MY HERO ACADEMIA digs into the action of the hero examination, putting our heroes on the ropes. Midoriya and the others struggle to stay in the game, as the other schools gun for them. This episode has a hearty amount of action, though not as much as you might expect from a mid-exam episode. It’s mostly a mini-showcase for a few extra antagonists. That said, it’s still a fun and exciting episode that gives us plenty character building.
There are some cool new antagonists introduced, but their intros are a little talk-heavy. As Midoriya says to Camie Utsushimi, “you sure talk a lot.” Utsushimi gets a great battle with Midoriya, but it feels a bit slow with their mid-battle chats. There’s also the second student who tries to trick Midoriya by shape-shifting. All she does is talk about her general fascination of Midoriya, which is already the main trait of other characters. MY HERO ACADEMIA has a world full of interesting students, but this episode isn’t the best showcase of them.
It’s also strange how few Shiketsu High students take center stage in this episode. Utsushimi certainly gives Midoriya a fight, but she’s the only real “lurker.” There is an awesome Yoarashi scene when he becomes the first student to pass, but that’s not enough to make this a Shiketsu-centric episode. Most of the action we see comes from the Ketsubutsu students, a nameless new class, and a nameless shape-shifter. The lack of Shiketsu students isn’t bad, but it’s confusing. Why did MY HERO ACADEMIA draw our attention to Shiketsu in the episode title? Just how much trouble will the Shiketsu students cause for Class 1-A?
This episode is especially strong because of the spotlight on Midoriya. MY HERO ACADEMIA uses the episode to explore Midoriya’s evolution as a hero. As he meets new students from other schools, he switches up his style, and doesn’t throw himself into combat recklessly. Additionally, this episode focuses on Midoriya’s passion for heroes and Quirks. Even in the heat of battle, Midoriya gets distracted because of his fascination with the other students. Midoriya’s love for heroes is the passion that drives MY HERO ACADEMIA. There’s a reason Midoriya is such a strong protagonist, and this episode really lets him shine.
It’s also interesting to see how Class 1-A compares to other schools. Ms. Joke’s comment to Eraserhead is an important framework for the exam. As powerful as the U.A. students are, and as much action as they’ve seen, they’re not unbeatable. Out of the 100 students who will pass, no 1-A students make it within the fist 50. Midoriya has one of his targets hit, which means passing the exam isn’t a sure thing. Even Todoroki has some trouble with a new class of students. The Class 1-A students are tough, but they’re clearly inexperienced, and that may cost them. MY HERO ACADEMIA makes it clear the stakes are real – it’s very likely that not every hero we’ve come to love will pass the exam.
Overall, this is a solid episode of MY HERO ACADEMIA. Midoriya is a strong character, and his development anchors the episode. Not all the new heroes are super compelling, but they all have potential. It will be fun to see how the series introduces more heroes, and how many will pass the exam. This episode gives us just enough action to keep up momentum for this latest chapter in the show.