Boku no Hero Academia Season 2 – 15

There’s nothing much new to report here.  Boku no Hero Academia delivering near-perfect shounen is old hat by now, as we’re 15 episodes into a second season that has surpassed an already-excellent first in every way.  It’s a great talent for a writer to be able to be thematically consistent without ever being repetitive, and Horikoshi displays it in spades with this series.  The directions the story follows are always new and the characters are always evolving (they are adolescents, after all) but each twist and turn is built on the foundation of what came before it.

There are a lot of moving parts in the narrative at the moment, but I don’t really think it’s necessary to try and do a systematic analysis of all of them so I’m going to hopscotch all over the map for a bit.  Let’s start (though the episode doesn’t) with Stain, because I think he’s quite interesting.  Villains like Stain are favorites of mine, because they can sound so reasonable when they want to.  There’s perhaps no one more dangerous than a sociopath who believes he’s righteous, and Stain most certainly does.  He may be a sociopath but he’s absolutely lucid – he considers every move, and every move has a larger purpose.  Heroes and villains are equally meaningless constructs to him, and equally contemptible – but he has common ground with the one group, for the moment.  And Stain is too calculating to dismiss the importance of that.

For the moment, Stain is the obsession of Iida, but not directly in Deku’s sights – which are clearly focused on Gran Torino.  The old man is putting the boy through the wringer, but not thoughtlessly – it’s all about helping him understand the power he’s inherited.  As usual Izuku is harder on himself than anyone else is – Gran Torino recognizes just how quickly he’s able to adapt to new information.  Midoriya’s agile brain is constantly working, grinding – his greatest strength, and his greatest vulnerability.

As Gran Torino decides to take Izuku to Shibuya to battle some real (small-time) villains (not wanting him to because tunnel-visioned on fighting against Jet), the other Yuuei cadets continue their internships.  Most notable here, perhaps, is what Best Jeanist does to Kacchan – and there’s not a damn thing he can do about it.  Meanwhile Tsukauchi-san (remember him?) pays another visit to All Might to bring him up to date on the investigation into the USJ attack.  The headline here is that Noumu had at least four distinct sets of DNA – and the attack was likely the work of someone whose quirk is the ability to pass on quirks to others.  To say that this alarms All Might would be a plus ultra understatement.

It’s in Hosu where all of this disparate threads are destined to become entangled.  Iida-kun is of course continuing his internship with Manual, a quiet man who sees more than he lets on.  He’s figured out Iida’s real motivation for choosing his little-known hero agency (most likely he suspected it from the beginning) and he attempts to fulfil his most critical duty in his own understated way – cautioning Iida against pursuing the cause of vengeance (which would be both morally wrong and illegal).  Stain’s path takes him to Hosu too (as Iida knew it would), to finish the job he started – and Shigaraki and Kurogiri are right behind him.  And the Shinkansen from Yamanashi to Tokyo, of course, passes through Hosu Station…

It’s fascinating the way Stain’s approach and that of the League of Villains are so perfectly displayed here.  Stain comes back to finish a job he started – one which must be done for the good of the world.  Shigaraki, by contrast, is here to unleash chaos, plain and simple – which he does by releasing more Noumus.  That unwittingly brings Gran Torino and Deku into the fray, as they’re passing through just as the Noumu are wreaking havoc on the city.  Gran Torino does what a hero does – he leaps into battle against the Noumu while ordering Deku to stay safe on the train.  Meanwhile Iida – as Ingenium – confronts Stain at last, just as the latter is about to justify his “Hero Killer” moniker with the hapless hero, Native.  The battle is well and truly joined, now – some sought it, some didn’t, but none of the principals can avoid it any longer.

 

 

 

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4 comments

  1. J

    Alright, BnH is impressing me more and more with each passing week. I’ll try to recap my thoughts:
    – I love how they nail the intensity in characters’ expressions. Of course the credit must be given to the author for depicting these intense emotions in the first place, but I have to tip my hat to the studio for highlighting these moment with the thick, “artisanal” outlines. Faithful reproduction of character expressions was sorely missing from the Magi adaptation ; the manga is so gripping in that regard.
    – I totally understand Iida’s lust for revenge but the other guy’s warning is perfectly sound. Here we have two opposing views that both make sense (Iida can’t just pretend that nothing happened) but are irreconcilable. That was the best scene of the episode for me, as I felt Iida’s frustration building up since he can’t argue against fishman’s warning. I felt he was going to let his rage all out and that was a very tense moment to watch. Very good writing here.
    – Iida’s revenge storyline is interesting in that he’s a weak rookie going after a seasoned villain. His lack of power conflicts with his goal, I’m really curious how this is going to play out.
    – Stain has a reasoning behind his crimes. Very, very curious to see this more fleshed out.
    – I loved the hero suddenly crashing through the train and the chaos outside. Deku discovers what it’s really like to be a hero. You have to always be ready for trouble. This is going to be a great experience for him, as he said earlier he needed time to prepare himself. You have to be always “on”, as Torino is. Dude immediately kicks the Nomu away from the passengers.
    – Seriously, all scenes are filled with well constructed conflict, even when it’s played for laughs. Where the hell did the author learn to write?

  2. I think it’s worth pointing out that this is more than a philosophical difference between Iida and Manual (though it’s that, too). In very practical terms, what Iida is thinking of doing is illegal – if he uses his quirk for personal gain, he would theoretically be subject to having his hero license revoked.

  3. B

    As for the episode itself, it’s sterling as usual. My only gripe with season one was the glacial pacing in the middle third, and season two has been pretty much perfect in that and all other respects.

  4. K

    Like Enzo I can’t say enough how this show is just a joy to watch and the pain of waiting 7 days is agony. I want eps now darn it!! Anyways….We get hints at how epic Deku can potential be when Torino mentions his thinking and learning agility will make him a monster. We get that Stains actually does some good by making heroes step up morally and crimes rates plummet…..but there is clearly more to him than that….and we get crazy Face-Palm guy going all nuts on the city…with interestingly Stain saying he will deal with them when he is done doing what he planned on doing. Complex character indeed. We might get Stain helping Iida! Now speaking of Iida…he is not fully aware of his limitations and i would think the tournament would have highlighted that. Stains could have easily killed him 10x over in secs and yet his there shouting he will be the one to take Stain down. I am VERY curious how this plays out. Gosh 7days!? Really?!

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