Episode 4 – “My Hero”
As Paul Revere famously said, “The Villains are coming! The Villains are coming!” Some historians switch “villains” with “British.” And, uh, the villains already came. Either way, a quartet of cat-people will defend the quirky teenagers from an untimely death at the hands of ol’ Zipperface.
After an uninteresting refresher on Kota’s parents, the villains descend upon our unsuspecting Teen Titans. MuscleBob CatPants defends the fallen she-neko, angry not because a group of evildoers beat her to a pulp, but because their assault decreased her chance of finding a suitable husband. Following the impassioned defense of monogamy and skin-deep beauty, our show takes its time completing the customary “new character introductions.”
Luckily, Kota saves the episode from a continuation of the quasi-recap doldrums–not because of any merit on his part, but from his pheromones (attracting Midoriya like a fly to feces). The Titan look-a-like, AKA “Manmeat,” also serves as the skeleton key to our odd-hatted-boy’s past–a fortuitous appearance of The Nutcracker’s parent-killer. In the end, Midoriya’s impeccable timing sets up a pleasing battle scene–a much-needed showdown that fortifies the show’s greatest strength–its fights.
Episode four dips into the disturbing territory once trod in the “Hero Killer Stain” arc. MHA continues to deviate from standard shounenosity through jarring depictions of dismembered heroes and blood-splatters aplenty. The villains’ uncensored ruthlessness maintains the show’s edginess even when its narrative ambitions fall flat.
Unfortunately, Kota remains the season’s primary plot driver. His existence nothing more than a catalyst for Midoriya–the pawn juxtaposed against the knight–a horned invention to legitimize our protagonist’s “heroness.” Our Deku Shounen simultaneously props up his own right to All Might’s throne and the utility of herodom itself. The Nerd’s %100 Detroit Smash, scratch that, %1,000,000 Delaware Detroit Smash (not joking) provides the “oomph” needed to tenderize Manmeat’s muscle-quirk and wring the juice out of our tusk-headed hero-to-be.
Kota’s character arc opens and closes within the course of three-ish episodes. Yet his general unlikability prevents this reviewer from imbibing a sense of satisfaction from the affair. Regardless of our porcupiney side-kick’s narrative success (or lack thereof), “My Hero” rekindles the spark that set the previous two seasons ablaze. MHA unleashes the dual-pronged adrenaline offensive it perfected in episodes past: animation flash and raw passion. If maintained, the reclaimed energy will slingshot the show back into shounen dominance.
Onward, my quirky readers! To Cap’n Handface! And beyond!
And, please remember:
~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger