Fat Gum and Kirishima aren’t quite out of the woods yet as their battle lingers on in My Hero Academia 4 Episode 10, serving up some essential exposition and acting as a backdrop for the sudden entry of the League of Villains – giving Sir Nighteye and his team perhaps one too many hot potatoes to handle…
Going into this week, Studio BONES had a bit of a job on their hands. Whereas the last two weeks have been almost non-stop clashes between heroes and villains, it is at this moment that the story as presented in Kohei Horikoshi’s original manga slows down just a little bit in order to set up some pieces that will be essential for the eventual denouement of this arc. There was, therefore, the danger of letting the pace ebb and leaving viewers slightly unfulfilled.
Luckily, the studio seemed to be aware of these problems and thus take a bold approach in My Hero Academia 4 Episode 10, cutting back and forth across Horikoshi’s original manga and imbuing the episode with a sense of energy that never quite existed in its original form.
The episode first begins with the events of chapter 146, as Fat Gum and Kirishima’s battle against two of Overhaul’s minions is drawing to a close, before jumping forward to chapter 147 to check up on the progress of Sir Nighteye and his team. It then cuts back again to chapter 146 to hear some much-needed exposition from the villains, before jumping forward again to chapter 147 to bear witness to the sudden arrival of Toga and Twice from the League of Villains…
In this sense, My Hero Academia 4 Episode 10 is the most drastic of all of the episodes so far in terms of its approach to adaptation and structure, and it must be said that it is all the better for it.
Enter the League
The final event in that sequence is, however, the most exciting of the bunch. Indeed, much of the exposition in the episode that it slows down to deliver is meant to set up the arrival on the scene of the League of Villains (along with Overhaul’s diabolical evil plan), and when they do arrive it is absolutely glorious – not least of which because of the anime-original sequence where Toga and Twice dance a waltz, enraptured by their success at getting a Shie Hassaikai member to blow their lid.
Despite not enjoying the same level of flashy animation as some of the other fight scenes in previous episodes, the clash between Toga, Aizawa, and Deku works very well in most part thanks to the fantastic voice acting on display by Misato Fukuen, who is also fantastic as the deranged high schooler Toga and makes no attempt to hide her talent in My Hero Academia 4 Episode 10.
What’s also interesting about this episode is how it foreshadows some events in later arcs in a way that I had never noticed before. When Sir Nighteye manages to cut off Twice’s mask, thus revealing half of his face, he writhes and talks about being “split apart” – something which would only be fully explained in one of the manga’s later, villain-focused arcs.
This line is present in chapter 148 of the original manga, however (so Studio BONES doesn’t deserve much of the credit), but it is nevertheless a clever piece of writing that I had never noticed up until this point. Bravo, Horikoshi.
My Hero Academia 4 Episode 10: The Difficult One
But for however many changes the studio may have made to the structure of My Hero Academia 4 Episode 10 so that it would keep moving along at a satisfactory pace, this was always going to be a difficult segment of the story for the anime to adapt. Now that we’ve got two of the biggest character-focused battles out of the way, what’s now left for the story to do is set up the pieces for the coming final conflict – hence why so much of this episode is just characters sat in a room, talking and strategizing.
Obviously, that is not to say that there is nothing to like about this talking. Fat Gum’s frank conversation with the villain Rappa is interesting as it shines a light onto the motivations of a villain for once, as well as providing us with yet another taste of Overhaul’s terrifying power.
Going back to the past to finish up Shigaraki and Overhaul’s meeting from a couple of episodes back not only sets up the arrival of the League of Villains but also introduces us to a bit of Chisaki’s philosophy as he tries to get the anarchical Shigaraki to play shogi with him.
And when Shigaraki returns to one of the League of Villains’ hideouts to order Toga and Twice to “become yakuza,” their violent interactions act as perfect characterization and character-building moments for our antagonistic group.
Nevertheless, My Hero Academia 4 Episode 10 was a marked step down from the type of quality we’ve perhaps become accustomed to over the past couple of weeks. Part of this was inevitable, but there are always improvements to be made. At this point I’m just nitpicking, but one of these could’ve been a more consistent usage across the entire arc of the type of bold typography used at some points during the episode – that could’ve given us a little more to chew on, at least from a visual standpoint.
You can watch My Hero Academia 4 Episode 10 via Crunchyroll.