This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia: Season 4 Episode 7
“Regret and failure are a part of life, but what’s important is what you do after…”
Several times now over this season, My Hero Academia has demonstrated that Sir Nighteye is a highly methodical character who thinks it’s important to take his time towards the takedown of Chisaki and the Shie Hassaikai to make sure it’s done right. However, the fourth season of My Hero Academia has also been following this playbook. This season has been more focused and patient than any other year of the show. It’s obvious as a result that soon all this will come together in a deeply satisfying payoff.
In the meantime, episodes like “GO!” are powerful in the moment, but they merely feel like minor stepping stones in this larger, more intricate storyline. The episode’s title, “GO!,” is practically what you want to scream at the episode as you hope for major developments in the case to save Eri.
This special hero task force does their best Mission: Impossible or Alias impression as they split up their resources to hit each and every Shie Hassaikai facility with the hopes of getting clues on the quirk-erasing bullets or Eri’s whereabouts. It’s pretty satisfying to watch this varied team get to work on their plan, but there’s not a lot to show for it in the end. Nighteye’s strategy may technically makes the most sense in a Rain Man/Good Will Hunting statistical kind of way, but it’s also an approach that by nature involves a lot more misses than hits. The heroes are playing a giant game of Battleship with the Shie Hassaikai and they’re down to the last hit.
Before everything falls apart, “GO!” toys with both the heroes’ and audience’s emotions while it builds up a sense of optimism and makes it seem like Nighteye’s reconnaissance work will pay off. it’s also unclear if Nighteye was at that toy store because he was tracking that target or if he was there on his own accord and happened to coincidentally run into him, which is maybe an angle that I prefer. Give me a weird Nighteye any time.
It’s pretty embarrassing that the infiltration of the Shie Hassaikai headquarters is such a major misfire. Their cover gets immediately blown, but honestly, what did they expect here? Chisaki and company were likely already well on their way by the time that the heroes arrive,, but the fact that they just stand outside of the villains’ headquarters with dozens, if not hundreds, of heroes and police officers while they just loudly discuss their battle plan is comical. It seems like they’d want to make a more subtle entrance, even if they do have to abide to a warrant.
“GO!” is by no means what someone would consider to be filler, but it’s an episode that flies by due to its intense discussions and reflections. It’s more about plans of action than actual action. By the end of the installment things aren’t even that different. Yes, the heroes suffer a loss, but everyone’s more or less back to where they started.
That being said, this crushing feeling of defeat continues to compound on Midoriya. The repeated sense of uselessness that he experiences definitely bears a toll on the young hero’s psyche. Midoriya has many quiet, contemplative moments in “GO!,” but it may only be a matter of time until these pent up feelings bubble over.
Midoriya’s quandary is made even worse by the fact that everyone involved in this special work study task force has been sworn to secrecy on the subject. Midoriya has no choice but to largely internalize his complex emotions and the toll this has on him is already beginning to show. In fact, “GO!” even mines humor out of this depressing situation for Midoriya and at times it’s as if Midoriya’s plight puts him in a farcical sitcom.
In spite of how Midoriya can’t open up to his friends, the affection that Iida and Todoroki show him is genuinely touching. Todoroki’s permission to let Midoriya cry is one of the more effective moments to ever come out of Midoriya’s male relationships. These guys do have his back, even if they have no clue about what is actually going on with him.
The slower and more centralized structure of this season may lose some viewers. This season isn’t about featuring an extreme quirk showdown in every episode and in fact, it’s very much the opposite where it for once tries to really get into the psychological material for both heroes and villains here.
Even though nearly a third of the season has aired and it doesn’t feel like much has actually happened in terms of plot progression, there’s been some of the most impressive characterization work that the series has ever done. It’s not just Midoriya here that simultaneously plays student and professional, but everyone is in a little over their heads and have plenty to learn. Four seasons in, My Hero Academia has earned the benefit of the doubt to try something different. In spite of its snail’s pace, it’s some of the best storytelling that the show has ever done.
“GO!” is a satisfactory episode of My Hero Academia that technically gets stuff done, but this absolutely feels like an episode that will get lost in the shuffle of the greater scope of this season. This installment is especially guilty of being a tease (that ending is so manipulative), but the direction that it takes this season’s story and the characters is still very exciting and fulfilling.
The final moments of “GO!” do feature lots of action and it seems like after a lengthy run of more thoughtful installments, this season may finally be ready to crank up the fights. It looks like what lies ahead embraces the simple endurance battle structure that shounen series like Dragon Ball or Yu Yu Hakusho prided themselves in. Bring on the freaky “Eight Bullets” of the “Hassai Group” and let’s put all these bottled up emotions and frustrations to use! It’s a beautifully cathartic way to structure this season.
Oh, and for the Bakugo fans out there, you won’t be disappointed! This week he gets to say thirteen words. That’s more than a dozen!
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.