My Hero Academia – Joint Training Arc (Episodes 89 – 100) Review

Time for my first contemporary My Hero Academia review! Not quite sure why I didn’t cover the previous year’s two stories… maybe I knew I’d be covering the Blu-Ray releases for Anime UK News (which I’m sure I will as well when this season comes around…)? … Well, anyway, “Season 5” kicked off by animating the Joint Training Arc from the Manga, which also features a fair amount of new plot for our main protagonist. Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

Classes 1A and 1B meet at Field Gamma for their first Joint Training Battle. Both classes (along with Hitoshi Shinso from General Studies) are to pair up into groups of 4 vs 4 matches with no restraint in the use of powers…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Now there’s a face that tells you “Oh shit, I don’t know what’s happening!”

When the details of this story arc came out I was a little disappointed, while tournament style arcs can have some entertaining action they’re also normally devoid of much if any story or character development. Thankfully this “Joint Training Arc” does have some key plot points sprinkled throughout, especially focusing on our lead protagonist in Midoriya and the “One For All” power he has inherited. The cliffhanger at the end of the previous season showed his powers awakening in his sleep while he was visited by the spirits of some of the past holders of the power and that scene is expanded on here to show us that he actually saw some of the origin of the power as the original holder was forcefully given it by their brother, the villain currently known as “All For One”. It was interesting, and sets things up nicely for the inevitable big final showdown between Deku and All For One at the end of the series…

That wasn’t all though! During Midoriya’s team match his power suddenly went out of control and created loads of black energy vines that start to create havoc uncontrollably. Midoriya’s friend / fellow Class A hero / blatant future love interest Uraraka arrives to try and calm him down and then enlists the help of mind-controlling General Studies student Hitoshi Shinso to straighten his mind. As this happens Midoriya meets a former wielder of One For All who informs him that the “Black Whip” powers he just used was his and that he can expect seven other powers belonging to other past users to crop up sooner rather than later. It’s an interesting twist to our central hero’s journey.

Shinso returns, now with extra powers on top of his mind control powers… and a neat mask!

Back in the original tournament arc I really liked the idea of Shinso having a power more suited to a villain and wanting to break free of that stigma so it was great to see the character back. He was being tested in that if he kept pace with the two hero classes then he’d be allowed to transfer to the hero course, and he at least impressed everyone with his ability to think on his feet and use of classic stoic teacher “Erazerhead” ‘s cloth wrap-based attacks. It was a nice side story, and again added a little bit of a wrinkle to a story that was otherwise entirely fights with little meaning. Well, I say little meaning but it did at least feature some of the lesser-used cast showing their skills, and gave Bakugo, the normally anti-social jerk character, a time to show his newfound respect for teamwork. Thank goodness for that as well, his one-dimensional character was funny at first but it did really need a dramatic tweaking!

Before the actual battle there was some fallout featuring Endeavour, the new #1 ranked hero, and his attempts to make good with his family. Given he was pretty unpleasant and abusive, emotionally if not physically, to his wife and children an “I’m sorry for all that stuff” meal unsurprisingly didn’t cut it. We also see the #2 ranked hero Hawks talk to the League of Villains but we’re immediately shown he’s actually undercover. After the core story we see All Might and Bakugo find out about Midoriya’s new power and of more to come, with Bakugo outright saying that collecting multiple Quirks sounds like an All For One kind of thing, which All Might uncomfortably agrees with. Finally we see that Bakugo and half-hot, half-cold emo student Todoroki have finally passed their provisional license exam. Just in time to need to use them, no doubt… Well, actually there is a scene where they use them to stop some purse snatchers, but I mean for the next story arc…

The Bad:

So many heroes in training, so few will actually have any story impact in the long run…

Not much, once again the anime being in seasons means there isn’t too much filler, but the first episode was nearly entirely filler as we once again get reintroduced to the main cast and their powers. I really don’t think you need to do that at the start of every season, but there we go…

Overall Thoughts:

Endeavour has family issues. I’m sure this won’t come back and bite him in the arse!

These twelve episodes adapt a pretty fight-heavy arc well, and the extra and important developments involving Midoriya and the lesser but still significant personality twists involving Bakugo, Endeavour and his son, along with Shinso’s personal journey are all welcome too. Just a bit of filler at the start and a few episodes where it feels like it’s just fighting for the sake of it just drags it down from a 5…

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