I spent the first two seasons of My Hero Academia marveling at the series’s ceaseless upward trajectory. It’s only fitting that this momentum should stall just before Shota Aizawa (Junichi Suwabe) explains to his students that, though their stamina and mental resilience have improved greatly, the physical limits of their Quirks (for the most part) have hardly improved in “Wild, Wild Pussycats”.
Mineta’s (Ryo Hirohashi) nonsense continues–first fantasizing while peeking up his classmates’ skirts, then trying to peep over the wall at the hot springs–further obscuring what was ever likeable about this show. It would be a dream if the sexual politics of action shows aimed at young boys could evolve past those of 80’s and 90’s teen sex comedies, where the horniness of straight boys is a force more central than gravity, but I’d settle for Mineta vanishing and never again being mentioned.
In between the pervy garbage, there’s almost a story. After a bus ride up to the mountains, Class 1-A is introduced to the proprietors of their strength training wilderness retreat: The Wild, Wild Pussycats. The duo specializes in mountain rescue, as made obvious by their cat-girls-in-frilly-skirts motif. Sartorial choices aside, Pixie Bob (Serina Machiyama) illustrates her forest affinity by conjuring an army of earthen beasts. With miles between the bus stop and the nature retreat, Class 1-A will have to fight through the mud monsters before their lessons can begin.
And would you believe? They do. Using teamwork and all the tricks they’ve learned thus far, the hero course students put on an improved redux of their entrance exam fight against the robot horde. Bakugo (Nobuhiko Okamoto), Todoroki (Yuki Kaji), Iida (Kaito Ishikawa) and Deku (Daiki Yamashita) may stand out as the class emerges from the woods, but everyone is filthy and exhausted. A feast and a dip in the hot spring will cap off the first day of their adventure, and give the show an opportunity to fall further in my esteem.
While bathing, the boys and girls are separated by an enormous wall, but it’s no deterrent to the relentless creeping of Minoru Mineta. As he uses his weird sticky hairballs to scale the wall, his progress is halted by a young boy perched up top. The morose child, Kota (Michiru Yamazaki), is an orphaned relative of the Wild, Wild Pussycats, and is no fan of perverts or heroes. He sends Mineta tumbling, but to dissuade you from believing this is a turn in how the show treats women, Kota turns to catch a peak for himself and the audience. The girls on the other side of the wall are grateful to be rid of Mineta, and are as nude as possible without employing a mosaic blur.
The boy faints, tumbling into the nimble arms of Izuku Midoriya, who is then treated to the kid’s tragic back story by the Wild, Wild Pussycats. His hatred for heroes doesn’t stem from cretins like Mineta taking up the mantle, but from the dangers inherent to the job. Kota’s parents were heroes, but they were murdered by a villain. Though their deaths alone would be enough to sour a child on their parents’ choices, what really got to him was the community’s response. Their deaths were honorable; a great sacrifice to be revered. It’s salt in the wound for a child who believes that at best, his parents were taken, and at worst they threw their lives away.
Hearing this, Deku recalls All Might’s (Kenta Miyake) words about why he always arrives with a smile: convincing himself as much as those around him that there’s nothing to fear. The thought makes Deku question whether something is lost in not acknowledging the mortal danger in this line of work; if a hero might seem villainous for smiling while bad stuff happens. There will be time for moral quandaries later. This is a training camp!
The next day starts with the class assembling at the forest’s edge. Tossing Bakugo a baseball, Aizawa challenges his students with another trip down memory lane. Hearkening back to their earliest days at UA High, the ball will measure how far it’s thrown. Mustering all of his explosive rage, Bakugo blasts it skyward. Everyone is expecting big numbers, so shock sweeps the class as they see Bakugo’s throw only flew a few meters further than the first week of class.
It’s time for Class 1-A to push their physical limits.