Anime, My Review Academia

My Review Academia S1 E10: Smash, Balls, and Frog!

That may be the single strangest title I have ever written for anything ever.

This is easily one of my favorite episodes of the series, and it still holds up to repeat viewings. It’s a damn good time, featuring some of the first seasons best moments, facial work, and attention to detail.

Plot wise, it’s pretty simple. After the villains first appear, Kurogiri scatters Class 1-A, leaving them separated to face off against groups of villains across the USJ. Deku, Tsu and Mineta are sent to the boat, where they’re quickly surrounded and forced to come up with a plan. Meanwhile, the students remaining by the door prepare to distract Kurogiri in order to buy Iida the time necessary to escape and call for help, and Aizawa faces off against a crowd of villains, including Shiguraki and the first Nomu.

And All Might enjoys tea with the Principal.

Now, I could go on about how amazing the boat escape scene is, but I’ll save my breath. There are only so many ways I can say ‘the animation was great’, or ‘the facial work perfectly tells you what each character is feeling’ and ‘the designs on the extras are distinct and memorable’. We all know My Hero has great production values.

So instead, I’ll focus on one I haven’t really brought up before: the setting. In this case: the USJ.

The show does a fantastic job making the USJ feel consistent and real. From the bird’s-eye-view shot from the previous episode, you have a general idea where each sector is relative to one another. For example, the Fire sector is right next to the Shipwreck sector. And this episode perfectly continues that consistency, making it easy to tell where each character is relative to one another.

For example: while Deku, Tsu and Mineta are strategizing (and panicking respectively), they deduce that the villains didn’t know any of the kids Quirks, and they would’ve distributed them differently had they known. In this shot, Tsu looks up at the Fire Sector next door, explaining that she’d have been sent there if they’d known she were a frog person.

It may sound like I’m getting hung up on the little details, and I am, but those little details are important. Fine detail is what makes a painting look so fantastic: it’s not the overall picture, but the small brush strokes that make that overall picture. By having such consistency in it’s settings, My Hero Academia makes getting sucked into the show super easy. It’s attention to detail like this that get audiences glued to their screens, to the point that they forget the episode is only going to last another five minutes or so.

This is the same reason I always bring up the facial art on each character. By showing us in great detail the satisfied but pained expression on Deku’s face as they soar away from the sinking boat perfectly communicates how the character is feeling without words. It’s a small detail that makes each character feel real, interesting, likable and most importantly: human.

This episode encapsulates why I love My Hero Academia so damn much: fights that are resolved with wits and raw power rather than just the ladder (and better yet, are used to develop the characters in the conflict), fantastic attention to detail that brings it’s vibrant setting to life, and production values higher than you’d expect for a typical shounen action series. It’s a wonderful episode that I will undoubtedly rewatch many times in the future.

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