For those of you not aboard the hype train, My Hero Academia is one of the biggest and most ambitious anime series on air right now. The third opening theme has 56 million views at the time I’m writing this, and the show has millions of weekly viewers. I’m not even going to bother summarizing it due to its massive popularity,.but if you’ve ever seen the Disney channel original movie Sky High, you already understand most of it. My Hero Academia just wrapped up its rather lighthearted thirteenth story arc, the School Festival arc. I want to do a brief examination of these episodes, covering what we learned and what we can predict for Deku and his friends. Spoilers ahead!
Following on the heels of the explosive Shie Hassaikai arc and Deku and Eri’s narrow victory over Chisaki, UA’s students could seriously use a break. Mirio lost his quirk while Aizawa, Deku, Kirishima, Amajiki and others ended up seriously injured. In addition, the series dealt with its first two character deaths -- Magne and Sir Nighteye (seriously of all the villains, why did you have to kill the trans one??). In any case, going straight back to classes after something this monumental would be jarring to the students and fans of the show alike. Therefore, it’s the perfect time for a school festival!
Well, maybe it’s not the perfect time. With the escalating villain attacks on UA and its students, everybody at the school is on high alert. The hard-headed Kirishima even suggests they cancel the festival, leading homeroom teacher Aizawa to explain the festival’s significance in the school’s business and support tracks. Moments like these are what make My Hero Academia stand out to me above other shounen anime; rarely do we see shows like this take a step back and acknowledge that the protagonists (in this case Class 1-A) are not the only ones in this world with meaningful lives. Despite the alert the school decides to hold the festival, under the condition that everything will be cancelled if a hint of villain activity is detected.
Deku needs the festival to happen so the traumatized Eri-chan will have something to look forward to, and this puts him in direct conflict with Gentle Criminal: a suave youtuber villain who styles himself as a “gentleman thief”. Izuku doesn’t care about Gentle’s goals, he just wants to prevent anyone from disrupting the festival. Gentle, ironically enough, has no goal past sneaking into the UA festival. He simply wants to do it for the recognition, and because it will make a good video. This distinguishes him from all the other villains Izuku has fought; Gentle isn’t evil, he’s just careless. Gentle became a villain because he wanted to make a name for himself, but felt shunned by mainstream society. If the evil-ness of villains is called into question, then what’s to stop people from questioning the heroes’ place in society? Considering this is the fourth story arc in the Rise of Villains saga, it’s safe to say Gentle’s role here is to provide a somewhat sympathetic villain (for Deku and the audience), to destabilize the position of heroes, and to maintain the suspense that has been building through the Shie Hassaikai arc.
The School Festival arc also focused on Eri, the young girl that Deku and Mirio rescued from Overhaul’s clutches. Eri plays a significant role in Deku’s development as a hero. She’s not the first child that young Midoriya has rescued from a villain -- that was Koda from the Forest Training Camp arc. But Eri is the first child that Deku meets who seems hopeless, and after meeting her we see him become inspired to make her smile again. This is the aspect of being a hero that was focused on in the second phase of the Provisional License Exam -- supporting civilians mentally in addition to physically. Deku’s physical powers do grow as well, though. In his fight with Gentle, Izuku gets to test out the new support gloves Mei made which allow him to use long-range attacks made of pressurized air.
It’s unclear where the series will go from here, just based on what’s in the anime. (Readers of the manga are already miles ahead.) The League of Villains stole the quirk-erasing serum after the heroes captured Chisaki, which is an incredibly powerful weapon in the right hands. It’s tough to say if Shigaraki will be able to use it strategically and advance the position of the league without All for One’s guidance, however. Deku still needs to work on his ranged attacks, and Bakugo and Todoroki still need to catch up with the rest of their class after failing the provisional license exam.
Peeking ahead without revealing too much, I’d now like to give you an idea of what’s in store for the anime: Endeavor and the rest of the pro heroes will get some time in the spotlight as the villains continue to grow stronger, and it’s high time that the students of Class 1-A actually got back to class! In the coming weeks we can expect to see the students work to refine their quirks and strategies even further, and 1-B’s Monoma might finally get the confrontation between classes he has been looking for.Anyway, I hope this gives everyone something to look forward to as My Hero Academia consistently puts out amazing content. With a new arc we should be getting a new theme song, too! Personally I’m hoping for something more hip-hop oriented like UVERworld’s “Odd Future”. Guess we’ll just have to keep watching to see what’s in store~~!