My Hero Academia Episode 10 Review: Encounter with the Unknown

My Hero Academia banks on tension and fear when U.A. High is under attack and the heroes-in-training must spring into action.

This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers

My Hero Academia Episode 10

“That day we learned what the pro heroes are really up against. The darkness they face to keep us safe.”

A cornerstone principle for any superhero is the importance in being flexible. A superhero needs to be able to demonstrate improvisational quick thinking and the ability to go off script, but this trait becomes fundamental in both of the major storylines that dominate this episode of My Hero Academia

It’s important to remember the essentials of what it means to be a hero, but if you’re needlessly rigid and unable to adapt, then these lessons can actually be a huge deterrent. Skills and protocol are crucial, but if you’re never able to diverge from the plan and try something new, then guidelines can just as much seal your fate than help save it. 

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“Encounter with the Unknown” largely deals with figuring out when it’s important to throw out a plan and go rogue, so to speak, because if there’s one thing that being a superhero isn’t, it’s predictable.

Hot off the heavy cliffhanger that the previous episode went out on, this installment begins with quite the burst of energy due to how it’s already deep into an emergency. The many-handed Tomura Shigaraki and his cabal of villains storm U.A. High and it makes for a very intimidating homecoming (Nomu is especially terrifying). 

This also marks the first major attack and conflict between this organized league of villains, but their ambush is all the more significant because the show has saved it for the tail-end of the season. An earlier attack would have resulted in a clear defeat and while Midoriya and his classmates are still a long way from professional heroes, they’ve learned a lot since they started at U.A. High. It’s now time to see if their basic training will be enough to stay alive here. Who will rise to the occasion and who will be a part of the casualties? It’s a tremendous trial by fire for these fledgling heroes, but on some level this is what all of these guys have been looking for.  

All Might happens to be absent from U.A. High during the moment of attack, but it’s still significant that the League of Villains finally make their strike against All Might. It’s almost worse that All Might’s not present because the school’s faculty and student body are the ones that come under attack as a result, which is exactly what All Might’s biggest fear has been about having a public image. 

It’s like a living nightmare where All Might can’t even defend himself because he isn’t there. The questions then become just how big of a disaster is all of this going to be, will there be casualties that can be avoided, and just how much will All Might resent himself for the irreparable damage that happens to U.A. High, and perhaps his own reputation, when the dust settles?

It’s definitely a smart move to keep All Might out of the picture, at least for this episode, as it allows various people at the school to spring into action in surprising ways. It shouldn’t come as a shock that Midoriya and Iida are the two individuals that really jump into action, but it’s also exciting to see how different heroes are able to lend their quirks for assistance and which people are frozen in terror. Ten episodes in, this makes for an effective way to check in with these characters and see who’s able to help out when the pressure is on. It’s worth pointing out that in spite of Bakugo’s strength, he’s largely missing here.

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Aizawa also gets a swift, badass sequence that reminds everyone why he’s one of the big shots in the hero community, but Space Hero 13 quickly overshadows him in impressive ways. This fresh face is a bit of a legend in the hero community and her quirk manages to transport Izuku, Tsuyu Asui, and Minoru Mineta out of the fire, but still into the frying pan. The trio is safe from the larger danger at U.A. High, but they’re still caught in a perilous waterlogged battle against one of the League of Villains’ worst. 

This showdown is maybe the best battle that’s come out of My Hero Academia so far and it will hopefully be the way that a future Jaws film ends. There’s a lot to love here, but Midoriya needs to work together with Asui and Mineta, both who are relative strangers to him. 

The gang also takes advantage of the element of surprise in order to overcome their water-friendly foes, but after this it’s safe to say that they’ll all be on the League of Villains’ radar. There are some power dynamics and learning curves to iron out here, but the results are pretty thrilling and more entertaining than if Midoriya was fighting alongside Bakugo or Uraraka.

Mineta is certainly an enjoyable character, but it’s the frog-like Asui that really steals the show. She’ll hopefully get more opportunities to fight with Midoriya in the future. Between the two of them, the focus on Iida, and the many new villains that enter the picture, the scope of My Hero Academia continues to expand in a big way, but its pacing remains healthy. It’s nice to see that this show is far from finished with introducing Midoriya to new friends and allies.

Midoriya, Asui, and Mineta all need to combine their quirks together in a way that gives them the advantage against their opponent. There’s a believable amount of trial and error to this, but it’s satisfying to see this fight come down to more than just brute strength in the end. Without cooperation and adaptability it looks like all of these three would have wound up corpses floating in the water. 

Admittedly, Midoriya does briefly turn to his One For All quirk, but it’s far from the solution to his problems and it carries a different weight. He’s earned the right to use it this time.

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While Midoriya, Asui, and Mineta are caught up in battle, Iida attempts to regain control of the larger situation at hand. U.A. High is very much held up in a hostage scenario, but Iida’s speed combined with his courage is an incredible asset here. Rather than tackle the threats head on, Iida hopes to break out of the school and assemble outside help for U.A. High’s perilous situation. 

Even though Iida’s skills would be helpful in battle, this strategy is a smart move and it leads to two compelling narratives in this episode. Furthermore, Iida’s chapter is much more tactical and it provides a welcome balance to the battle-heavy material that Izuku’s caught up in. 

“Encounter with the Unknown” is one of the better episodes that My Hero Academia has turned out and it hints that the final few episodes of the first season will maintain this momentum and go out with a strong finish. It makes sense that the culmination of so many of the show’s themes and lessons would hit with such an impact, but the episode still makes time to have fun and also touches on plenty of new ground, too. For instance, the character development for Tsuyu Asui and Minoru Mineta is just as much a highlight as any of the tense material with Shigaraki and the villains. 

It’s comforting to see that fights don’t overshadow new characters, but that they can actually feed into them and inspire growth. “Encounter with the Unknown” is My Hero Academia at its best and it looks like what’s to come will only get better, especially if the bad guys have a way to defeat All Might.


4 out of 5