Warning, this article contains spoilers for the latest episode of My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 21, “Deku vs Gentle Criminal.” If you still haven’t watched the latest episode, you can watch it on Crunchyroll and Funimation!
The excitement is finally back in My Hero Academia after the previous laid back episodes. While the slowing down the pace for the school festival arc was fun, there was nothing thrilling about it till “Deku vs Gentle Criminal”. However, it is this slow build-up which makes the latest episode of My Hero Academia even more better.
The episode focuses on the stand-off between Deku and Gentle Criminal (just like the title suggests). The duel comes out of nowhere and is a major break in the pattern of how the season was so far progressing. However, if you felt that My Hero Academia was just wasting time with fun filled episodes which focused on students preparing hard for the U.A school festival, then this episode will make you feel otherwise.
My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 21, ‘Deku vs Gentle Criminal’, Review & Spoilers!!
“Deku vs Gentle Criminal” is an episode packed with fun and action. Midoriya’s biggest obstacle at the beginning of the episode was trying to get a new rope on the morning of the festival, and by the time the episode ended the obstacle was no longer a rope but stopping Gentle Criminal and La Brava from sneaking into the school festival.
The encounter between the two takes place totally by chance, as Midoriya who was returning to U.A after buying the rope runs into Gentle who was headed to U.A after having his “Gold Tips Imperial”. The exchange between the two is witty, underlined by a tense and nervous subtext. The encounter is nothing like the ones with the previous villains of My Hero Academia and strangely follows the light hearted tone that is followed throughout the school festival arc.
However, things suddenly heat up as Midoriya realizes he has no other option but to fight Gentle Criminal in order to stop him. This decision makes a lot of sense considering how Midoriya’s arc has progressed. The young hero still has some guilt weighing him down over how he let Eri go the first time he encountered her with Overhaul. The events that followed have helped him mature but also left him with a scar. Deku does not want to let another criminal get away, and seems ready to face the repercussions of his decision. This undoubtedly reflects Deku’s growth as a hero.
Another strong point of the episode is how it keeps showing us the flash backs of the efforts that were put in by the students for the U.A festival. All these efforts that everyone put in would be a total waste if Gentle sneaks in to the school festival and is found. Deku does not want this happening and is prepared to stop Gentle Criminal at all costs.
However, Gentle Criminal does not seem to have a villainous intent at heart like the League of Villains or Overhaul. His plan, or whatever part of his plan he revealed to Deku includes Gentle and La Brava sneaking into U.A school despite the heavy security and making themselves famous, which kind of seems harmless.
But then flashbacks in “Deku vs Gentle Criminal” and the time the previous episodes of My Hero Academia Season 4 invested in showing us how much the festival meant for the school, especially Class 1-A, makes us sympathise even more with Deku’s reasoning. There is a part of us that feels that the festival getting cancelled on the whims of a criminal, even though he means no harm, would be harsh on the students who have worked hard.
All these emotions culminate in a new “Delaware Smash,” an attack which Deku is able to use, thanks Hatsume’s new equipment and his rigorous dance practice for the festival. This stood out as the best moment in the episode and is certain to give the fans some goosebumps. It is satisfying to see Midoriya able to use the lessons he learnt as part of the school festival in the fight, which adds more meaning to the previous episodes and ties in the whole arc together.
The fight between the two is entertaining. The episode confirms that Gentle’s quirk is elasticity (which was kind of teased in the previous episodes too), and he uses it expertly to keep Midoriya engaged and ultimately to get away from him. The steel beam scene, which is kind of innovative, shows Deku’s resolve as well as reiterates the point that Gentle takes extra steps to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone. Gentle fights intelligently for sure, and is able to gain an upper hand on Deku by outsmarting him, but Deku’s resilience still proves hard for Gentle to handle.
The episode ends on a high note as we see La Brava deciding to use her quirk on Deku, who once again refuses to give up, knowing that the enjoyment of everyone at U.A, including Eri, is at stake. Deku is also thinking about the bigger picture here as Gentle and La Brava disabling the alarm system at the school would give other villains (if there are any lurking by) an easy pass to wreak havoc inside the school.
Overall, “Deku vs Gentle Criminal” brings the fun back to My Hero Academia in a great way and stands out as the best episode after the Shie Hassaikai arc. We get to see more of Gentle and some great action sequences. It also makes the last few episodes of the season more exciting and we certainly can’t wait to see what happens next!! Also we are hoping that the League of Villains and their new major villain Gigantomachia make an appearance to spice things up. But we also want to see the performance that Class 1-A and 1-B have in store for us. Well, till the next episode is out, all we can do is wait and wait we will!
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