When Gentle and La Brava were first introduced in My Hero Academia, some anime fans worried that they would be impossible to take seriously because of their goofy nature, especially after the intensity Overhaul brought as the villain, last arc.
However, the 22nd episode of My Hero Academia‘s fourth season, “School Festival”, hopefully showed those who were concerned just how fantastic the two are, not just as villains but as characters.
The Gentle and La Brava vs Deku fight did go by a lot quicker than I thought it would in the anime, lasting only two episodes, however this does not change how fantastic the conclusion of their fight is.
By far the best aspect of it is definitely the backstory and character growth for the two wannabe villains, resulting in a tragic love story ending.
Let’s start with La Brava.
Her backstory shows how the current hero society is unequipped to deal with unusual Quirks.
In La Brava’s case, her Quirk is highly reliant on the love she feels for another person and, because of this, her love was thought to be creepy and she was considered a stalker by the boy she loved.
This caused her to close herself off, clinging only to the internet, and contemplating suicide.
It was then, in her darkest moment, that her “light” appeared.
She stumbled across one of Gentle Criminal’s videos and fell in love with him, vowing to help him carve his name into history.
And Gentle accepted her wholeheartedly, to the point that he even drew dark circles under his eyes so La Brava wouldn’t feel self-conscious about hers.
This flashback expertly brings across many different tones, from dark, like when La Brava considers suicide, to sweet, when Gentle accepts her, and humorous, when the two are shown comedically sneaking away from a police officer.
Their love story then blooms into the reveal of La Brava’s Quirk, Love.
This ability allows her to temporarily power up those she loves by declaring her feelings for them.
The reveal of this, with Present Mic narrating it in a calm voice, as opposed to his over the top loudness, highlights its impact.
And what an impact it has, because it temporarily allows Gentle to overpower Deku.
Only temporarily though, as Deku is back on his feet in seconds, ready to take on a now overpowered Gentle.
From here, the episode transitions into Gentle’s backstory, which is as equally tragic as La Brava’s.
Once hoping to become a hero, Gentle failed every entrance exam he tried at.
One day, he saw someone about to fall to their death and used his Quirk to try and save them, only for this to result in him impeding a hero attempting to save them, resulting in the person being seriously injured.
Treated like trash and kicked out by his own family because of this, Gentle was alone for years, until he came across one of his old school friends who had become a successful Pro-Hero.
Gentle was happy for him, when his old friend revealed he didn’t remember him at all.
Wanting to be remembered, Gentle decided to become a villain instead of a hero.
It is apparent that Gentle has a lot in common with Deku, as both wanted to become heroes and are now fighting for someone’s bright future, Deku for Eri, and Gentle for La Brava.
Deku himself points this out before defeating Gentle Criminal as a sobbing La Brava ineffectively hits him.
Realizing that UA teachers are closing in, and wanting to protect La Brava, Gentle uses the last of his strength to push Deku away to make it look like the fight never happened to make La Brava’s role seem less serious.
Embracing her as the teachers approach, Gentle declares to them he wants to turn himself in, bringing a tragic end to the episode.
I say tragic because, if this episode tells us anything, it is that Gentle and La Brava are not villains.
They are just people who were dealt a bad hand by the society they live in and are trying to change their fates.
Granted, they’re not doing it in a good way but, even so, that does not make them villainous.
They are truly tragic characters and we will learn more about their fate next episode.
The build up to this end was great as well, with not only a fantastic backstory for Gentle and La Brava, but great action sequences as well.
It was not quite as spectacular as it was in the manga but, admittedly, the anime does have a budget to maintain, and it looks like they are actually going to be adapting part of the Pro-Hero Arc this season, which will need great animation, so that’s a reasonable excuse.
As for the beginning of the episode, it just shows the various students and teachers preparing for the festival, which we will also see next episode, along with a scene that I have been anticipating for a while.
“School Festival Start” is another great episode of My Hero Academia, which proves that, while Gentle and La Brava are a little hard to take seriously initially, they are some of the best villains of the series.
After battling an evil mastermind, his successor, a hero killer, and a crime boss, My Hero Academia season four, episode 18 introduces the next big threat our heroes will have to face… YouTubers!
While that line I just used is certainly an overplayed joke, it is more than warranted here with the introduction of the new villains for this arc, Gentle and La Brava.
I am sure many people are confused about how the series went from a dark villain like Overhaul to lighthearted ones but the role they to play in the story going forward is great.
Along with this, their introduction also perfectly sets up both characters with an element of humor.
It’s actually quite funny how when you first see Gentle’s face on video while the UA students are celebrating the Cultural Festival he looks threatening, only to be shown the full video later in the episode where he is revealed to be a fame seeker.
The scene with him accidentally splashing his tea on himself and La Brava also gets a laugh.
Right from the beginning of “School Festival” the humor is present from Deku and Aoyama’s awful dance skills, to Tsuyu stringing Mineta up, to Iida’s reaction to everyone’s ideas for the festival, and to Sato imagining Todoroki and Bakugo taking part in a dance tournament.
Honestly, the only part of the episode with any dark undertones, like those seen in the previous arc, is the one where Eri reveals that she doesn’t know how to smile.
I just wanted to give her the biggest hug during this moment.
However, the scene is still humorous because of Mirio’s interactions with her, and the smile plot line will lead to one of the most heartwarming moments of the series.
Another big highlight of the episode is Jirou because this episode makes it clear why she is so prevalent in the OP.
We see the beginning of her arc in “School Festival” as she deals with insecurities about her music and how it involves her hero work, but she eventually resolves to keep on rockin’ by leading Class 1-A’s band performance for the festival.
Episode 18 saw the beginning for a lot of fantastic character arcs like Jirou’s, Eri’s and, of course, Gentle and La Brava’s.
It works as a great foundation episode and it is also pretty funny to boot.