My Review Academia S6 E20: Sniper

How can you tell that everything is dark and miserable and sad? Gray. Make everything gray. No color, just gray. Deku wears green? Not anymore, it’s gray now! If it worked for Harry Potter, it’ll work for anything!

Deku continues his struggle against the collapsing society and All For One. But things are about to get much harder for our young hero when he meets the first of his enemy’s hired guns: Lady Nagant, former hero and the most deadly sniper Hero Society has ever seen. Even with all of One For All at his fingertips, does he stand a chance against such a seasoned pro?

The first half of this episode was pretty slow. It was basically just more of the same. People are all angry, Deku saves people, everyone hates Endeavor, exposition about One For All, so on and so forth. It has some cute moments, like Deku saving the fox girl and All Might being a dad. Aside from that, it’s kinda dull.

We’re also treated to a rather underwhelming moment within One For All. Remember the two predecessors who just stared at the wall all the time? Well, we finally learn what their deal is. And… it’s nothing. It’s a nothing plot thread that gets resolved immediately.

Which is kind of a shame, because that could have been a cool plot thread! Imagine a version of the story where two of One For All’s previous users actually work against Deku by refusing to help him. Maybe they could’ve been the hardened heroes who believe killing Shigurake and All For One is the only way because of some dark backstory and Deku would have to prove himself to them. I dunno, just give us something more than nothing!

Luckily, the second half of the episode picks up a bit. Once Nagant throws down the gauntlet, things start getting really cool. A duel in the rain between a sniper and a jack-of-all-trades? Sign me up!

The main problem with this segment is how the show teaches us about Nagant. It starts with a conversation between Deku and Hawks, wherein the latter warns our protagonist to run if she attacks him. Then we see flashbacks to interviews and news broadcasts about her from back in her hero days. Finally, we learn how she got there and how All For One recruited her. It’s cleverly disguised exposition.

“If it’s clever, then where’s the problem?” I hear you ask. Well, the issue isn’t with the exposition itself. Rather, it’s with the timing. All of this is dropped on us right as Nagant appears. This should have all been set up ahead of time; if we’d gotten all this an episode or two earlier, then the story would have built tension leading up to her appearance. As it stands, it feels like the narrative is shouting, “Oh yeah, here’s this character, she’s really cool and strong and you should be worried!”

Admittedly, this point is closer to a nitpick than it is an actual critique. Her arrival is still plenty cool as it is. Especially thanks to her super weird, super cool Quirk. And her design; it’s a top-tier look for sure, especially the hair. Nagant is just a really cool character from top to bottom.

Oh yeah, and Chisaki is here too. Remember how he used to be one of the best villains in the series? Well, now he just says, “Pops,” over and over again. Poor guy could sure use a hand or two.

That wasn’t my most tasteful pun, I’ll admit.

Presentation wise, this episode is fairly strong. There are a few rough edges; Endeavor’s face looks a bit off and some shots can look a little wonky in motion. But overall, it was still animated really well. When the action kicks into gear, with Deku swinging around and Nagant shooting swerving bullets, things get pretty cool. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come; if it is, this is gonna be one hell of a fight.

Music was good, too. It wasn’t especially impressive in how it was utilized, but the tracks themselves all complimented the scenes perfectly. A passing grade.

For all my bellyaching, this is still a pretty decent episode. It may not have been as consistently solid or dramatically impactful as some of the ones before it, but it sets the stage for the fight to come fairly well. For all it’s issues, it was still enjoyable to watch.

And now, we finally get Deku VS Nagant. I remember really liking this fight in the manga. Hopefully they’ll do it justice in the anime.

Well, manga readers will complain no matter what they do, so best not to worry about it.

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