This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 11
“If you can’t save yourself, you don’t have the strength to save others.”
My Hero Academia has always emphasized the importance of teamwork and how a hero needs to be able to trust their peers rather than operate as a one-man Avengers. This season of My Hero Academia is more interested in teamwork than ever before and the entire structure revolves around the most interesting combination of characters in combat.
“Our Brawl” seems like it will be a very singular fight that pits Shinso’s growing enthusiasm against Midoriya’s explosive new power, but it turns into one of the biggest celebrations of teamwork from the entire season. Both teams are driven to finish this fight, work their hardest, and prove what they can accomplish, despite how there’s a large amount of danger and uncertainty that looms over this battle. “Our Brawl” slots Deku and his unstable power into a supporting role, which allows Uraraka, Ashido, and Mineta to pick up the slack in a manner that’s fitting of a hero.
“Our Brawl” paints more parallels between Midoriya and Shinso as it juxtaposes their struggles against one another. It’s helpful to get an idea of just how hard Shinso has trained with Aizawa to get to this moment. This fight is the culmination of Shinso’s journey, much like how Midoriya’s temporary taming of his new Quirk represents his evolution as the One For All bearer. It’s one of the episode’s most thrilling moments when these two powers clash, even if it leaves them both at a standstill. It’s another defining moment that both Midoriya and Shinso will surely think back to the next time that they face each other in combat.
“Our Brawl” centers around Midoriya and Shinso’s big clash, yet this episode is really a major showcase for Ochaco Uraraka. Uraraka is an important character that’s been seriously underused over the past few seasons and this episode acts as her big return. The character doesn’t falter once throughout the episode and she takes out three of Class B’s team entirely on her own as well as acts as essential support for everyone else. Uraraka has an equal number of moments that are either bad ass or adorable and the full spectrum of her character gets highlighted in “Our Brawl.” The tension and sincerity between her and Midoriya grow in a really sweet way. Her extreme blush moment is as satisfying as any of her victories on the battlefield.
Shinso is Midoriya’s main opponent, but Neito Monoma is also essential to Class B. I absolutely love Monoma’s twisted psychology where he’s a character who knows that he’s destined to be a supporting player and not a protagonist, but that his Copy Quirk makes him uniquely qualified to temporarily take on the abilities of the main characters and get a chance to briefly operate on their level. Many of the characters from Class B just want to prove that they deserve as much credit as the Class A students, but Monoma’s goal feels more loaded as he desires to usurp certain main characters and claim their position.
It’s a creative, self-aware perspective that feels more at home in an anime like Gintama than it does in My Hero Academia, but it helps give all of Monoma’s scenes extra weight. He’s someone I’d seriously like to see get more attention in the future and he seems to be unstable and insecure enough that I could see him accepting a deal from the League of Villains if it means he can receive the “main character status” that he believes that he deserves. As it stands, it’s just a weird character affectation of Monoma, but it has the potential to fuel some fascinating future storylines.
And speaking about weird character affectations, Mineta is also in fine form as he demonstrates how he’s simultaneously a brilliant battle strategist as well as a lewd “man of culture.” Minoru Mineta is absolutely a punchline in My Hero Academia and he’s someone that’s defined more by his raging hormones than his Quirk, which is also quite atypical. However, “Our Brawl” is definitely one of Mineta’s strongest episodes and it’s a helpful reminder of why he shouldn’t be underestimated. His Quirk hasn’t evolved in the same way that others have, but he essentially turns himself into a projectile by littering the arena with his Pop-Off balls. Mineta’s teamwork with Ashido is excellent even though it’s relegated to the episode’s supporting conflict.
It’s a complete throwaway moment, but there’s also a sense of closure to the running gag that’s played out in the background of scenes during this season where students have protested against Vlad King’s biased fight commentary. Finally, now that the proceedings have come to an end, there’s a sense of justice restored here and Midnight can deliver fair and impartial commentary. It’s an appreciated piece of continuity.
Class A’s team wins the final match, which also makes them the overall victors of the Joint Training Competition, but “Our Brawl” practically dismisses the results as if they’re irrelevant. This conclusion is oddly less focused on results and more concerned about the future and how these students will use this experience to grow stronger. Those that have grown frustrated with the nature and pacing of the first half of this season will likely be annoyed with the low-key ending, but it reinforces the theme of improvement that’s been vital to this season.
“Our Brawl” teases big obstacles to overcome, but it’s a very understated conclusion that minimizes many of these moments. There are still some beautiful action sequences throughout the episode, but its priority remains the internal realizations that the characters reach. Shinso leaves more inspired than ever to improve himself and he gains a better understanding and appreciation of just how much is expected of a hero. This season initially positions Shinso as the major opposition for Midoriya, but in the end he’s able to grow because of how much he learns from the rest of his peers. Hopefully Shinso remains a more involved part of U.A. High because he absolutely earns his keep in this arc. He already feels like someone that will mesh well with Midoriya and Bakugo.
“Our Brawl” is a satisfying finish to what appears to be the main section of My Hero Academia’s Joint Training Arc. The proceedings are a little more streamlined than expected and it wouldn’t have seemed out of line to extend this battle into an additional episode, but instead “Our Brawl” exhibits some restraint. Midoriya and his new powers are essential to Class A’s victory, but it’s also fully a team effort and the episode’s supporting players shine even brighter than Midoriya. It should be very interesting to see what lies ahead for everyone after nearly half a season of character development and Quirk showcases.