Boku no Hero Academia Season 2 – 12

Who would have thought an episode about a teenaged boy deciding whether to use his left hand would be so riveting?

Boku no Hero Academia 2 - 12 - 01Boku no Hero Academia is really peerless shounen at this point in time.  It just goes about things the right way, taking no shortcuts and utilizing no trapdoors or cheat codes.  Imagine a superhero story built around the idea that everything has consequences – for your feelings and those around you, for your health, for your career and finances.  And for the world.  Imagine that, and you have a pretty good idea of what makes Boku no Hero so special.  And if that doesn’t sound interesting to you, there’s a good chance BnHA isn’t going to be your cup of tea.

Boku no Hero Academia 2 - 12 - 02Horikoshi-sensei is, if nothing else, a serial defier of expectations (like that other shounen mangaka, what’s-his-name, with all the health problems).  Todoroki vs. Kacchan is the obvious main event this massive sports festival undercard has been building up to – the undisputed heavyweight championship of Yuuei.  But that battle wasn’t going to be the point – the battle you expect to be almost never is with Boku no Hero Academia.  And the battle that really mattered here was the internal one going on with Shouto.  If the literal battle had a clear winner, that symbolic one is indisputably still ongoing.

Boku no Hero Academia 2 - 12 - 03Not even a full-throated “Ganbare!” from Deku was enough to convince Todoroki-kun to unleash his full power against Bakugo – and that just served to enrage the latter all the more.  The dynamic between these two is really fascinating – Kacchan is the quintessential “angry young man”, but based on what we’ve been shown of these two, it’s Shouto who’s got every right to be.  We know what he’s been through, yet he’s ever-contemplative to the point of indecisiveness.  Kacchan, meanwhile, seems to have been catered to and admired for his talents for his entire quirked life, but he’s filled with rage.  Not blind rage, mind you – he’s always thinking things through, as I think he’s proved by now – but rage nonetheless.

Boku no Hero Academia 2 - 12 - 04If you think about this final round from Bakugo’s perspective, in a way it’s the worst possible result.  Not only did he win with Shouto refusing to unleash his left side (worse still, he actually started to release it and stopped himself), but now he must live with the fact that Izuku forced (or inspired) Shouto to use his full power, but he couldn’t.  That could be taken (not inaccurately, in my view) to mean that Todoroki respects Deku more than Kacchan.  It could also be taken to mean that Deku is more powerful.  Whatever spin he puts on it is all bad for Bakugo, which is why he’s put into full Hannibal Lecter mode after the match.

Boku no Hero Academia 2 - 12 - 05Maybe some people will call this final an anti-climax, but the point is, it’s not a climax in any sense – in fact, this could very credibly be argued to be the real starting point of the series.  That’s why what happens afterwards is much the more important part of this episode.  After a highly amusing awards ceremony (dear old All Might hugging all the winners – well, all but one – and then muffing his lines…  How do you not love this guy?), everyone involved must get on with their lives.  And that – as always with Boku no Hero Academia – means dealing with the consequences of everything that’s happened.

Boku no Hero Academia 2 - 12 - 06What does that mean?  For Iida, it’s confronting the reality that heroism is a fucking dangerous career and, even more existentially devastating, that his beloved aniki is fallible.  For Deku, it’s the reality of what his choices are doing to his mother – who “lost consciousness seven times” watching him suffer in the tournament.  And for Shouto (noted: Kaji Yuuki is doing remarkably well at not screwing this up – so far), it’s the reality that he still hasn’t (despite Deku’s heartfelt help) come to terms with who he is – at the key moment when he could have defeated Kacchan using his flames, he saw his mother’s face and could not act.

Boku no Hero Academia 2 - 12 - 07If this arc was about any one character, it may have been Todoroki-kun even more than Izuku.  And his decision to finally confront his mother – who he’s been avoiding for her sake, not his own – speaks to the degree to which Deku really did help him move forward.  Shouto now knows, at least, that his situation isn’t as literally black and white as he was making it out to be – and that until he comes to grips with his past and what it’s done to him, he can never move forward and become a hero like the one he admires so much (a man who is himself dealing with issues Shouto cannot even begin to suspect).  Things are never simple in BnHA, and everything has consequences – and no one better illustrates that than Shouto.  We’re seeing now in all its glory why he’s such a remarkable character.

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16 comments

  1. M

    Gotta love All Might’s indisputably terrible, misplaced, and clumsy public outspokenness. He’s just a big man klutz with a big warm optimistic heart.
    But gosh damn is he a klutz.

  2. M

    Also, Uraraka having her eye put back in her orbit…
    … and “die, bacteria f*cks” from Kacchan…
    This is just too much, Horikoshi. These little moments are so good.

  3. O

    Next arc’s gonna be so fun

  4. Y

    Bakugou really pissed me off this episode (haha what else is new), and out of all the reasons why I can barely stand him when he’s in rage mode (aka 90% of the fucking time), this has to be the pettiest one, but I have no shame: this little shit genuinely believes everyone’s world revolves around him whenever they so much as breathe in his direction. And for someone as brilliant as him to be making such a hilariously glaring mistake regarding the reality of the situation is… frankly ridiculous, but also unfortunately true to life.

    He’s so self-absorbed he thinks everything everybody ever does is somehow directed at him. Deku wants to enrol U.A. to pursue his dream? — Fucker’s looking down on him, messing with him, trying to tick him off; so he tells this kid who’s had issues with self-worth and loneliness since forever to go jump off a roof, surely it wouldn’t matter if that backfired horrendously, because hey, Bakugou got to have the last word and rid the world of a quirkless loser, and that makes him a total winner in his one-sided pissing contest. Shouto refuses to use his fire after a literal lifetime of physical and psychological abuse? — Fucker’s looking down on him, messing him, trying to tick him off, yes that’s the answer to everything, surely this is ALL ABOUT BAKUGOU; so he throws a blitz-tantrum and makes a complete ass of himself in front of his entire school and country to the point where villain-restraining equipment has to be employed. Oh, and he also had to go and harass Shouto additionally in the waiting room. Unbelievable.

    I understand why people like him. I understand why he’s a well-written character. I understand that he’s highly intelligent. I understand why he seems compelling to even those who are lukewarm about him. But I’ll need Jesus to take the wheel, because I’m about to reach into the screen and smack a conceited little bitch. Goddamn. Watching his ego both literally and figuratively explode all over the fucking place and serve as background noise to Shouto struggling with his entire purpose for choosing to live as a hero and finally attempting to accept a part of himself he’s resented for so long only accented just how out-of-touch Bakugou is with reality when it comes to people and his place among them. It almost made me feel sick to see such a blatant display of arrogance and ignorance by someone who clearly has the capacity to do and be SO much better. But if that mini-shitfest of his hadn’t occurred, I guess Bakugou wouldn’t be Bakugou. Ugh.

  5. I think from this episode onwards, Todoroki will be trusting Midoriya a lot more. Midoriya has earned Todoroki’s respect. Probably, the first of his peers to do so. Definitely interested to see how these 2 work together.

  6. s

    “Who would have thought an episode about a teenaged boy deciding whether to use his left hand would be so riveting?”…..really Enzo…hahaha wow.

    All might is such a lovable guy; i couldnt help but feel all warm and fuzzy inside when he was giving the kids advice packaged with heartfelt hugs. Makes you wish people like him existed in the real world more often

    i gotta say, i keep being amazed about the fact that ochaco is supposed to be this sweet bubbly girl and yet she is so physically fit looking…..like whyyyy??? Maybe she works out on her spare time but i assume the real reason is regardless of the fact that her parents dont want her to spend her life inheriting the family business, she uses both her quirk and physicality to help them out which is why she’s particularly in shape

  7. s

    Oh and just a heads up guys; i forgot to mention that after next week’s ep, Boku no hero will be going on a week break and be back on the 8th of july for the official start of the season’s second cour (possibly with a new op and ed to boot)

  8. Actually I’d heard it was two weeks, so that’s good news.

  9. s

    the original source i got the break info from had also said two weeks as well but ive started to notice that when people say “two weeks”, they tend to actually mean that the show will be back in two weeks rather than there being a two week gap of no episodes. According to the official website, the 13th ep airs on june 25th; then there is no ep the week after, and then on july 8th, the new op being sung by LisA debuts, which most likely indicates that the second cour begins then as well.

  10. B

    I actually forgot that Kaji Yuuki was voicing Todoroki. I guess he has a better range than people give him credit for.

  11. For one performance out of what – a hundred? I do appreciate that he’s put his persona aside in favor of the character here (and I give Nagasaki Kenji some credit there) but I’d need to see that happen a few more times before I start changing my overall opinion of him.

  12. k

    And don’t forget, a new manga chapter by that shounen mangaka with backpain troubles coming out next week, 26th june.

  13. Like I’m gonna forget!

  14. K

    How fantastic is this show!? Makes my week in regards to my anime entertainment glass of coolade being filled up…I was laughing, and cheering and i like the emotional resonance with all the characters this week….minus Kachan…he is a character for sure….The agony in having to wait a week….Nice review Enzo….

  15. j

    Hello! Where did your heard this?
    —> Actually I’d heard it was two weeks, so that’s good news.

    Is that mean that 14 episode will be later? (sorry, English is not my native English :))

  16. Should be July 8 as far as I know.

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