Episode 3 – “Kota”
After two episodes of raw, unadulterated summaries, My Hero Academia attempts for the third time to kick-start its mojo-motors. Can our heroes administer CPR to the sputtering body lying supine before them? Or will the artery-clogging intro-plaque seize the heart of this beloved series?
The show barrages viewers with yet another montage of Class 1A’s quirks (this time with humorous training regimens). Not content with devoting a quarter of the episode to protagonist quirk analysis, episode three dollops in Class 1B’s as well. MHA struggles to generate interest in its massive cast of characters but never lacks in shounen theatrics (sans plot).
After the heroes-in-training conclude their Pussycat Pep Rally, the gang engage in various humorous antics, including poop jokes, quirky blunders, and food fiascos. Kota crashes the party, sensing an overabundance of audience-pleasure. Chibi Tusk-head (AKA The Nutcracker) further establishes himself as the most hateable character in the anime multiverse. Perhaps a hero name like “Porcupine Boy” would suit the lad better, since any attempt to empathize with Kota leads to a proverbial quill headshot–a character arc sure to end in a cookie-cutter redemption sequence.
While few can dispute the appeal of Shounen Training Arcs (a convention older than Dragon Ball), MHA, so far, powers up its cast without setting them on a plot trajectory. Foreboding notions of impending villain encounters, a burgeoning conflict with Kota, and a parsing out of team dynamics dominate the show so far–all stalling for the main event.
The first three episodes spends egregious amounts of screen-time masquerading their hero showcases as character development. The writers kick the narrative can down the road as the show’s comedic chops take center stage. The series’ extended, One Piece-esque potential for longevity enables Bones to keep the show at a trotting pace.
Luckily, the Vanguard Action Squad saunters into the idyllic summer camp bliss to burn down forests and beat down the Pussycats. Enter Bane Girl, Doctor Gas Mask, The Insidious Surfer, Giga Gimp, a reptile, Jason in a Robe, and Botched Plastic Surgery Boy!
“Kota’s” primary focus (Kota) drives season three closer to the brink of self-parody than ever before, yet the final few minutes tackle the teetering series back to safety. Regardless of its fumbled application, the episode’s initial feel-goodery provides a jarring juxtaposition to the villains’ invasion. Shrieking metal music, unnerving character designs, and violence aplenty dump a bucket of cold water on the slumbering narrative. Onward heroes! To battle (Kota, you can stay in your cave)!
And, please remember:
~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger