Anime, My Hero Academia, My Review Academia

My Review Academia S4 E9: Red Riot Rising

Admittedly, I’ve been fairly critical of the last few episodes of My Hero Academia. I don’t doubt that those criticisms were fair, mind you. But if I can be honest, they were starting to weigh on me. I thought that maybe my expectations for this season had been set way too high. That I’d set myself up for disappointment.

But then this episode came along and proved me wrong.

Action wise, this episode is pretty weak. The fight is a beatdown, with the one villain beating the shit out of the two heroes while another sits by ready to defend. Then, right at the end of the episode, the heroes turn it around and beat the villains in one punch. It’s not an especially great or memorable fight, although the animation is fantastic.

Don’t worry though. Action was not what this episode set out to give us. Oh no! This episode gave us something so much better: genuinely interesting and impactful character development!

The plot to this episode is quick to summarize. After Suneater’s battle, our heroes continue making their way through Overhaul’s compound. When Eraser Head is attacked, Fat Gum and Kirishima rush to his side, saving him at the cost of getting separated from the group. They then engage with two villains that push both Kirishima and his new mentor to their limits.

If it were just that, this episode would last about five or ten minutes. But the run time is filled entirely with flashbacks. And unlike Suneater’s flashbacks, these ones actually give Kirishima a lot of depth and they feel earned!

In the last Kirishima-focused episode, we saw brief hints of his backstory. A familiar silhouette and an ominous line, which was enough to get our interests peaked. And now, we finally get to see the mysteries cleared away!

Throughout the series, we’ve seen hints at Kirishima’s insecurities. He’s always felt inadequate due to his Quirk, which wasn’t especially strong or flashy. But we’ve never really seen how far that insecurity really goes. For all we knew, it was just a minor insecurity.

But as it turns out, it’s actually a crippling anxiety that has haunted Kirishima his whole life.

Better yet, we also get a bit of development for another member of Class 1-A. As it turns out, Kirishima wasn’t only inspired by Crimson Riot (an admiration that is also fleshed out in this series of flashbacks). He was inspired by one of his middle school classmates: Ashido.

AKA the pink chick. In case you guys haven’t watched this show a million times and memorized all their names. Like I have.

These flashbacks don’t only give Kirishima’s character a whole lot of depth that was only hinted at before. It also builds on his and Ashido’s relationship in an interesting way, one that Shippers will undoubtedly have a field day with! Kirishima was already one of my favorite characters; now, he’s making a pretty strong argument for the #1 spot!

This episode also does a fair bet to flesh out our villains. Specifically, the Yakuza side of things. As it turns out, few members of Overhaul’s crew are actually loyal to him. They only follow him out of fear. They’d much prefer to follow their old leader and their old ways. It’s a good way of establishing just how crazy and terrifying the villain really is. It isn’t much, but it does give Overhaul a bit of extra depth.

Sure, this episode wasn’t the most action-packed. But god damn, the story was amazing! Kirishima has become one of the most fleshed out and interesting characters in the show in the span of these last few episodes, and this is the one where he truly comes into his own! Plus, we got an extra bit of flavor for Ashido, which is a nice bonus!

As soon as I finished this episode, I wanted to watch it again. In fact, now that this review is done, I might do just that!

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