What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about My Hero Academia episode 84, or in other words “Deku vs. Gentle Criminal”. When I read this title initially, I was shocked because it was so soon that we were already jumping into the big confrontation between Midoriya and this new “villain”. Yet at the same time I couldn’t help but feel impressed that they would approach this storyline with such pacing and momentum. Some other anime series would have found some way to drag things out.
With the start of this episode, they spent what time wasn’t that confrontation building up the excitement towards the Festival beginning and Class 1-A putting on their concert. There wasn’t too much to this scene, though they did not waste the opportunity to really show that a hobby can go hand-in-hand with training as a hero. When Jiro comes to mind, you do think powerhouse to some extent considering her quirk when it is amped up with the right gear. Though you also think of someone who properly represents what it is like for someone who isn’t going to be primarily a hero. It’s safe to say that someone like her will juggle being a pro-hero with being a musician. This is where that path starts, and they found an endearing way to send that message.
After that, everything came down to getting Midoriya into the right place, and at the right time to make this encounter with Gentle Criminal and La Brava. Now there was plenty of ways in which these three could have crossed paths, but surprisingly they went with a comical execution. Some could say that takes away from the seriousness of what was about to unfold, though if anything it only helped better understand the difference between Gentle Criminal and other villains. This isn’t a guy who is looking to hurt someone, or even kill someone. So it is one thing to have this intricate plan of getting from point A to point B without running into anyone who notices him. It is another thing entirely for being caught to actually become a reality. The suspense was short, but they wasted no time creating a scenario where neither party was able to really hide who they are.
This brings us to the action. If I’m going to be honest? I had my reservations about Gentle Criminal satisfying the role of villain because of what we didn’t know about his quirk. We saw him do some things in his videos previous, but even then it didn’t look like much which could create the impression that he is formidable. I was glad to be proven wrong once these two clashed. His quirk was something so simple, and yet the way he used it was brilliant. Especially when taking on someone whose quirk should have easily put them at an advantage over him. What made this action scene so bold in contrast to others Midoriya has gotten himself into, is that this wasn’t a real fight. This was two people trying to get away from someone else who was trying to apprehend them. Nothing more, nothing less. The circumstance of this battle encouraged a lot of thinking that neither party would have had to dig for if the situation were any different.
It also goes without saying that they did not waste the chance to once more add emphasis to the drive behind Gentle Criminal’s intentions. For someone like him, getting caught should have been it for him. It shook things up that he was so willing to succeed at all costs.
Now when the My Hero Academia movie came out, some were saying that the new developments in the movie ruined what wasn’t yet a thing in the anime. Though when this episode rolled around? I say they couldn’t have been more wrong. I mean, what keeps you from wanting to know how Midoriya decides he wants those new support items? Or what spawned this idea that he could regulate the force from his flicks? There is a difference between simply knowing, and then having the full thought process in your head.
At the end of the day, was My Hero Academia “Deku vs. Gentle Criminal” worth the wait? Indeed it was! I’m sure some of us out there wanted something more life or death out of this storyline, but it is so far a breath of fresh air that you can get this level of action even when it is not. What came from Deku versus Gentle Criminal was without a doubt a case of unstoppable force facing the immovable object.