「ヒーロー殺し ステインvs雄英生徒」 (Hiirou Goroshi Sutein vs U.A. Seito)
“Hero Killer: Stain vs U.A. Students”
Izuku’s kindness will reverberate throughout the world.
Boku no Hero Academia is a masterclass in showing your work, and doing it without killing the pacing. From when Izuku first heard that Tenya was missing, to his thought process for finding him, to why Shouto showed up, everything is thought through. Everything is explained. All the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed. And it doesn’t kill the pace because, while it might occasionally verge on explaining too much of what most viewers have probably figured out, it never belittles us. It shows us why everything is happening and why people make the decisions they do, but it still trusts us. And the results are fantastic.
Of course we’re meant to juxtapose Tenya’s reasons for hunting Stain with Izuku’s motivation, Shouto’s motivation, and even Stain’s words. That’s what makes it so crushing—Stain isn’t wrong. Iida’s hunt for revenge is a personal quest, and it belittles the motivations of real heroes. Everything about Stain is still horrible, he’s still a serial killer who needs to be defeated and arrested with extreme prejudice, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. It’s all there for us to see, and we see it. That doesn’t matter, though. What matters is whether Tenya sees it—whether he can see it, past his grief and rage. That’s what this arc is building toward.
Seeing Izuku fight Stain, despite his fear—that’s a hero. Seeing Shouta calmly and confidently come to the rescue, a true professional beyond his age—that’s a hero. The whole battle was thrilling, stunning, and it was enhanced by Stain, who is not fucking around. Stain is willing to spill the beans on his quirk once Izuku got close, and even then he could not be stopped. The combat alone is enough to make this episode an instant classic.
What brings it a step above even that is the callback. Shouto is calm and confident, able to reconcile with his mother and use his father to become the hero he wishes to become, all because of one thing: Izuku. Shouto could have easily been the main protagonist in another story, but the heart of this series will always be Izuku, and it’s Izuku’s words during the sports festival that spurred on this change in Shouto. The effects of Izuku’s kindness back then, his willingness to go above and beyond, to lessen his chances of winning to help his friend and make him a better hero, will reverberate far beyond Shouto, farther than even the innocent people who the better Shouto will save. Shouto was only able to help kick some reason back into Tenya this episode because of what Izuku did before. Kindness begets kindness, and Izuku’s kindness will remake the world.
The League of Villains is awful, the Nomus are frightening, and Stain is utterly terrifying, but with people like Izuku, Shouto, and soon (once again) Tenya, this is still a world I want to live in. Deku won’t need to be a symbol like All Might was. Not when his contemporaries are going to be so much better, in part because of what he will do.
Damn I love this show. I love it more than I can express. I can’t wait to see the end of this arc, and the others beyond.
- We don’t need the nameplates at this point gaiz, jeez. And be careful with the commercial cards, since those spoiled Shouto’s appearance as well.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for exclusive content. At stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: I get it now!; Guardians of the Galaxy, Glee, & Firesign; That’s not supposed to go there . . .; and The Carcer Principle.