After being given a near-impossible task last week, My Hero Academia 4 Episode 17 sees our heroes Bakugo, Todoroki, Isana, and Kamui step up to the plate and try to win over the hearts of a bunch of unruly kids. Meanwhile, back at U.A., Deku is in the midst of making an unlikely new best friend – but his true intentions remain shrouded in mystery…
In terms of adaptation, this episode follows chapters 166 through 168 in a relatively faithful manner. In this sense, it follows the pattern of previous weeks as the series transitions into more slice-of-life based stories, but several deviations should be noted. These include the cutting of some content from the beginning of chapter 167, as well as the inclusion of some on-screen sound effects in what I believe is a first for the long-running adaptation.
The Kids Are Alright
The majority of the first half of My Hero Academia 4 Episode 17 is taken up with the resolution to last week’s conflict: winning over the hearts of some unruly elementary school kids who have had their faith in authority figures eroded over the years by bad role models, as well as the perceived weakness of hero society as a whole following the fall of All Might.
Todoroki, Bakugo, and co. manage to win over the kids by showing them their powers in a fantastical way, creating for them a massive indoor slide that captures the magical potential of Quirk-based superpowers. It must be said that the majority of this, including the climactic scene where the kids slide down the ice sculpture, is a direct redraw of the double-page spread in chapter 166 of the original manga, but the music, voice acting, and editing go a long way in making it into a satisfying conclusion for the anime.
That being said, the whole reconciliation with the obstinate leader of the group does feel a little truncated. This is no fault of the anime, as the manga does it in exactly the same way, but having Bakugo simply speak honestly to the kid to resolve the situation seems to do the job far more easily than expected. You’d be forgiven for expecting that the kid’s stubborn personality might’ve put up more of a resistance.
But, then again, lingering any longer – perhaps to uncover more layers of the leader’s personality – would’ve simply dragged things out and distracted from the main story at hand, so perhaps the resolution’s truncated nature was a blessing in disguise. My Hero Academia 4 Episode 17 offers up a satisfying enough conclusion to the Pro Remedial Course arc, and perhaps that’s all it needed to be.
Furthermore, other reconciliatory conversations during this episode go a long way in shoring up its emotional and narrative significance. The first half’s final scene between Endeavor and Todoroki – where he vows to become worthy of not just the title of number 1 hero but also the Todoroki pater familias – not only feels earnest and heartwarming but also functions as an important prelude to one of the series’ later arcs. All Might’s final monologue, too, functions as a microcosm of the series and its character as a whole – moving forward, sometimes forward and sometimes back, but always one step at a time.
My Hero Academia 4 Episode 17: A Friend In Me
The second half of My Hero Academia 4 Episode 17 shifts focus back to U.A., where Deku and co. are back in the swing of things after the chaos that was the Shie Hassaikai raid. In fact, they’re in math class – a scenario that reminds me just as much of the hellscape that was compulsory education as it did impress me with its small character moments, each member of Class 1-A responding to Ectoplasm’s difficult math problem in different ways.
But all of this is just a prelude to the real meat of the episode: the mystery behind Aoyama. Ever since being introduced all the way back in episode 4 (chapter 3 of the manga), the Shining Hero has been strangely underdeveloped despite his outlandish personality. My Hero Academia 4 Episode 17 attempts to rectify this, but not in the way that you’d think.
I remember watching the whole mystery behind Aoyama unfold in the original manga and being very frustrated. The way that chapter 167 ends, with Aoyama paying a nighttime visit to Deku’s balcony, seemed to suggest that we were finally getting some resolution to the whole ‘traitor’ theory that was so prominent in the last couple of arcs. But when this turned out not to be the case, I was frustrated and even a little annoyed that Horikoshi had seemingly used and abused this looming question for a cheap cliffhanger.
Nevertheless, the way that this whole mystery unfolds in My Hero Academia 4 Episode 17 felt somehow like it had been much better executed. For one, not having to wait a week between the cliffhanger and the resolution was a godsend. We immediately get some concrete answers when Deku confronts Aoyama during the class’ Quirk training session, and this means that false expectations can’t be formed.
The importance of this decision, in turn, can’t be understated. Studio BONES have chosen to leave things on a cliffhanger before and, indeed, the studio’s decision to cut some content from the opening sections of chapter 167 seems to suggest that they wanted to get this part over and done with as soon as possible. Luckily, I’d argue that the episode is all the better for it.
Of course, we mustn’t also forget about Daiki Yamashita and Kousuke Kuwano’s fantastic performances as Deku and Aoyama respectively, as they capture the personality of the characters so well and give their relationship so much life – especially that final moment where Aoyama reveals the kinship he feels with Deku because of their similar Quirk-based relationships. When it comes to friends, you can do a whole lot worse than Aoyama.
You can watch My Hero Academia 4 Episode 17 via Crunchyroll.