This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 3
“I cannot acknowledge you.”
Just when you think that you’ve got things figured out or have a solid grasp on life, the world tends to throw out curve balls. Shigaraki faced this last week with Overhaul’s confrontation, but he’s not the only one. Fledgling hero Deku Midoriya has arguably never been more confident in his training. He’s ready to seize the world, but his new potential employer, Nighteye, poses him with a surprising—yet highly important—question: What can Midoriya contribute to society?
Midoriya has considered why working for Nighteye is important for himself and his career trajectory as a hero, but he hasn’t necessarily considered why it’d be significant to the public. Real heroes can actually offer something to the people, like how All Might was a bastion of hope and perseverance for the everyman. Even if Midoriya is strong and crafty, does he embody such an attitude that can benefit the public?
“Boy Meets…” wraps this message in an incredibly fun exercise that’s vintage My Hero Academia. However, it also takes a creative tangent to push young Midoriya further down his journey to become the number one hero. The first two episodes of My Hero Academia season 4 have both been a lot of fun, but they’ve still felt like a prelude to a bigger story. “Boy Meets…” is finally the show back in the thick of things and it’s a very confident and satisfying episode as a result.
The series’ previous episode gave a taste of Midoriya’s hopeful entry into the work force, but now he’s officially there. Midoriya hammers in the significance of this opportunity for not just himself, but all heroes in training. Midoriya takes a moment to reflect on how this time in the work force is different than his brief previous foray in this territory when he went up against Hero Killer Stain because now he has his provisional license.
Nighteye also reiterates the significance of this position and how it’s something that’s much more pressing than Midoriya’s other responsibilities. Up until this point Midoriya has mostly been excited over a potential work study, so it’s helpful to have “Boy Meets…” also communicate the seriousness of this. These heroes in training are growing up.
Midoriya approaches Nighteye with a lot of reverence, but this episode goes very far to show how he’s such a unique and enjoyable character. The instances where he just fanboys over All Might with Midoriya and the two just lose track of time shows such a natural rapport between the two of them. Nighteye also shifts to extremes and indicates why he’s also such an adept superhero. He comes at his job with a very sound philosophy and the test that he puts Midoriya through is unexpected, but grand.
There are bound to be plenty of big fights throughout this season of the show, so it’s refreshing that Nighteye tests Midoriya’s abilities in a means other than combat. It actually feels very reminiscent of the trials that Master Roshi would put a young Goku through on Dragon Ball. It’s a smart trial that demonstrates Midoriya’s strength, as well as his intelligence, while he problem solves on the spot and within a restrictive timeframe. Nighteye’s tactics here are hopefully representative of how he operates in general and there will be more creative quirk tests ahead.
Midoriya struggles through Nighteye’s trial, but in his defense he’s kind of put in an impossible position. Nighteye administers his “Foresight” quirk on him, which means he’s able to predict all of his moves for the next hour. If that’s not enough of an advantage, Nighteye callously picks away at Midoriya with psychological warfare, too. This hero breaks down Midoriya, tells him that he’s nothing special, and that Mirio would have been the better inheritor of “One For All.”
The harshest thing about this attack is how casually Nighteye spits out this information. It doesn’t seem like he’s actually trying to hurt Midoriya, but rather just state the facts. This cold demeanor makes the news hit even harder in a way and it adds further layers to Nighteye’s character.
Not only is Nighteye’s trial an atypical test, but there’s also a very creative resolution to the problem. Midoriya doesn’t meet Nighteye’s conditions, but his staunch respect for All Might impresses him in other ways and helps him pass through. It’s a smart way to not skew Midoriya or Nighteye’s strength, but still have a valid reason for his admission. The cherry on top of all of this is that Midoriya’s first order of business working under Nighteye has him directly coming in contact with Overhaul. It looks like the heroes and villains storylines this season may be more interwoven then they ever have before. There could be a really addictive cat and mouse dynamic this season between Nighteye Investigations and the Shie Hassaikai.
Both this episode and the last have been very insular and mostly just looked at Midoriya on the hero’s side of things. “Boy Meets…” tries to rectify that in some ways by devoted the tail end of the entry to some appreciated hang out time with the students of 1-A. There’s not much substance to this material, but it does indicate that most of Midoriya’s friends are really struggling in the work study department.
We see the tide begin to turn here as Kirishima, Uraraka, and Tokoyami begin to make waves in the area. Hopefully as the season goes on its focus will extend more to the show’s enjoyable supporting characters. I’m sure it won’t just turn into the Midoriya and Togata show.
“Boy Meets…” is a very enjoyable installment of My Hero Academia that in some ways feels like the first real episode of the season. It’s a fun, creative, and smart episode that accomplishes a lot as well as hint at the darker vibes that are ahead. These first three episodes of the season have built a strong foundation to move forward. Midoriya is now set to tackle some of his most exciting challenges yet and maybe by the end of it all he’ll even be able to get a chuckle out of Nighteye.
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.