Anime, Anime Season's Writings
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Shine On – My Hero Academia (Episode Fifty-Six) – Season’s Writings

Good is not nice

First of all, should anyone ever ask you why shape-shifting characters inexplicably possess non-human biology or colouration, please direct them to this episode. Though it is true that My Hero has shown us how a clever mind may turn a strange Quirk into a force for justice, there are still those that shall ever remain…weird. I mean, on paper the ability to willingly manipulate your body and render opponents harmless is a winning combination, just ask Kamui Woods; however, things get a skosh grosser when, instead of timber, said malleability and binding comes in the flavour of malformed flesh.

So, if I’m being completely honest, the main reason I find Meatball to be such a disturbing Quirk is the vagueness regarding the state of those rendered lumps. Though none seem to be frantically squirming during their unwilling transformation, I can’t imagine the experience to be anything less than horrific. Shishikura even specifies that each victim of his Quirk retains their senses in totality, so are they in pain? Are they cognisant of being a wad of flesh? Again, I know this is far from the crux of this episode, but boy is it unnerving. Some uncertainty and unease may come from the fact that Shishikura is a bit of a jerkbag, although that merely feeds further into the relief that comes when he winds up with a dangerous amount of voltage running through his dumb face. Speaking of, I’m glad Kaminari showed us all that he’s capable of some cool guy heroism. The ol’ “I missed” trick never fails to turn a clown into a champion and is a pretty solid transition point for Kaminari to prove his mettle. I hope he keeps his old techniques around though, because Indiscriminate Shock is an awesome name for an attack.

He can really make his skin crawl

With that in mind, Bakugo certainly displays the benefits of the new in his liberal usage of his AP Shot. As is so astutely pointed out by Kaminari, Bakugo’s usual tactics are a no-go due to the Meatball-affected-students littering the road. Thus, Lord Explosion Murder once again reminds us that he is smarter than he appears and localises his attacks solely on the mounds of flesh flung at him from afar. Though said tactic ultimately doesn’t stop him from being moulded like the other unfortunates upon the ground, it remains a nice tally in the column of thinking before you act…even if your every second sentence is devoted to insults and fury. Chances are this will also be a lesson somewhere down the line, so I find it best to at least lightly ruminate on every moment that leans towards the subject of heroism; it helps in keeping pace with Class 1-A.

Shock and Awww Yeah

Not to be left behind, Aoyama takes a surprisingly central role this episode and shows that even the goofier characters of My Hero hold their own serious, introspective side. With his veneer of glamour having shaped his role thus far, Aoyama hasn’t really been in anyone’s focus as far as personal development is concerned. The dude likes to sparkle, that’s about it. Or, at least, it was. Admittedly, ten minutes is not enough to truly plumb the depths of one’s soul, but it is enough to catch a glimpse beyond the blinding glitter. It isn’t even a revolution, he wants to be a hero, he wants to stand as an equal. Iida even draws attention to this motivation, wondering exactly who he wishes to stand equal to. Considering how easily this question can be answered with future focus, I am willing to give some leniency to the brevity of Aoyama’s polarity shift regarding opponents. Still, pressure does forge diamonds…

Not wanting to cut the party short, and owing to the aforementioned actions of Class 1-A clowns, our entire roster of twenty familiars makes it through to the next round of testing. There’s an overall message of teamwork and trusting your own power, but I was admittedly more focused on how innocently cool it was to see everybody kick it into high gear. Tokoyami clad in Black Abyss, Ashido slinging acid like a master, even Mineta tearing beyond his limits to entrap all who stood against U.A. We’ve been learning about what it means to be true to your ideals and pursue the path of a Hero, let us have some fun. Let us see our favourites win and enjoy it, without Villains looming around the corner. Chances are high that Shigaraki has something cooking in the background, you can worry us all then, My Hero. That being said, Yoarashi has been giving Todoroki the side-eye something fierce, so I have a feeling you’re not going to let us revel in the light for too long. Also, you are a series and most likely unable to answer a question directly…so I’ll stop now.

All that glitters is not without substance

With victory and strength of self fresh in our minds, one could be forgiven for ending this episode with a smile on their face. I know I had one…maybe. It was probably internal, like, a mind-smile. Regardless, let us all relish in the joy that not a single student of Class 1-A was left behind in this most strenuous of exams…because we’re about to launch into round two and I don’t think we’ll be mind-smiling for long. Call it a hunch, call it prescience, call it “I’ve seen a lot of Shonen anime and know that small victories are usually quashed in aid of painting a larger, more complete narrative that highlights the beneficial growth found in both success and failure”…call it a guess. Either way, it’s going to be a nice change of pace to see everybody utilise their Quirks for rescue purposes come next week. They’ve all been trying so hard to develop their combat potential, that we’ve kind of all forgotten that Heroes don’t always have to punch somebody to save the day…even if it is really fun to watch.


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