God damn, this was a fun one! It was exciting, funny, and downright gorgeous! Definitely the strongest episode of the season so far!
Plot wise, it is exceptionally simple. It covers the entire first match between classes A and B. In terms of plot and character development, this episode is pretty light. It’s mostly focused on the spectacle of the battle.
And holy shit, the spectacle is amazing! The animation this episode is absolutely insane! The characters motions are smooth, their faces are incredibly expressive, and the camera swings around for maximum coverage! This is easily one of the most beautiful episodes in the entire series! You can tell that the animators went all-out this time around!
Now, let’s break down the battle itself. It’s pretty fun! It’s a fantastic push-and-pull, with each team making new plans to adapt to the other team’s plan. It feels like a really intense, highly thought-out game of tag. It’s super enjoyable to watch!
Shinso is the primary focus of the episode. After a lengthy and thorough explanation of how his powers work (which isn’t super exciting on a visual front, but it’s interesting enough to not be boring), the dude gets to wreak some havoc! Watching everyone freak out and stop communicating for fear of being brainwashed is super entertaining! He even gets to break out Eraser Head’s cloths! But it also goes to extreme lengths to show that Shinso is still a few steps behind everyone else; he’s a threat, but he’s also fragile and inexperienced, so he isn’t unbelievably overpowered.
Kaminari gets some pretty strong moments, too! He actually comes up with a pretty clever plan using his powers and gear to give his teammates the advantage! Plus, he gets to look like a badass while still being the same goofy loser we’ve come to know and love.
Also, we get a chibi Hatsume to explain how his gear works. I never knew I needed that until I got it.
Tsu gets some fun stuff, too. She busts out a power that was setup way back in season one and makes good use of it in a simple but fun little plan to throw off the class B kids. She even gets to kick her fair share of ass! It’s nice to see Froppy stepping back into the spotlight!
Unfortunately, Kota and Kirishima have their time cut short. So they don’t get much time to shine.
Not to say that this is all a class A show. Class B gets to shine, too! Beast-boy is cool, with his growing and shrinking powers and a strong sense of smell and vine-girl gets to be cute and scary at the same time. Unfortunately, glass-air dude gets caught pretty early on and dragon-scale dude only gets to shoot a wall before getting his ass kicked. Still, they make for fun opponents for Shinso and the class A kids.
We also get their teacher, Vlad King, giving biased commentary on the side, which is a fun little gag. It works super well given the low-stakes of the arc and adds a nice bit of levity. Plus, they don’t cut to it very often, which keeps it from getting annoying.
Overall, this battle was a ton of fun to watch! It was animated beautifully and treated us to plenty of fun and interesting battle tactics. If the whole arc is as good as this episode, it could end up being the strongest in the series yet!