If anime has taught me anything, it’s that the truest moments of self-discovery occur during the heat of battle. When pushed to the absolute limit, to the brink of this mortal coil, the truth comes out and people learn who they are. The retrospection, the insight; unavailable in any other situation, in any safer locale. With that in mind, it sure is a nice thing that awesome, soul-searching combat takes place in barren fields, far away from the innocent masses. I mean, it does…right?
Back to our regularly scheduled arc, we find ourselves face-to-face with Gang Orca; a character so awesome that he alone is the “Gang” in his name. He also appears to have a gang, but they aren’t nearly as whale-like. Still, they do have guns that fire fast-acting cement and their loyalty to their boss is admirable, so I’ll give them points for that. Either way, this collection of characters provide a substantial threat to our Heroes-in-training and their hopes of passing the Provisional Licence Exam. Due to the nature of the test, neither Gang Orca, nor Orca’s gang, pull their punches an at least three students find themselves on the receiving end of an ultrasonic blast. Now, I’m no doctor, but that can’t be good for you. To be fair, Todoroki also throws around his fair share of fire, so both sides are acting pretty dangerously…because fire is also dangerous, you see.
Speaking of Todoroki…this really isn’t his day. Reminded of his inescapable connection to the man he despises most, ol’ fire-and-ice lets his temper get the best of him and noticeably damages his chances of passing the exam. With his attention split between Gang Orca and Yoarashi (who we will discuss shortly), Todoroki makes some rather horrible tactical blunders and leaves most of the testing committee in shock. Continuously cancelling out Yoarashi’s attacks with his own, Todoroki allows Gang Orca to deal a number of solid blows and render both powerful students essentially useless. Though it would be an intense sequence regardless, the reminders that these two students are some of the best around truly drives home how far away from the big time our cast is. Sure Todoroki can unleash a torrent of elemental power, but allowing his emotions to cloud his actions when saving civilians is a major issue. I don’t think a grieving family member would accept “Your loved one dies because I was working through some daddy issues” as a justification. Unless, like, they were really weird.
Not to be one-sided, Yoarashi is not without blame in this clusterbleep of a situation. Despite constantly claiming that he despises those who fill their vision with hatred, Whirlwind has been doing the same thing for years. Harbouring a burning resentment from when Endeavour didn’t sign his book that one time, Yoarashi’s fury now targets Todoroki, who bears the same look as his father. Now, I know Yoarashi had no idea of knowing Todoroki’s story, but comparing him to his father is roughly the worst thing he could have ever done. What makes this whole scenario worse is that he wasn’t exactly wrong. In hating his father so intently, Todoroki somewhat became him and, in that manner, he and Yoarashi are akin. Though as painful as irony can be, it is inescapable that both boys have been scarred by the man who hold the rank of No. 2 Hero. I don’t blame them for their emotions (though Yoarashi’s may be blown a little out of proportion); however, their actions born from them are rather horrendous. Even their eventual burst of powerful teamwork is not enough to erase the shame of their actions during the exam; although, as Gang Orca notes, it is certainly a step in the right direction. Which is pretty good for a bunch of teenagers.
Not to leave his impact solely upon those he wrongs, Endeavour becomes strikingly relevant to the story of the world at large. With All Might no longer fighting Villains, Endeavour is now the de facto No. 1 Hero…congrats. However, as a council of suits discuss, he is still far weaker than All Might ever was and even less charismatic. The latter may sound like a pointless jab, but All Might’s presence was a major factor of his brand of heroism and, given his attitude thus far, Villains are probably not going to fear/respect Endeavour on principle alone. With that in mind, we are given some insight into the regulatory side of heroism and the ever-present repercussions of All Might’s de-powering. To put it in its simplest logical form: if one all-powerful Hero can’t exist, then an army of weaker ones will. Of all decisions the overseers of legality could make, I have to say that I respect this one greatly. It may not be an immediate solution, but teaching Heroes to rely more on teamwork is a great lesson for students and professionals alike. We’ve already seen this concept in action, most personally with the defeat of Stain, so we know it is extremely viable. Also, Shonen tends to purport that teamwork is pretty dope regardless. I have also heard that it makes the dream work, though the basis of that is a little more vague. Either way, I am looking forward to a future of co-operative Heroes and friendly rivalries that lean more on the “friendly” and less on the “rivalries”. Also, the Villains have a whole League, so maybe take a page or two from their book…not the murdery ones, though.
I have to say, I did not expect this episode to go so far off the rails, least of all with Todoroki and Yoarashi manning the helm (or whatever you call the driving part of something that uses rails). Sure we know they disliked each other, but damn did they kick it up a notch. When a whale-man punches you out of disbelief, you know you messed up something fierce. The exploration of grudges was also rather surprising, especially Todoroki’s realisation that he had become that which he hates most. I mean. Yoarashi had the same realisation, but we’ve only known him for a few episodes…so I don’t care as much. It’s also a little hard to compare the two’s hatred for Endeavour, given that Yoarashi hates him for not signing a book and Todoroki hates him for destroying his family and driving his mother insane with grief, depression and hatred. It’s kind of like comparing apples and oranges…if the oranges mentally abused you. That aside (for now), it seems that the immediate future is set to bring us the return of a rather important, unfinished conversation between Midoriya and Bakugo. So it looks like we’re going to keep this emotional roller-coaster going strong…unless it was what went off the rails in my previous idiom, in which case we’re putting it back on the rails for a bit. I’m also now thinking about mentally abusive oranges and I am terrified. I knew there was a reason I distrust citrus.