Boku no Hero Academia Season 2 – 24

I think anyone could be forgiven for feeling the last few eps of Boku no Hero Academia were a mere prologue, but this is a series that always delivers when it’s time for the main event.  All Might, Bakugo and Izuku are the three people at the spiritual heart of this series, no question about it – it’s a big cast and there are others who are comparable in plot importance to Bakugo at least, but these are the three cornerstones of the story.  We’ve never seen them in this kind of situation before, so that’s obviously a pretty big deal for BnHA.

One thing for Izuku Midoriya – he certainly never gets dealt an easy hand in life.  Having to partner with the most insufferable prick in the academy and face off with the most powerful teacher was the worst possible draw for Deku in many respects.  Yes, Kacchan is insanely powerful, but boy – is he a chore.  And in All Might not only does Izuku have to face off against the man widely considered the most powerful in the world, but that man also fills a role that’s some combination of father and God (as Recovery Girl notes) in the boy’s life.  On some level it looks like two-seven off suit.

Make no mistake, though – even setting aside the de facto purpose of the exam (to force the students to confront their own weaknesses in order to survive) this was a matchup that probably had to happen.  I don’t think you’d face two students this powerful off against any lesser opponent than All Might, and these two (or Shouto, in some combination) would probably be the only ones with a chance to beat him.  And if you worried that kind-hearted All Might would go too easy on these two, especially given his love for Izuku, you needn’t – he embraces the difficult task that’s been laid him with admirable directness.  All Might doesn’t go all out – that could only end one way – but he doesn’t pull his massive punches, either.

Bakugo remains an extremely difficult character, in every sense.  I don’t like him, certainly – in the sense that he’s an egomaniacal bastard who treats others in a way that defies all decency (especially Deku, of course). But as a character he’s unbelievably interesting, and not just because he’s so powerful.  Despite his loose-cannon personality he truly is a conniving, devious kid most of the time – he’s actually thinking about the consequences of his actions, even if those actions are seemingly impulsive and frankly stupid.  Would he have been better setting aside the juvenile name-calling and general abuse and teaming up with Izuku in a real sense right from the beginning?  Absolutely.  But that doesn’t mean Kacchan is blindly plowing ahead with no regard for tactics.

Funnily enough, for all his obnoxious ranting, Bakugo understands this fight better than Izuku does.  He knows Deku has too much respect (and love) for All Might, and that it’s a problem.  He also knows that simply running away as Deku suggests is a losing strategy – even with his handicap wrist weights All Might is simply too fast.  No, the only chance the boys have is to take something out of the #1 hero along the way – to pick and choose the moments to confront him, but confront him nonetheless.  And for a change it’s not Izuku who’s in control of tactics – it’s really Kacchan who’s driving the effort here, right down to physically hurling Deku towards the exit gate at one point.

This is some pretty brutal stuff to watch, really – especially when Deku and All Might, who love each other like son and father, really do serious damage to each other (as the aftermath shows).  I would certainly argue that Izuku’s faith in Kacchan is misplaced – there’s no reciprocal respect here, much less affection – but that faith is an element that gives Deku the strength to go all out against his hero and mentor.  What All Might sees in Deku is obvious – intelligence, compassion, and the same selfless courage he possesses himself.  But his interest in Bakugo is different – this is a boy with massive potential as a hero, but that potential also carries great dangers with it in someone with Bakugo’s shortcomings.  Anything All Might can do to make a difference with Kacchan he will – but that’s a damn tough nut to crack.

I’m honestly not sure whether All Might had it in him to make one last attempt to win this challenge there at the end – Izuku really did give him one with everything he had on it – but I don’t think it matters in that the boys proved what they needed to prove (barely).  But for all its ferocity this was still, in the end, a controlled simulation – the real world is outside, and the League of Villains isn’t going anywhere.  With the likes of Dabi (Shimono Hiro) and Toga Himiko (how great to hear Fukuen Misato in BnHA – she’s hardly been in anything lately, and she’s one of the best) joining up with them, there’s plenty of fertile ground for the eventual third season to cover.

 

 

 

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12 comments

  1. O

    I thought the animation would be on par with deku vs todo or stain vs the students.

  2. s

    I agree that Katsuki is interesting in that he was inspired by a very admirable trait from all might and yet somewhere along the line, began to twist that trait into something ugly and misguided. When Katsuki was being inspired by All might’s ability to win against odds, that should have translated into being inspired to overcome difficult obstacles and challenges in your life, no matter how debilitating they may be physically, psychologically, or emotionally. I mean, that’s the idea that All might wants to convey as a hero: to smile in the face of adversity and do everything one can to rise to the challenge. Bakugo, while subconsciously becoming transfixed by that message, consciously perceives it on a superficial level as just being the best. This, in conjunction with the inflation of his ego throughout his childhood has transformed him into an egomaniac who thinks he’s only worth something if he is best because that’s how he can prove that he is special. All might sees this, and i can empathize with his concern because here’s this kid he sees who has so much potential and yet the kid’s vision is clouded by so much rage and insecurity. This is why I love the big guy: he wants to do anything and everything he can to guide people to be the best they can be. Here’s this man who wants nothing but two kids he sees with bright futures to become better people so that they can contribute to society and each other in the best of ways. If it means showing them a bit of tough love to force them to take a step to overcome they differences, he doesnt mind breaking a few backs. Overall, I thought this was a very good ep; there was an odd tenseness throughout it in that i could feel Deku’s dilemma in having to deal with a person who is insufferable while trying to go up against a wall that realistically speaking, was probably impossible to climb without a bit of serendipity.

    P.S. loved hearing Misato Fukuen again as she’s one of my favorite seiyuus. It just makes me want that season of Yozakura Quartet all the more (get on it Ryochimo)

  3. G

    I’m wondering how they can train Katsuki to be a hero? They should do something to take away his powers because he is on the fast track to being a villian/serial killer/Stain. Would not surprise me if he one day ends up a huge villian and tries to kill Deku.

  4. s

    He doesnt need his powers taken away or inhibited; Katsuki just needs to come to terms with the idea that other people being better than you at something doesnt take away your self-worth. If anything, it should be a healthy motivator to make you want to do better, not a circumstance that fills you with so much vitriol and animosity. The results of his childhood have made him feel like he needs to be special and anyone who potentially threatens that takes away what makes him valuable; what makes him similar to all might: being number one. Katsuki is a victim of psychological conditioning and this is sort of his journey to break away from it

  5. K

    Hi Enzo, I enjoy reading your posts about BHA and I am so glad I decided to watch this series. It’s been a while since I’ve been so excited about a series like this (besides Hunter x Hunter). Now that the second season is coming to an end, do you have any recommendations for other good shonen series on par with this one? I don’t really want to jump into BHA’s manga yet (so that S3 will still be exciting to watch) but I’m already feeling withdrawal-y knowing that I won’t get to see these characters for awhile!

  6. There aren’t too many “pure” shounen on par with BnHA, to be honest. Watch the first two seasons of Rurouni Kenshin, if you haven’t seen it. Same with FMA Brotherhood. Hikaru no Go. And of course, Made in Abyss recalls H x H in a way as well.

    Thanks for commenting!

  7. I will also go ahead and recommend One Piece to you (the manga, not anime). It takes its time, but at its best it’s honestly shonen squeezed down into an essence which you get easily drunk on. It’s a very pure, emotional, and honest series. It also is very enjoyable, and it has a particular sense of ridiculousness and strangeness that it makes you wonder how Oda can even make us not only relate to this world, but endear it completely, and become totally attached to its main cast and many side characters.

    It’s also the most reliable routine-approved shonen manga there is, with a history of 20 years of serialization. That said, it does have its ups and downs, and of course – there’s that bump at the beginning of tackling a mammoth of a series. But if you seek a cathartic, euphoric shonen experience on the likes of Boku no Hero and HxH, definitely go for it.

  8. For long running stuff, One Piece is definitely The Shonen at the moment. Its scope and detail are unprecedented; it is a masterpiece of worldbuilding. For something far more contained, some seasons ago we had Ushio and Tora, the remake of a rather old shonen manga that however came out really well and has as much GAR as one can hope. Another mid-length show, slightly more slice-of-life-y, centred around teacher-student relationships is Assassination Classroom. Don’t let the wacky premise fool you, it’s actually a very heartfelt and charming story.

  9. h

    I think this fight needed to be better directed ,I think All might is too over powered that it was hard for me to swallow how it played out even with All might going easy on the kids ,plus deku’s question if All might was taken out was so out of character,Deku is a very smart kid can’t see him saying that,bakugou taking a hit to chain by All might’s Knee should have knocked him out but I went and checked out the manga,it turned out to be a filler scene

    anyway,I think the first half of this season was stronger than the 2nd half

  10. s

    How does all might being overpowered affect the way the fight was directed? How was Deku questioning whether All might was slightly incapacitated by what was essentially a surprise attack “out of character?” It’s not clear how those things relate

  11. I’m sort of bummed they had to spoil stuff in the preview.

  12. A

    As much as Bakugo is in-universe awesome, isn’t he supposed to still be a somewhat regular human outside his Quirk ? Because half the fight was the boys basically destroying concrete by being smashed against it, and even if One for All can handwave a part of it away for Deku, it’s hard to keep the suspension of incredulity when seeing Bakugo’s head breaking a wall or the ground or getting a punch that send him literally flying away, and not exploding a shower of entrails.

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