It’s an avalanche of anime this weekend, and life outside the bubble goes on too. I don’t have to prove my bona fides for how much I love Boku no Hero Academia at this stage, I don’t think, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to cover the anime I want to cover in the manner they deserve – first weeks of the spring season tend to be like that. So this will be my briefest BnHA post ever, probably, though that’s a fate pretty much every show I write about this weekend will share.
Re-introductions aside (we had a prequel episode and a season premiere dedicated to that), now it’s time for scene-setting (yes, this is still Horikoshi – it comes with the territory). There are several threads at play as we get ready for the sports festival. First off, the pressure on Izuku. From his mom, it’s mostly just to stay safe – and that’s real, though boys his age are more or less wired to expect that. From All Might (how lucky is Deku to have two adults in his life who love him and care about him so much?) it’s a lot more complicated. Izuku bears the weight of the power he’s inheriting, and All Might gently encourages him to make a statement on this stage – to declare “I am here!” in true #1 hero fashion. But the problem is, Deku still can’t control the power All Might granted him. And how is he supposed to outshine the lines of Kacchan and Todoroki when that’s the case?
Ah yes, Todoroki. He’s a very important player in this story, though we’ve only just scratched the surface with him. I was worried (that’s putting it kindly) when Kaji Yuuki was cast for such a crucial character so beloved (with reason) by the fans, but the jury is still out – so far, it’s tolerable. Todoroki isn’t Kacchan – he doesn’t strut around and sneer about his superiority all day to overcompensate for his insecurities. But make no mistake, this is a very powerful young man, and he knows it. And he, like Kacchan, has noticed the curiously strong interest All Might has in the seemingly zaku-level Midoriya-kun.
And, of course, there’s the matter of the other classes – the others in the hero track, yes, but also all the students not strong enough to be admitted into it. Class 1-A has become a target of all of them – their notariety (infamy?) due to various incidents would be reason enough, but Kacchan’s constant preening and bragging has exacerbated the problem. If you haven’t noticed already, this is how Bakugou drives himself – he forces confrontations with everyone around him and isolates himself. “Drives himself into a corner”, as Deku – who knows him better than anyone – says. Of course he’s dragged the rest of Class 1-A into this fight, and how they choose to deal with that is a major test of character.
That’s the thing about the sports festival – it’s not just a test of ability but a test of character. The classes are pitted against each other, but the ultimate goal of the Yuuei Sports Festival is for individuals to shine. That means every student is left with a choice of how much they think of their colleagues and how much they think of themselves – and it’s all part of the education of an aspiring hero. As I’ve said before, U.A. Academy’s hero course is as much an audition as an education – and the sports festival is no exception.