Anime, My Review Academia

My Review Academia S3 E23: True Rivals

I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time.

After three seasons of buildup, it’s finally here. The final straw. Kacchan’s breaking point. Deku’s true feelings. And one of the shortest, most brutal, and most emotional battles in the history of My Hero Academia.

What do you expect me to say other than ‘it was fantastic’?

Everything about this fight is nigh perfect. The cinematography was engaging, using dynamic angles with beautifully animated attacks that sucked me right into the battle. On top of that, it never confused me as to each fighter’s location; the 180 degree rule of camerawork was followed masterfully here, and it makes this one of the most amazing fights in the series when it comes to it’s visuals.

This is also one of the most brutal fights. Each blow dealt to Deku or Kacchan had so much kinetic energy behind it that it made me feel the impact. Watching Deku get tossed around by one explosion after the next, then watching Kacchan get beaten and battered by Deku’s raw strength was both exhilarating and vicious to behold. You can tell that these two were not fucking around; this was a genuine no-holds barred brawl.

And neither of those come close to the emotional struggle each character has to overcome by fighting. Kacchan is dealing with two massive weights of baggage: he blames himself for All Might’s retirement even more than Deku does, and he considers himself inferior to Deku due to All Might haven chosen him, whom Kacchan considered worthless. Meanwhile, Deku is struggling to both help Kacchan overcome his issues while struggling against his own admiration for his childhood bully; to Deku, Kacchan is the embodiment of victory, and he wants to overcome that and move past it.

Even the end result of the fight is amazing. After Kacchan secures a narrow victory over Deku, All Might appears and spills the beans. He tells Kacchan everything, from All-For-One to him choosing Deku in the first place, and explains that each of the boys propels the other forward to become stronger. Kacchan’s strength drives Deku to be stronger, while Deku’s heat drives Kacchan in a similar way.

The evolution these characters undergo due to this fight are satisfying and well earned. For the first time, Deku and Kacchan acknowledge each other as rivals, transforming their childhood bully-victim relationship to one much closer to friendship. To solidify this change even further, we get a very nice scene after the credits of the two talking whilst cleaning the school dorms (Aizawa put them under house arrest for having fought) and Kacchan gives Deku genuine criticism and advice on how to improve his new Shoot-Style fighting.

My Hero Academia has had a lot of scenes that invoke emotion out of me. Scenes that made me laugh, made me cry, and even a few that chilled me to the core. But this scene? This one little interaction between these two rivals?

No other scene in any show has ever made me smile so wide.

I love this episode. It may very well be my favorite of the series so far. The fight choreography, the cinematography, the emotion, and the development that the characters undergo because of this battle all make it a truly important and amazing spectacle that will transform where the series will go from here on out.

This episode is a shining example as to why My Hero Academia is my favorite Shonen anime currently running. I loved every second of this, and I simply have to go back and watch it again once this review goes up.

This was, to me at least, the current peak of My Hero Academia.

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