By Kellyn Harrison Warning: This review may contain spoilers for this episode and previous episodes of "My Hero Academia" As a die-hard fanboy, Deku has studied many heroes’ abilities and ferociously scribbled notes in his journal well before receiving One For All. The amount of strategy pressed between the journal’s pages has saved him in many fights and helped shape him into the hero he is today. Especially when he takes notes on his classmates for future training scenarios or combat missions, as he did in this episode. While fans and Deku knew Class 1-A’s abilities were complex, we didn’t know how complex they were, more so for the hero course's newest addition, Hitoshi Shinso. This episode continued the joint training arc between Classes 1-A and 1-B introduced in the last episode. I thought this arc would focus more on Shinso and Class 1-B’s abilities, but we received surprises from all parties involved in this fight’s episode. This case made for a satisfying continuation of the class’s development, making the viewer grow even more hooked to the characters’ growth as heroes.
The shadow assailantWhile I was wrong about this episode focusing solely on Shinso’s growth as a hero, there were still many moments mixed in that highlighted his abilities. Many of which have been honed to limit the expanse of his weaknesses, similar to the other hero students. So, that puts him on a similar playing field as the others and exposes the depth of his training with Class 1-A’s teacher, Shota Aizawa. His only major downfall is his lack of teamwork experience. This con makes sense, as it would seem jarring to the viewer if he was already accustomed to working in a team environment since he was (presumably) emotionally detached from the rest of UA’s students. In the beginning, we watch Shinso explain his quirk in depth to the other members-Koji Koda, Denki Kaminari, Eijiro Kirishima, and Tsuyu “Tsu” Asui- on his team. This didn’t allow much time for them to formulate a plan, so it showed how isolated Shinso was from the other group members because he has never experienced fighting within their environment of high-level teamwork before. However, it was promising and exciting to see him work well with the other students in Class 1-A by the end of the episode when his remaining teammates- Kaminari and Tsu- realized they were close to losing to team Class 1-B. During the process, we see the members talk about strategy and explain their quirks. In the end, the team wins. We see Shinso be put in a place of belonging within Class 1-A’s ranks because of Kaminari and Tsu’s encouragement. The group successfully wins the exercise through their last-minute seamless strategizing. In the previous episode, Shinso explains he is not there to make friends and wants to surpass the students to become a worthy hero. However, where I predicted Deku would soften the brainwasher’s heart like he did Shoto Todoroki, there was a surprising yet heartwarming twist when Kaminari offered praise for Shinso’s abilities. It proves to the viewer that Shinso might warm up to the idea of teaming up or joining the ranks of Class 1-A. This part not only places Kaminari’s character in a different light than what we have previously seen him in, but it shows potential for Shinso emotionally instead of just professionally and physically. This makes the viewer feel more attached to his character development beyond just curiosity due to his connection with Aizawa and sudden probable introduction into the hero course.
Electrifying personalityIn previous episodes, Kaminari has been used as comic relief. He has become associated with Minoru Mineta for his womanizing ways and Katsuki Bakugo for his lighthearted quips alongside the fact that when he overuses his quirk, he becomes a dunce. However, here we see him not only outsmart the opposing team, but become a character with a lot more depth and emotion than previously established. When he praises Shinso for his work and appears concerned for Tsu after injuring herself, Kaminari exposes a more emotional and caring side. This vulnerability is a nice development in Kaminari’s character growth because it establishes his current relationship with his classmates, a starting point in his relationship with Shinso, as well as Shinso’s budding emotional ties to Class 1-A. It shows some intelligence under the goofy exterior he portrays especially when he proposes a strategy to capture Class 1-B’s vine user, Ibara Shiozaki, after losing to her in the UA sports festival. It is a nice development and shows how much he has matured since the first season. His character just needs a backstory, as well as the others. Especially with female characters, this is an issue My Hero Academia’s manga artist, Kôhei Horikoshi, needs to adopt to add a little more depth to the characters' journey in becoming heroes, which is why the Joint Training Arc was exciting because it added more profoundness to Class 1-B. Class 1-B’s character growth is something we haven’t seen much of before, other than in season three’s training camp arc.
Raising the stakesThis episode was very important in adding depth to characters, but it only added another piece of anticipation into the puzzle, as we wait for Deku and Shinso’s rematch. It is only the second episode of the joint training arc, and the tension is already high, and it only grows each time Deku takes notes on Shinso’s abilities throughout the exercise. It is all lighthearted, of course, but it makes the anticipation grow all the same, and it will only continue to grow as we slowly get through each team’s action-packed training exercises. Especially since we will finally see Hawks and Fumikage Tokyami work together in the next episode after only seeing them interact in My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising. While this is really exciting because we have yet to see the duo work together and watch Tokyami prosper professionally, it only adds to the time we have to wait to watch the rematch. Especially since My Hero Academia is known to stretch action-packed arcs over multiple episodes while adding in or developing other extremely important plot plots, which brings into question whether Tokyami is joining Hawks in his mission to finally defeat the League of Villains.
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