This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 8
“I wonder if I can do it, too; shine, like you…”
The best thing about seasons of television that operate as slow burns is that once they reach their climax it’s usually worth the wait. It can sometimes be a drag during the process to reach this point, but usually when a season puts in this level of work the payoff is more satisfying than if the season moved at a normal speed.
My Hero Academia season 4 has easily been the show’s most experimental season and even though it’s only a third finished, it’s still contained plenty of surprises. Much like Midoriya and Mirio, this season of the series has been very patient. “Suneater of the Big Three” marks the moment when My Hero Academia is able to step back on the gas. It let’s all of this groundwork come together in explosive, addictive combat as the series returns to what it does best.
“Suneater of the Big Three” begins in the height of chaos as low-level henchmen steadily funnel out of the Shie Hassaikai headquarters in a deluge to slow down the invading heroes. There are bodies everywhere as Nighteye and company try to reach the center of the base to take out Chisaki and rescue Eri, but the organization doesn’t make it easy for them to reach their targets. It almost feels like Midoriya and his team are caught in a level of Ninja Gaiden where enemies just continually swarm them as they gradually inch forward.
This task is also made considerably more challenging thanks to Irinaka, who supercharges his already-powerful Mimic quirk (insert Tim Allen grunt). Irinaka’s normal quirk allows him to go into objects, but now he’s able to fully manipulate and warp those objects, whatever they may be. In this case, it’s the hallway that the heroes need to progress through to reach their destination. What was once a few dozen feet of straight passage becomes a living, moving maze that makes navigation nearly impossible.
Granted, a good deal of “Suneater of the Big Three” is devoted to the heroes gaining their bearings within the enemy headquarters, but beyond that this is a very action-heavy installment. All of the heroes who have so far been on their own separate storylines get to work together and the results are extremely satisfying. Not only is there a large amount of combat in this episode, but there are also plenty of new quirks and villains that get showcased, too. It all makes for an extremely entertaining endeavor, even if the story’s progress remains at a snail’s pace.
As the heroes sink deeper within the belly of the beast, they face Chisaki’s primary line of defense, the Eight Bullets assassin squad. Three of these skilled fighters are introduced here, Setsuno, Hojo, and the Scarecrow ripoff, Tabe. All of these villains quirks compliment each other in various ways. Hojo’s Crystalization quirk is the flashiest of these abilities, but the one that Amajiki struggles with the least with here. Surprisingly, it’s Tabe’s Food quirk, which is basically just super teeth and chomping skills, that poses the largest challenge to Amajiki.
The past few episodes of this season have done some interesting work in regards to how they’ve centered on individual characters and their past hardships, which culminates in the “evolution” of their quirk, so to speak. My Hero Academia found success when it applied this structure to Kirishima and it’s equally powerful here when it gives this treatment to Amajiki. Amajiki attempts to take on the lion’s share of the work here as he helps the rest of the heroes proceed to their goal while he arrogantly takes on three of the Eight Bullets on his own. During this messy battle, moments of Amajiki’s past play out to help provide more context on the path he’s taken to reach this moment.
These glimpses into Amajiki’s past reveal that he’s had a profound, inspiring effect on Mirio, just like Mirio has had on him. It’s a reflection of how you can be a deeper influence in someone’s life than you realize. Amajiki was able to find comfort in Mirio’s words back when he first started his hero training and he’s also able to use them for inspiration now during this important battle.
Flashbacks to a young Tamaki Amajiki and Mirio in third grade not only indicate how long they’ve shared a bond, but the episode treats the origins of their relationship like a bizarro version of Midoriya and Bakugo in some respects, all to great effect. These background scenes are definitely helpful and as heavy-handed as they are, they also make you entertain the idea that Amajiki may meet his end in this episode. “Suneater of the Big Three” cleverly uses the convention of the genre to create suspense out of Amajiki’s big fight.
My Hero Academia is an anime that’s looked gorgeous since its first episode, but this season has featured an especially polished look. “Suneater of the Big Three” is the most stunning entry of the season so far in a visual sense. Not only do the free-for-all battles feature tons of moving parts, but Irinaka’s Mimic quirk guarantees that the action never stops moving. It turns what would typically function as normal sequences into Dali-esque visual delights. Even the simple conversations between Amajiki and Mirio in the past are set against a gorgeous sunset that makes the sequence really pop.
The final beats of this episode are strangely empowering, but almost for the wrong reasons. As it seems like Amajiki is about to be outmatched and executed, the villains speak to the power of their friendship and the sense of community that the Shie Hassaikai has given them. “We’re trash, but we have strong bonds as trash,” one of them proclaims. It’s because of their bond that their skills are so in sync and they’re able to temporarily overwhelm Amajiki.
Even though Amajiki has inspired the same sense of purposes in his own teammates, it’s because of his sacrifice that none of them are there to provide him with the same level of support. It’s the idea of “family” that resonates more than anything when the blood spills and the credits roll, but the fact that this applies for the bad guys just as much as the heroes creates very complicated feelings. It’s this complex nature of heroes and villains that this season has been all about, so this is a particularly moving note to go out on.
“Suneater of the Big Three” is another satisfying episode of My Hero Academia that devotes some time to another hero that’s new to the series. Everyone is still hard at work to infiltrate the Shie Hassaikai, but in terms of headway it still looks like they have a long way to go. With the current pace of this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if any kind of significant battle or encounter with Chisaki doesn’t happen until the 13th episode. “Suneater of the Big Three” continues to show that both heroes and villains come in many shapes and sizes and that terrain ahead is still full of many formidable threats.
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.