For an episode titled ‘Katsuki Bakugo: Rising’, this one didn’t spend all that long focused on Bakugo. Which is a shame; his stuff was the best part, hands down!
With Aizawa taken out of the action and everyone else wounded or exhausted, the only person standing between Shigurake and mass destruction is Deku. It’s finally time for the successors of One For All and All For One to clash, with neither one being prepared for the other. With Deku’s body quickly wearing out, there’s only one person who might be able to save the young hero.
Bakugo is definitely the highlight of this episode; his character growth is fantastic! Plot threads established all the way back in season one are finally paid off here to masterful effect. If you’ve been invested in his arc, then this episode is gonna make your day.
He even gets his own new segment in the ED. That’s how you know it’s for real.
The rest of the episode isn’t nearly as strong. Mostly because the pacing is all over the place. The flashback to the training scene with Uraraka, Sero, and Asui is fun enough, but it drags on for so long that it really starts to hurt the pacing. Deku unlocking a new Quirk is cool, especially since it’s a fairly important one narratively speaking, but it’s so rushed that it doesn’t have all that much impact.
I do like some of the more subtle details, though. For example: when Todoroki shows up on the scene, he’s the one to administer first aid because his costume has those little medical cylinders that he showed the kids a few seasons back. Practically everything else is given all the subtlety of a pie to the face, so this is nice.
Side note: Shigurake’s dialogue this time around is legitimately laughable. Motherfucker actually says “If you like the sky so much, then I’ll send you to heaven,” with a straight face like that wasn’t the worst one-liner ever. Is that an actual problem? Not really. But it is funny.
Animation-wise, this episode is all over the place. At its best, it looks absolutely incredible! Some of the action shots here are jaw-dropping! But the rest of the time, it looks pretty rough around the edges.
There’s also some really strange editing this time around. For example, some of the flashbacks later on in the episode have a strange CRT TV filter laid on top of them. Sure, the added style is nice, but still… why?
The same applies to the music. It’s mostly fine, but you can clearly hear it repeat in an obvious loop in the conversation between Bakugo and All Might. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s really distracting.
Overall, this episode was a mess. It had moments of brilliance, like all of Bakugo’s character growth and some of the animation. But the pacing is all over the place and the editing is strange. It’s a mixed bag, if a highly enjoyable one.
And next time, we get one of my favorite shounen tropes: the berserk protagonist. Let’s see just how angry Deku can get.