My Hero Academia S02E21: Gear up for Final Exams

Starring: Daiki Yamashita, Kenta Miyake, & Nobuhiko Okamoto
Director: Kenji Nagasaki

Review by Bee Sigler

Our latest episode opens with veteran pro Hero and U.A. instructor Midnight and rookie Hero Mt. Lady starring on an interview segment titled “Is Sexiness Necessary for Being a Pro Hero?” Their discussion devolves into what I can only call a cat fight, but it raises some interesting points. 

Midnight’s original, more revealing costume caused the government to pass a bill regulating the amount of exposed skin in Hero costumes. As a total nerd for civics, I’d love to know the exact wording and contents of this fictional bill. I’m sure there’s much more exciting stuff for Horikoshi to reveal in the supplemental material.

Midnight, wearing the revealing costume she wore at her debut as a Hero.
Midnight’s revealing debut costume.

Me being me, this naturally led to some rumination on the costumes of both Pro Heroes and students we’ve seen so far in the anime. Me, still being me: I made a spreadsheet! For this spreadsheet, “tight” defines as close-fitting enough to see the form of the body (especially muscles). “Revealing” defines showing cleavage, baring the chest. They also include wearing a skirt/shorts that is/are shorter than is normally considered acceptable in a uniformed school environment, or bared arms combined with any of the other criteria¹. (You might disagree with me on my criteria or analysis, and that’s okay! Please feel free to share your interpretation with me in the comments.) My spreadsheet only takes into account the named characters that have shown up in the anime so far.

A chart detailing the percentages of Heroes that wear tight and/or revealing costumes; the full chart can be found at the above link.
Can you tell I love charts?

Unsurprisingly, male pro Heroes and students greatly outnumber female pro Heroes and students at a ratio of 70.9:27.3%. ² While My Hero Academia is a shounen anime, I’d love to see more female pro Heroes and students get the spotlight every once in a while. Introducing the anime-only character Sirius in Everyone’s Internships was nice, but I seriously doubt she’ll show up again in any major capacity.

Breaking it down further, we see that a whopping 96% of female pro Heroes and students wear a costume that is tight and/or revealing, while only 38.18% of male pro Heroes and students do the same. Why the massive disparity? Besides creator, um, preferences, Midnight points out something important: that the tight and/or revealing clothes came about as a result of necessity, and the sex appeal followed. While some Quirks might require exposed skin or tight clothes (think Ochaco’s Quirk, Zero Gravity; her ability to make herself float would be significantly hindered by clothes of any weight), I doubt that the distribution of such Quirks would skew towards any gender (save for creator “preferences”). Rather, I believe that young Heroes and students modeled their costumes after the tight and/or revealing ones that their seniors wore, much like Izuku’s All-Might-lite rabbit costume.

After the segment, we zoom out to Minoru being a creep, which ruined the entire scene a little bit for me. I would’ve much rather had one of the 1-A girls contemplating the interview; using Itsuka or Momo would tie in nicely to their internship with Uwabami. The two students were more interested in learning how to become better Heroes than how to become a sex symbol, despite their revealing costumes. While we don’t know a lot about Itsuka, we know many things about Momo that relate to the subject at hand:

  1. Her costume is spartan in design, with very little adornment,
  2. Her Quirk requires access to her body in order to create objects, and
  3. She comes from a well-off family and is sensitive to coarse language and behavior.

This leads me to believe that Momo’s costume, like Midnight suggested, was borne of utility rather than a desire for sex appeal. While she might be comfortable with her body, it seems like Momo is uncomfortable with others seeing her as “sexy.”

Speaking of Momo, we come to the next part of the episode: cramming! The upcoming finals will have both a written and a practical component. Class 1-A worries about their ability to score high in order to attend summer training camp. We get to see each student’s rank on the midterms, with Momo occupying the number one spot. She generously volunteers to help everyone study for the written component. Everyone falls in love with her just a little bit more.

Some of Class 1-A, happy and surrounded by a haze of pink and roses.
This is how I feel every time Momo is on screen.

At lunch, Neito Monoma from Class 1-B shows up to talk shit to Izuku. Which, I can only assume, is a weekly occurrence by now. Itsuka hits Neito in the back of the head and drags him away, but not before sharing with Class 1-A that an upperclassman said the practical portion of the final exam would be fighting against robots like those in the entrance exam. Armed with this new information, Class 1-A is confident that they can pass the practical. Knowing this, Katsuki challenges Izuku and Shoto to surpass his score in their final exams. Also, Aizawa-sensei seems to be spying on 1-A…

Itsuka holds Neito by the collar of his shirt, while Izuku mutters in the background.
I LOVE MY GARBAGE BOY!

After a brief montage of everyone’s study sessions (including Katsuki and Kirishima’s adorable study-date and group studying at Momo’s extravagant home), the written portion of the exam comes and goes without event. An unexpected revelation arises due to an increase in Villain activity. The physical component to the final exam will pit the students against a U.A. teacher 2-on-1 in a battle to incapacitate or escape. Students pair with each other and a teacher at Aizawa-sensei’s discretion based on their ability, fighting style, grades, interpersonal relationships, and, in the case of Katsuki and Izuku, how much they hate each other. Their opponent? All Might, of course!

We don’t get to see all of the students battle in this episode. We see Rikido Sato and Kirishima get their asses handed to them by Cementoss. Ultimately, Kirishima and Rikido are too bullheaded to accept that escaping is their best shot at winning. They end up trapped by the bulwark that is Cementoss. Next are Tsuyu and Tokoyami vs. Ectoplasm, a U.A. teacher who we haven’t seen much of, but that will have to wait until the next episode…

The Verdict:

Watch it! This is a pretty important episode, and everyone can always use more Momo in their life. Next time, even more Momo in Yaoyorozu: Rising! I hope we’ll get to see all of the practical battles in the next episode. Can Izuku and Katsuki be able to put aside their differences to strategize? Will Izuku spill the beans on the limit to All Might’s Quirk in order to get a leg up? Will Momo continue to be wonderful? (The answer is yes.)

Until next time: Plus Ultra!

Principal Nezu pops out of Aizawa-sensei's scarf.

¹ Completely bared arms or “spaghetti-strap” tank tops are sometimes frowned upon or considered strange to see in Japan. This is only considered when present with other criteria.
² The missing 1.8% is Thirteen, whose gender is unknown.

Bee Sigler
xobeesigler@gmail.com
Bee is an artist and writer from North Carolina with Big Opinions about comics.

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