The first half of this episode is pretty slow and pretty dull. Sure, we get to see a few new sides of both Uraraka and Iida, we meet Aizawa, get a glimpse into a few of the characters, and we get the setup for the physical examinations that will take up the bulk of this episode, but that’s about it. It’s not until after the halfway mark that things of interest really start happening.
Right off the bat, we get to see a huge variety of Quirks. From Tsu to Aoyama, the first test alone is filled with creative uses of the different characters super powers. This accomplishes a few things: one, it makes something mundane that we’ve all had to do in real life entertaining and cool, as a series about superheroes should be. Two, it creates tension, as you watch Deku struggle to keep up with people who’ve had years to practice with their Quirks while he awaits the right time to use his own. And three, it gives you a gauge for where each member of the class places in different physical abilities. For example, Iida is clearly faster than Shoji, but Shoji stomps him in terms of physical strength. This gets your imagination going, as you wonder who would come out on top when all of the different aspects are put together.
Which is why I’m super excited to get to season two. But that’s not for another eight or so episodes.
The different varieties of power usage are also super entertaining in themselves. Watching Mineta bounce back and forth between his goo ball things is hysterical, and watching Uraraka literally get infinity on the ball throw with a big smile on her face is both adorable and hilarious.
Then, of course, we get the immensely satisfying closing scene of Deku finally using One For All. This may seem like your average ‘character breaks a limit and develops in power’ moment, typical to any Shonen, but this one is a little more significant. This serves as the set up for what would become Deku’s fighting style until the halfway mark of season two; breaking his damn fingers to fire off powerful blasts. And it all starts right here, in the middle of the test. It’s small, but the later payoff to this setup is well done.
It’s also really well animated. But at this point, that’s like saying the sky is blue.
This is an okay episode. Really slow, yes, but it’s far from pointless. Everything that happens does so for a reason, and they all help build the characters, world and story. Still, in terms of entertainment, it’s hardly the best episode of the series.