Just a warning, if you haven’t seen this episode yet, I am about to spoil the whole thing. BEWARE (wiggles fingers dramatically).
I know that I am going to be one of many people who gush about this episode and for good reason. This was one of the best episodes of anime that I’ve seen in a long time. Possibly years. It kind of helps that it followed yet another great episode of My Hero Academia, the one Uraraka gives it her all in order to fight Bakugo. An episode were these two sympathetic characters, yes Bakugo is surprisingly sympathetic here, gave it their all in order to move on to the next round. Uraraka ultimately lost, but not before giving Bakugo a fight that made him work hard to win. Bakugo even admitted that there was nothing weak about Uraraka, which means he had to put an extra effort into this fight and Uraraka wasn’t given a free pass. He wasn’t doing what he was doing because he isn’t as big of a jerk as everybody thinks he is. It was a good character development episode for both of these characters. All this being said and gushing aside, today’s episode is even better than that one.
The first thing that hit me about this episode was how old school it felt. I don’t mean just the tournament arc, which used to be a staple of 90’s shonen anime, and the older style color palette. I meant its nostalgia toward me. The moment when I heard Deku say “I have six more of these left” automatically took me back to a moment in Yu Yu Hakusho. A moment when a certain Yusuke Yurameshi said, after firing a spirit gun shot to show off to the crowd, said he had three more shots left. A moment that I remember vividly from my childhood and the many other times I rewatched Yu Yu. This part takes place in a tournament arc as well, but the circumstances are very different. Yusuke was fighting for his group of friends to move to the next stage of the Dark Tournament. That was at the beginning stages of a long arc. Here, Izuku was trying to revive the heroic spirit of Todoroki who was only using half of his abilities and this arc is only going to take up a cour. I can almost guarantee that. Still, this show had a great old school feel to it in a more emotional and revitalized sort of way and I love this fact.
This episode was so strong to me on an emotional stand point. To start it off, our main protagonist Deku or Izuku, which I like switching between was highly emotional as usual. I don’t mean in the “I want to be a hero” or “he’s crying again” kind of way. In this episode, Deku had balls of steel. He put his body and his future at risk in order to get Todoroki working as hard as everyone else. Even when he broke his fingers and other parts of his body, he pushed through his pain and kept going. Izuku’s body in danger is only one emotional component to this episode. Todoroki’s emotional journey to use his full abilities was the true center piece here. His backstory was told in well-paced and well-timed flash backs. These flash backs were interjected into natural transition points and lasted just long enough to give us that emotional imagery without slowing down the episode. The final jousting moment when Todoroki dug into power from both of his sides was such a “YES” moment. Even if Deku lost in the end, I was in a large emotional high, which shows how emotionally complex this series is and why I loved this episode.
The next part that stood out to me is the animation, obvious. This is Studio Bones we are talking about, they know how to animate fight scenes. Deku’s pain was shown extremely well, like usual. The choreography was great, like usual. How each character felt like they had a lot of weight to them, like when Todoroki was exhausted and could barely move. Fantastic. The special effects were great as well. The ice looked and felt solid, the fire from Todoroki looked incredibly flowing, and Izuku’s super strength had some great weight behind it. Just solid stuff here, all fantastic.
Guys, I don’t write episodic reviews. This isn’t my sort of thing and you all should know that by now. When it comes to seasonal anime, I usually tie strings of episodes together and then make some sort of unique posts about them. That should tell you about how much I loved these past two episodes of an already great series. These past two episodes along with some Attack on Titan episodes have been the high lights of this spring season so far. I still think Kado, Tsukigakirei, and Sakura Quest are better overall, but none of those series have stand out episodes like this. That’s shonen series vs everything else though. Shonen episode quality goes up and down while other series usually stay much more consistent.
Gosh dang it, can this season stop being so good? I wanted to write about something from the early 80’s for my next post, but this show got in the way. Darn it. Well, now you have a small hint about what is going to appear next.