Todoroki and Inasa just can’t get it together this week.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Gang Orca, a powerful hero, has arrived to act as a villain for the young heroes trying to earn their provisional license exams. Now, they have to not just rescue the innocent bystanders around the disaster zone, but must also fend off Gang Orca as well.
Gang Orca, with his powerful whale abilities, uses a sonic blast to knock out Shindou. He immediately turns to Midoriya to advance on the first aid station, but is stopped from behind by Todoroki and Inasa. The two of them together try to take on Gang Orca, but get in each other’s way, with Inasa’s wind interfering with Todoroki’s fire abilities.
Their problem is more than just a disagreement of powers, but a conflict that has been brewing for some time. Inasa hates Todoroki for being like his father, who he sees as everything a hero shouldn’t be. We see a flashback of Inasa’s past, where he gets pushed aside by Endeavor as a young child, and watch as the two competed with each other in their school recommendation exams before the show even started.
Though their infighting puts them at a major disadvantage, with both of them getting taken out by Gang Orca’s sonic blast, they settle their differences and try to work together. Combining their powers together, the two create a fire tornado, which traps the orca-themed hero inside its burning winds.
Their last ditch effort does enough to hold Gang Orca off until the other heroes arrive after rescuing the bystanders. The battle turns in their favor with all of their powers combined, and soon, the test is over. Despite some setbacks, the heroes have won this day.
After last week’s diversion from the plot with a very special episode promoting its new movie, this week’s My Hero Academia brings the provisional license exam to an intense conclusion. Though things finished on something of anticlimax, I was deeply satisfied with the conflict between Todoroki and Inasa, two powerful characters who were brought low this week, reminding us that no matter how powerful you are, it means nothing if you can’t keep your head in the game.
In a show like My Hero Academia, character infighting has been a rare thing up to this point, since most of the heroes in Class 1-A want to work together for a greater good. That kind of positivity, while uplifting, can breed dullness if not checked by some serious character conflict. Having Todoroki and Inasa completely fumble the exam was a great way of doing this. It’s almost embarrassing to watch them go at each other, with enough raw emotion between them making me want to jump through the screen and give each of them a quick slap to remind them of the stakes at hand. I did find their flash-backing and excessive “back-and-forth” tropey anime dialogue kind of tiresome, though. As much as I love My Hero Academia, it still is subject to the kind of exposition heavy shounen dialogue that wouldn’t fly with me in a different medium. However, that’s an issue of execution, not story; make no mistake, the story is strong, and the struggle between Todoroki and Inasa feels raw and alive.
Some might find issue with the lack of action in this episode, since it mostly revolves around one interpersonal conflict, but I think that’s a small price to pay for the oodles of character development we receive. Even if the plot isn’t advancing as fast as I might like, that’s an acceptable drawback as long as the show is keeping up its quality. Which, without a doubt, it is.
As things progress in My Hero Academia, the stakes are slowly getting higher and higher for our heroes. While the first and second seasons gave me the impression Class 1-A having “Training Wheels”, there’s no doubt this anime is in big boy mode now. Because the foundation has been set up so well in the first two seasons, this season’s episodes have been upping the intensity and putting Class 1-A to the test