In Tower of God episode 8, Khun’s Strategy, we get to witness the strength of a Ranker. Quant is proving difficult to handle so Khun activates his next strategy. He wants to “Lure the opposite team’s “It” to the exit for Khun and delay Quant for just long enough that Anaak — the true, secret “It” of Khun’s team — can make it out of the exit on the bridge and pass the test.” Khun plans is not without its limits. He tries to convince Quant that Anaak jumped off the bridge when in reality she’s hiding in a Lighthouse. This deception fails as Quant can sense the Shushi emanating from the Lighthouse. He challenges Khun to jump as well and pulls Khun off the bridge with him. Khun is rescued by Anaak and her vine-like weapon. With Quant at the bottom of the room and Anaak racing toward the exit, it appears that team ‘A’ won.
However, “Quant” manages to appear at the end of the bridge, taking the badge off Anaak. Khun seems devastated by his failure. His team tries cheering him up by praising his strategy. It turns out that Khun’s real plan was to guarantee that his friends on Team B would pass, but also negotiating a way for himself, Lauroe and his other friends on Team ‘A’ to make it to the next round.
Team B’s turn
The administrator and Lero-Ro discuss the betrayal, with the administrator pointing out that Khun didn’t betray his team, revealing the list of the friends he signed. I wondered how Tower of God would manage to keep Khun and the other more important characters from losing. Does it suggest that putting Khun on team ‘A’ for dramatic effect was a waste? Probably. However, I think what was valuable was showing how Khun thinks. If he’s willing to betray, admittingly strangers, would he do it to others if necessary? Speaking of betrayal, Endorsi after electing herself appears to join Khun in turning on her team.
In episode 1, the caretaker of the tower, Headon, explains the rules. For someone who hopes to climb the tower, they must pass a test on each floor. The first test is to reach and break a ball guarded by a giant white steel eel. Bam heads towards the ball unarmed and unprotected. However, he’s stopped by Lady Yuri and her companion Evan. They gift him with a “Pocket” that has vital information about the tower and can translate the tower’s language and the Black March. A powerful sword that is given to Yuri, it can cut through anything. Despite the possibility that she could be executed, Yuri lends Bam the sword anyway.
The Black March requires the user to ask for its power. The Black March psychically manifests as a blond woman. She asks if Bam “desires the strength to climb the tower.” Bam says he only wants the “strength to find his friend.” Amused, the Black March offers her power because Bam is so “cute.” Yuri questions if the Black March helped Bam “because he’s a man.” The Black March confirms that this is indeed the reason. Bam passes the first test and is transported to the next floor.
The next test and meeting his teammates
Bam wakes up in a field of grass. A voice explains that the second test is designed to cut down the participants in half. 200 regulars need to be eliminated by the allotted time. Violence and death surround a bewildered Bam as he tries to avoid conflict. Elsewhere, Khun Aguero Agnes and Rak Wraithraiser, take notice of Bam and the Black March. Khun is a highly intelligent and occasionally ruthless young man. He seems to detest anyone that “follows the rules” of the tower too much. Khun finds Bam to be “interesting” because he possesses the Black March.
Rak is your typical battle obsessed trope. A humanoid alligator (don’t call him an alligator), Rak isn’t one for complex language. He calls his friends and prey, “turtles.” He considers Bam good prey. Rak is likely going to be the primary source of comedy in this series. Eventually, the fighters finally dwindle to 200. The announcer warns the contestants against continuing to fight. Now everyone must group themselves into teams of three. Bam and Khun trick Rak into becoming their third ally.
Rankers and the Shinsu
We some more worldbuilding in this episode. The Test Administrator, Lero-Ro appears. Khun tells Bam that he a Ranker, someone that managed to climb the tower before. Due to the size of the survivor’s group, another test is required to “cull” the numbers. Lero-Ro uses Shinsu a massive tidal wave that is the source of the Tower’s power. Everyone that fights inside of the tower uses the water. The culling test is simple, each team must pass through the Shinsu wall. If any member of a team fails the entire team does. Khun is certain that Rak could do it, but he is concerned about Bam. However, the initial tidal wave didn’t push Bam back with the rest. Lero-Ro considers this “lucky” and passes Bam.
As Khun noted, it’s too much of a coincidence that Bam mysteriously avoided the Shinsui wave. Lero-Ro is up to something. While the others try to pass the dense water wall, Lero-Ro bets with Bam. If one chooses the first person to get through correctly, they get to ask any question they want. They both choose “the green girl.” She easily walks through the Shinsui. Lero-Ro offers to answer any of Bam’s question since there was a tie. He asks about Rachel of course. Lero-Ro answers that he hasn’t seen her. Bam then asks about “Irregular’s.” Lero-Ro explains that an Irregular “does not follow the rules of the Tower.” He describes the layout of the Tower’s three sections. There’s the residential Outer Tower, the Inner Tower (their current location), and the Middle Area that connects the two.
What’s wrong with Khun?
Bam realizes that this means everyone was born and raised in the Outer Tower. He assumes that he and Rachel are the only exceptions. I think it’s more likely that they both are from the Outer Tower. Irregulars aren’t chosen by Headon to enter the inner Tower and are considered stronger than average. Regardless, the other contestants struggle to get past the Shinsui. The Sniper becomes consumed with jealousy, as Bam never had to take the test. He shouts that he is stronger than Bam and Lero-Ro. We get to see what else Shinsui can do. Lero-Ro tells the sniper that Shinsui is “unlimited” and it can “make a person immortal if they can withstand its power.” He traps the sniper in Shinsui and he goes mad. According to Lero-Ro on the 30th floor and higher participants must endure this level of Shinsui. The Sniper collapses in despair. Meanwhile, Rak and Khun easily pass through the Shinsui. Lero-Ro leaves Bam with a warning, don’t get too close to Khun.
So far Khun is the most complex of the three primary characters so far. While Bam’s backstory is interesting specifically why is he has no memory, his personality is simple. Rak obviously has a backstory but the story hasn’t hinted at it yet. Can Khun be trusted? I’m not sure. However, he may have bad motivations now but Bam’s innocence could change that. Were are in the worldbuilding phase of the series and I’m the most interested in the culture of Outer Tower. Finally, clearly something is up with the administrators because there’s no way Bam just “happened” to avoid the Shinsui. Tower of God has become more fascinating than the first episode suggested.
In My Hero Academia episode 85, the school festival begins. However, the real show is outside of U.A. Deku, La Brava and Gentle battle outside. What My Hero Academia does well is make its villains feel human. While All For One is rather irredeemable, many of the villains are more sophisticated at least at first. I should note that I’m a manga reader so I have seen the villain arc. Deku quickly realizes that traces of Gentle’s Quirk remain. He uses them to follow La Brava and Gentle. Deku cleverly uses Gentles’s powers to ricochet his Air Cannon, hitting Gentle in the stomach. He then takes this opportunity to pin both La Brava and Gentle down. Telling the not to resist.
La Brava’s Heartbreak
Seeing the likely end of Gentle’s dream, La Brava remembers her past. In middle school, she wrote a love letter to a boy she admired. He ridiculed her calling her a stalker. Humiliated she “couldn’t believe in anyone or anything.” Without any aspirations, she became a recluse. At her lowest point, she considers committing suicide. However, she is saved by the words she hears from Gentle in one of his videos. They became friends and Gentle gave her the name, La Brava.
In the present, La Brava whispers “I Love You.” Her Quirk is Love. By confessing her love for someone she can power up that individual. It can only be used for a short period of time and once a day. Powered up, Gentle tosses Deku off them. He attacks Izuku by chopping at the back of his neck. However, Deku isn’t defeated. He tells Gentle that he’s “fought stronger and faster people,” and he “hasn’t lost yet.” While Deku and Gentle clash, La Brava tries to find better WiFi.
Gentle’s crushed dreams
Gentle recalls his past. He was a young man that dreamed of becoming a hero. However, he failed to pass the provisional license exam. His principal urged him to drop out. One day he stumbled across a man falling off a window and attempted to help. Unfortunately, he only managed to get in the way of the pro hero. The victim hits the ground. Gentle is given an obstruction of justice charge. His parents were put in debt, having been financially responsible for the reparations. They disowned him and throw him out of their home. Kohei Horikoshi is masterful at crafting sympathetic villains in this series. I wanted Gentle and La Brava to escape.
Four years later, Gentle has given up on his dream of becoming a hero. Humiliated when an old classmate didn’t even remember his name, Gentle develops a new dream. Becoming a villain. Gentle and Deku continue their fight. Deku refuses to mock Gentles’s dreams. Strangely, they both share a similar dream. When Gentle asks Deku “why do you want to be a hero?” Deku notes that he’s the “same” as Gentle. They both have dreams that “aren’t just their own.” End then end, Gentle and La Brava give up. Allowing U.A. security to apprehend them.
Dorohedoro episode 9 begins by telling us the story of how Shin and Noi became friends. The last episode left us with this big question. It answers it quickly. En tells Fujita the story. En opened a very successful Noodle Soup Franchise called “Flower Smoke.” Noi was the bouncer there. One day a theft (Shin) dine and dashed. Noi gave chase. After noticing Shin’s rotting arms she heals them. Shin hits her with a hammer and escapes. However, he says that he will repay her someday. Shin eventually gets hired as a hitman by En. During all of this Noi is training to become a devil. The final stage of the training is to stop using magic for a year until Blue Night. She manages to make it within three days.
However, they’re attacked by two magic users. They destroy the shop, intending on capturing Shin and Noi for Blue Night. Shin and Noi fight them with the later crushing the head of Baku with a huge boulder. It’s this magic user that manages to get one last shot off. Aimed at Noi, Shin takes the explosive shot. His body is maimed. Noi heals him violating her training. Noi and Shin become partners during the Blue Night.
The Wonderful Meat Pie
Yaku seals Shin in a body bag as the later is asleep. Meanwhile, Kaiman chases the guy that hit him over the head. President Tanba catches Kaiman and berates him for leaving the shop. He’s fired. Fukuyama arrives and asks Kaiman “why are you here?” Kaiman vaguely responds that he’s “looking for someone.” He asks Fukuyama if he “found a partner?” Fukuyama hasn’t had any luck. Kaiman asks him about his magic. Fukuyama’s magic is for food creation. Kaiman is excited and asks for some food. This exchange suggests that Kaiman may have softened on his prejudice towards magic users. That said, I instantly assumed that Fukuyama was going to get killed.
Baku and Yaku meet up. Yaku is carrying Shin and Baku confirms that he has Noi. Yaku knocks Kaiman’s “precious gyoza” to the ground. He threatens to kill both Yaku and Baku. Witnessing Baku attacking Kaiman, Tanba attacks them. Grabbing a knife, Kaiman cuts Baku’s arm and then guts him. Baku explodes. Yaku tries to attack Kaiman from the behind. Fukuyama uses his magic and turns Yaku into a giant pie. Elsewhere, Risu searches for more magic smoke. He finds Noi’s body in a locker. Still alive she emits her magic smoke, healing herself and restoring Risu’s body.
Blue Night Day 2
Risu finds a disguise and searches for Aikawa. Kaiman and Risu walk right past each other. Fujita continues to be humiliated. His potential partner didn’t show. He was left waiting in the same spot for two days. Anyway, Noi arrives looking for Shin with En’s dog Gura-Gura. The find the “pie,” that Ebisu and Gura-Gura start eating and Noi sits on the body bag that Shin is in. She is happy to find Shin and the head to sign the contracts. Fujita admits that he sent one of the two applications that he received. Turns out that the other one was sent by Ebisu. This “twist” was obvious, but I was happy to see Fujita get a partner.
En learns that Nikaido is the killer of the shopkeeper and she has time magic. He creates a doll of her and puts a small mushroom inside it. Back at the Hole, Nikaido and the others are having a birthday party for Vaux. Dr. Kauskabe reveals to Nikaido that they know she’s a sorcerer. Suddenly, a mushroom monster sprouts out of Nikaido’s back. En can see through its eyes. Nikaido is in danger but she’s not going to be killed. En wants her magic. The question is how is he going to get it? He would probably have to take it from her, as she definitely won’t work for him. Dorohedoro continues to impress. I really liked how they solve Risu’s mechanical body limitation and Noi begin trapped in a locker at the same time. It was well done.
My Hero Academia, episode 21, “Deku vs Gentle Criminal,” begins the conflict between Izuku Midoriya, Gentle Criminal and La Brava. In the background of this episode is the School festival. Taking place mostly during the day of the Festival, the episode is framed with time stamps. At 6:30 p.m. Izuku is training with Toshinori Yagi (All Might) when he’s given new support equipment. Mei has created “Air Force Gloves” for Deku. They are support gloves that help Deku in “unlocking” 20% of One For All. Mei has created the gloves to work with Deku’s “Iron Soles.” In order to better make use of his “concussive wind blasts,” these gloves help Deku create more focus blasts.
Deku vs Gentle
At 7:50 AM, Izuku runs to the store. One his way back at 8:30 he runs into a poorly disguised Gentle Criminal and La Brava. Izuku apologizes and Gentle tells him to be “careful, because he has been about to ruin him the aftertaste of the Golden Tips Imperial.” This proves to be a mistake, as extends the conversation. Deku is able to deduce that Gentle is the criminal he’s seen on social media. Deku drops his groceries and prepares to stop Gentle for doing whatever he plans to do. With no backup likely, Deku determines that he’s on his own. He activates One For All: Full Cowl at 8%. Gentle orders La Brava to begin filming, as his plans have changed.
Gentle’s Quirk, Elasticity, gives him the ability to “give elastic properties to everything he touches, and that includes the air itself.” He uses his Gently Rebound to repel Deku backwards. Gentle and La Brava attempt to flee. However, Deku is able to hit Gentle with his Delaware Smash Air Force. Gentle however, is still determined to follow through on his plan. Deku tackles him and the crash into a construction site. There Gentle best Deku using his Quirk to cause a steel beam to collapse. Deku is forced to catch it preventing him from given chase. Gentle’s willingness to threaten the safety of a innocent bystander seems to undermine his claim that he’s different from typical villains.
The show must go on
It’s now 8:45 AM and Class 1-A is preparing to perform. With 15 minutes remain will Izuku or Gentle get to the festival first. Both are determined, but who will triumph? With Gentle and La Brava heading towards U.A., Deku uses his strength to lift the beam with one arm. He fires another Delaware Smash Air, but he misses. As Deku gives chase La Brava believes that they have no choice but to use her Quirk. While I still find the arc to be underwhelming Gentle interests me. My Hero Academia has always treated villains differently from other series. With the League of Villains having to grow and develop like the young heroes from U.A., the different ideologies from hero killer and now Gentle, I think that what the series might be known for is how diverse the villain are.