WARNING: The following contains spoilers for My Hero Academia Season 5, Episode 9, "Early Bird!," now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation and Hulu.
Classes 1-A and 1-B are more evenly matched than anyone expected in the U.A. Joint Training exercise. In fact, Itsuka Kendo's team outright defeated Momo's, and Class 1-B's Mudman put up a terrific fight against Shoto and Iida with his softening powers. But Class 1-A proves it's ready to turn the tables in Match 4.
While Katsuki Bakugo is undeniably the star of Episode 9 with his sharp wits and his devastating Explosion Quirk, his teammates are hardly cannon fodder. Hanta Sero, the tape hero, contributes a huge amount to Team Bakugo's perfect win -- largely through Class 1-B accidentally presenting him with the ideal foe to take down.
Sero Finds a Way to Pay Bakugo Back
Not all students in the elite Class 1-A are fierce and competitive stars like Katsuki Bakugo and Shoto Todoroki. Plenty of students are perfectly comfortable playing a supporting role both in the narrative, and as fighters, and that includes the easygoing Hanta Sero. He may not be especially powerful, but his Tape ability is quite flexible in many ways, and his personality makes him easy to get along with. While Bakugo is clearly the team's centerpiece in the episode, Hanta is also determined to show off how far he's come -- and he's more resourceful and insightful than he looks.
At first, the battle is a tricky one as Bakugo's team charges into the fray. So far during the 'Vs' arc, Class 1-B has had the advantage since Class 1-A's Quirks are well-known -- the same isn't true of Class 1-B. With that in mind, Setsuna's team sets traps just like the Class 1-B teams before it. Setsuna uses her lizard-like Quirk to split up her body and trick the sonic hero Kyoka Jiro with multiple sets of "footsteps," luring the team into position for a glue-based trap. Hanta Sero needs Bakugo to bail him out of that bind, but soon enough, Sero finds his chance to strike back.
Hanta Sero Takes Setsuna Tokage Apart Piece By Piece
Bakugo's sheer firepower forces Setsuna's team to break off the attack and resume defensive positions. Once Kyoka points out where Setsuna's pieces are, Hanta Sero is on the scene, swinging around on his tape to catch up. He realizes that if Setsuna's body parts are apart for too long, Setsuna gets tired, and she can't fight at 100% if she cannot fully reunite her fractured body. So, Sero corners Setsuna's wayward pieces and tapes them to pipes and walls, ensuring that Setsuna cannot become whole again. Not only that, but Hanta also uses a flying piece of Setsuna's body to track down where Setsuna herself is, and tapes a grenade onto that piece for extra firepower. He really lucks out: Scattered pieces needing to be stuck down couldn't be a better match for him.
As hoped, that piece guides Hanta to Setsuna's true body, and the explosion forces her to retreat once again, keeping her on the defensive. In turn, that explosion alerts Katsuki Bakugo, who quickly zeroes in on Setsuna's location and finishes her off with a devastating up-close explosion. Bakugo may have gotten the killing blow but's all thanks to Hanta Sero, the unsung tape hero.