Words like “filler” and “anime-original” are tossed around pretty freely by anime fans, almost always in derision. But the staff of Boku no Hero Academia seem to have (rightly) earned a lot of credibility with the series’ fans, judging by the generally positive response to the announcement of this episode’s theme. It’s probably fair to say that most of us go into an episode like this with out expectations a bit lower than usual, even in a series as strongly produced as this one – and it’s probably also fair to say that was probably justified in this case. It’s not a criticism – just reality.
Truthfully, this episode feels more like an OVA than a series episode, and arguably would have been better served as one. But still, I don’t see any net loss here – I mean, a lot of series have had breaks over these last two weeks do to the track and field world championships, so a filler ep isn’t such a bad thing. And the last arc (like most of them in BnHA) was so intense that it’s nice to have a break to catch our breaths. Horikoshi-sensei seems to sense this and often inserts one in the manga in fact, though he didn’t in this case – and while the content of the episode is original, it could actually be argued to be canon in that some of that content was later referenced without actually being shown.
In the end, what this episode was more than anything was a fanservice episode. It was advertised in a manner reflecting its title – “Everyone’s Internships” – but truthfully, it was almost entirely about Tsuyu’s internship. And of the spontaneous “Froppy! Froppy!” chants that broke out at the Boku no Hero panel at Anime Expo are any indicator, she’s a remarkably popular character. I like Froppy myself (though I like almost all the characters here, and Ochako a bit more than Tsuyu probably) but I’d personally have preferred getting a longer look at everyone’s week rather than a single-minded focus on Tsuyu’s.
One of the best parts of this episode was the choice of the irreplaceable Seki Tomokazu as Selkie, the “spotted seal” hero who’s in charge of Froppy’s internship (yes, he was mentioned in the manga – though not shown). No one can do that GAR-dork combo the way Seki can, and Selkie is a lot of fun (Tsuyu certainly finds him adorkable). Also cute is Sirius (Koshimizu Ami), who’s the one mostly in charge of showing Tsuyu the ropes (literally, in some cases) of life at sea aboard Selkie’s ship. One could argue that the story itself contradicts some of the lessons of the Hosu Incident, as regards unlicensed hero cadets acting on their own – but that’s a pretty minor quibble. The whole smuggler premise was amusingly forgettable, but my favorite part was that the Cthulhu-like villain wore a watch on one of his tentacles. Like I said, it’s all fine and good but next week: back to serious business.