Anime, My Review Academia

My Review Academia S1 FINALE: Shigurake Actually Fucking Gets Shot and Gets Blood Everywhere

I genuinely forgot that Shigurake getting shot happened, and it caught me so off guard that it gave me a long and painful laugh. It’s not something you’d expect a Pro Hero to do, even if it’s against one of the main villains of the series. I mean, for god’s sake, the dude just walks in and fucking blasts each of his fucking limbs in less than a minute! That’s cold blooded as hell, dude!

That aside, this episode is very up and down. On one hand, we have a pretty solid and satisfying conclusion to the first major arc of the story, along with some awesome displays of new Quirks and an excellent setup for the future. On the other, we have some of the most rough art and animation the series has ever seen.

Let’s start with the ladder so we can get the thunderstorm out of the way. This episode is incredibly inconsistent with the quality of character drawings. One shot they’ll look kind of goofy and slapped together, then the next they’ll look absolutely fantastic. When they’re weak, it’s hard to tell what the character is feeling or thinking, and when they’re strong you get a perfect sense for what’s going on in their heads and how you should feel.

But when the shots are good, they are damn good. For example, there are two great shots, one an extreme close up on All Might’s eye filled with pain and determination despite being unable to move, and a regular close up of Shigurake, whose dark red eye is filled with malice and disdain for All Might, which instantly tells you that this guy is still a bone-chilling figure that is very much a threat.

And then he gets shot roughly five times, which again: is kind of hilarious. Or maybe I’m just a psychopath, who knows?

Aside from that, this is a solid episode filled with great character moments and excellent, albeit brief, action. This episode plants a lot of the seeds for what we’d see later in the show, such as the different Quirks of the teachers that would come into play during the Final Exam arc. We’re also introduced to the shadowy voice of All For One, planting the seeds for the inevitable confrontation that we’d get in season three and telling the audience that, despite his apparent status as leader, Shigurake is far from the main threat here. We also get to see half-and-half All Might for the first time, which is another Chekhov’s Gun for the All For One fight.

Then there are plenty of great character moments and interactions between the students. My personal favorite being Kirishima running to help Deku after he’s broken both of his legs. It fits well with Kirishima’s friendly personality, and it’s a great comedic moment. It’s a very small thing, but it’s endearing and it builds the characters and their relationships with each other very well. It’s little stuff like this that makes me love this show so damn much.

There are also plenty of other small moments like this. Hagakure praising Todoroki while he silently admits to himself that he didn’t even know she was there is a small and unnecessary thing, but it makes the cast feel all the more alive. Also, quick side note: Hagakure’s voice (she’s the invisible chick by the way) seems way different here than it is in seasons two and three. It’s not an issue, just something I wanted to point out.

All that aside, the episode plays out very quickly and smoothly. Everyone falls back and licks their wounds while preparing for the future. It’s a satisfying ending to a reasonably short but satisfying arc of the show, the consequences of which will alter the story in the future in massive ways. Most importantly in the next arc: the UA Sports Festival.

But that’s not until season two, which we’ll finally get to next week.

All in all, season one is a good time. It’s rough in some places and suffers from some slow pacing towards the beginning few episodes, but there are tons of great things that still hold up when compared to the later seasons. It has tons of great character moments, wonderful animation (most of the time) and art, powerful emotional beats, and it sets the stage for the rest of the show perfectly. Despite it’s many flaws, I wouldn’t see a single thing about this season changed.

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