My Review Academia S4 E22: The Tragedy of Gentle

Not gonna lie: I’m pretty disappointed. This wasn’t a bad episode by any means. But as the finale of Gentle’s role in the story? This was pretty underwhelming.

The School Festival has finally begun! Deku’s battle with Gentle is starting to heat up, as he finally starts to figure out a way around the criminal’s bizarre Quirk. Unfortunately, when La Brava activates her own Quirk, the fight quickly escalates! Can Deku defeat Gentle and save the Festival in time?

Alright, let’s get the main one out of the way. Deku’s fight with Gentle in this episode is… just okay. It features some stellar animation in a few shots, but nothing is as intense or memorable as the Chisaki fight. The choreography in the initial half of this episode is pretty cool, as both fighters use their Quirks and intellect to maximum effect. But it does become less interesting in the ladder half, where Gentle just becomes another strong guy who punches Deku real good.

He’s not even good at it. Even Deku tells him he’s fought stronger! Then he immediately turns it around and tells him that he’s never fought anyone stronger?! What the fuck, you’ve fought, like, seven people stronger than him! What the hell are you talking about?! FUCKING STAIN WAS STRONGER THAN THIS GUY AND YOU BEAT HIM TWO SEASONS AGO!!

This fight had a lot of potential, especially with the time limit factor! Watching the timer run down while Deku and Gentle’s fight escalated could have been super tense! It’s a simple trick that would get the audience on the edge of their seats! We want to see Deku on stage with the rest of the class, especially since we know how much it would mean to Eri! But the show drops that almost immediately and the fight just ends! It’s a huge waste of potential! Why would you show the time throughout the last two episodes if the time won’t factor into the fight?!

I hesitate to call this fight bad. It was still entertaining and engaging. But it was disappointing. Especially compared to the massive heights the show reached in previous seasons. It’s better than most anything in season one, but it is shy of anything from the others.

Now, to be fair: the narrative in this episode is pretty good! The final mysteries surrounding both La Brava and Gentle are completely unveiled, finally completing the arcs of both characters. Plus, Gentle’s final actions completely solidify him in my mind as one of My Hero Academia’s strongest antagonists!

La Brava’s backstory isn’t all that strong. She got rejected and made fun of by the boy she liked in school, so she became a NEET and nearly gave up on living. She rediscovered purpose through Gentle’s videos. Then, she forged a strong love with him. The best thing it does is explaining the dark rings under both character’s eyes.

I know that doesn’t sound like it matters. But trust me, it’s super sweet and cute!

Gentle is the character that got the most development in this episode. We discover what it was that he’s wanted all this time: to go down in history. We learn that he tried to be a great hero, but it completely backfired, so he went to villainy. But even then, it’s clear that he isn’t a bad person. When La Brava comes to him, he initially tries to turn her away to avoid turning her into a criminal. He commits crimes to reach his dream, not to hurt people. He’s basically like one of those homeless people who will dine and dash to get arrested so they can go to jail and get food because they don’t want to do something worse and hurt people.

That’s a real thing that happens, by the way. It’s super fucked up.

I absolutely love Gentle in this episode! He manages to be an intimidating presence without sacrificing his morals! His final embrace of La Brava in this episode, while acknowledging Deku’s victory, is the perfect way for his story to end! He is such a great man that he’s willing to sacrifice his dream for the only person that stood at his side! It’s a beautiful moment that solidifies his place in my heart!

All in all, this was a solid episode. It did disappoint in a few areas, but it was still fairly enjoyable all throughout. As an action climax for the season, it was a letdown. But narratively speaking, it was fairly well done.

And now I’m sad because Gentle is gone. I don’t know if I can ever fill that hole in my soul.

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