At last, it’s time for the glorious climax of the Cavalry Battle! And with it comes some of the most intense, dramatic, nail biting and fun action and character moments in the whole show! All of which are completely overshadowed by their proximity to many people’s favorite fights and character defining scenes.
I’d say something like “Damn that Uraraka and Bakugo fight!”, but I love it far too much to do so.
This episode has so much crammed in there that it’s hard to decide where to start! In one corner, you’ve got Deku and Todoroki’s teams going toe-to-toe, which is one of the most tense confrontations I’ve ever seen in a tournament arc. In the other, you’ve got Bakugo going on a bloody man hunt for Class 1-B’s power copying psychopath (seriously, does this kid need a shrink to help him with his hatred of the letter A?) in one of his smallest but most explosive scenes yet! And across the rest of the playing field, you’ve got the rest of the competitors scrambling to get enough points to move on!
Even with the focus of the episode remaining strongly on Deku, Todoroki and each of their teammates, it doesn’t stop the battle from feeling like a high speed cluster fuck in all the best ways! You see just enough of the others in the crowd to know that the whole playing field is in pandemonium, and even the smaller more focused battles between teams feel chaotic!
The pacing of the battles transform so rapidly that it should be hard to keep track of everything, but the visuals and pacing are so perfect that you always know what happened, who did what and how the tables are currently set. Despite the whole battle feeling like a chaotic rush against the clock, it’s always easy to follow and get engaged in.
The visuals and direction on display here are also top notch! When Iida uses his secret move for the first time, kicking up the speed to a new ludicrous degree (which would’ve been really fucking useful during the USJ attack when he was running from Kurogiri, but whatever, maybe he developed it specifically for the tournament), the animators sell the hell out of just how fast he’s going! Between him cutting of Deku’s orders to move, the rapid camera movements and the on point sound design, it’s sold perfectly.
The final moments of the battle also foreshadow events to occur during Deku and Todoroki’s battle. Having Todoroki accidentally use his flames in a moment of desperation as Deku bears down on him with a fully powered arm communicates one thing as clearly as crystals to the audience: Todoroki is well aware of Deku’s awesome strength, as just how easily it could knock him out of the running. And whether he intends to or not, he’ll have to go all out in order to beat our protagonist.
All of that information is communicated without a single word, all in one spectacular shot.
I, like many people who talk about this series online, often forget about the Cavalry Battle. It’s hard not to, especially since it’s right next to some of the best fights in any Shounen anime ever made! But we really shouldn’t forget it entirely! It’s incredibly fun, creative, and it pushes and develops our characters in intense and interesting ways! This is one of my favorite pairs of episodes in the entire series, and I’ll revisit them many times to come when I’m in need for a good time.
And the Sports Festival is only going to keep getting better from here! Because now, we’re finally getting into what many people have been waiting to see. Young teenagers with super human abilities beating the snot out of each other in front of millions of people across the country!
It’s kind of fucked up, if you really think about it.