It seems like whenever My Hero Academia wants to put its students through a perfectly normal hero-school test, they wind up in mortal peril! Someone really needs to take a close look at this schools safety standards. They don’t even bring the school nurse on these outings! Before such administrative neglect can be examined, these kids will need to work their way out of this woodlands-combat-pickle. A squad of ne’er-do-wells and Stain-Stans stalks Classes 1-A and 1-B through the forest. Their goal: capturing and recruiting Katsuki Bakugo (Nobuhiko Okamoto).

A lot of little things in this story line remind me of Naruto‘s “Sasuke Recovery Mission” arc. In that story, Naruto’s morose rival, Sasuke, was sealed up in a barrel to be delivered to the villain. Naruto and his friends pursue the villains through a forest, paring down one by one as each youth delays a villain so their friends can keep up the chase. There are degrees of intention and planning that set it apart from this plot, and it relies more on one-on-one fights than the clever teamwork that is characteristic of Deku (Daiki Yamashita) and his pals. The greatest difference is that Sasuke wanted to be a villain. At this point, we still don’t really know what Bakugo wants.

He wants to surpass All Might, but he hasn’t revealed the “why.” Izuku wants to be the next All Might, and Todoroki (Yuki Kaji) wants to be the Hero his father never was, but Bakugo is still a bit of a mystery. His angry presentation and void of intention leaves him open to people’s assumptions. He doesn’t “act heroic.” He must want to be a villain, right? At least, that’s what Shigaraki (Koki Uchiyama) and The League of Villains are banking on. Eventually, I hope to see their assumptions tested, and Bakugo’s Heroic ambition revealed.

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Before any of that can happen, Deku has to reach his rival, who is currently pinned down by a serial killer with swords for teeth. Between them stands not a villain, but an out of control classmate: Fumikage Tokoyami (Yoshimasa Hosoya). When Tokoyami saw his friend Shoji (Masakazu Nishida) get sliced by one of Moonfish’s (Shuhei Matsuda) sword teeth, it pushed his Quirk over the edge. With the compounding stressors of the darkness and his classmate’s injury, Tokoyami loses his grip on Dark Shadow–the birdlike spirit dwelling within him–and it lashes out at everything it sees.

While Shoji wants to make a heroic sacrifice–drawing away the danger so Naruto can pursue Sasuke – Izuku Midoriya is no Naruto. He has a plan to pool their resources and turn this disadvantage on its head. Still toting Izuku on his back, Shoji sprints in the general direction of Bakugo and Todoroki’s standoff with ol’ knifemouth. Their gambit pays off as Dark Shadow catches sight of Moonfish and, when attacked by the mass murderer, effortlessly pulverizes him. With that threat out of the way, Izuku recruits Bakugo and Todoroki for his scheme, having them dash toward Tokoyami with their hands ablaze.

The light subdues Dark Shadow, and now this formidable squad has to find their way back to camp. If they follow the path, they’ll intersect with the Wild, Wild Pussycats and their ongoing battle, which could just put Bakugo back in danger. A shortcut through the forest leaves them subject to the unknown, but with this group, Izuku thinks they have the combined power to take on the likes of All Might.

In the forest, Ochaco Uraraka (Ayane Sakura) and Tsuyu Asui (Aoi Yuki) are facing down the bloodthirsty villain Himiko Toga (Misato Fukuen). The fawning schoolgirl is out for blood in an extremely literal sense. While it’s still unclear what her Quirk is, she’s acutely focused on consuming her opponents’ blood and, if possible, pumping it out with a device on her back. Feigning at Narutoism again, Tsu tries to take on Himiko alone so Ochaco can make a run for it. For whatever reason, her previously robust speed and strength aren’t enough to get around Himiko’s throwing knives. Pinned to a tree by her hair, Tsu hangs helpless as Himiko moves in with her weird syringe thingies.

Before the blood can flow, Uraraka’s on the scene, finally using the martial arts she learned in her internship. In a flash, she has Himiko pinned in the dirt. As Himiko goads Uraraka about their similarity–they both have a crush on a boy!–Ochaco doesn’t notice the villain working a syringe with her free hand, until it’s plunged into Uraraka’s skin. Again, the blood transfer is interrupted, this time by the arrival of Izuku And Friends. The happy reunion is a reprieve for hero and villain alike. Himiko catches a lovestruck glimpse of Izuku before disappearing into the night.

My Hero Academia

Deku’s squad is now bigger than ever – and even has girls! – but someone’s taken their eye off the ball. That is, everyone’s taken their eye off the ball. At some point in their trek through the woods, Bakugo and Tokoyami both vanished from the group. Bewildered, the remaining students look to the treeline to see an odd masked dandy perched on a branch. Calling himself “Mr. Compress,” the villain has apparently captured both boys, turning them into small blue pearls. Todoroki does his best to blast the masked man with mountains of ice, but Mr. Compress floats to safety effortlessly.

With two volatile new recruits in his grasp, Mr. Compress glides back toward his companions, letting them know via radio that the mission is complete. To catch up, the UA students will need to get airborne, and Izuku has a plan for just how they’ll manage that. Shoji grasps both Deku and Todoroki while Uraraka renders the trio weightless. Then, Tsu flings them airborn with her tongue. The human trebuche finds its mark, and the trio crashes down on top of Mr. Compress with the weight of the world.

Things are looking up, until they look up to see they’ve landed right at the feet of Himiko, Dabi (Hiro Shimono) and Twice (Daichi Endo).



Tom Laurie
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