Series: My Hero Academia / Episode: 44 / Available On: Hulu
My Hero Academia has shown viewers the dark side of the superhero society, with villains running amok and vigilantes like Stain separating the heroes from the fakes with violence. But with few exceptions, the heroes in training are bright and optimistic despite the challenges they face.
Yet in “Roaring Upheaval,” the students of UA face the darkness both around them and within themselves. The episode opens with Shoji and Midoriya facing the full power of Tokoyami’s Dark Shadow. His Quirk is more powerful in the dark, and combined with Tokoyama’s anger over Shoji’s injuries, Dark Shadow transforms into a monstrous familiar that overwhelms his partner and lashing out indiscriminately.
Some quick thinking from Midoriya leads Tokoyami and Dark Shadow to Bakugo and Todoroki, still in the midst of their battle against Moonfish. Dark Shadow makes short work of the villain before succumbing to the light Bakugo and Todoroki generate with their Quirks. With the immediate danger out of the way, the students of Class 1-A turn to their next objective: protecting Bakugo from the League of Villains.
Meanwhile, Tsu and Ochako face off against Toga, the only woman member of the League of Villains Vanguard Action Squad. Toga proves to be a match for the two heroines in training, incapacitating Tsu before Ochako slams her with her patented Gunhead Martial Arts.
Toga shows Ochako the dark side of attraction and desire in their conversation. She goads Ochako on, describing her attraction to Midoriya in simultaneously twisted and uncanny accuracy. Toga is in love with Stain, her attraction sealed by their shared fixation on blood. While Toga takes her obsession to its violent extreme, Ochako is still disturbed by the similarities between their emotions.
And then there’s Bakugo. He’s always had an edge to him (to put it mildly), and other characters have remarked on his antagonistic attitudes and behavior. that aspect of his personality has made him a target for the League of Villains. They’re not interested in killing him, like Midoriya and Iida. Their goal instead is to offer Bakugo a different path. Mr. Compress manages to kidnap both him and Tokoyami with his magic while no one is looking. It’s another sign that the League of Villains is not destroying for its own sake. There’s a method to their madness, and the play for Bakugo is part of a larger plan. Only time will tell if they can turn Bakugo into a villain and deliver a lasting blow to All Might, UA, and the superhero society they despise so much.
Finally, there’s poor Aoyama. He’s been a consistent joke character, but he experiences real fear during the villain attack and hides. Midoriya has had a mentor to teach him to smile when he’s afraid. Without that guidance, Aoyama succumbs to his fear and freezes. Other characters have overcome negative emotions, and it will be interesting to see if Aoyama is given the opportunity to grow from this experience too.