Overview (Spoilers Below)
After its U.A. Sports Fest and the battle against Hero Killer Stain, My Hero Academia pits students against teachers for practical exams. This dynamic fosters neat twist. Earlier, during the sports fest, students competed against one another. Then with the fight against Stain and the League of Villains, the onus became a collaboration.
At the episode begins, “Yayorozu: Rising” follows pairs of students taking on teachers. First up, there’s Tsuyu Asui and Fumikage Tokoyami against Ectoplasm. This match proves exciting and really concentrates on teamwork. Then Power Loader takes on Tenya Iida and Mashirao Ojiro. Again, Iida and Ojiro skirmishing with Power Loader presents an engaging challenge. It’s fun witnessing the various strategies as students work with one another and figure out the best solutions for warding off pro heroes. Sometimes, it’s direct combat, others it’s retreating.
Finally, the episode settles into a focus on Todoroki and Yaoyorozu in a head-to-head with Mr. Izawa. it’s this third act which presents the most excitement and character development.
In “Everyone’s Internships,” Tsuyu aka Froppy benefitted from increased screen time. While she was previously a prominent secondary character, seeing Froppy in her internship added more depth. Similarly, Tsuyu gets increased screen time and even a verbal acknowledgment of her advancement. A brief flashback calls back to the battle of the U.A. students against the League of Villains from season one.
But it’s the third leg of this episode where the true drama occurs. Yaoyorozu and Todoroki take on Mr. Izawa for their practical exam. Initially, there’s an expectation that Todoroki will dominate. That’s based on what earlier series entries presented. However, this is meant as a breakout episode for Yaoyorozu. Through focusing on her, as well as insight and observations from Izawa as well as Todorkoi, it’s clear that she’s lacking in confidence. Nevertheless, Yaoyorozu remains a competent student with a bevy of strategic intelligence.
I enjoyed learning more about Yaoyorozu, formerly a secondary or even tertiary character. In this episode, she transforms from a rather mundane student to one that’s worthy of immense respect. It’s her own self which she must overcome to succeed in the practical exam.
While returning to the U.A. students and their education is interesting, this feels far too similar to the Sports Fest. Initially, that was a refreshing change of scenery. But quickly the Sports Fest became rather formulaic. Similarly, the practical exams feature an incredibly familiar structure. Plus, this series entry feels off in its pacing. The first and third exams see adequate screen time. Yet Power Loader vs. Iida and Ojiro seems rushed. Still, it’s a solid episode, and season two of My Hero Academia remains better than its excellent freshman run.