Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式 on Twitter

Long running anime series often have anime original episodes. My Hero Academia Season 2 dipped its toes into original content with the most recent episode and it really expands on the characters.

While our hero Izuku “Deku” Midoriya rests in the Hosu City Hospital, his classmates are finishing their work internship with professional heroes. All of them have interesting experiences, but Tsuyu Asui faces a band of dangerous smugglers.

With the latest episode of My Hero Academia being an anime original episode, it’s amazing seeing the production team expand on the world and characters in a way Kohei Horikoshi, the author of the series, may not have. And while it’s more important to stay focused on the main characters for the narrative flow of the story, taking some time away from them to show the audience what’s happening elsewhere is refreshing. This is the case with newest episode because it shows us what a handful of the characters are doing while Deku is recuperating. And through this we learn a little more about heroing and what that job entails for the characters.

Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式 on Twitter

Part of what makes the episode entertaining is the short vignettes of the supporting characters during their internships. This is a nice little reminder the other characters are using the internship to learn. For instance, we see his childhood friend Bakugō Katsuki on patrol with the hero Best Jeanist. What makes this one little scene so entertaining is how Bakugō has to face the reality of what heroing is: lots of patrolling and keeping a good rapport with the locals. Yet, because of his pride and arrogant nature, it’s difficult for Bakugō to do either. Scenes like this help emphasize the different personality traits of the character more so than what the main narrative might allow because it builds on the frame the original author made.

Yet, it’s the main story in the episode that gives us so much more than just new vignettes for the sake of new content. Since we were just given a handful of episodes of Deku and friends fighting the villain Stain, it can be hard to remember there are other crimes occurring elsewhere in the world. So, by shifting the focus to one of these crimes we’re actually seeing a world that’s fleshed out and lived in.

And this is done through the character Tsuyu Asui and her mentor’s team as they deal with smugglers. It’s a well-done story too, because it places Tsuyu in the middle of a dangerous investigation. This means there are stakes and real consequences at play in the story. For example, the smugglers henchmen trap Tsuyu’s mentor and a decision has to be made if the team rescues him or continues after the smugglers. Although it’s not a life or death situation like with the villain Stain, taking the time for a rescue would undoubtedly ensure the smugglers escape with their wares.

Image source: 僕のヒーローアカデミア_アニメ公式 on Twitter

True, this story has little to no bearing on the main narrative of the series—Deku’s journey to become the number one hero—but it allows us to see the spark that drives Tsuyu to become hero and what heroing means to her. Up to this point all we’ve really had are the simplest ideas about why the supporting characters like Tsuyu want to become heroes. However, by taking some time away from Deku’s story to show us Tsuyu’s story, she becomes more three dimensional rather than another set piece for Deku and the other main characters to talk to. And when we have more characters who are rounded out for the main characters to interact with, the main narrative becomes that much more interesting.

My Hero Academia is currently streaming on CrunchyrollFUNimation, and Hulu.

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