My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 20 Review: Gold Tips Imperial

Eri gets a tour of U.A. High as work continues on the school festival in this cute, yet disposable My Hero Academia installment.

My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 20 Review
Photo: Funimation

This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.

My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 20

“Do your best at living your youth.”

Everybody needs a vacation and a break from the stresses of life. Both the characters within My Hero Academia and the series itself are in the middle of such a slowdown period as they continue to prepare for the impending school festival. This priority has led to an arc of episodes that prioritizes comedy and slice of life aspects over action sequences. This has made for a curious change of pace, but “Gold Tips Imperial” operates with an even more relaxed pace as the recreational activities of U.A. High take a bit of a break thanks to the presence of a visitor. “Gold Tips Imperial” feels like an episode that will ultimately get lost in the shuffle of this season, but it does play with some fun ideas.

The events and workings of U.A. High’s school festival have been the focus for a few episodes now, but the reason for excitement this week is that Eri gets her first taste of the school and all of its alumni. Eri’s been granted permission to attend U.A.’s school festival, but there’s still some concern over how it may be too intense and overwhelming for someone who’s had a life as sheltered as Eri’s. As a result, Mirio tries to ease Eri into all of this by letting her visit the school and meet all of these lovable weirdos before the festival is in full swing. This is not only a smart idea for someone that’s as potentially unstable as Eri, but it’s also a fun excuse to spend some more time with her character and see how U.A. High reacts to her as a foil.

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“Gold Tips Imperial” has an incredibly simple structure. Midoriya and Togata take Eric from class to class as they show her what everyone’s got on tap for the festival. The episode checks in with U.A.’s support course (and the glorious return of Hatsume!) as well as some of the more ancillary courses at the school as Eri’s sense of wonderment becomes the guiding force. Everyone’s incredulity over Nejire not taking first place at the beauty pageant is quite hilarious, as is the haunting reveal of Bibimi Kenranzaki, the winner. Eri’s joy over the beauty pageant class is deeply adorable. Let’s get her matriculating soon!

As fun as this is, it still amounts to a less consequential episode, much like the previous efforts of this arc. However, the slightly larger scope of “Gold Tips Imperial” is at least helpful. It’s also a relief that the episode delivers a montage of everyone practicing in their various groups.

With the way that My Hero Academia has operated over the past few episodes, it would not at all be surprising to get an entire entry that’s devoted to Deku’s shoddy pop and lock skills or the special effects team’s brainstorming sessions, but thankfully the episode is more efficient with its time and spreads its focus as much as possible to keep this entry entertaining. There’s also something to be said for the sense of community that’s present as everyone works together to build towards this common goal and that the dangers of the world can temporarily seem less debilitating.

Additionally, and it may not be a large moment, but the most interesting part of “Gold Tips Imperial” is the brief check-in with Principal Nezu over the logic in holding the school festival. Gentle is brought to Nezu’s attention and that combined with the general increase of villain activity and how past U.A. High events have turned into hotspots for evil ambushes become understandable causes of concern. I’ve addressed these issues in the past, so it’s comforting to see My Hero Academia present this level of self-awareness on the issue.

Nezu fully comprehends that it’s not a great time for a school festival, but it’s also clear to him that the students have never been in more need of this event. It’s touching to see him put such stock and value in the students’ happiness as he attempts to show them that the world isn’t a cruel, broken place. Nezu appears to go all out with increased security and procedures in place for the school festival, but it still feels like there’s going to be some blowback, whether from Gentle and La Brava, or somebody else.

On the topic of Gentle Criminal and La Brava, there’s not a ton of new information provided here, but they’re both ready to move ahead with their attack on U.A. High. There’s also some interesting backstory on how La Brava and Gentle first started working together, which is surprisingly sweet. There’s a very unusual emotional core to these characters that’s been completely absent in every other villain that’s appeared in the series.

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These little updates on Gentle continue to be some of the most entertaining aspects of the past few episodes. However, apparently Gentle’s YouTube audience doesn’t seem to think so. The likes to dislikes ratio on his video is a staggering 785 to 0, which is actually impressive in how much it’s united an audience together in mass hatred towards something.

It’s unclear if it will become a point of larger importance or not, but the connection between Yaoyorozu’s tea and Gentle Criminal feels very random and unearned at this point. It’s admittedly resulting in some weird tension as these separate stories finally begin to overlap, but it may just amount to a strange coincidence that acts as the impetus for Midoriya’s knowledge of Gentle and La Brava.

Whether Midoriya will need to head into battle or not, “Gold Tips Imperial” also provides a brief update on Midoriya’s continued training sessions with All Might. Midoriya’s making gradual progress in the area, but he’s also ready to take on more, too. He’s eager to add a support item to his routine that will help him take advantage and better harness his quirk, even if All Might was never able to work out the subtleties of one to his advantage. They’re more smart examples of Midoriya taking his craft seriously.

One of the strengths of “Gold Tips Imperial” is that it’s another very funny episode. This “School Festival Arc,” may have lower stakes, but it’s easily the most humorous batch of installments that the show has done in a long time. I laughed out loud, and hard, at the joke that Class 1-B’s pandering play is titled “Romeo and Juliet and The Prisoner of Azkaban: The Return of The King.” I kind of love that they have their own Hamlet 2 level storyline that’s happening in the background that we’re not privy to. Nejire’s fashion-friendly look as her hair always perfectly blows about is also a very simple, but satisfying, gag. Midoriya’s abrupt firing from the dance team and subsequent shuffling over to the effects team is another highlight of the episode and makes effective use of this clumsier side of Deku.

It’s also weirdly beautiful to see how determined Mirio is to pull off a big joke and make some flashy entrance, which seems to be an aspect of his character that’s never been present before. It’s an incredibly fun angle for Mirio and after his tragic de-quirkening it’s actually a rather inspiring mindset for him to fall into. Mirio’s big attempt at humor immediately gets deflated, but hopefully, more of this trickster version of Mirio comes out in the future.

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“Gold Tips Imperial” is another episode that kind of just flies by as characters have fun, but not very much happens. Weeks of time elapse in a matter of seconds, which only reinforces how frivolous this all is since huge amounts of time can be skipped to little consequence. It’s a very disposable entry, even if it’s still entertaining. However, due to Eri’s fresh eyes to all of this, there is also a bit of an introductory aspect to several ideas and characters, which also slows things down more than usual.

“Gold Tips Imperial” is bound to frustrate the My Hero Academia viewers who were eager for some major movement on the school festival front. This is admittedly an episode that’s more about character interactions and thinking about the future. Most of the actual progress and accomplishments even happen off-screen. “Gold Tips Imperial” isn’t the most important episode, but it does a good job of balancing the several larger storylines that are currently in play. It feels like an episode that’s ready to move on, but the series itself isn’t.

Even with this working as a more lackadaisical entry, it’s still entertaining and an enjoyable time. It also looks like next week will break this quieter streak and get back to the action, which makes “Gold Tips Imperial” easier to tolerate.

Now go eat a freaking peach.

Rating:

3 out of 5