“Relief for License Trainees” begins with the explanation of a fascinating concept: the quirk singularity doomsday theory. Seiji Shishikura explains that quirks are mixing more and more as the generations pass, and that each generation is producing stronger and more uncontrollable quirks. Right off the bat, this is a deeply intriguing idea that shows just how invested My Hero Academia is in its own world, with one eye on the future. Horikoshi has created this superhero-filled world and now we have to wonder where their society is heading. Opening the episode with an engaging idea like this is really enthralling.The rest of the episode’s first half is a little more awkward, however. At the end of Episode 16, our heroes-in-training were faced with the challenge of handling a group of renegade kids with impressive quirks. In Episode 17, this is handled fairly effortlessly with an excessively ham-fisted moral being demonstrated and spelled out for us. It’s a moral worth considering, and one that definitely reflects the necessary rounding out of our young heroes, but it’s also something that has been implied already, and something that feels like it is coming far too loudly and far too late in the series.

There’s also the broader narrative issue that the ringleader of this group of misfit children is far too quickly subdued by a Bakugo who quickly passes on what he has learned. In Episode 16, this scheming child showed some real intrigue, but is very quickly calmed because Bakugo reached out to him earnestly enough to immediately change the boy’s entire perspective. It’s rushed. But, then again, given how the previous episode had such issues with its pacing and tone, perhaps this is a good thing.

The outcome of all of this is still, ultimately, a worthwhile and satisfying one: a softening of both Endeavour and Bakugo; two hot-headed characters learning the value of considering and understanding perspective. In a touching scene between Endeavour and Todoroki, it feels like all of this awkward ham-fisting of the episode’s themes and morals was very much worth it in the end.

As for the episode’s second half, it quickly catches us up with the rest of Class 1-A, as well as Eri, with a slideshow of stills narrated by Deku. It’s simple, but serviceable. From there, the focus is on the relationship between Midoriya and Aoyama; a relationship which, as Deku himself points out, has not existed until this point.

Honestly, the way that the episode tells and frames their story is so hilarious and endearing that it almost completely washes away the awkwardness that plagued the episode’s first half. This portion of the episode is so perfectly paced, and written with such care and well-timed comedy, that it boasts the quality and entertainment value of an entire episode.

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Aoyama has been an intriguing and consistently hilarious character from day one, and it’s great to see him get a little of the spotlight here. Until now, he’s been on par with Mineta as Class 1-A’s comic relief. But while Mineta is completely insufferable and enraging, Aoyama is intensely endearing, and this episode shows us exactly why while also building on his character in a very satisfying way.

It’s also a joy to see Class 1-A return to the swing of studying and bantering together. One of the show’s best aspects is its character interactions; every member of Class 1-A is uniquely crafted as a fully formed character, and when we see them laughing together and butting heads, the show is at its most charming. We get to see that here for the first time in a while, and it paints the sweetest picture as a backdrop for the building of Midoriya and Aoyama’s relationship.

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