Ah, the Bell test. An anime classic.
The majority of this episode is spent on one event: Deku’s first meeting with Sir Nighteye. After establishing himself as the only All Might fanboy beyond Deku, Nighteye puts him to the test: take the seal of approval and stamp his papers himself. But that task will not be easy, given how powerful Nighteye’s Quirk is. Worse yet, the former sidekick of All Might is not only aware that Deku is the successor to the Symbol of Peace, but he’s also aware that All Might once had a more suitable candidate in mind: Mirio. Can Deku prove himself to his latest mentor?
I absolutely love the dynamic between Deku and Nighteye! Unlike most mentors, Nighteye doesn’t take Deku under his wing to help him achieve greatness; he does so to prove to him that he’s not worthy! Rather than proving himself the one time, as he’s had to do with All Might and Gran Torino, it’s clear that Deku will need to continue to prove himself time and time again over the course of the arc!
It also raises a lot of interesting possibilities for the story going forward! What if Deku can’t prove himself? What if Nighteye proves himself to be in the right? Will Deku give One For All to Mirio, just like Nighteye wants? If Deku manages to prove himself, what then? What will Mirio think about all this, should it come to light? All of these are super interesting questions that I cannot wait to see answered!
Production wise, this episode is pretty good. Deku’s fight with Nighteye (if you could really call it that) is decently animated, with lots of kinetic energy and quick shots to sell the sense of speed. There are also a few interesting shots with Nighteye, where the scenery disappears and he’s surrounded by darkness and ticking clocks. However, there are a few noticeable repeated shots, such as Nighteye watching Deku leap around in a blur. It’s an understandable corner to cut, especially since it isn’t an especially massive fight. But it is still noticeable.
On the other hand, one of the last shots of the episode is fantastic! We see, from a first-person perspective, a small child running down a dark alleyway, pursued by Overhaul. It creates a perfect sense of dread and desperation, accompanied by the quiet cries for someone, anyone to help. Then, upon breaking through to the light, the girl, and therefore the audience, bumps into him. Our hero: Midoriya Izuku. It’s short-lived, but it is a fantastic shot! Easily one of my favorite in the series so far! It perfectly blends fantastic cinematography with minimalistic but effective and gorgeous animation!
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. It didn’t give me much to talk about, but the quality was undeniable! The new story elements are intriguing, the visuals were great, and it sets the stage for the rest of the arc beautifully! Once again, this show has got me by the balls!
Though come to think of it, it’s doubtful that it ever really let go in the first place.