Boku no Hero Academia Season 2 – 21

I would say “you don’t know how much you miss a show like Boku no Hero Academia until it’s gone”, but that’s not totally true.  I’m fully aware of how good this series is even as I’m watching (or reading) it.  But that said, its absence last weekend did leave a rather substantial gap – I’ve become very used to Deku & Co. as a part of my routine.  And it was a stark reminder that we’ll be missing BnHA in a few weeks (for about 6-9 months, I would guess).  Season 3 can’t come too soon.

In the meanwhile, S2 will very likely conclude with the “Final Exam” mini-arc – which means the larger one being teased, the Training Camp Arc, wouldn’t even begin till a Season 3 (all the more evidence it is coming soon).  The stakes here are fairly high, in that any kid who fails the exams doesn’t get to attend the camp.  As with all Yuuei exams there are of course two parts – the written and practical.  Understandably given that the latter is so much more telegenic, the written is dealt with relatively quickly – though it is rather interesting to see how everyone ranked on the midterms (a few surprises here, I would say).  And we learn just how loaded (top-ranked) Yaoyorozu’s fam is – and how desperately eager she is to invite friends into her sterile home life.

It is indeed the practical exam that will consume the bulk of focus over the next few episodes, for reasons that are easy to understand once its form becomes clear.  The 1-A grommets think they’ve gotten the inside track thanks to some valuable intel from a helpful 1-B sempai, but the teachers have the last laugh here.  Rather than have the students fight robots, they’ll be taking on teachers – an effort to make the “practical” exam thank much more practical (a concession to the harsh realities that have lately intruded on the Yuuei student experience).

In addition to making good television, the format for this test gives Eraserhead and the rest of the faculty a chance to force the kids to confront their weaknesses – both in the way the students are paired for 2-on-1 contests against a teacher, and which teacher they’ll be forced to battle.  Of ongoing concern to everyone, of course, is the enmity (to be fair, almost entirely one way) between Deku and Kacchan.  As Aizawa-sensei notes, it does indeed seem to be getting worse – the superbrat Bakugo digging in his heels as Deku’s development threatens his ego that much more.   I would love to say more about Kacchan here, but I think I’d better not.

Given that, it’s a given that Aizawa will pair those two up – and narrative reality demands they fight All Might (and the placement of that match in the final timeslot).  The rules are pretty simple – the students must either escape, or “capture” the teacher by placing handcuffs on them.  So to begin with, the students must decide which strategy they’ll employ – though there’s an interesting bit of decision-making that precedes even that.  Should the students huddle with their partner to discuss strategy, or should they take the opportunity to watch the matches that precede theirs?  For some (like Deku and Ochako) the decision is dictated by who their partner is, but everyone else seems to choose strategizing over observing.

It’s pretty easy to see what the thought process behind all this is, at least in-part – to act as a reminder to the students of just how far they still have to go.  Even with the handicap of wearing weights the equivalent of half their body weight, the teachers are still at a considerable advantage (as the first face-off shows).  A big part of this, no doubt, is testing the students’ ability to decide when to fight and when to run – a necessity highlighted starkly by the Hero Killer incident.  Who will choose fight, and who flight – and what will the ultimate pairing decide to do against the ultimate hero?  It’s on Horikoshi-sensei to (as usual) take what in lesser hands might be predictable and make it surprising…

 

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5 comments

  1. K

    Please dont make it end….or i am gonna end up doing what i did with Attack on Titan and read the manga and not bother with the anime as there is no reason as i am not gonna be surprised….sigh. It was missed last week (i kept checking obsessively in the week if it came out)…and it was good. Question…Can’t one strategy be one distracts while the other escapes and don’t they both win as a result if one escapes? I like when a fight is about strategy. Happening here and happened with the latest Dragon Ball. Reminds me of HxH and the chunin exam in original Naruto. Best times.

  2. There will be no multi-year wait with BnHA. I think we’ll see S3 in the first half of 2018. When S2 ends, the anime will still only have used about half the chapters – the production strategy has definitely been taken with the long-term in mind.

  3. I do wonder if they can keep up S4 with the slower pacing of Horikoshi this year.
    I’m so worried for the guy. In all regards, from drawing to storylines, he’s been a bit slower lately, with noticeable exceptions. I have to think he’s going for endurance ala Oda as he’s exhausting his creative juices without proper recovery… That’s the trend I’m noticing. Perhaps it’s too early to say, but I can’t help but wonder how manga artists keep doing it.
    How do you stay conceptually fulfilling and executively fresh with such a high workload, for so many weeks in a row?

  4. K

    I was somewhat surprised by the anime’s decision to have the practical exams conducted in a sequential order. As far as I know, in the manga, the exams all occurred simultaneously which makes more sense as that would prevent teams that go later from having an unfair advantage such as more time to strategize or perhaps even to discern the nature of the unique tests being given to them. It’s a minor detail, but it makes me wonder if there are plans to expand on the manga material by focusing on each exam one at a time. Either way the home stretch for season 2 should be a very entertaining ride.

  5. Well, without spoiling, I would say it’s partly a matter of scheduling. The next arc is far too long to fit in this cour, so they need to end on a logical note. Also, the anime has generally tried to give more focus to the secondary 1-A students than the manga, I would argue.

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