Episode 2 – “Wild, Wild Pussycats”
The curtain rolls back on the unofficial season premiere of My Hero Academia–a show primarily concerned with “heroes” and their “academic” careers–and Bubble Boy’s secret plan to haremitize his female classmates.
Like the Divine Comedy‘s Dante, our protagonists claw their way up from the pits of hell only to find purgatory waiting for them. In other words, Midoriya the ex-Quirkless Wonder Detroit Smashes through the recap doldrums to reach the Eternal Summer Camp Arc. Yet fans know that this prelude of comedic schoolyard antics, romanticized up-skirt shots, and feisty cat-babes will surely lead to heavenly shounen warfare (eventually).
Indeed, before the Wild, Wild Pussycat Fever reduces the audience to a fetal-positioned puddle of angst, Eraser “Plus Ultras” the episode with unrestrained gusto. Enter “The Beast’s Forest”–home of trees. And inconsolable beasts. The forest sequence serves as a “heat race” for the main event, showcasing the more prominent characters’ signature moves–a directorial statement: “In case you forgot, here’s all the cool quirks from last season.”
Class 1-A survives the beastly hi-jinks, arriving at camp, re-establishing Midoriya, Bakugo, Todoroki, and Iida as the “best boys,” and meeting a prong-headed brat with a made-for-comics tragic backstory and the best quirk of all:
The second episode serves as a thinly-veiled recap–a crash course in character highlights and the previous season’s loose ends. The writers systematically check off items from the Shounen Docket: Mega-Villain monologue about future chaos? Check. Trademark protagonist attacks? Check. Boy warriors eating ridiculous amounts of food? Check. Add in the obligatory “hot springs peep” scene and, as Gandalf says, “The board is set, the pieces are moving.”
The third season has yet to flaunt its animation chops–aside from some explosive attack animation, the producers spend most of their budget on fanservice and comical action breaks (let us enshrine Iida’s “Why did you do that to Midoriya’s scrotum?!” in the anime Hall of Fame). The Academia staff chooses to keep its “flash” cards close to the vest. The season, a mere fetus in terms of development, so far mirrors the first season’s slow-burn-pace both visually and thematically–not season two’s galloping start.
“Wild, Wild Pussycats” improves upon last week’s pseudo-episode but remains locked in humor-mode. Flashes of shounen brilliance aside, the MHA engine remains lukewarm–cooled by Arc Start Build-up Syndrome. So far, the show presents itself as a greatest hits montage of its past and present potential, but sidesteps the narrative tasks at hand. Well, at least Mineta, the most prominent member of the ensemble cast thus far, gets some well-deserved screen-time. Tune in next time as Bubble Boy faces off against Cap’n Handface–the decapitated extremity dropping from his villainous face to gaze upon Mineta’s porno mag collection.
And, please remember:
~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger