This episode is very slow paced, beautifully animated and emotional.
In terms of pacing, only about three things happen in this episode. All Might is forced to reveal his true form and injury to Deku, taking the time in the process to tell him he can’t be a hero. The two then seperately go to the scene where Bakugo is being attacked by the escaped sludge villain, where Deku inspires All Might to say ‘Fuck it’ and go to save them. After that, the episode ends with All Might telling Deku he can be a hero, leaving off on another cliffhanger.
Now, story wise, I do feel like this pacing was necessary. Any more or any less would make the episode feel incomplete or overstuffed. Really, the only thing they could’ve fit in to make the pacing a bit better and create an even more intriguing cliff hanger is if they left off on the ‘You can inherit by Quirk’ line.
However, there are plenty of little shots and lines that drag down the pacing a lot. Many shots linger for a few seconds too long, and there are many flashbacks crammed in to lengthen the episode. Hell, Deku has a brief flashback to an event that happened literally one minute ago. Also, we get about seven shots of All Might clutching the street light and muttering ‘Pathetic’ to himself. It does get distracting very quickly, but it never reaches into the realm of aggravating.
This isn’t Black Clover, after all.
Bullying that show aside, let’s get to the animation I talked about. Each action shot and character movement in this episode is full of kinetic energy, impact or goofy fun. For example, there’s a shot where the sludge villain knocks the hero Death Arms into a wall, leaving a typical Shonen anime dent in the stone. But because of how it’s animated, from the actual breaking of the stone to the hero’s body distorting at the impact, the shot carries a brutal impact to it.
It’s not flawless though. There are some shots where the background characters and side heroes don’t look very great (and that’s odd, because those are the shots where they’re standing still). It doesn’t look awful, but it is noticeable nonetheless. Although credit where it’s due: no one face in those crowds look the same.
And then there’s the emotion. Going back to watch these episodes after seasons 2 and 3 greatly increase the feels that each scene provides.
Or maybe I’m just an emotional man baby. That’s a very real possibility.
But even without that knowledge, some of the moments in this episode are genuinely impactful. From Deku desperately crawling at the sludge villain’s body to free Bakugo, All Might stepping up and blowing him away with blood spewing from his mouth, and of course: the ‘You can become a hero’ scene.
The fact that the show can get you this emotionally invested in the characters in the span of two episodes is incredibly impressive. If another show tried this (cough cough Black Clover) I doubt I would care half as much as I did watching these scenes. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first time or your seventh: these scenes never lose their impact.
Trust me, I’m a good example of that.
This is a very solid episode. It’s easily the most significant to the entire story (turns out, inciting incidents are an important part of a plot) and it’s executed very well. Sure, it has a few pacing issues, but that’s to be expected.
I mean, come on. It’s anime. They all kind of have pacing issues.