Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
I’m sorry…how do you smile?
Episode 81 of My Hero Academia begins off with some intense break dancing moves displayed effortlessly by Ashido. This is the precursor to the school festival that is held every year. Each class must present some kind of attraction, and Class 1-A struggles to come to a conclusive idea. As everyone seems excited and eager for the festival, Kirishima brings up the concern for the increase in villain movement, but Aizawa explains the importance of the festival for all the students. The school festival is one of the few opportunities the Support Course, General Studies, and Business Course get to display their strengths. Since the hero course has the sports festival to display their talents, the other students need an event that will help them shine to succeed in the real world. It is also an opportunity for the students to provide some stress relief for those affected by the recent villain encounters.
Based on the student’s reactions, the festival is a big deal, but unfortunately, they cannot come to a unanimous agreement for an attraction. Back at the dorms, Class 1-A brainstorms on what will provide stress relief and entertainment for the whole school, and that is where Todoroki strikes gold. He suggests a performance with live music and dance, meaning that Jiro is called on deck to prepare the music for the performance. The earphone jack hero will finally get her moment to shine! At first, she is shy, and thinks her hobby is useless, since it doesn’t assist her quirk, but comes to the realization that no one else is better suited for the task than she is.
After the chaos from the students, we get to witness the overdue reunion of Mirio, Midoriya, and Eri. They finally get the opportunity to visit her at the hospital, but it was because of the personal request made by Eri. She wanted to thank them, but surprisingly she didn’t know Midoriya’s name. Eri seems more relaxed, and even displays some comical moments throughout the scenes. She feels responsible for all the pain that was brought upon the heroes, but Mirio reassures her everything is going to be ok. Their goal is to get Eri to smile again, but after attempting, and forcing herself, Eri asks, “I’m sorry…how do you smile?” At this point, Eri is not aware of Sir. Nighteye’s death, and to everyone’s concern, it’s best to not add more grief to Eri’s plate.
Considering all the negative vibes going around, Midoriya comes up with an idea that could help Eri shake the shadow of Chisaki that still haunts her. He asks Aizawa if it would be ok for them to invite Eri to the school festival, with Mirio being her escort. Aizawa has to run it by the principle, but for the most part it seems like Eri will be able to attend. Our long-awaited moment of Eri coming across a candy apple will finally get some screen time along with her reaction to the performance by Class 1-A in the festival.
The episode ends with a comical, yet eerie vibe. We get our first look at the villain of the arc, and a little back story to his persona. Gentle Villain is his name, and his efforts for going viral are recorded by his assistant La Brava. The police are currently investigating the villain since he continues to post videos of his crimes. Realistically, he is a petty villain who isn’t necessarily causing any huge trouble. His most recent act is of him robbing a convenience store before running into five heroes. The villain is able to defeat all the heroes with ease, and leaves the store in a rubbery, and bouncy state. Gentle is not at the same level as Chisaki or Shigaraki in terms of influence, but his disregard for the temperature of tea only scratches the surface of his villainous intent.
“School Festival” seems like it would have been a better fit as the first episode for the second half of the season. There is not much action, but there is a great amount of involvement from various characters that make the episode a bit more dynamic. From the chaotic environment of Class 1-A, to the subtle reunion with Eri, episode 81 hits all the marks in progressing the story. With the upcoming school festival, Eri’s rehab, and Gentle’s villainous debut, every student is going to have their hands full.
The upbeat tone of the episode resonates throughout its entirety, and provides a comical insight to future dangers.