My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 9 Review: Early Bird! – What's new drama?

My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 9 Review: Early Bird!

My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 9 Match 4 Teams

My Hero Academia Season 5 Episode 9

“Save people to win.”

“Win to save people.”

My Hero Academia’s current season has done an excellent job in highlighting many of the series’ more neglected characters, but it’s also functioned as an opportunity to demonstrate how much Class A’s most celebrated heroes have upped their games. My Hero Academia begins with Katsuki Bakugo arguably as the second lead after Midoriya and even though the friendly rivalry between these two has never faded, the two characters have been pulled in very different directions. 

Bakugo remains a pivotal character, but the previous seasons largely pull him out of the major battles and leave his progress offscreen. It’s for this reason that “Early Bird!” operates with such an exciting energy because it hinges on Bakugo’s big return and what this “new” version of him is like. 

“Early Bird!” is an installment that accentuates the importance of teamwork, but the biggest reason that this episode works as well as it does is because it intentionally plays into both the audience and the characters’ preconceptions around Bakugo. “Early Bird!” comes to life when it dawns on everybody that Bakugo has actually bolstered the perfect team here with a leadership style that both supports and trusts them. Bakugo’s fiery personality will never disappear, but his ego has transformed for the better and it’s a joy to see him receive such a showcase. “Early Bird!” celebrates Bakugo’s power, but also his personality, and it’s a standout entry from the season.

Bakugo and his team are up against some powerful and diverse opponents from Class B and “Early Bird!” goes through a flurry of emotions as Bakugo takes charge. He pushes a tough love approach as a leader and develops a strategy that stems from recklessness and forced opportunities rather than accurately weighing out the situation. Bakugo’s team warns him about Class B’s proficiency with counterattacks, but he largely ignores them in favor of a headstrong rampage. Bakugo’s actions here initially come across as frustrating, but it’s an approach that increasingly makes sense.

The events of seasons three and four made it seem like the more impulsive and self-serving version of Bakugo had shed these unappealing traits. It was only a few episodes back that Bakugo had a mature conversation with Midoriya about power and culpability that’s a testament to how much he’s evolved. It therefore feels somewhat regressive for Bakugo to bully his way into being the leader and push a very selfish strategy that makes him the star, but it turns out there are layers to Bakugo’s attack and it manifests into a triumph of teamwork where everyone shines. 

What’s interesting about Bakugo’s approach here is that it almost feels motivated out of fear. He’s determined to use this battle as a chance to prove to everyone–but especially Midoriya–how much he’s improved and why he deserves to be taken seriously. This pressure causes Bakugo to switch into autopilot to some extent, but in doing so it actually reflects how he naturally embodies a hero. Bakugo’s strategy is strangely complex since it doesn’t necessarily minimize his teammates and it actually trusts them with endless freedom. Bakugo basically just tells his team to go nuts with their Quirks so that they can quickly acquire the upper hand and if they happen to panic–hey, that’s what grenades are for.