker (and certain focal point of the next episode) however, is that the higher one placed in Round One, the more they are worth. Beginning at 5 points for 42nd, working all the way up to 1st…who is worth 10,000,000. Which is a lot. So Midoriya gets to be the target of at least 38 people, we get to see another test of skill, strength and Quirk and everybody gets a lesson about how being number one comes with as many heroic foes as it does villainous ones. Because popularity is a both a blessing and a curse, trust me…I read a book about it once.
It’s fine now. Why? Because My Hero Academia is on Crunchyroll