Most watchers will realize immediately that this isn’t a normal episode. Even legitimate streaming services have it marked as a “special” episode. But, unlike normal filler, Episode 58, “Save the World with Love,” essentially pokes fun at its own non-canon aspects, which is at least somewhat funny. But the ultimate point of this episode was nothing but clever marketing. It’s pretty damn obvious that the entire purpose behind this “Special Episode” was to advertise MY HERO ACADEMIA’s new movie ahead of its release in multiple international locations across the world. And, if I’m being honest, that was somewhat disappointing. Knowing that everything I saw was just meant to butter up for the movie soured the episode. On top of that, the episode wasn’t even good, to begin with.
MY HERO ACADEMIA, even in the past few weeks, has had some good filler arcs. It developed a unique style of blending non-canon elements with story pulled from the manga directly. Today’s review will be somewhat short, because of two reasons. One, the episode was like thematic whiplash. The MY HERO ACADEMIA movie takes place chronologically just after the Hosu City arc. Midoriya doesn’t have Shoot Style in this episode because they forced the timelines to match. Filler usually at least brings in a new villain for characters to fight within context. Strong examples of this are filler fights that still take place within contexts like the Provisional License Exam. Secondly, the mystery kind of made zero sense and wasn’t interesting.
This week’s episode was so disappointing that I may actually have preferred there just not have been one at all.
A “Special” Episode
This week’s special episode takes place in a vague time that seems to be just after the Hosu City arc but before the Provisional License Exam arc. Bakugo is with the rest of his class, meaning this is post-Hosu, but Midoriya lacks his new outfit. Aizawa gathers Midoriya, Todoroki, Tsuyu, Iida, Uraraka, and Bakugo for a special training class. According to him, this special training is meant to push the students’ abilities. To that end, the class is supposedly extra difficult to give the budding heroes an extra challenge during their first summer vacation at UA.
The class itself was more or less a procedural cop drama; the students arrive at a fake active hostage situation. Pro heroes play villains and hostages in the scenario. The students had to first attempt to stop the villain, then investigate a strange scene when they suddenly find the “villain” dead on the floor. Most of this mystery solving came directly from Midoriya at the tail end of the episode. The other characters involved barely even spoke, save for Bakugo complaining of how pointless the exercise was.
What was supposed to make the episode extra “special” were the sneak peaks at the MY HERO ACADEMIA movie. All Might receives a call toward the end of the episode and takes off on a trip to a hero training facility on an island. He quickly snags Midoriya from his house and departs, making the episode a clean segue into the film.
Within any anime, the mystery needs to fit. What this means is, the mystery has to link to some broader theme or concern real people. Today’s episode was quite literally a simulation that even some students hated. For the first time in all of MY HERO ACADEMIA, I found myself siding with Bakugo 100%. The episode was all about a special class taking place during the summer before the students came back for their exams. Using pro heroes described as villains, UA created a situation for the students to solve. At face value, this seemed great. My expectation was that the heroes would need to use their heads a bit. If there was a unique scenario involving hostages, for example, frontal engagement may have been impossible. In fact, this would parallel with some of the themes of the current arc.
Instead, the story progressed into a pointless game of Clue with no real substance. The overdramatic acting from the pro heroes was obviously bad on purpose. But, it wasn’t nearly ironic enough to be funny. The stand-alone nature of this episode was presupposed in the introductory scenes. So, I knew that whatever I got wasn’t going to be all that good. Anime like CASE CLOSED or HAMATORA are able to accomplish this episodic mystery style because detective work makes sense for their characters.
As we saw during the Hosu City arc though, heroes don’t do things like interrogate witnesses at a crime scene. They secure the area, eliminate threats, and allow police to do the rest. Seeing Midoriya and his classmates do something that is quite literally not their job felt like a waste of time. Seeing how little time actually went into creating mystery made this even worse.
Let’s just take a moment to politely call BS on Midoriya for just a second. I know the kid is smart and has some great encyclopedic knowledge. Believe me, I’ve seen it in action more than enough to know he’s pretty on top of things. But the amount of knowledge he somehow extrapolated from thin air was ridiculous. The episode was supposedly a love mystery. But the only mention we even got of the love was Midoriya’s four minutes of rambling about it. He was somehow able to deduce the entire context behind an affair just from knowing when Midnight entered the bank. It was just as likely that a number of other situations happened. Knowing Midoriya, there’s no way his first guess would be something so convoluted like a love story.
And, the other characters became props since he solves the whole mystery in three seconds. Tsuyu just said five words every ten seconds to remind us she was there. Uraraka briefly appeared to possibly get somewhat involved but ultimately didn’t. Iida basically didn’t exist. There was no fighting in the episode, and it’s somewhat unclear why the characters involved were even chosen. Oh, and Todoroki was there too. I literally forgot. So little of the ‘plot’ felt real, important, or even good by filler standards.
A Rare Miss for MY HERO ACADEMIA
I don’t blame MY HERO ACADEMIA for wanting to advertise its movie. Hell, my heart rate about doubled when I saw the early trailers. But this isn’t the way to do it. Don’t paint the illusion of effort and then serve fans a lukewarm bowl of water. The show can and has done better than that. Between the first and second cour, we got an extended trailer rather than an episode. But it was a damn good trailer and got more engagement from fans than some episodes do. The show could have and should have just done that.
Today was a waste. If you happen to be reading this before watching, save yourself the half hour and just wait for next week. MY HERO ACADEMIA: TWO HEROES releases in the US on September 25th. It’ll be available in select theaters for a week following release. Check out ticket info here.
Featured image from Crunchyroll.