My Hero Academia, Season Five, Episode Twenty-Three, Tenko Shimura: Origin Review: Half and Half.

Coming into the latest episode of My Hero Academia Season Five, Episode Twenty-Three, “Tenko Shimura: Origin”, I had my fingers crossed that it would live up to its potential, making it one of the best episodes in the entire series.
After seeing it, can I say that it achieved this?
Well, like Todoroki’s Quirk, it’s half and half.
The first half of “Tenko Shimura: Origin” is honestly a bit dissapointing with its lackluster animation, while the second half definitley lives up to its potential, delivering a fantastic adaptation of the darkest moment from the manga.
Before this, though, there is the already mentioned weaker first half of the episode, where we first see Twice creating a clone of Toga to do a blood transfusion, followed by some Spinner development as he fights the politician Trumpet.
However, since the beginning of Spinner’s entire character arc was cut  from the “My Villain Academia” episode, this is just pay off to scenes that never happened so it lacks impact.
Then there’s the fight between Shigaraki and Redestro, which suffers from feeling overall a bit stiff and limited, although this may come from me comparing it to other fights in the series.
Along with this, the censorship does not really help because it does raise certain plot holes about why Shigaraki is not able to simply decay Redestro, and anime only viewers will probably not have realized that Shigaraki has lost some fingers here.
Also there are some weird moments when Shigaraki has blood all over him, yet in the next shot all this blood is gone.
Kind of reminded me of there not being any blood on the knife in that one The Promised Neverland Season Two episode.
As the fight between Redestro and Shigaraki continues, with Redestro’s stress quirk building, Shigaraki admitting he only wants to destroy, and Gigantomachia arriving on the scene, we finally get the dark second half of the episode that shows Shigaraki’s backstory.
We see his life with his family, and how his father, Kotaru, Nana Shimura’s son, was ruthless in his hatred of heroes for his mother abandoning him to fight All For One, to the point that he abused Tenko whenever he tried to play hero.
This complicated matters when Tenko’s sister, Hana, showed him a picture of their grandmother, inspiring Tenko to be a hero further, only for her to put all the blame on him when she got found out, resulting in more abuse directed at Tenko from Kotaro.
It is at this unfortunate time of high stress that Shigaraki’s Quirk activates while he is hugging the family dog for comfort outside.
This decays the pup and, wow, is it a lot more brutal than I thought it would be.
Yes, there is some censorship when the dog sadly crumbles, but the aftermath is on full bloody display, with chunks lying strewn around a puddle of red.
The horror only grows when Hana comes outside and flees in terror upon seeing what has happened.
Thinking a villain is attacking, Tenko goes to grab her, only for her to decay into a disgusting bloody puddle of human chunks as well.
The shots of Tenko tearing at his face after this, while his hair turns white, are also particularily disturbing.
Now beginning to understand what is happening, Tenko next unleashes his new power on his mother and grandparents for not helping him, causing his mother to die as she falls to pieces trying to reach out and hold her son.
Imagine being Kotaro: You have just read a letter from the mother who abandoned you, and this letter has made you decide to try and be a better parent, only to go outside and see that your son’s new power has gruesomely killed your entire family.
The narration from Nana that she hopes Kotaro lives a happy life makes for a grim overlap to this scene, made even grimmer by Tenko’s subsequent murder of his father.
When Kotaro tries to defend himself from his own son’s attacks, giving him one of his singature scars even though he still pleads for help, Tenko snaps entirely, giving into his murderous impluses completley.
Slamming his hand onto his father’s face, Shigaraki kills him, a disgusting look of pleasure matching his innner thoughts as the itch that was plaguing him for so long finally disipates, bringing a horrifying end to the episode.
This dark reveal of Shigaraki’s past was a fantastic adaptation of the manga.
Everything clicked from the animation, to the voice acting, to the music, bringing the darkest moment of My Hero Academia to terrifying life.
I just wish the first half of the episode was this good.
Still, “Tenko Shimura: Origin” is a great episode for its second half alone, and I do have high hopes for the next one, considering that it will continue to adapt Shigaraki’s backstory and it appears that Studio Bones is willing to put much of their resources into that.

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