Anime, My Hero Academia, My Review Academia

My Review Academia S4 E5: Red Riot’s Debut

*Apologies for the delay on this one. I’m a dumb-dumb and forgot to get it done on schedule.*

This episode was a mixed bag for me. On one hand, it shone the spotlight almost exclusively on the show’s supporting cast, specifically Kirishima with a side of Uraraka and Tsu. It introduced some great characters, fleshed out some that we haven’t seen much of yet, and even introduced new elements to the plot that will undoubtedly come into play later. On the other, we have an episode with lackluster animation in all but one scene, uninteresting and forgettable villains, and dull action sequences.

The plot of this one is simple. After a cold-open where Tsu and Uraraka make their debuts, subduing two massive sized villains with the help of the third Big Three member, Kirishima goes to work with one of UA’s Big Three under a popular hero to subdue less-dangerous but still wild villains. While on his mission, his senpai is struck with a strange serum that prevents him from using his Quirk, forcing Kirishima to step up to plate and handle things. But when the villain takes a mysterious drug that enhances his Quirk, Kirishima is pushed to his absolute limits and beyond them.

If you’re expecting this movie to advance the plot in any major or meaningful way, you’ll be sorely disappointed. In terms of narrative, this episode accomplishes two feats: establishing a future threat that will come into play later in the season and further fleshing out Kirishima’s character.

And to be fair: it does a decent job at both of those things.

While the Quirk-Erasure drug is certainly a threating item, it really hasn’t been given much time in the spotlight. The only role it played in this episode was ‘Oh shit, we need to take the Big Three dude out of the equation or else Kirishima won’t get his time to shine! Better erase his Quirk real quick!’ I have no doubt that it will play a major role in the story going forward, but it is pretty underwhelming. It’s just ‘The bad guys can do the same thing Eraser Head could do now.’ Bit of a letdown.

Though to be fair: the Kirishima stuff is pretty great! His insecurities regarding his Quirk, which had been foreshadowed since the first season, are made perfectly clear in his struggle. We see brief glimpses of his backstory through vague flashbacks, which give an interesting yet mysterious insight into his past.

But screw that noise! We get to see Bakugo and Kirshima being gay again! For, like, the millionth time!

During Kirshima’s climactic, albeit kind of dull, struggle, he reflects on advice given to him by his classmates. Specifically, Bakugo reminds him of what he told him during the second season: that he’d be a horse that never wavers. Recalling those words of encouragement from his ‘best’ friend, Kirishima finds the strength to use his Ultimate Move!

To be fair: this scene is pretty great. The animation skyrockets, giving us some pretty badass Sakuga moments. Kirshima’s Ultra-Hard state, while easily made into an innuendo, is fucking rad! His design takes on a monstrous appearance as his whole body becomes insanely hard (again, easily made into an innuendo). While its use against the villain isn’t especially thrilling, it is pretty rad to see Kirishima finally go above-and-beyond to save the day.

This episode is a nice departure from Deku. It’s refreshing to have someone aside from our hero taking the role of the star for an episode. Unfortunately, while Kirishima does get a pretty cool moment and a whole lot of development to add to his depth, the episode as a whole doesn’t add a whole lot to the overall plot. It’s fun, but it isn’t especially meaningful.

It isn’t a waste of time by any means. But it certainly isn’t super important. Even Shigurake’s negotiations with Overhaul doesn’t go anywhere!

A bit of a letdown, sure. But next week promises to be a hell of a time!

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