My Hero Academia‘s kids have moved into dorms with the promise that, this time, the school will keep them safe while their training progresses. Never mind those times The League of Villains invaded the campus, and later invaded the off campus training retreat. By confining all of the students to one small area, UA High’s faculty definitely aren’t setting them up for another targeted attack.

Still, there are lessons to be learned and goals to be set. With so many outright clashes with full-on villains under their belts–and the combat spectacle of the Sports Festival–the show has to stretch for training concepts. Shota Aizawa (Junichi Suwabe) gives them the goal of earning their provisional Hero Licenses (a benchmark they’ll surely reach without further interference from the League), but the justification for their next lesson is blatantly post-hoc. As part of their preparation for their exam, they’ll have to come up with signature “ultimate moves.”

Tenya Iida (Kaito Ishikawa), acting as the audience’s voice, demands an explanation for what “ultimate moves” have to do with heroism. Aizawa brushes his concern aside with some platitudes about how being a Hero means protecting people and showing leadership potential… but really it’s more important that you have cool abilities in combat. Co-instructor Ectoplasm (Masakazu Nishida) then lays some flattery on Iida, explaining that his “Recipro-Burst” speed ability would already count as an ultimate move.

The thin explanation and dash of flattery are enough to convince the class, and they set to fighting Ectoplasm’s clones as their teachers offer advice on focusing their skills. It’s probably wasted breath complaining about cliche concepts in a shonen series that’s as resolutely shonen as My Hero Academia, but there’s still a tiring element here. For one, we’ve already seen so many of these students in so many combat heavy situations where they’ve displayed abilities that could be seen as “ultimate moves.”

The real rub, though, is that so many of these students haven’t had those opportunities to show off–particularly the girls. Toru Hagakure’s (Kaori Nazuka) Quirk is invisibility. She seemingly can’t turn it off, and is presumably nude when she’s fully invisible. That’s the entirety of her existence in the series, so far–never being seen, and only being acknowledged when someone accidentally touches her boob. We don’t see how she hones this Quirk into an ultimate move. We never see her strive to augment this ability with further training or specialized gear. It’s just assumed that invisibility is a really valuable Quirk, and accidental boob touching is reason enough to keep her around.

My Hero Academia

Repeating this to myself through the next scene.

Ochaco Uraraka (Ayane Sakura) gets a little more to do as the presumed love interest of the protagonist. With some martial arts training under her belt, Ectoplasm has her working to find ways to accent that combat skill with her innate gravity manipulation powers. Her main stumbling block remains the resulting nausea, so she heads to the Support Department to see if her costume can be altered to settle her stomach. She’s joined by Tenya Iida, who hopes to improve the cooling in his legs, and together they run into Izuku (Daiki Yamashita) just outside the workshop.

Setting the record strait on what women mean to this world, the door to the Support Department Workshop explodes and out tumbles Mei Hatsune (Azu Sakura). Because it’s anime, men and women can’t fall down in proximity without some unintentional breast contact. Pinned under Mei, Izuku blanches at the sight of Mei’s cleavage as she presses into his chest. Uraraka unravels too, looking into the cleavage and losing her senses. Only Iida gets to exist in the blissful world where this bullshit isn’t happening.

With the tropey objectifying nonsense out of the way, the students head inside to consult with Higari Maijima (Yo Kitazawa), “Power Loader,” the proprietor of the workshop. As each of the trio explains their needs, Power Loader works out some schematics while Mei frantically fetches pre-made inventions that loosely relate to their requests.

When Izuku asks for something to support his mangled arms, Mei crams him into a suit of power armor that immediately starts malfunctioning. When Iida requests better cooling for the engines in his legs, Mei slaps some rocket powered gauntlets on his arms, suggesting that his arms could take over when his legs overheat. Hearing this, gears start turning in Izuku’s head as he nears the conclusion to the longest walk necessary for the shortest trip. A boy once lauded for his keen analytical mind finally reaches the obvious solution to his problems; so obvious that he’s been standing on this solution for most of his life. Uraraka’s request for a solution to her stomach troubles is answered by Mei pulling out a keg of cartoon TNT, blasting the scene to a conclusion.

On the fourth day of ultimate move training, Izuku Midoriya struts to the gym with his flashy new arm guards and–now defining his character–mighty stompin’ boots. In the gym, Bakugo (Nobuhiko Okamoto) continues showing off his propensity for ultimate moves. He focuses a laser-like blast from his palm to pierce a hole in a cement slab while All Might (Kenta Miyake) and Aizawa marvel at his potential, below. As All Might turns his back, the cement above crumbles, tumbling toward the withered teacher’s head.

In the nick of time, Izuku leaps in to kick the cement to dust. By remembering that he had two whole relatively undamaged limbs, young Deku found a new lease on heroism.

Tom Laurie
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