This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 10
“The time has not yet come”
Patience is an extra special virtue in anime. It’s a medium, especially the shonen genre, that’s notorious for dragging out conflict. Patience is something that’s been integral right from the start of My Hero Academia since it engages in what’s ostensibly a superhero origin story. Characters like Midoriya understand that they won’t become the Number One Pro Hero overnight and that it’s a very gradual process.
My Hero Academia season 5 manipulates patience in new ways, largely with the tournament style structure to this Joint Training Arc. Audiences understand that they’re going to need to wait until certain characters are allowed to fight. Additional anxiety is felt over other elements that have been teased in this season, like Dabi’s crusade, the All For One situation at Tartarus, or Midoriya’s prophetic dream with the former One For All bearers. “That Which Is Inherited” still emphasizes the necessity of patience, but the “time has come” and some big changes are in store.
“That Which Is Inherited” finally allows Midoriya to let loose in battle and showcase his strength against Class B. This season has played a patient game with Midoriya and an appreciated perk from this episode is that much of the supporting cast weighs in on their fight predictions based off of their previous performances from their own battles. Even Midoriya’s team develops a strategy that compliments the work of the previous Class A teams, but still cultivates their own approach on how to dominate the battlefield.
It’s somewhat fitting that Midoriya is the centerpiece of this showdown where every student is especially keyed in to observe the results. There’s even higher stakes present because of the bragging rights that Midoriya will receive if he’s able to actually outdo Bakugo’s performance from the previous match. Pressure and expectations mount and it’s advantageous that My Hero Academia takes their time regarding when Midoriya gets to be the hero here. The payoff to this arc is more satisfying if it culminates with Midoriya’s battle rather than it kicks off the Joint Training Arc.
Class B’s team has Shinso, who has been positioned as a major obstacle for Midoriya as early as this season’s promotional art, but Monoma and his Copy Quirk are just as cumbersome. Monoma has been a delightfully unhinged live wire across the first half of this season and he’s occasionally barked out Shakespearean-esque monologues to the sky as he anticipates his next battle. He and Shinso engage in a fascinating conversation about imposter syndrome and how acting like a hero for long enough can fool both others, and yourself, on the matter. These two affirm one another and they do excellent work in this battle, but their oblivious confidence feels slightly dangerous. Monoma might not be the most stable individual that Shinso should necessarily take advice from.
I’ve singled it out in practically every episode of this season, but “That Which Is Inherited” continues to feature incredible combinations of Quirks that are ideal for conflict against each other. Uraraka, Mineta, and Ashido of Class A elegantly combine their powers together against Yanagi’s Poltergeist Quirk and Yui Kodai’s Size Quirk, which are an equally volatile pairing. This leads to some fast-paced airborne theatrics as heroes catapult themselves from floating debris and launch themselves at each other. A lot of episodes from this season are structured where the one or two strongest fighters from each team duke it out while the rest of the supporting players engage in a battle royale. “That Which Is Inherited” begins in much the same fashion, but then everything takes a radical detour once Midoriya’s Quirk goes all haywire.
The “malfunctioning” of Midoriya’s Quirk has been teased all the way back to season four’s finale, which means that this event isn’t exactly surprising, but it’s still a very pivotal moment for the character and the series. This sensation around Midoriya gets undercut to some extent due to how these episodes mark the debut of many new powers from characters, but All Might’s concern and his insistence to preemptively end the battle speaks to how Midoriya turns into a ticking time bomb.
Visually, the second half of the episode is a masterpiece. Midoriya gets flung throughout the air as if he’s some flimsy appendage to his Quirk. The physics of this just look incredible and there are bursts of energy spider-ing out of Midoriya’s body at every moment. It’s frightening, but it helps that this perplexing transformation is hard to take your eyes off of. Curiously, two separate approaches are simultaneously taken to calm the storm that brews inside of Midoriya. The more unexpected of the two is Uraraka’s “power of love” strategy.
The earlier seasons of My Hero Academia teased a possible romance between Midoriya and Urakaka, which has basically devolved to Uraraka blushing and internally imploding whenever Hatsume or any other female character exhibits a passing interest in Midoriya. The brief flashbacks surrounding Uraraka’s hero motivation and how she strives to be the best support for the heroes around her doesn’t exactly feel necessary, since it’s always been a prominent aspect of her character, but it does make her sacrifice to help Midoriya gain a little more weight. Midoriya and Uraraka both try to shoulder the burden of his growing power, but the more plausible defense revolves around Shinso’s Brainwashing Quirk.
Shinso has the ability to manually shut down Midoriya by getting into his head. It’s another brilliant example of how My Hero Academia very carefully establishes all of these Quirks, many of which at the time just seem benign, only for them to be the exact solutions to later problems. Shinso can use his Quirk to just knock Midoriya out, but the consummate hero that brews inside of Shinso instead tells him to channel Midoriya’s power against himself. He wants to simultaneously prove both his own strength as well as why he’s the embodiment of a hero when he decides that he’ll extinguish this problem himself.
Midoriya ends up solving this problem on his own, in a way, by discovering that it’s not really a problem at all. The most interesting sequence in “That Which Is Inherited” involves a pep talk from previous One For All users to help give Midoriya the power and confidence that he requires to understand that he’s “not alone” in his endeavors anymore. This new Quirk that manifests turns out to be Black Whip, a power that’s evidently ideal for Midoriya’s current battle against Monoma. It’s a fascinating concept that Midoriya’s body has become so naturally attuned to One For All that it can assess what previous One For All Quirk works best and then manifest it though him, like he’s some One For All Swiss army knife.
This will surely still be a long work in progress for Midoriya and it’s unlikely that he’ll suddenly turn out a handful of new Quirks throughout this season. However, this is the right approach to finally explore this rich material and Black Whip seems to be a helpful stepping stone that helps Midoriya better understand his purpose, but doesn’t leave him overpowered or a totally different person. I also really love the idea of Midoriya appearing in this vestige-like state to empower some future One For All user, generations down the line. The glimpses of these larger than life heroes are always so enjoyable and Midoriya’s enthusiasm already makes him fit in with them so well.
“That Which Is Inherited” is My Hero Academia at its best and it’s a triumph when it comes to the action, animation, and the revelations that come out of it all. It’s a tricky episode that abruptly pauses the battle to engage in lessons around Midoriya’s new strength while it sets up the next entry as the real fight and payoff to everything.
The episode’s supporting battle is satisfying, but it’s just very clearly a distraction to the episode’s larger conflict with Midoriya. The action guarantees that the episode never stops moving and there are times when installments with this structure can feel very telegraphed, but “That Which Is Inherited” handles its exposition in a very natural manner that’s still laced with excitement. It’s a successful episode that builds tremendous excitement for what might have otherwise been a perfunctory fight.