MY HERO ACADEMIA is in transition both in and outside of the show. In the real world, anime fans are essentially between two seasons of new series. Those that came out earlier in the Spring are winding to a close. On the flip side, new summer series are starting by the day with their first episodes. We’re lucky of course to have constant releases of MY HERO ACADEMIA, but not every arc is dozens of episodes worth of constant action. This week’s episode, “Moving into Dorms,” fits neatly into that little gap between the standard anime release schedule.
Within the show, there’s plenty of transition too. All Might, the legendary Symbol of Peace, has retired. The last desperate embers of One for All have faded from his body. Even slight exertion is extremely difficult for him to activate, let alone maintain. Villain mastermind All For One has been defeated and captured, but at great cost.
The world of MY HERO ACADEMIA has to react and rebuild after losing its strongest mark of deterrence. For the students, that means training each and every day. The stronger their generation of heroes becomes, the less All Might’s retirement hurts society writ large. Villains now have less fear than ever. They’re certain to be emboldened by All For One’s battle against All Might. Now, the impenetrable wall of heroism has weakened. By all rights, the public scrutiny following the Training Camp arc nearly toppled it from within.
This is the setting of the next chapter of Izuku Midoriya and his friends’ adventures. Episode 51 was a coalescence of the previous arc into one physical location. And, perhaps most importantly, it narrows down the lives of the students. Now, there is no going home after hero training. Every moment is for becoming a splendid hero.
Moving into Dorms
Switching to an all dorm setup was huge. Last week, we saw the emotional difficulty behind that decision primarily through Midoriya’s mother. For her, everything we credit to Midoriya as strength is just pain. Every scar, every drop of blood, and every moment of heroism comes with a significant risk of death. Watching this over and over again would be unimaginably painful for someone who assumed their child was Quirkless. Important to note is that Midoriya’s mother doesn’t even know the truth about One For All. Rather than a thematically important legacy of heroism, to her Midoriya’s Quirk is like a sudden blessing. But because she doesn’t know that he had to earn it, or that it has a legacy, that blessing feels like a malignant curse. However, containing all of the students on campus will probably help with that somewhat.
Now, their training is immediate and everything they need is in the same place as the professional heroes that can protect them. Throughout the series, we haven’t seen the students go home. This is pretty standard fare for a shonen anime, where parents usually don’t exist at all. MY HERO ACADEMIA is special because it incorporates that usually unincluded element of development. After all, these are essentially freshmen in high school leaving home. One slight deficiency of the episode (and the manga) was massively underplaying that. While it’s understandable for a transition episode to not factor in 100% deep thematic content, some passing indication of emotional difficulty for someone besides Midoriya would’ve been nice.
A Contest of Friends
The room showing contest was super entertaining and great for the series. We got to see a little bit of everyone’s personal side beyond their Quirks. On face, this kind of exposition might seem unnecessary and out of place. And while it lacked the emotional clarity of last week’s conferences with parents, it did reinforce the mere presence of the full class. One of MY HERO ACADEMIA’s semi-bad habits is sequestering characters with Quirks not suited for direct combat away from said combat. In the case of specialized heroes like Hakagure or Jiro, this is understandable. But the next arcs will likely involve everyone, so re-exposition is good.
On top of that, the montage of rooms was pretty damn funny. Tokoyami’s ultra dark room, Momo’s implicitly rich room, and Todoroki’s Japanese style were especially interesting. MY HERO ACADEMIA is able to impart a degree of uniqueness on its characters that links their personality to their Quirk and retains their upbringing. Todoroki, for example, resents his father and the style of his upbringing. Despite that, he still is unable to even feel comfortable on floors that aren’t tatami. Iida’s 40 pairs of glasses on a shelf evoke his preparedness, and Kirishima’s room is about as purposefully masculine as they come.
This individuality also transcends the evaluative bounds that fighting creates for characterization. This is to say that rather than understand Uraraka via winning and losing fights, Episode 51 reminded us of her family’s financial status. It linked back to everyone’s backstories from the very first episodes. For content meant to bridge two arcs, that’s a pretty nice touch.
Reconciliation and Trust
The realest and most impactful part of the episode came in its final moments. It’s rare to see Tsuyu show strong emotion, and it’s the first time we’ve seen her lose her composure. She herself sums that up pretty well. Even while under attack by villains during the USJ arc or at the Training Camp, she can usually keep her cool. But in addition to being a departure from home, “Moving into Dorms” also reconnected the students after their ideological schisms about rescuing Bakugo.
Part of the reason this hits so strong is the revelation Aizawa brings up before Class 1-A even enters the dorm. Had the school not been in dire need of good PR and the world in need of good heroes, nearly everyone in the class would’ve been expelled. Once again, fans are reminded that the hero world of MY HERO ACADEMIA is strict to the point of being bureaucratic.
Right and Wrong
But as people like Midoriya, All Might, and even Stain have shown us, true heroism is not always strictly definable by rules and regulations. Midoriya, Kirishima, Yaoyorozu, and Todoroki were able to rescue Bakugo without sustaining injury. No villains really had a chance to stop them. In addition, their rescue effort made it so All Might was capable of fighting to his absolute fullest. By all rights, he probably would have lost to All For One if he tried to win his fight and save Bakugo. The situation was plagued with uncertainty and fear, and that created tension for the students. It became a question of whether personal convictions could outweigh intense fear. But in reality, they all wanted to rescue Bakugo. The existence of pros simply provided a simple diversion that satisfied their superego while pacifying their fear.
For Tsuyu, it’s likely that Midoriya and company’s success made her fears seem stupid. After all, the ‘villainous’ action she admonished led to the best possible outcome. This probably hurt much more when she realized that even allowing others to save Bakugo almost got her expelled. I can imagine one would regret not going along if staying back got you in just as much trouble as sneaking out to save Bakugo. Reconciling the majority of the class’s justifiable worry with the indignant heroism of the rescue party is super important moving forward. The next step toward becoming a hero is the Provisional Licence, so it’ll be important that they all come together.
The Future is Bright in MY HERO ACADEMIA!
In any case, the episode was well done. Like I say with most filler-esque episodes for a good series, it only seems unsatisfying by comparison. But no series can provide limitless, unending streams of heart-pounding content. If anything, that would probably lead to a stale narrative and worsen over time. MY HERO ACADEMIA balances its action with moments of reflection so the plot can recollect itself shortly before moving on. This is one of those episodes. As we embark on another segment of training, progression, and battle, it’s nice to have a moment of comedy that reintroduces everyone’s personality.
Tons of the fledgeling heroes were dying to sleep, and it wasn’t even all that late at night. Those who rescued Bakugo had been in one of the most intense situations of their lives. Bakugo was likely fearing death at every moment even if he never showed it. But the willingness to readily crash at these dorms is testament to the safety UA provides. The students will have ample opportunity to grow strong and go beyond in the coming weeks.
Like the episode? Who do you think had the coolest room (even though it’s obviously Jiro)? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image from Crunchyroll.