This episode felt way shorter than it actually was. In a good way! For the most part.
As Hawks continues to delve into the ranks of the enemy, he discovers their disastrous intentions. Meanwhile, Endeavor begins training Deku, Bakugo, and Shoto in earnest. He presents them with a simple test: catch one villain before he does.
I love the tone of the beginning of this episode. It opens with an incredibly dark and ominous scene that builds up tension for the battle to come. The enemy is unseen, numerous, and ready to strike at any time. The heroes are preparing, but even that may not be enough. The whole thing seems rather hopeless.
But then we see all the UA kids. We see that they, the one factor the villains are underestimating, are in fact the last line of defense. One that is getting ready to meet the oncoming threat, whether they know it or not. After seeing all their struggles over the last four and a half seasons, seeing the pros lean on them is incredibly satisfying, exciting, and somewhat terrifying all at once. Easily the best scene of the episode.
This episode is filled with fun scenes like that, both in terms of writing and presentation. The scene of Endeavor finishing Hawks’ code is cool, with Endeavor sitting in the corner of a dark room while the bright white text takes up the majority of the screen is a cool shot. The animation is fairly strong overall, although there are few scenes that really let the animators go crazy. It even finds more creative ways to present the flash backs, with Bakugo viewing his as photographs on a wall and Shoto seeing his in his flames!
There are still too many flashbacks. Can we calm down on those? Please?
Endeavor teaching the three kids is as fun as ever. He gives genuinely good advice to all three of the boys while still being as stern and intimidating as ever. His ‘I’ll teach you, so keep up with me’ style of teaching is a ton of fun. Plus, him understanding Deku through all his rambling shows that he’s got an actual functioning brain under there, which is entertaining.
I do have my gripes with Deku in this episode, though. See, each of the kids has to explain to Endeavor what they can and can’t do. And Deku does so. In excruciating, flash-back riddled detail. For what feels like forever. While rambling is certainly within Deku’s character, it does feel redundant to the audience and it is certainly dragged out. I can’t help but relate with Bakugo, who looks extremely annoyed.
All the while, Hawks continues to dive into the ranks of the enemy. In these scenes, we see the familiar characters of the League of Villains in new positions doing new things, as well as new characters we’ve never seen before. It adds a layer of mystery to the story, as we wonder who the new people are and how the old ones got to where we see them. Whether this works better or worse from the version we got in the manga is up to personal interpretation. But it’s an interesting take on the story that I’m glad the anime decided to take.
This was a solid episode overall. The narrative was decent, the animation was strong, music was as on-point as ever, and it had some really strong beats. Overall, a fairly strong addition to the season.
I wonder if I’ll be able to say the same thing next week. Because the next episode is going to be entirely filler!