My Review Academia S4 E21: Early Morning Battle

Alright! The plot is finally moving again! And they even managed to make the last three episodes of meandering work better in hindsight! Impressive work as always, MHA!

The day of the School Festival is finally here! Class 1-A is primed and ready to go, but they run into a little snag: the rope, an important item for the performance, has become frayed and unreliable. Early in the morning, Deku rushed to a hardware store to pick up a new one, while wearing his new Support Item. There, he has a fateful encounter with Gentle. After quickly figuring out who he is and what he’s planning, Deku charges in to fight! Thus, the battle between Deku and Gentle has finally begun!

Right off the bat, I want to talk about the chemistry between Deku and Gentle. Having these two on-screen together is a total delight! Gentle’s goofy nature clashes hilariously with Deku’s no-nonsense approach! It’s clear that Gentle isn’t all that evil, taking precautions not to hurt anyone unnecessarily, which makes his clash against Deku super interesting and unique! Plus, we get to see just how clever Gentle really is as he manages to push Deku into a trap with his unique abilities! Better yet, they have some of the funniest dialogue exchanges in the entire show! I love every minute that these two had together!

On the subject, let’s talk about Gentle’s power! He has the ability to turn anything super elastic, essentially turning everything into a trampoline! Yes, I mean everything! From steel beams to the air itself, Gentle uses his power to bounce around quickly, block Deku’s long-range attacks, and even trick our hero into tough situations! However, it’s clear that he isn’t aiming to actually kill, or even hurt, Deku! It’s a ton of fun to watch and it makes for some incredibly unique choreography and tactics!

I also absolutely love Deku’s new Support Item! With his new gloves, he can concentrate the blasts of air from his fingers into focused shots, allowing for long-range, precision attacks! It’s super cool and makes total sense! Plus, it just looks cool! I can’t wait to see how they work with the rest of his gear! That is if they survive the coming battle.

The motivations behind each fighter here are also great! We’ve seen exactly how hard everyone’s been working to make the festival work, and we know perfectly well what will happen if the alarm sounds. So it makes perfect sense that Deku would be so fired up and eager to stop Gentle! On the other hand, the carefree Gentle firmly believes that his plan won’t hurt anyone and that it is the right thing to do, which puts him in direct opposition with our hero. Gentle isn’t evil, like previous big bads. But he threatens all that Deku’s friends have been working for. That alone makes Deku angrier than a lot of villains have ever made him!

Animation wise, the fight is pretty good. It isn’t amazing, there haven’t been any truly fantastic setpieces yet. But it’s definitely better than some of the other fights we’ve gotten this season (cough cough Lemillion VS Overhaul). Each hit has a ton of impact, Gentle’s elastic antics are energetic and cartoonish, which is a joy to watch, and the speed feels high and real. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!

All and all, this was a really solid episode! It’s gotten me plenty excited to see what will happen next while still delivering a satisfying, enjoyable time! It’s still too soon to say whether or not this fight will end up being one of the greats. We won’t know that until it’s over. But so far, it’s been damn fun!

Honestly, I don’t want it to end. Because that would mean no more Gentle. And I don’t think I could live without him anymore.

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