Anime, My Review Academia

My Review Academia S3 E21: The End of the Exam

Holy balls, this cliffhanger is the most killer the show has ever presented.

Aside from one minor issue, I thought this episode was fantastic. We got some intense action, some good character moments (especially for Todoroki and Inasa the Wind Boy) and a simple but interesting backstory.

Also, to briefly reiterate: that cliffhanger. Jesus, it actually had me screaming for more. That’s the mark of a good cliffhanger.

Anyways, to briefly summarize this episode: we return to the plot as Gang Orca and his… gang breaking through the wall and invading the exam. Since they broke through right next to the emergency care zone that the students set up, they immediately go for it. Tremor boy from earlier holds them off for about two seconds while Deku and the others evacuate the civilians. Gang Orca knocks him out immediately, and for a brief moment you think that Deku will have to leap into the fray.

However, before he can fight, Todoroki and Inasa show up and begin to hold the villain off. They’re teamwork isn’t flawless though; in fact, it actually sucks really bad. The two immediately begin bickering, which leaves them vulnerable to attack from Gang Orca and his goons (who use a pretty cool cement-gun thing to restrain the heroes).

The two continue to squabble while they’re fighting, and their conflict leads Inasa to redirect Todoroki’s flames towards the tremor boy, who is still knocked out on the ground. Luckily, before he can get fucking fried, Deku returns, pulls him out of the way, and screams “What do you think you’re doing?!” at the two conflicting heroes.

Here’s where that minor issue I mentioned came up. See, there are two back-to-back shots that really needed a third shot spliced between them. These shots being the flames flying towards quake-boy, with the next shot being Deku carrying his body, already in the middle of the air. It feels ripped straight out of the manga, which in this case is a problem. If there were a brief third shot where we see Deku’s green lighting propel him forward, or even if they extended the prior shot and showed Deku’s blur surrounding him, the scene would feel much more smooth and easy to follow.

Instead, it feels like a monotone surprise. Like, ‘Oh okay. I guess Deku’s back. That’s cool.’ Again, it’s a minor complaint, but it did take me a moment to get back into the action after that.

After this, we got a brief series of flashbacks detailing Inasa’s backstory. First, we see him as a little kid trying to get an autograph from Endeavor, but getting rejected because Endeavor is the worlds #1 asshole (that’s the only #1 title he ever genuinely won, by the way). We then get a scene of the Entrance Exam for the Recommended students, in which Inasa manages to beat Todoroki in a race. He tries to make friends, accidentally brings up Endeavor, and Todoroki essentially tells him to fuck off.

Coming back to the present, Todoroki realizes who Inasa is, gets his ass knocked down by Gang Orca, and starts scolding himself for being a dumb-ass. Inasa does the same thing after being knocked down, and the two perform a bad-ass combo with his wind and Todoroki’s flames, trapping Gang Orca in a vortex of fire.

Meanwhile, Deku, Tokoyami, Tsu (who has camouflage now by the way) Ojiro, Asui and hair-boy from Shiketsu High complete the evacuation and fight off Orca’s goons. They fight for a bit, Deku goes to fight Orca as he escapes the fire, and… the exam ends.

Yeah, as it turns out, right as Deku landed his first and only blow on the #10 hero, Bakugo’s group rescued the last of the civilians, thus bringing the exam to a close. Everyone gathers up to view the results (with a panning shot of a straight black crowd and a few splotches of color that is our heroes, which is a bit of a step down production wise from this show’s standard), and the episode ends with them scanning the results.

Now quick note: I mentioned two cases of low production values in this episode. This likely happened for two reasons: the high-animation quality of the Todoroki and Inasa fight with Orca (which is super pretty) and… the Two Heroes movie, which took away a ton of the show’s animators from working on the show itself.

Still, it’s a fun and pretty enough episode with plenty of great character moments and some fun action. After getting that filler episode last week, it’s really refreshing to get back to plot. Really fast paced plot, at that; I fully expected the rest of this Arc to go on for another few episodes.

Not that I’m complaining. Especially since Bakugo is going to confront Deku next episode.

I’m so excited!

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