The Provisional Hero License Exams are over, and My Hero Academia returns to dorm life. Class 1-A heads back to school, licensed and ready to help out in emergency situations, save for two shocking omissions: Katsuki Bakugo (Nobuhiko Okamoto) and Shoto Todoroki (Yuki Kaji).

As the suits who designed the test stated, the new crop of Heroes has to be capable of working together through tough situations. Even among the pros, no one Hero comes close to the strength of All Might (Kenta Miyake). With that goal in mind, brash solo acts like Bakugo and Todoroki rapidly racked up demerits, leaving them hoping for another shot in a few months.

Stewing. Fuming. Brooding Bakugo calls Izuku Midoriya (Daiki Yamashita) out on their first night back at the dorms. He coaxes his quaking nemesis out to the city-block set where they once competed, playing the roles of heroes and villains. Searing from the slight of his failed exam, Bakugo will be sated by nothing short of an no holds barred rematch.

While Izuku thinks he can dodge and deflect his way to a resolution at first, Bakugo’s relentless explosions eventually force his offense. Before long, they’re tearing up the street with, and each other’s faces, with conviction. As the violence flows, so too do the contents of Bakugo’s heart.

The surface level jealousy Bakugo feels–knowing the secret of Izuku’s Quirk–is stripped away, revealing a teen boy crumbling under the weight of his guilt. Yes, he does wish that All Might had seen a successor in him, and he can’t quite grasp what All Might sees in Izuku, but more deeply he wishes All Might had seen him more clearly. He wishes his idol had seen through his gruff veneer to the desperate kid beneath. He projects strength, but he feels weak.

Just as Izuku shoulders the responsibility for All Might’s last fight–reflecting on all the moments he spread himself too thin that lead up to that battle–Bakugo blames his own lack of strength. If only he hadn’t allowed himself to be kidnapped. If only he had managed to escape before All Might had to rescue him. Emotional wounds laid bare, the two set upon each other with renewed determination. Their brawl has not gone unnoticed, however.

My Hero Academia

All Might strolls down the street, putting an end to the fight. He sums up the situation pretty soundly, even taking Bakugo into a close embrace. Gently, he explains that no one is to blame for his retirement. It was inevitable. More importantly, he lays out the aspects of both boys that will drive them to be great Heroes. He gives their renewed rivalry his blessing, certain that Izuku’s heart and Bakugo’s strength will continually drive one another to greater heights.

No one Hero could ever match the strength of All Might, with Endeavor (Tetsu Inada)–the #2 ranked hero–falling far behind. In this era where cooperation between Heroes is necessary to fill that void, a duo like Izuku and Bakugo could grow stronger than either of their predecessors.


Tom Laurie
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