I’m exhausted, and the weekend isn’t even done yet. Yet here we have Boku no Hero Academia, a series that can hardly be short-shrifted when it comes to attention. Not only is it probably the best new series of the season when you take everything into consideration, it compresses so much into each episode that they’re almost like .rar files. And blogging them is akin to unpacking them. With only 13 episodes in this round, each week is one that needs to be savored to the fullest.
There were two main thrusts in this week’s episode, it seems to me. Thematically it was mostly about Bakugo – Midoriya spent most of it unconscious on his back and it was Kacchan who was left trying to pick up the pieces of his shattered psyche. And materially it was really a showcase for a bunch of kids who haven’t been important so far but will be soon enough. There are a lot of big-name seiyuu involved here, and frankly Bones has made a couple of casting choices I’m not crazy about.
For the crucial Todoroki Shouto they’ve chosen Kaji Yuki, about whom my opinion need hardly be repeated – I’ll hope for the best, though we’ve seen nothing to indicate Kaji has the range to pull this role off. And for frog-girl Asui Tsuyu they chose Yuuki Aoi, about whom my feelings are normally just about opposite. She’s generally a wonderful seiyuu but I don’t care for her take so far – it comes off as a bad Arai Satomi impression (and I can’t stand most of her work). I have a lot more faith in the Yuuki with the extra “u” so maybe she can turn this around. Among the other notables is Mineta Minoru (Hirohashi Ryou), whose body is as tiny as his libido is outsized, and the analytical Yaoyorozu Momo (Inoue Marina). Plus there’s genki girl Ashido Mina (Kitamura Eri), and many more who will each have their time in the spotlight if the series gets a couple of sequels.
Make no mistake, this group is the core of Boku no Hero Academia, but it’s all about Bakugo this week. I tell you what, this is one angry puppy dog – he’s full of rage the way some teenage boys are, but there seems to be a never-ending supply of lava in his gut fueling it. He’s pissed at Deku for defying and “tricking” him (and most of all, beating him), he’s pissed at himself for being easy to read, he’s pissed at All Might for being kind to him. And he’s pissed at the world for containing people stronger than he is – people like Todoroki, seemingly. Dear, big-hearted All Might longs to connect with Kacchan and channel that rage in a positive direction, but this boy doesn’t want to be channeled.
The problem, of course, is that Bakugo doesn’t really know what he wants. He wants to “win” all the time, to be stronger – but doesn’t seem to have any grasp of why. Given his age and formidable power, that makes Kacchan a powderkeg in ways both literal and metaphorical. For now at least he’s obtained some context – he now knows that he’s no longer the bully in the room that everyone defers to. If he wants respect he’s going to have to earn it by proving he really is stronger – and than includes being stronger than Deku, too. He’s a difficult character, one that isn’t written to be easy to love, but there’s a fierceness and a relentlessness to Bakugo that makes him difficult to look away from.
As for Izuku, he’s in pretty bad shape and Recovery Girl lectures All Might pretty harshly about Izuku’s repeated visits to the emergency room. Just as Izuku is learning to be a hero All Might is learning to be a mentor. In social terms at least Deku’s obvious courage and ingenuity is winning friends and influencing people throughout Class 1-A, but his road is still a difficult one. Deku is far more respectful and deferential to Kacchan than he deserves, to be honest – he even comes very close to spilling the beans about the nature of his power in an effort to make Kacchan feel better about himself. With a sea change coming in the story next week, there won’t be as much time for childhood obsessions – but neither Deku nor Kacchan is anywhere close to having the other out of their system yet.