This week's episode of MY HERO ACADEMIA had some fine content, but it was slow and had perhaps more filler scenes than necessary. Even so, there was useful character development, though perhaps not at the level of the last few episodes.
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A tad slow.

MY HERO ACADEMIA might be the only anime that actually does a decent job incorporating its filler. Today’s episode managed to cover the whole of a fight from the manga and the beginning of another. Generally, anime will adapt the chapters from a manga rather directly. Any additions tend to be somewhat lacking in substance. They’ll instead either make the fight more visually appealing or enhance dialogue. Today’s “filler” was a chance for characters besides Midoriya or Todoroki to get a chance to shine. MY HERO ACADEMIA as a series tends to glorify its more combat-oriented fighters. This tends to give a lot of screen time to the guys of Class 1-A, who by and large are best suited for action. However, every single Quirk is unique, and Class 1-A is good for more than just slugfests.

Not only did we get to see some battle planning from Midoriya, Bakugo, and Todoroki in “Class 1-A,” but Yaoyorozu as well. The classmates she fights alongside have an odd collection of Quirks. By all rights, no one would expect Creation, Dupli-Arms, Frog, and Headphone jack to have synergy. But the fighting in this exam isn’t just about combat. Because of the variable environment, the rules of the exam, and the time crunch, things change. The strategies needed to become one of the 100 to pass change too. As a result, we’re seeing a kind of organized warfare more similar to an MMORPG than a fighting game.

MY HERO ACADEMIA managed to create a filler character that was so disgustingly smug she became entertaining. And while the filler segment was perhaps a bit slower than necessary, it was a great fight. Creation is probably the best Quirk in terms of…well, creative potential, and that’s worth showcasing.

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Todoroki vs. the Ninjas

The episode starts off with Todoroki facing off against a gaggle of other students. He manages to hold off their creative and heavy onslaught with some quick thinking and use of the environment, eventually managing to take control of the fight. This fight most notably was a huge improvement to the manga scene and a great way to frontline the rest of the episode. The other students clearly were prepared for the kind of power Todoroki has. They use weapons made from tungsten. For Todoroki, that means he’s unable to melt their attacks. So, as long as they use their Quirks to keep hitting his ice walls continuously, he’ll falter.

MY HERO ACADEMIA character Shoto Todoroki
Todoroki initially struggling against his rival students. | Image: Crunchyroll

Breaking an Old Habit

In the manga, Todoroki didn’t need to try all that hard to eventually overwhelm them with more force than they were prepared to deal with. He can’t really wield both fire and ice at the same time yet. Nevertheless, he can alternate and usually manage. But this reliance on pure power isn’t good for him as a fighter or a hero. Stain was one of the first to mention this in Hosu City. Then, during the exams against teachers, Aizawa pointed out the same. Todoroki leans on his ability to quickly create large sheets of ice to overpower someone. In this test, the ice is a perfect tool to immobilize victims and tag them. The improvement we saw here is that Todorki’s normal strategy wasn’t enough.

MY HERO ACADEMIA is increasingly becoming better at good forms of combat.
Strategy is becoming more and more important with every episode. | Image: Crunchyroll

Forcing him to use his head makes for a situation that’ll train him to fight better. The other students correctly called out his overconfidence, but he’s learning to think like his friends. During the fight against Stain, he relied on backup from Endeavor and Midoriya’s plans to win. Against Aizawa, he needed Yaoyorozu’s creativity for strategy. But Todoroki’s character needs to reach autonomy. For him to feel like his powers aren’t just the twisted design of his father, it’s important that he has it. By changing the scene to necessitate him changing his approach and handle many enemies alone, the MY HERO ACADEMIA anime is letting him mature as a hero.

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Battle of the Minds

MY HERO ACADEMIA introduced a new character that was interesting, albeit smug. Seiai Academy student Saiko Intelli is just about the human approximation of high and mighty. Her Quirk is basically a Jimmy Neutron Brain Blast that activates when she sips tea. She uses her Quirk-boosted IQ and knowledge of the UA Student’s Quirks to trap Yaoyorozu’s group. Her Quirk is meant for prepared forms of combat that allow for natural planning. So, it makes sense for her to make use of the information asymmetry inherent to the exams.

MY HERO ACADEMIA introduced a new filler character.
Such a roastable expression. | Image: Crunchyroll

What follows is a test of intellectual might between Yaoyorozu and Saiko. The former had to make use of the same kinds of skills she learned in her fight against Aizawa. Like Todoroki, she had a habit to break. In her case, she needed to take control of situations instead of submitting passively. Due to the high intensity planning Saiko can mentally do, beating her in a fight requires exploiting unpredictable variables. Yaoyorozu had to surpass not just her own coyness, but Saiko’s high IQ as well. Eventually, after falling into a bunch of traps, she creates a massive amp for Jiro’s sound, allowing their group to incapacitate Saiko and her classmates from a distance.

Jiro and Yaoyorozu's combo attack in MY HERO ACAEMIA
Jiro’s sound is deadly at high frequencies. | Image: Crunchyroll

But I would be remiss if I didn’t note that the fight felt a tad forced. I’ll never understand why Yaoyorozu doesn’t ever create conventional weapons. That aside, she manages to adopt her strategy by remembering how brave Todoroki, Midoriya, and Iida were in Hosu, allowing her to focus. This particular form of motivation for her felt out of place however. MY HERO ACADEMIA attempted to give Yaoyorozu a chance to shine in a situation that didn’t really call for it.

Exam Coming to a Close in MY HERO ACADEMIA

Today’s episode had perhaps spent a bit more time on filler than necessary. But, it was still a great chance to see some non-combat-oriented characters in action. MY HERO ACADEMIA would do well to keep making sure that when there are changes to the manga, they massively improve things. The fight between Todoroki and the other students was a great example of those kinds of improvements.

Thus far, sixty students have passed the exam. As Midoriya stated, however, the number of spots going down isn’t always a bad thing. As the better and stronger students pass, they leave the combat zone. And, those remaining get desperate. So, staying calm in the midst of the chaos allows someone like Midoriya to play off of the other students. And, since stronger students aren’t exactly super common, that bodes well for Class 1-A.

MY HERO ACADEMIA is making headway into the exam. It’s quite likely that next week will see more (hopefully canon) fights. We might even see Bakugo really let loose as he takes on Shiketsu student Seiji Shishikura. The exact methods behind his Quirk are somewhat unclear, but at the very least we know he can manipulate flesh. Whatever he’s doing, it’s absolutely disgusting, but effective. But, people like him encourage Midoriya and Bakugo. Those two, despite their personal clashes, are encouraging their classmates to take initiative and give the exam everything they’ve got.

How did you like this episode of MY HERO ACADEMIA? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image from Crunchyroll.

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