My Hero Academia deserves a lot praise for playing within the walls of Shonen manga tropes while at the same time completely fighting against them. For example, Deku is unlike any Shonen protagonist, he’s noble and doesn’t make a lot of the forced mistakes that other characters like Goku would make just for the sake of fighting a strong enemy. Deku is truly the pinnacle of My Hero Academia, being an amalgam of Japanese Shonen storytelling and American superhero comics.
Furthermore, My Hero Academia also fights against the chains of Shonen manga by handling its pacing well, never letting plot points overstay their welcome, something that could also perhaps be attributed to the superhero comic influence. This is especially true with the anime adaptation which takes the parts of the manga that were a bit played out and gives them a shorter, but more appropriate window to unfold. All of this was a convoluted way to say that this week’s episode, “Roaring Upheaval” was really, really good.
Everything from the introductions of new characters to the increased amounts of tension and raised stakes were 100% on point. What could have easily been another entry in the “the students are getting attacked” story was actually a powerful, exciting episode that showcased all the different ways to be a hero, showing the students deal with failure in a way that is very real and very relatable, despite the fact that we’re watching shadow birds fight metal teeth monsters.
Instead of just being a check up on all the students to see if they are being attacked by a villain or not, this episode managed to cast a wide net and catch everything it was aiming for. A lot happened, but the episode isn’t overstuffed. Tokoyami’s Dark Shadow goes crazy as Deku fights to reach Bakugo and protect him from the villains. So, both Deku and the plot kills two birds (don’t worry, one of them isn’t Tokoyami) with one stones by luring Dark Shadow to fight off the villain currently after Bakugo.
And this is pretty much how the rest of the episode plays out, characters and plots connect with each other during the chaos in ways that are just as creative as they are exciting, though despite their efforts to keep Bakugo safe, they are ambushed by a villain who captures him (turning him into a marble with his compression ability). But, determined hero that he is, Deku comes up with a way to get him back, which brings me to another strong point of the episode.
“Roaring Upheaval” does a fantastic job of showing how much the students of UA have learned and just how far they have come as young heroes. We see Ochaco use the self defense techniques she learned while interning with Gunhead, and Momo later learns to find victory in loss, to take a failure and make something useful out of it. Meanwhile, Bakugo sees that he himself hasn’t learned that much, which is displayed in small subtle ways, as well as the fact that the others believe he is not capable of protecting himself from falling to the villains’ hands.
There was a lot going on in the episode and it was all handled brilliantly, anything that didn’t get fully fleshed out in an exciting way presented promise of more to come, and the series is still a master at creating unique and powerful cliffhangers that are not just pointless teases. We want to find out what happened not because we are denied information, we want to find out because we are excited.
Check back next week for another review of My Hero Academia, and watch the show out on Crunchyroll, VRV, or Hulu.
My Hero Academia: Season 3, Episode 6
In this week’s My Hero Academia, the students of UA continue to prove their mettle against the villain attack to brilliant and thrilling results.