This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 2
“So then, who will be the next leader?”
The season premiere of My Hero Academia was bogged down with backstory and playing catch up, but it’s an episode that still looked exclusively at the heroes of this world. The heroes in this show are obviously the focus, but they only make up half of a very complex picture. “Overhaul” devotes some solid attention to the livelihood of the League of Villains following the defeat of All For One. In doing so, these first two episodes of the fourth season function as an effective whole that indicates the state of both the heroes and the villains.
Last week’s premiere was preoccupied with who All Might’s successor will be, but “Overhaul” is a reminder that a power vacuum has also been created on the villain’s side. It’s fairly clear who the next generation of big heroes will be, but the future for the villains is much murkier. “Overhaul” explores that turmoil to great effect and turns out an exciting, suspenseful episode that gives a better indication of where this season is heading.
So much of this episode is about establishing Overhaul’s general badassery and it’s a total success. Overhaul is not just a notable villain, but he’s actually a high-ranking member of the yakuza on top of that. Overhaul used to be the second-in-command when it comes to organized crime. This detail falls short for some of the League of Villains’ members, but it provides some fascinating context for My Hero Academia’s universe. Overhaul explains that All Might essentially erased organized crime, but the surviving members of old syndicates have formed new legacy groups, like Overhaul’s Shie Hassaikai.
Overhaul’s not satisfied with the Shie Hassaikai alone. He wants to take advantage of the power struggle that’s left in the absence of All For One. Overhaul makes his intentions clear and chastises Shigaraki for how he’s wasted formidable villains like Stain in the past. He claims that if these fighters were under his supervision than they would have seen success.
Overhaul comes in with a plan for how to eliminate the heroes and demands to be the new leader of the League of Villains. It’s very refreshing to see someone not only oppose Shigaraki, but also be strong enough to do so in a way where Shigaraki is actually somewhat intimidated. It’s a side of the character that’s yet to be seen.
Overhaul’s exchange with Shigaraki and company ends with them at odds rather than allies, but the presence of the imposing Shie Hassaikai offers a lot of exciting opportunities. Hopefully this will only force Shigaraki to up his game and remind everyone how menacing of a villain he can be. He’s been left to plot away in the shadows for far too long. Overhaul is the perfect way to reawaken him.
Overhaul’s takedown at the League of Villains is the episode’s big centerpiece and it’s been a while since a character this powerful has come along (Kellen Goff is also so good in this role). Overhaul’s quirk is extreme, gross, and the stuff of great villains. It looks like making contact with Overhaul’s skin causes that person’s body part to explode all Akira style (“I owe you an arm,” is also pretty great). The reveal of this power takes everyone by surprise and it feels like it helps set the tone for what’s to come this season. This is going to be a dark, different year.
After the slaughter that occurs at the League of Villains headquarters, the second half of “Overhaul” is decidedly lighter entertainment. The hero’s work study program becomes all that the majority of Class 1-A can think about and Midoriya is finally ready to embrace this component of his education at U.A. High. As usual, Midoriya is buzzing with excitement over the opportunity, but his entry into the workforce faces its share of hurdles. When Gran Torino turns out to be a useless prospect, it looks like All Might’s former partner, Sir Night Eye, may be Midoriya’s best chance at a satisfying hero gig.
All Might is reticent to assist Midoriya in his journey. He opposes first year students entering the work study program this early for a number of reasons, but he eventually acquiesces. All Might just can’t deny Midoriya. All Might has some personal baggage that makes him want to keep his distance from Midoriya, but he fosters a relationship though Togata, who is currently training under Sir Nighteye. Togata grills Midoriya a little on the kind of hero that he wants to be and why this is important to him. Midoriya gives a very saccharine Midoriya-like answer and it’s enough to sway Togata on the matter.
Togata is such a positive force that it should be a lot of fun to see him and Midoriya hanging out more together. There’s a lot of potential in these two as friends. All Might even indicates that Togata would have been his successor if he had never met Midoriya, which is not only huge news, but says everything that you need to know about Togata’s character. Midoriya’s meeting with Togata also plays out like the inverse of Shigaraki’s introduction to Overhaul. “Overhaul” cleverly juxtaposes the two relationships to comment upon the current state of the heroes and villains.
There’s a lot of humor in the second half of the episode and characters like Bakugo and Todoroki that were underserved in the premiere get a little more screen time here. All of the students of Class 1-A face frustrations over the limitations of the work study programs and some of the hoops that they need to jump through. This mostly results in complaining over the situation than anything else, but headway still gets made. This work study direction should open up a lot of new doors for characters and provide them with rewarding new foils. Anyone is poised to take the spotlight.
Humor actually serves a significant purpose in the second half of the episode. Midoriya learns that the steely Nighteye has a particular tic where he values comedy just as much as he does loyalty. Nighteye may be a formidable hero, but Midoriya gets a taste of his unorthodox methods here. Midoriya has had to endure some unusual tests in the past, but if he wants Nighteye to take him seriously then he needs to make him laugh. It’s an entertaining challenge to pose Midoriya with, especially when everything has been so focused on physical strength. Many more responsibilities and realities await Midoriya at this work study, but even though the tasks are important, there won’t be any lack of levity around Nighteye.
“Overhaul” is an engaging episode of My Hero Academia that does a much better job at setting the stage for this season than last week’s premiere. This is an exciting, surprisingly dark, yet deeply funny episode. New alliances and friendships start to get established and major antagonists begin to rear their heads. The episode doesn’t just effectively balance its extreme tones, but it also tells a story that covers both the heroes and the villains. This is a season where characters are hungry to strive for great things and even though the wheels are still in motion there are some very exciting changes underway. The third season of My Hero Academia was the show’s most satisfying and complex one yet. It’s still very early, but it looks like season four could continue that trend or be even better…
Make ‘em laugh, Midoriya, because it looks like Overhaul is going to have everyone crying.
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, and Bloody Disgusting. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and that Hannibal is the greatest love story ever told. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.