All good things must come to an end. And unfortunately, Tournament Arcs embody that philosophy to a fault.
After a brief recap of their performance in the festival, as well as Bakugo’s first impressions of him in the last season, it’s finally time for Bakugo and Todoroki to throw down. But will it be even half as grand as Bakugo thinks?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great fight. The animation is as solid as it’s ever been, and the choreography is downright incredible! Both fighters make excellent use of their powers for some truly creative and fun attacks.
And that’s before we get to the fantastic character writing. Todoroki’s conviction has been completely shattered, and now he’s left completely unsure of what to do. Use his flames and carry out his goal? Or move past them and become a better person? Meanwhile, Bakugo wants to have an undisputed first place, which means beating Todoroki at his best.
These moments lead to some of the best facial drawings in the whole series. The defeat, sorrow and despair on Todoroki’s face are all as clear as the sun as Bakugo bears down on him. This, combined with the desperate cheers of Deku in the crowds, makes his defeat all the more tragic.
As well as making Bakugo’s victory all the more bitter.
Aside from that, the rest of the episode is spent setting up the next arc. We see the heartbreaking end of Ingenium, planting the seeds of Iida’s involvement in the Stain battle. It’s a heartbreaking scene, one in which we see the first genuine emotion and vulnerability from Iida.
Not counting crippling fear. We got plenty of that in season one.
But we’re not done gardening yet. Before the credits role, we see Todoroki’s start line, which will also lead him into the Stain battle: his visit with his mother. It’s a simple scene, but it’s satisfying to watch him finally triumph over himself. This is the end of Todoroki’s first major hurdle as a character, bringing his arc in this season to a close. And it’s a damn satisfying one.
But wait! There’s more! We’ve still got to see Ochaco and Deku’s family reactions to the festival! It’s simple, adorable, and it makes you feel good from start to end. Then, to cap the arc off with a laugh, we’re treated to Bakugo’s side of the fallout. Thus, the seeds were planted for the perfect anime mother to appear.
In season three. Sorry.
In terms of a finale, this episode is tough to beat. From it’s animation, choreography, spectacular music which stands out even compared to the rest of the series, and it’s wonderful character moments, everything in this episode is gripping, fun, adorable or tear-jerking. Sometimes all at once.
Farewell, UA Sports Festival. Thanks for a grand old time. But now it’s time for my favorite arc, as well as favorite villain, to step up to plate. It’s time to STAIN the streets with blood!
No, I’m not apologizing.