My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 5 Review: Operation New Improv Moves

Shinso and Asui were the big stars of last week’s win for Class 1-A, but they’re still frustrated over their inability to pull off a flawless victory. It’s a throwaway moment, but All Might actually dwells on it quite a bit with the other Pro Heroes. They break down why “frustration” is the perfect emotion to feel after a victory and that there are few expressions that are more representative of a hero. Shinso and Asui’s self-criticism expands into general pointers for the entire team by Shota Aizawa. 

This is a stretch of episodes that’s designed to be about combat, but it’s appreciated that the previous fight’s results are studied. The entire team learns how they can generally improve upon their performance and it opens the door for all of these characters to debut new strategies whenever they’re next in the spotlight. In contrast, Vlad pushes much more of a tough love approach on Class 1-B’s students. They receive derision and frustration more than they do encouragement and advice.

Class 1-B also exhibits some reverence towards Kirishima and other heroes for their work against the Shie Hassaikai. It’s a fleeting detail, but it helps continue to flesh out My Hero Academia’s growing world. Some of the students from Class 1-A have achieved remarkable things, even by Pro Hero standards, and so it’d be kind of ridiculous if nobody was talking about it. It also plays better that Class 1-A doesn’t get cocky from these past achievements and it’s instead their opponents that mystify them through these rumors over their past.

“Operation New Improv Moves” provides an especially exciting and eclectic mix of fighters. From Class 1-A is Tokoyami, Hagakure, Yaoyorozu, and Aoyama, all of which have extremely unique Quirks that have never fully gotten their due yet. Class 1-B pulls together just as interesting of an assortment of heroes.

Itsuka Kendo has gotten some attention before in the series, but the rest represent some of Class 1-B’s weirdest individuals, with Quirks that pull from mushrooms, comic onomatopoeia, and living darkness. Before literal darkness takes over the battlefield, there’s some metaphorical shade thrown at Yaoyorozu from Kendo over how they both “fit into the same box.” A very “there can only be one” Highlander mentality begins to fester between students, but it’s best reflected in Tokoyami and Kuroiro. 

Everyone in this fight has a lot to contribute, but it ultimately turns into a war between shadow-centric Quirks between Fumikage Yokoyami’s Dark Shadow and Shihai Kuroiro’s Black Quirk. It was inevitable that My Hero Academia’s Joint Training Arc would pit counterpoints of characters against each other, but “Operation New Improv Moves” is thrilling rather than predictable simply because Tokoyami and Kuroiro’s Quirks are so powerful and mysterious.

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