The Provisional Licensing Exam has finally ended and the aftermath is important. This week’s episode, “A Talk About your Quirk,” of MY HERO ACADEMIA acted as a foundational piece for the next arc. Rather than directly reveal what any future arcs would involve, they gave hints. These came via conversations and some cool characterization. The exam, especially for the main characters of Class 1-A, was formative. In many cases, it’s passing the exam that causes the deepest moments of growth. The passing acts as a catharsis for shonen protagonists and elevates them in the anime’s world. Quite rarely does an anime makes its characters fail an exam due to their own faults. To clarify, this means that MY HERO ACADEMIA is somewhat unique in that it wasn’t external circumstances that made Todoroki, Inasa, and Bakugo fail. Rather, as Mineta put it, they lost a battle against their own egoism.
The Power of Failure
This is just one segment of the incredible characterization we saw this week. Like a lot of between arc episodes, the emphasis was not on combat at all. The students of MY HERO ACADEMIA didn’t throw a single punch. Realistically, the entire episode only accounted for a single afternoon of time. Within that, we only saw details of a couple conversations. Episode 60 accomplishes a fantastic bridge between this and the next arc. The Provisional Exam is one of the best-designed exam arcs I’ve seen in shonen anime. Even more, the exam’s significance has some much broader thematic context. This goes above simply raising the permissions our students have access to. The improvements truly went beyond, and this week’s episode of MY HERO ACADEMIA exemplified this.
What made the exam so well designed is that there is no coming back. Proper ability to fight and compete with other students acted as a baseline. If you weren’t able to even take out one other person in a controlled setting, you weren’t good enough. But stage two of the exam winnowed out those students who lacked the heroism that might correspond to their power. In terms of perception, this is directly in line with what the world of MY HERO ACADEMIA really needs. Losing All Might means losing an incredibly important symbol of strength. And, it meant the deterrence he caused via his strength vanished instantly. To fill that gap, heroes have to not only be strong but also selfless. The same kinds of heroism Stain saw ideal is the only kind that can replace All Might.
This is the shocking realization that hit Todoroki, Inasa, and Bakugo. The exam was a demerit-based one, meaning once you lose points they don’t come back. So, despite being some of the strongest fighters amongst all students, the three failures we know had more or less had the same starting point for the second stage. They had equal opportunity to stay afloat and managed to fail.
The episode handled that failure quite well, especially for Todoroki and Inasa. Bakugo reacted in a bit more of a unique way, but more on that later. Todoroki was forced to confront the person that his hatred turned him to. We saw the ironic bastardization of his personality that happens when he embraces his emotions toward his father. His development has been building for a long time as he learns to control his left side. He didn’t speak much, but it was his face that spoke volumes.
He has the strongest Quirk, and it serves him well. But this is as much a weakness as a strength. We haven’t known Inasa for long, but we’ve seen Todoroki slowly coming to terms with his past. This was a major step in his time to become a hero.
Rise of Villainy
And the time is important too. Something All For One has a rare talent for is indicating how pernicious a plan is. On top of that, he’s uniquely able to unsettle All Might by twisting his heroism and strength into a bad thing. In this case, the main thing we got some good focus on is the power vacuum left following All For One’s capture and All Might’s retirement. With two gods of both the natural world and the criminal underground taken, spots are available. So, since the barrier to taking that spot is relatively low, new villains will pop up over time.
The current state of things in MY HERO ACADEMIA is a race to fill both portions of that gap faster than enemies. Last week, we got some context for how the heroes hope to fill the gap left by All Might. They’re training heroes to fight in teams to create aggregate charisma and new symbols of peace. But Episode 60 went further than this by including villains. Shigaraki, without a doubt, is the closest person to inheriting the leadership All For One had. However, just as Midoriya has to still make a name for himself, so does Shigaraki and his League of Villains. Given Himiko’s apparent infiltration of the Provisional Licence Exam, we know that they’re still quite active.
This is one of the major hints for how the next few arcs will function. All For One is in a prison so high tech that even literal Gods might struggle to escape. But plenty of other villains are out there and raring to take power. Now that Class 1-A can engage them during emergencies, we’re likely to see a lot more direct combat.
Reconciling a Rivalry
All of that is well and good, but the clear highlight of this week’s MY HERO ACADEMIA was definitely Bakugo and Midoriya. Bakugo is one of the most divisive characters of the series. Some people consider him to be an irredeemable bully while others see him as a deep, complex presence. Either way, his progress in the series has been important. And, his relationship with Deku is one of the more important ones in MY HERO ACADEMIA. Unlike how he is with most people, Bakugo’s outbursts toward Midoriya feel more frustrated than angry. This episode gave him a strong monologue presence and hearing the details of his voice really when made the scene compared to the manga. Seeing Midoriya, someone he always assumed as a constant lesser, grow and gain power scares Bakugo.
This is because he found comfort in having a constant target he could always be better than. Given Midoriya’s relatively sunny outward personality, it means Bakugo got compliments and praise too. Now, that safe egotistic refuge is gone. Bakugo is able to figure out the truth behind Midoriya and All Might because he defines himself via Midoriya. If nothing else, this definitely speaks to the strength of their bond and friendship. Episode 60 presented this bond quite powerfully and did so better than previous instances of Midoriya and Bakugo talking.
Bonds Flare in MY HERO ACADEMIA!
There was very little time passing in this episode, but quite a lot happened. Relationships between Todoroki and Shiketsu student Inasa, Bakugo and Midoriya, and Midoriya and All Might all got some focus. And, it was great to see that the vast majority of the class passed the Provisional License exam cleanly. The arc to come will likely concern the criminal groups that All For One spoke about. All of them will want the throne atop the various syndicates struggling to gain hegemony. Now that Midoriya and his classmates can fight them within hero rules, a lot of action is coming. And, as manga readers know, it’s the best action of the series thus far.
How did you like the episode? Let us know in the comments!
Featured image from Crunchyroll.