Last we left Deku, he'd just woken up from one hell of a fever dream with his right arm glowing with a pulsing light, his room a mess, and a mysterious feeling that something inside him had changed. That's right: Our boy's finally hitting puberty. They grow up so fast.
Actually it's not clear what's going on with Deku, as both characters and audience are only able to theorize what might have spurred that vision of the past or the apparent communication with the first user of One For All. All they really have to go on is his vague mention of a “singularity” and Nana Shimura's musings on the power of emotions to surpass time and logic. It's all vague, and leaves All Might and Deku scratching their heads about just what any of it could mean, not helped by the fact that it's a school day. Ain't that how it always is? Even when you're trying to suss out the secrets of the generation spanning super power you've been trusted with by the world's greatest hero, you still have to go to school. Though instead of having to learn algebra, Deku's lesson plan involves an inter-class field day, so I guess he can't complain too much.
It's now time for a joint training session between 1-A and their eternal rivals (according to Monoma, anyway) 1-B. Personally I'm excited for this for 2 reasons. First is that this will hopefully give both the criminally underutilized members of 1-A time to shine and provide some insight into their equally colorful counterparts in 1-B. Like what the heck is up with the dude whose face is a manga page? I have to know his secrets. My editor is already inextricably attached to the little mushroom girl too, so there's clearly a lot of value to be mined from these characters. Second is that there's a ton of potential for interesting, unique fights here. One of MHA's best baked-in aspects is how varied and specialized quirks are in the general population, meaning fights can take completely different turns depending on how someone's power matches up against another. By pitting groups of 4 against eachother, there's room for a ton of cool skirmishes the likes of which we haven't seen since the Sports Festival in season 2.
Speaking of the sports festival: Shinso's back! As the dark horse fan-favorite of season 2, he's apparently been doing a lot of training of his own in the time since, and has gotten permission to join this little scrap and try to earn placement in the Hero Course. He's also sporting the same bandage restraints that Aizawa uses, which is a pretty neat detail. While their quirks aren't all that similar, their weaknesses are the same: they're largely normal guys trying to punch above their weight class in a world where even the weakest villain likely has the physical edge on them. So learning from somebody who's developed a fighting style to compensate for that is a smart move, and it's also just fun to see the ever-grumpy Eraserhead taking on a protege – becoming Eri's new father has really changed him for the better.
The rest of this episode is largely setup to get us reacquainted with the extended cast, so there's not much to comment on. But thankfully a season of covering World Trigger has me prepared for some good ol' fashioned Play-by-Play, so let's set the stage for the first battle!
1-A Team One
1)Tsuyu “Froppy” Asui – Quirk: Frog – Special Skills: Immense, passionate fanbase who will riot if she loses
2) “Chargebolt” Kaminari – Quirk: Electrification – Special Skills: Still has fans despite hanging out with Mineta
3) Eijiro “Red Riot” Kirishima – Quirk: Hardening – Special Skills: Bakugo's only friend
4) Koji “Anima” Koda – Quirk: Anivoice – Special Skills: Got to princess carry Jiro during the midterm exams
Bonus) Hitoshi Shinso – Quirk: Brainwash – Special Skills: Unsettlingly deep voice for a 16-year-old
1-B Team One
A) Ibara “Vine” Shiozaki – Quirk: Vines – Special Skills: Has the power of God and Anime on her side
B) Jurota “Gevaudan” Shishida – Quirk: Beast – Special Skills: Legally barred from calling himself “Beastmode”
C) Kosei Tsuburaba – Quirk: Solid Air – Special Skills: Too much of a weenie to get a real hero name
D) Hiryu “Dragon Shroud” Rin – Quirk: TBA – Special Skills: Hero costume straight out of Mortal Kombat
On the surface this seems like a total sweep for 1-A. Despite a possible hindrance with the unfamiliar and inexperienced Shinso, they're packing 2 beloved characters in their ranks, both of whom have faced real combat against the Shie Hassaikai and came out victorious. But they do have some weakspots: while integral in his one appearance, Koda himself isn't all that combat oriented and could prove ineffective in a pinch. Meanwhile Kaminari is an effective deterrent, but also a double edged sword with his indiscriminate attacks, plus he lost rather decisively to Ibara in season 2.
So this is far from a lock on 1-A's side, and being the underdog only seems to be spurring their opponents on. They launch a sneak attack, anticipating the other team's priorities, and make a strong first strike. Gevaudan is likely the strongest physical fighter on the field, and he manages to knock the whole team off their footing! Combined with Tsuburaba's shields they make for an imposing melee presence, but that's exactly where Shinso comes in, utilizing his new tech – “Persona Cords” – to imitate his opponents' voices and lock Gevaudan under his control at the end of the episode. This reveal is both cool and an excellent utilization of Shinso's particular specialty: if opponents can no longer trust their own teammates' voices in the heat of battle, working together is going to become a lot harder very quickly.
And that's where we leave off this week. Things are relatively light for the larger story, but considering how packed last episode was I'm fine with taking a breather and letting characters who aren't Deku take the spotlight for a while. I have no idea if I can keep up this sportscaster shtick for the next few weeks, but by god I'm gonna try.