This episode can be best summarized as “Fun, but fluff.”
In this episode, we’re treated to the remaining matches in the first round of the Sports Festival finale. In the downtime, we see Uraraka preparing for her battle with Bakugo, as well as Deku observing and noting the abilities of his potential opponents. After all is said and done, the episode ends moments before the final battle of the first round begins.
Aside from building up Uraraka’s fight, which is one of the strongest in the arc, this episode only has one goal. Bombard the audience with a whole bunch of quick, fun, and sometimes hilarious fights. None of these are essential to the plot, and only about one of them works into any character’s progression, that fight being the Yaorozu VS Tokoyami battle near the end.
While these fights are plenty fun, they are pretty lackluster in comparison to some of the others in this very arc. Every single one that we see is a total curb stomp, with one side having no hope of pulling out a victory. They typically end with a single blow, and sometimes they end just as quickly as they began. There is one fight that is a genuine struggle for both sides, and that’s the Kirishima VS Tetsutetsu fight.
The only fight we don’t get to see.
There are some genuine highlights that make it worth watching again though. Iida’s fight with Hatsume is absolutely hilarious, even if it’s hardly an interesting fight to watch. Ashido using her acid to maneuver around Aoyama’s laser is a creative use of her powers, and it’s pretty fun to watch and very well animated. But that one is dragged down by the same issue that the others are: the moment she proves she can dodge the lasers with relative ease, you know that she’s going to be the one to win.
This contest doesn’t seem very contested in it’s victories, does it?
Aside from the battles, there are some genuinely charming and fun character moments. Deku freaking everyone in the class out with his muttering is a great use of the recurring gag, as we get to see some new reactions to it that we haven’t gotten before. Uraraka’s anxiety, as well as her admiration of Deku’s abilities, building up to her passing on his help and going into her battle with Bakugo on her own is adorable and admirable.
Unfortunately, the pay off to all this is in the next episode. This one serves as a fun cool down and build up to the more drama heavy battles of the arc. Whether you re-watch this one or not is up to you. It’s fun, but you won’t miss anything really important by skipping it the second time around.