(This is a continuation of a prior post. To see the first half of the countdown, click here. And like before, spoilers abound, so consider yourself warned.)
Before we resume with the countdown, allow me to recognize the following moments from My Hero Academia season 3 that were good, just not good enough to crack the top 10.
League of Villains on the move again (Episode #60 – “A Talk About Your Quirk”, #62 – “A Season for Encounters”, #63 -“Unrivaled”): After their loss to All Might and the rest of the pro heroes after the raid of their hideout, the League of Villains didn’t stay down for long. You had Himiko Toga infiltrate the Provisional License Exam by using her quirk to impersonate Shiketsu High’s Camie Utsushimi, and coming away with some Izuku Midoriya’s blood. You have Dabi culling the herd by eliminating unworthy criminals. And finally, you have Twice bringing forth the villainous Overhaul to possibly join the League’s ranks. The League isn’t going away any time soon.
The room presentation contest (Episode #51 – “Moving into Dorms): It’s pretty tense times for Class 1-A. With the attack on the forest training camp and its immediate aftermath, as well as the move into the Heights Alliance dormitories, everyone is walking on eggshells. That’s when the girls in the class suggest a contest to see who has the best dorm room. We get some great gags here, like Tokoyami’s exceedingly dark room and Mineta heading straight for Hagakure’s underwear drawer in her room. We also get a heartfelt confession from Asui, who wants nothing more than to let the past go and be friends with everyone again. And she gets her answer when everyone moves to console her. This is more than a class. It’s a collection of friends and damn near family.
Todoroki and Inasa vs. Endeavor, kind of (Episode #59 – “What’s the Big Idea?”): Despite being first years, U.A. High’s Shoto Todoroki and Shiketsu High’s Inasa Yoarashi are considered two of the strongest students of the Provisional License Exam. However, due to Inasa’s extremely poor opinion of Todoroki due to interactions with his father, Endeavor, and Todoroki’s unresolved daddy issues, the two end up fighting each other in the heat of rescue exercises during the exam. It takes a scolding from Izuku to snap the two back to their senses, but it doesn’t prevent them both from failing the exam. Now the two have to take remedial courses together. But at least there seems to be more of an understanding between them.
And now on to the countdown…
#5 – Katsuki’s rescue
(Episode #48 – “Symbol of Peace”)
The League of Villains has succeeded in their plan of kidnapping Sports Festival winner Katsuki Bakugo. They feel his rage makes him a prime candidate to be a villain. However, Bakugo also has pride in spades, and his pride won’t allow him to deviate from his goal of becoming the world’s greatest hero.
With the confusion brought about by the pro heroes’ raid, Bakugo finds himself in the unenviable position of trying to escape from a collection of villains still determined to make him one of theirs. However, they didn’t count on five of Bakugo’s classmates; Izuku Midoriya, Eijiro Kirishima, Shoto Todoroki, Tenya Iida and Momo Yaoyorozu, showing up to save their classmate from their clutches.
With Izuku’s quick thinking, the five are able to succeed in their covert mission. What makes it all the better is Izuku recognizing that, despite knowing him the longest, Bakugo will only respond to one he considers a friend. That brings Kirishima to the plate. And when he calls out to Bakugo, we get more splendid animation from Bones as Bakugo, using his quirk, rockets through the air to join up with his classmates. An epic moment in an arc full of them.
#4 – The rivalry is forged
(Episode #61 – “Deku vs. Kacchan 2”)
It just hasn’t been that great of a summer for Bakugo.
Not only was he kidnapped by the League of Villains, he was one of the only two students from Class 1-A to fail the Provisional License Exam (Todoroki being the other). To make matters worse, Izuku has passed, leading Bakugo to call him out in the middle of the night while the rest of Class 1-A sleeps.
In front of the site of their very first battle as U.A. students, Bakugo reveals he knows Izuku received his quirk from All Might. Having idolized the number one hero himself, Bakugo is disgusted that All Might chose Izuku and not him. This leads Bakugo to challenge Izuku to a fight, to find out which of the two is better.
Throughout the battle, Izuku learns the fight is not Bakugo simply wanting to let off steam. Bakugo feels immense guilt over All Might’s retirement, saying that if he hadn’t gotten kidnapped, then All Might wouldn’t have needed to rush in and use up all his power to save him. Izuku accepts the battle as a way for Bakugo to come to terms with his guilt, and, thanks to his newly-developed kick-centric Shoot Style, nearly gets the upper hand in another fight brilliantly animated by Bones. However, in the end, it’s Bakugo who comes out on top.
It’s what happens after the battle that propels this scene to this spot. All Might arrives to tell Bakugo the truth. He also tells Bakugo, one who has admired All Might for his ability to win no matter the situation, and Izuku, one who admires his ability to save people, that they both need to focus on both winning and rescuing. Not only that, but the two, by understanding each other’s feelings, can drive each other to greater heights. And with both boy quickly vowing to surpass the other, a rivalry 61 episodes in the making is finally formed.
#3 – The Symbol of Evil appears
(Episode #47 – “All for One”)
The League of Villains thought they pulled off the greatest trick in kidnapping Bakugo. However, it was the pro heroes, led by All Might, that pulled the cover over the villains’ eyes.
With the public, including the League of Villains, squarely focused on U.A.’s apologetic press conference, the pro heroes were able to move right under their noses, leading to a raid of both their main headquarters and a warehouse where the monstrous Nomu are essentially being mass produced. With things looking grim, the de facto leader of the League, Tomura Shigaraki, asks his mentor to step in.
And boy, does he ever.
Without so much as breaking a sweat, the Symbol of Evil, the villainous quirk-stealing All for One, appears and lays waste to an entire city block, severely injuring several pro heroes in the process including the number four hero Best Jeanist. Izuku and his four classmates, there to rescue Bakugo, can only silently tremble, physically sick, over the destruction one man can cause. It was a fitting scene to introduce the series’ greatest antagonist to that point.
#2 – One for All, 1,000,000%!
(Episode #42 – “My Hero”)
He may be chaperoned by pro heroes, attending a camp that seeks to help aspiring heroes become pros, but Kota really doesn’t like heroes. After all, it’s this hero-driven society that has made him an orphan, after a villain killed both his parents.
Fate works in strange ways. When the League of Villains attacked the forest training camp, the first to contact Kota was the same man who killed his parents. The villain, the aptly-named Muscular, seeks to give the child the same fate as his parents, when Izuku swoops in to defend Kota from this muscle-bound menace.
While Muscular is focused on causing as much death and destruction as he can, Izuku is singularly focused on saving Kota. And while Izuku is getting more of a handle on One for All, he can only consistently put out 5% of the quirk’s power without hurting himself in the process. That isn’t going to get it done against a villain that has killed before and has no qualms about doing it again.
Having wrecked both of his arms trying to beat back the threat, Izuku hardly has any strength left. This allows Muscular to crush him with ease, with Izuku tearfully apologizing to both his mother and All Might. However, moved by a boy working so hard to protect someone he hardly knows, Kota activates his own quirk, the same water-based one of his parents, to try and save Izuku. This distracts Muscular, and that moment of distraction is all Izuku needs. Fueled by his adrenaline and his desire to save those in need, Izuku calls upon One for All’s inherent strength and puts the villain down for the count.
The music rising to a crescendo with Izuku’s second wind, as well as the top-notch animation, helped this fight scene become one of the best in My Hero Academia. Hell, it was probably number one. At least until our true number one…
#1 – The Symbol of Peace prevails
(Episodes #48-49 – “Symbol of Peace” & “One for All”)
When you have a villain as imposing, as terrifying as All for One, you need to have a hero just as imposing, as heroic as the villain is terrifying. Luckily, All Might is there to fit the bill.
However, All Might has been losing grip of his power, One for All, since being severely wounded by All for One years ago. Moreover, after passing his quirk onto Izuku, All Might’s hold on the power is declining further. It’s a situation All for One will happily take advantage of, using the power of all the quirks he’s stolen to force All Might to exhaust his own. With that, All Might’s true form, the scrawny Toshinori Yagi, is revealed to the world.
If that weren’t enough, All for One tries to demoralize All Might further, taunting him about his mentor Nana Shimura and her failure in stopping him. He also boasts how he has taken her grandson and turned him into the League of Villains’ leader, Tomura Shigaraki.
His prospects for victory bleak, and getting bleaker, All Might begins to despair. However, with the encouragement of a nearby civilian in need of rescuing, pro heroes on the scene and people around Japan, All Might prepares himself for one final assault.
This is truly one of the greatest animated episodes in cartoon history, not just in anime. With the use of music and establishing shots showing everyone, young and old, living and dying with their hero, it culminates with All Might calling upon the power of One for All one last time. With the image of a fire, barely able to stay lit, ultimately erupting in one final blaze with All Might’s ultimate attack, the United States of Smash, All Might is able to defeat his nemesis. And as the blaze dies out, All Might knows One for All has left him, and the torch has officially been passed to Izuku Midoriya.
It’s a fitting climax for the first half of season 3. And it shows what this show can be capable of.
So that’s the list. But don’t think I’m done talking My Hero Academia. Stay tuned to Geekpiphany, as I will bring you my rankings of all 20 students in Class 1-A at a later date.
As always, thanks for reading. Or perhaps I should say, “Go beyond! Plus Ultra!”