Animation
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Summary
MY HERO ACADEMIA introduced some powerful new adversaries this week and showcased a few fights in "Shiketsu High Lurking!"
88 %
Great Episode!

MY HERO ACADEMIA is right in the thick of the Provisional Licence Exam! Class 1-A is now the target of every school. The massive examine pool of 1540 applicants has converged on UA pretty fast in what’s known as “The Crushing of UA.” They did, after all, have their Quirks on full display during the Sports Festival. And, as a result, there is a huge information asymmetry between the students of UA. Contrary to what Tsuyu’s bad math will tell you, that means UA’s chances of being one of the 6.5% to actually complete the test were hampered from the get. This week’s episode, “Shiketsu High Lurking,” mostly chronicled Midoriya, Seto, and Uraraka’s trials and a bit of Todoroki’s part in the exam as well. These early fights are the perfect opportunity to showcase the talents of recurring characters and introduce some new ones.

On top of that, they built on some of the somewhat painfully slow exposition from last week. Admittedly, this week was a bit slow at times too. But even though the pacing was a bit strange at points in the episode, it was with purpose. Now, we have a strange new enemy amongst the new student characters. In addition, the actual exam itself is approaching a critical point where spots are quickly slipping away. About half of the first 100 passing students are done.

Over a hundred have been eliminated, partially due to the rather aggressive tactics of other applicants. The exam is quickly becoming a true battlefield. These heroes in training have inconvenient restraints on their combat. But it also forces them to fight in interesting and adaptive ways to succeed. Both the anime and manga showcase this, but the anime may actually have done it a bit better and made subtle improvements.

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Changes From the Manga

There are two things that have been a bit different with the MY HERO ACADEMIA anime. One difference is sure to be noticeable to some manga readers, while the other will be generally strange to everyone. The second difference is a question a lot of fellow anime watchers have found themselves asking.

The former change was to the order of events. This episode made some changes not to the events of the exam itself, but to the sequence of them. In the manga, there isn’t literal motion with each scene. The printed pages lack the inherent dynamic qualities that video has. As a result, it has to compensate with visual effects like lines in order to illustrate movement. In addition to making changes like that, the manga also tends to jump around a bit more between characters a bit more in single moments. For manga, this creates a cool feeling of constantly shifting action since we’ll see little pieces back and forth. But, to maximize some cooler parts of the episode, MY HERO ACADEMIA grouped similar sequences together.

The second difference has to do with animation style. Sometimes, the anime gets darker during fight scenes, and it’s grown frequent recently. All internet research points to a particular episode of POKÉMON that caused a lot of seizures with rapid flashing lights. Not a major component of the episode, but apparently the sudden periods of darkness on screen are meant to reduce the effects of visuals like Midoriya’s Full Cowl. With Midoriya massively improving his control over Full Cowl to face down new enemies, we might have to get used to occasional dimming.

Midoriya rescues 'Uraraka' in MY HERO ACADEMIA
Having no breaks in Midoriya’s fight against Camie made her deceit much more natural to the episode | Image: Crunchyroll

Powerful Adversaries

This was one of the more welcome and great improvements to the episode. Midoriya’s fight against Camie Utsushimi is punctuated several times in the manga. This episode brought the beginning of Todoroki’s solo foray into the fighting ground, but the manga interspersed it. The way we’re seeing it now, we get the opportunity to see an entire fight rather than bits and pieces. That makes for a much better experience when animated. Camie Utsushimi is a strange character and having her get more constant screen time instead of being on and off makes her more compelling.

Todoroki wielding his flames in MY HERO ACADEMIA
Zuko from AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER looks a bit different, don’t you think?| Image: Crunchyroll

Camie Utsushimi is a strange presence at this point in the series. To run through her impressive feats, she was able to put the drop on Midoriya and even shapeshift. She managed to be similar enough to Uraraka that it wasn’t until Midoriya noticed her not using her Quirk that the disguise fell through. She also showed the unique ability to “disappear” during combat. But this isn’t a Quirk; this is a sort of skill only people familiar with combat would even conceptualize. Also, recall that Midoriya is somewhat of an amazing tactician in battle. We saw how fast he was able to come up with a plan to save Bakugo. And, he spent years documenting years of hero battles and tactics. So, for Cmie to catch him so off guard is indicative of how strong she really is. Hopefully, we’ll see more of her in the coming weeks.

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Fresh Wind

One of the more fun new characters finally showed off his incredible Quirk this episode too. Inasa was able to take out 120 other students almost instantaneously. He was the top scoring applicant of all the recommended students applying to UA. That’s more or less the MY HERO ACADEMIA equivalent of being an ivy league legacy with perfect test scores. Last week’s episode already hinted at some interesting tension between Inasa and Todoroki, so maybe we’ll see those elemental powers battle it out someday.

Inasa celebrating after eliminating 120 people in MY HERO ACADEMIA
Inasa is incredibly weird but his Quirk is even more incredible | Image: Crunchyroll

This is important for a couple reasons. One, it more or less makes it clear that Midoriya and his friends are very much outclassed. While they have a lot of cool experiences with real villains, they lack some of the training and practice other years have. But two, it creates super interesting dynamics between schools that reflect in the adults. Even Ms. Joke, who just teaches at Shiketsu, has some disdain for UA’s superior perception. Also, thematic reasons aside, Inasa is just weirdly cool. He had one of the most absolutely awkward entrances to the show. Inasa constantly tilts his head back and talks strangely, but does so while winning in combat. He is an example of the kinds of students Midoriya and his classmates will need to overcome in the next few episodes.

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This week’s episode wasn’t the most fantastic despite the combat in it. But, it served an important purpose. Without getting too spoilery, we met a lot of relevant characters. Now that the heroes in training are progressing past the lowest levels, it’s important to branch out. Plus, as noted toward the beginning of the exam announcement, the hero world is changing. All Might is out of commission, and villains are taking notice. In an era where groups like the Villains’ Alliance are relatively commonplace, cooperation is necessary.

The same kind of awesome fights we saw during the Hosu City arc are possible with these new students. For now, they can function as adversaries but they’ll likely be allies long term. And, while a lot about Camie isn’t quite clear yet, she hints that not all danger is outside of school. We still have the unresolved issue of the UA spy and a whole host of internal worries to deal with.

MY HERO ACADEMIA is keeping its second cour going with consistently good content. Even when an episode isn’t quite so fantastic by the anime’s abnormally high standard, it’still very good. This one was interesting and a great adaptation of the manga.

What did you think of MY HERO ACADEMIA this week? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image from Crunchyroll.

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