Now that’s a hero. Wow.
All Might In A Pinch
I’m going to mention my fiction writing experience, so for those who get annoyed about that, feel free to stop reading. Good? Now, take it from someone who writes action: it can be difficult to build real life-or-death stakes when the reader is pretty sure you’re not going to kill off your main characters. When it comes to Izuku and (to a large part) his classmates, Boku no Hero Academia has this challenge too—I find it hard to believe that it’s the kind of story that would kill off any kids. About the best they can do is make us doubt it for a critical second, like they did with Tsu-chan last episode.
But All Might and the other teachers? Ahhh, they’re another matter. Main enough characters to make us worried, but this isn’t their story. They’re mentors, and that’s a notoriously hazardous role. They can die.
Not that I necessarily expect them to, nor would the story automatically be better if they did. It all comes down to how it’s done. But the possibility has power. When All Might charges into a battle against villains specifically designed to defeat him, and they have extra stratagems and Quirks that we didn’t expect, things start to look grim. You start recalling how All Might is a mentor, and how the story could go on without him. You start thinking about how it would effect Izuku, and how that’s a fertile story branch the author might want to explore. You start worrying.
That worry makes the story all the more tense, immersive, and thrilling than it would be otherwise. And it makes the reversal, if it comes, all the sweeter.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that All Might going for the straightforward (some would say stupid) path of overpowering Nomu by pure earth-shattering force was a bit disappointing. I have a preference for clever heroes that overcome though unexpected plans or clever ruses, which is one of the reasons I like Izuku so much. But that’s my preference, and Boku no Hero Academia is under no obligation to bow to my wishes. Plus, this fits with the ethos of the series so much better than a clever stratagem would have. After all, there’s no better way to prove that the Symbol of Peace, society’s ultimate bulwark against evil, will never fail than to meet this kind of challenge head on and still win. Even if All Might is weakening, he’s not weak.
I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that the fight we got was friggin’ cool! It reminded me of the best battles of One-Punch Man, only without the complete confidence that All Might would win (like we had with Saitama). The animation was frantic, the action was thrilling, and it gave me those good old time Heroaca chills. And seeing him punch Nomu into outer space? Eat your heart out, Superman.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – All Might is in trouble, and the kids come to his rescue. But it’s too dangerous for them, so he finishes it the All Might way #heroaca 12
- This is one of the times I don’t mind a character explaining their (or in this case, Nomu’s) powers mid-battle. Here, hand guy comes off like he’s gloating, and taunting All Might. It fits his character. That this gives All Might a clue how to win (Shock Absorption instead of Nullification means there’s a limit) is just a bonus.
- Likewise, I appreciate how Izuku realizes that they’d do more damage as hostages, even if later on he gets overwhelmed with the fear of losing All Might and charges anyway. Thank gods Kacchan was there to save him! (First time Kacchan has ever saved someone, I bet.)
- I’m glad they didn’t try to make hands guy seem like a well-intentioned extremist (trope!). All Might saw right through him. Dude is just a psychopath.
- There’s something chilling about All Might admitting that in his prime, it would have taken him 5 punches to do to Nomu what took 300+ punches this time. Even we aren’t immune to the mythology of the Symbol of Peace.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: I love sales jobs, Good realism is character realism, Dying idols, and Frictionless routines.