My Hero Academia continues to trudge it’s way through the Provisional Hero License Exam. Normally, I’m a fan of contests and tournaments in action anime. They’re a great opportunity for unlikely character pairings to face off and enjoy the limelight.

Because My Hero Academia is so resolutely Izuku Midoriya’s (Daiki Yamashita) story, the potential of these scenarios is frequently squandered–increasingly so as Izuku’s strength increases. When each of his attacks risked the loss of a limb, making room for other characters was a necessity. When All Might (Kenta Miyake) would burst in to save the day, we’d get an un-problematic taste of experienced heroism.

Now, All Might is done. Izuku’s all-or-nothing risks that were once balanced by his nimble analytical mind are now replaced with him jumping around and kicking stuff. What’s more, each new conflict introduces a new wild eyed busty girl who is immediately infatuated with him. The only relief, as ever, is offered by a divergence into Shoto Todoroki’s (Yuki Kaji) tale (the other kid who gets to matter).

After a hefty recap of the premise and rules of the test, we rejoin most of UA’s Class 1-A as they’re beset by kids from Ketsubutsu High. Combining their abilities, the other kids toss their volley of balls, but are deflected by Mina Ashido (Eri Kitamura) and Kyoka Jiro (Kei Shindo), as Jiro shatters the ground with sound waves and Ashido blasts the balls with a gout of acid. Tired of UA’s team dynamic, Yo Shindo (Yuuta Kasuya) places his hands on the ground and channels an earthquake.

Tossed in every direction by the upturned terrain, UA’s students are left to fend for themselves. Izuku’s desperate search for backup is cut short by a confrontation with Shinketsu High’s Camie Utsushimi (Minori Chihara). Camie’s stealthy abilities allow her to slip in and out of Izuku’s perception, and with little effort she hits one of his targets. Dodging is all Izuku can manage as he tries to figure out her Quirk, but once again his brain train is derailed by the arrival of more students.

A crowd circles Izuku and Camie, all set on hitting the boy’s targets. They recognize this is probably the least efficient way to pass the test, but who can resist? Still limited to dodging by the onslaught of unfamiliar attacks, Izuku’s attention is drawn by a shout from Ochaco Uraraka (Ayane Sakura). Standing atop a jagged stone, Uraraka loses her footing and–in spite of her gravity defying Quirk–takes a tumble. Thinking only of his past failures to save people without destroying himself, Izuku leaps to her rescue with determination. While scooping her up in his arms, he shatters the rocks around them with a kick, then hides behind some of the rubble.

His mind races about what to do next while, behind him, Uraraka’s face takes on a dark expression. She holds out a ball, slowly creeping toward one of Izuku’s targets. At the last moment, he spins around and slaps the ball from her hand. Why would Uraraka, who has been training so hard, just jump out and scream for him in the middle of a fight? How would a girl who can literally fly slip and fall? Something’s not quite right, and that something is this person–melting into a pillar of grey goo–before reforming into a semi-nude Camie Utsushimi.

Beyond further objectifying a teen girl–this show just can’t relent–her grey-almost-nude state has shed all of her targets. She goes on the attack, but this time is purely aiming to injure, digging a nail into Izuku’s cheek. Before Izuku can figure out what to do next, Hanta Sero’s (Kiyotaka Furushima) strands of tape whip in to his rescue. From above, the real Ochaco Uraraka flies in to crush Izuku’s opponent. Camie dodges, then makes her escape. While Sero is eager to pursue a nude girl, Izuku reasons that chasing after a shapeshifter wouldn’t be worth the risk. The trio heads off, hoping they can improve each other’s odds.

My Hero Academia

Elsewhere, in a large factory-like area, Shoto Todoroki (Yuki Kaji) plans out how he’ll pass this exam alone. The sleepy announcer, Yokumiro Mera (Masami Iwasaki) lets the competitors know how many of the one hundred spots are left for students to pass. With the window steadily closing, Todoroki decides it’s time for him to go on the attack and earn his grade. No sooner has he made this choice than he is beset by a squad of ten teen ninjas. Once again, the other students call on their knowledge from the Sports Festival to put a UA student at a disadvantage.

At first, Todoroki easily blocks their attacks with his ice while sealing their feet to the ground. As the leader of the ninja squad persists, Todoroki’s confidence starts to shake. The ninja throws a swarm of hardware–bolts and nails made of tungsten–that his Quirk can enlarge to a massive scale. The dense, heat resistant metal shrugs off Todoroki’s fire and crushes his ice. Finally, an opportunity for Shoto to go all out.

Tom Laurie
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