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My Hero Academia season 4 episode 9 review: Red Riot’s resolve

My Hero Academia’s latest episode shows Red Riot’s true resolve — but first, it takes us on a trip through his backstory.

My Hero Academia‘s latest episode is another clear indicator that the raid on Shie Hassaikai is going to be one long, drawn-out battle. Still, the heart-pounding action never stops. The heroes race headlong through the maze of corridors that make up the underground section of Shie Hassaikai’s headquarters, leaving Suneater behind to deal with the villains blocking the way. They figure out that the villain who distorted the building has limited control and must be moving about within the walls in order to use his powers in specific areas.

Eraserhead is on the lookout and prepared to stop him, but the villain in the wall targets Eraserhead and tries to separate him from the other heroes. Fat Gum and  Red Riot rush to the rescue, and instead of Eraserhead, the two are shunted off into a huge, dark room. There, they’re confronted by Rappa, who has fists reinforced with steel, and Hekiji, a villain with barrier-making abilities.

Red Riot sees Rappa pushing in for the kill and counters his punch, but Rappa is unbelievably powerful and knocks Red Riot clear across the room — shattering his hardening and his confidence. The villains taunt the two heroes, declaring that a spear and shield won’t lose to two shields.

Undaunted, Fat Gum challenges Rappa while trying to encourage the fearful Red Riot to stand strong. Red Riot sees Fat Gum and Rappa trading punches, and although he desperately wants to jump in and help, he can’t seem to get his body to move. Hekiji observes that Red Riot’s will has already been broken and they have nothing to fear from him. He is done for. Rappa seems to have the upper hand in the punch-out against Fat Gum, and Red Riot fears that Fat Gum is about to be killed right before his very eyes.

Overcome by feelings of impotence and uselessness, he recalls the time he was in middle school and had zero confidence in himself and his own abilities. After helplessly watching when a villain confronted two of his schoolmates and someone else (Ashido) had to jump in to save them, the younger Kirishima (Red Riot), he’d been even more down on himself.

Coincidentally, around that time, the incident where Bakugo had been attacked by a villain was all over the news. Though no one made an issue of it, Kirishima noted that a middle schooler who must have been one of Bakugo’s friends had jumped in, trying to save him. Recognizing this massive difference between him and the then unknown Deku, Kirishima was on the verge of giving up on his dream of attending U.A. and becoming a hero. In his lowest moment, he stumbled across a recording of an interview with the hero he had always idolized: Crimson Riot.

In the interview, Crimson Riot boldly stated that he felt fear when fighting villains. He also said that nothing was scarier than watching someone die and being helpless to save them. That was why, for him, chivalry meant rushing in headfirst and fighting, fear be damned. That speech bolstered young Kirishima’s courage. He’d managed to pass the entrance exam into U.A. and was now determined to be the stalwart sort of hero Crimson Riot aspired to be.

Back to the present, Fat Gum still seems to be losing to Rappa. Fat Gum’s power is to absorb enemy attacks and turn them into his own strength, but the villains don’t know that. He endured Rappa’s punches while storing up all that energy. Hekiji realizes that Fat Gum still has some trick up his sleeve and tries to warn Rappa to retreat into his barrier, but Rappa just won’t listen. Rappa moves in for the kill and his fists connects with Red Riot, not Fat Gum.

During the rapid exchange fists, Rappa realizes that Red Riot isn’t breaking. He seems a lot tougher than he did before. Red Riot fends him off, and he retreats into the barrier. This, though, is just the chance that Fat Gum needs. He launches a powerful attack at the two villains, shattering the supposedly unbreakable barrier and blasting them away. He praises Red Riot, admitting that even he had underestimated the young hero’s resolve.

Next: My Hero Academia review: The raid begins
What did you think of this week’s episode of My Hero Academia? Sound off in the comments.
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