The second part of this season of My Hero Academia has had more of a slice-of-life anime vibe; however, last episode brought us back to the action we are quite used to. This episode started right where it left off and showed how Deku is more than capable of holding his own against a villain… as if we did not know that part already. I have to say, if there is one thing this season has shown is how much Deku has grown along the years – and much of that this season.
While we get to see snippets of what is currently happening at U.A. in the minutes before the School Festival commences, the episode centers around Deku and Gentle Criminal and their battle. While I feared they would try to make us feel for Gentle with a sad backstory, it still kinda made me feel for the poor bastard. He still had a bit of "good" in him despite the ways we went about things.
The animation was amazing– I continue to be pleasantly surprised by how much better the fight visuals keep getting. Deku gets the best of Gentle Criminal and bests him after every move, later revealing that he was the hardest villain he has fought against. Despite not being the strongest villain Deku has fought to date, he has been the only one that Deku has felt some connection to – as they are both trying to realize their dreams.
We also get a much deeper dive into La Brava and Gentle Criminal's past. They have been the only criminals so far who have tried to avoid violence and actually seem to stand for something (whatever you may think about it) despite their "weird" way of going about it. It has also been the first time I have seen villains with some sort of real "love" bond which tugged at my heart a bit than I expected – again, another example of both character and storyline growth in the series.
Despite there not being much development in the bigger, overarching storylines, it was still a fine episode. I loved the visuals and I truly enjoyed the battle between Deku and Gentle Criminal. This season of My Hero Academia has really been my favorite so far. I cannot wait to see the results of all the work Class 1-A put into the festival on the next episode.