As loner heroes the world over have taught us, in a world of heroism, villainy and all that lies between, you can only truly trust yourself. Unfortunately, this particular belief flies completely out the proverbial window when somebody who has the ability to control minds saunters into the plot. Say, a blue haired boy who looks a little on the tired side.
So Midoriya done goofed. Two seconds into the finals and our hero-to-be finds himself mind controlled by his opponent. Now, you might be thinking it a little harsh of me to blame our protagonist for this and you’d be right…had Midoriya not received a specific warning regarding the mechanics of Shinso’s power immediately before the fight. Which he did. Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk, especially considering the fight it brought forth. Although, I guess it wasn’t technically a fight at first, considering it was mainly Midoriya walking slowly towards the edge of the battlefield. Maintaining his low key existence, as consistently noted by Present Mic, Shinso’s plan for victory is simply to have Midoriya disqualify himself by stepping out of bounds. No dramatic clash. No heartfelt speech. No screams of hope and victory. Just an unnerving stare as his opponent loses, unable to control their own bodies. It’s a little creepy, which comes back later in the saga of Shinso. But, for now, let us focus on how Midoriya obviously doesn’t lose in the first round of the finals.
With his internal monologue screaming at his inability to stop himself, Midoriya is saved in the most unexpected of ways: One for All. Though it ultimately is a showcase of impossible strength that shocks Midoriya back to his senses, in this case breaking his fingers by twitching and creating a shockwave, it is actually a vision that spurns Midoriya onwards. At the last possible moment, Midoriya witnesses a number of shadowy figures standing before him, figures who he determines to be none other than the previous holders of One for All. And it’s pretty cool. Though we have always heard that this power is one of legacy, this is one of the first moments that truly showcases the frightening intensity that comes with it. Eight heroes of impossible strength. Eight beings who wove their power together and supported those who followed. The building blocks of All Might. The building blocks of Midoriya. An awesome looking rainbow of power that defies logic in order to be cool. You know, anime stuff. That being said, I appreciate the episode taking a little time towards the end to still place the power in Midoriya’s hands, stating that the vision of One for Alls past holds no power in and of itself, simply serving as a motivator for our heroes own desire. You know, anime stuff.
I also truly appreciate the more physical aspect of this fight. With Midoriya still unsure about using his power on others and Shinso’s Quirk providing no combat bonuses, the clash between these two opponents is surprisingly simple and satisfying. With a push, a few punches and one familiar throw, we are reminded that these characters are still young students. Sans powers, this round of the finals is reduced to two teenagers fighting with all they are able. It’s just so…raw. What ramps this sequence up even more is Midoriya’s internal monologue. Unable to answer Shinso’s cries, as responding is the Brainwashing trigger, Midoriya is left to internalise everything he wishes to scream back. Every word he knows the surprisingly interesting blue haired boy wants to hear, everything Midoriya himself wanted to hear so long ago. It’s a truly painful moment that actually sells Shinso’s backstory a little more. Imagine the other Midoriya’s Shinso has met in his life, the other students who wished to help but were to scared to answer the Brainwashing boy. Even a step down from that, the simple kids whose fear kept them from even trying to get to know Shinso. With that in mind, you can understand the air of malaise that hangs around him. It also makes the positive comments of his classmates ring all the more powerfully after the fight. Which is nice.
Not to be outdone by the sad backstory of Shinso, Todoroki finishes up this episode by reminding us that Midoriya’s true foe in this tournament is him. Claiming absolute victory over Sero (who I really like as a character) in mere seconds, Todoroki also reminds us all just how damn powerful he is. Freezing half of the entire stadium in one move, everybody from Class 1-A to the professional heroes in the audience simply sit stunned by the sheer power of this boy. Half of the power of this boy, lest we all forget. One can only imagine just how impossible he would be should he embrace his fire side and fanfics the world over can merely fathom what would happen should someone of Todoroki’s calibre ever receive One for All. I think the world would spontaneously explode from all of the awesome.
So there you have it, another episode, another sad story that pushes a hero towards victory. Unfortunately for Shinso, however, he found himself facing off against a series’ protagonist in the first round of finals. Dude never stood a chance. Just like poor Sero, who obviously lost because Todoroki needed to advance and face off against Midoriya…not just because he’s Sero. Still, Eraser Head made a fantastic point when he said that those lacking a combat Quirk are often left outshone by those who can punch something really, really hard. Which sucks. Unless you’re somebody who can punch something really, really hard…who isn’t Midoriya. Or All Might as of late. Man, being a hero is hard…especially if you’re Sero.
It’s fine now. Why? Because My Hero Academia is on Crunchyroll