This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 6
“There’s a girl in trouble. That’s the most important thing.”
There’s a famous episode from the seventh season of The West Wing that’s just a live debate between two presidential candidates. The episode is solely made up of characters debating issues and fielding questions, yet it’s an oddly fascinating episode of television. This installment of My Hero Academia doesn’t operate on that same grandiose level, but it’s a very different episode of the series and during it I couldn’t help but think of that debate entry of The West Wing. “An Unpleasant Talk” is just a long, thoughtful discussion on what to do about the Shie Hassaikai, but it still makes for a compelling installment that explores the growing depth of the show’s universe.
My Hero Academia is a show that often prioritizes the action and exciting battles of heroes, but there’s also a great deal of mental work and planning that goes into the profession. This season has started to introduce the idea that power and strength is only one aspect of a hero and what’s just as important is the knowledge of how to apply those skills and to properly plan a mission. “An Unpleasant Talk” is the culmination of this schism, as well as the heroes’ first real effort to handle this season’s growing problem. “An Unpleasant Talk” is a slower, more thoughtful episode of My Hero Academia, but it’s also arguably the most important installment of the season so far and sets the trajectory for what’s to come next for these heroes.
The latest attack that Kirishima went up against prompts a large hero summit to be held where everyone shares their respective information on the Shie Hassaikai, what they’re planning, and what the heroes can collectively do to stop all of this. The episode begins with a cute sequence where Midoriya, Ochaco, Kirishima, and Tsuyu all realize that they’re headed in the same direction and have business in the same location. It’s a fun way to start things off before the episode shifts into more somber territory. It’s also a clever visual metaphor for the disparate path that these three groups of characters have been on this season that finally come together in a powerful way.
It’s actually really nice to see this lengthy meeting and discussion go on between the heroes. It makes a ton of sense that heroes would operate in this fashion to share knowledge and make sure that growing disasters don’t get a chance to get further out of hand. Each hero gets an opportunity to fill the others in on the work that they’ve been doing and it makes the content of the previous episodes resonate even stronger with this new level of payoff. It’s very entertaining to basically have all of the major heroes work together and share intel, especially when it’s such volatile information. However, this does mean that this episode is much more about tense discussions than exciting battles. My Hero Academia’s previous episode was nearly entirely action, so “An Unpleasant Talk” provides a welcome counterpoint to all of that as it looks at the more methodical side of a hero’s job.
This structure for the episode works really well due to how it throws heroes of various skill levels and knowledge sets into this debate. Midoriya, Kirishima and company are newcomers to all of this, whereas heroes like Gran Torino, Aizawa, and Nighteye have been tracking these developments for ages. This allows everyone to get brought up to date on what’s happening, including the audience. In this respect, “An Unplesant Talk” is a bit of a recap, but it casts all of the information that we’ve seen in a complex new light.
The feud between the League of Villains and the Shie Hassaikai and their use of illegal quirk-altering drugs gets discussed, but the major topic of interest becomes Chisaki and his relationship with Eri. The implication of what’s going on here is by far the darkest that My Hero Academia has ever gone and it adds a serious sense of urgency to this storyline. This isn’t just a little dark for the show, but the news that Chisaki is using his quirk to break down his daughter’s body and turn it into the quirk-dampening bullets actually made me gasp. This is information that rocks everyone to their cores, but Midoriya and Mirio are especially broken up over this since they’ve personally dealt with Eri and technically had a chance to stop this.
This grim news creates warring strategies over how to approach this situation. Many heroes want to act immediately, whereas Nighteye has a calculated attack in mind that will guarantee the highest probability for victory. It’s satisfying to see that My Hero Academia doesn’t ignore Nighteye’s Foresight quirk here since it’d be extremely useful in this situation. This gets addressed, but Nighteye explains its limitations and why he’s resistant to use it until they have more information on their hands. This angers many of the heroes in attendance and causes a minor rift of sorts. Nighteye maintains control over everyone, but it should be interesting to see if his more careful approach to heroics continues to frustrate his peers.
It’s a little crushing to hear many heroes basically confirm that it would have been smarter for Midoriya to have just grabbed Eri when he had the opportunity. This isn’t exactly what Deku wants to hear and it only drives him crazier. Furthermore, many heroes suspect that Chisaki and Eri’s run in with Midoriya and Mirio will cause him to hide his daughter in some secure location and be much more protective of her. The stakes have never been higher in this series with a little girl’s life being on the line and it’s a strong motivator to bring everyone into action here. The scene at the end of the episode is utterly heartbreaking, both in terms of the severity of Chisaki’s manipulation of Eri, and how it seems like she’s never experienced any genuine affection in her life. Her entire purpose has been to become Chisaki’s weapon.
These brutal truths force Midoriya and company to grow up and face the real world, but the more adult tone also suits the series itself as it continues to mature. The episode concludes on a rather depressing note, but Aizawa of all people is able to inspire Midoriya and his friends in a really sweet way. It’s even more endearing that he knows how Midoriya is going to act in this situation and that there’s no use in fighting it. If all of these young heroes do decide to act on their own here, they better be careful and have a solid plan. Maybe they can even throw Bakugo a bone and let him come along, too.
“An Unpleasant Talk” is a breakout episode of My Hero Academia that lives up to its name and finally shows off the full scope of what’s been going on this season. It’s exciting to see the show tackle more mature subject matter and watch the ways in which the less glamorous aspects of heroics continue to shape Midoriya and his fellow heroes. The slower approach to this entry may irritate some viewers, but the revelations that are made here are extremely satisfying. Some very big things are coming for these heroes and the sense of danger and that some of these characters may not make it out alive is palpable.
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.