Day breaks on the Wild, Wild Pussycats’ forest training ground as Class 1-B’s teacher, Sekijiro Kan (Shuuhei Matsuda), tries to rouse his class with a speech about the glory of training in My Hero Academia. Based on the concept of muscle strengthening, Classes 1-A and 1-B are assigned repetitive tasks specifically selected to exhaust their Quirks. It’s a training regimen taken right out of The Elder Scrolls, but everyone seems pretty into it. Still, the explanations of how well trod characters (like Class 1-A’s all stars) will strengthen their Quirks feel like an uninvited layer of redundancy, particularly when we still know so little about Class 1-B.

Most of the students are trembling under the weight of ambition and exhaustion, but Izuku (Daiki Yamashita) can’t keep his mind off of Mandalay’s (Chisa Suganuma) morose little cousin, Kota (Michiru Yamazaki). If ever a small traumatized child loses faith in whatever shonen series concept failed them, another child will rise up to prove the value of determination. Tailing the youth to his mountaintop hideout, Deku imagines his story might spark some understanding of the heart of a Hero within Kota. It’s hard to warm the heart of a kid whose parents were murdered. For all the struggle Izuku and his peers have faced, death is still just beyond their experience.

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My Hero Academia

Kota feels more like a trope than a character, at this point. There’s always hope for some twist on his role, but it’s hard to imagine he exists for any reason beyond proving himself wrong. Either Izuku and Pals will save him through heroic sacrifice, or perilous circumstances will force Kota to release his own Quirk’s potential. Either way, he’ll only reinforce the importance of Good Guys with Quirks in a world with Bad Guys with Quirks. Fantastical action shows like this can always easily swat away concerns over the control or abolition of arms, because enough people are born as weapons.

Still, a perilous circumstance can be exciting to watch. As a “reward” for their hard work training, the classes are pitted against each other in a competition of frights, at night, in the forest. The Wild Wild Pussycats are practically thumbing their noses at horror movie convention as students are sent into the woods in pairs to be frightened by their schoolmates. While a group from Class 1-B celebrates their scare skills, poison gas wafts between the trees, and blue flames lick out from the mountain.

Before the Wild Wild Pussycats can react, Pixie Bob (Serina Machiyama) is pinned by a group of ne’er-do-wells. The League of Villains’ Elite Vanguard has arrived. As his classmates freak out, Izuku looks to the mountain–Kota is still up there.

 

 

Tom Laurie
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