「「ヒーロー殺しステイン」その余波」 (Hiirou-Goroshi Sutein Sono Yoha)
“The Aftermath of Hero Killer: Stain”
Vile ideologies can spread like wildfire, and do irreperable damage. That also happens in this fictional story.
The original manga release dates of the Stain arc vouchsafe that Horikoshi-sensei was planning all of this before the recent . . . unpleasantness the developed world has been undergoing came to the fore of the popular consciousness. In other words, he had to be planning all this before the effects of Brexit, Trumpism, Le Pen, and all the rest became clear to most people. The idea that he landed upon, though, and which underpins Stain’s power as an enduring villain (even if he had died, or if he never shows up again), is the same. A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes, and the same is true of caustic ideologies of violence, hate, and villainy. So it is in fiction, so it is in real life. This arc was prescient when it first came out, and timely as it airs now—though, it’s not like this is anything new. We’re just seeing it play out via memes and internet videos, which is another place Horikoshi-sensei nailed it.
This episode also shows how society can react to this, at least in part. The police chief is determined to uphold the law, and that means punishing those who violate it, even if they did it for reasons that he himself agrees were good. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t willing to fudge things a bit, in this case by crediting the takedown to a credentialed hero instead of the students who actually beat Stain. It sucks for them, but it’s also right for society. Heroes without accountability who work outside the system are nothing but vigilantes, and another word for vigilante is criminal. Society has to be flexible, but it cannot surrender the rules by which it organizes itself and the morals by which it lives. Otherwise it truly is all a sham, and the Stains of the world will have exacted a victory.
But seriously, can they just rename the hero profession to something else? If they were all called Supers instead, then half of Stain’s argument falls apart. Then they’d just be people doing jobs, and “hero” would be reserved for those who do something truly great. Not that it’s going to stop some people from calling them heroes, but when your argument is based on a linguistic quirk, maybe your argument is shit.
The area in which society failed to blunt Stain’s legacy is in letting his ideology get out, though perhaps they couldn’t have stopped that even if they had seriously tried, and perhaps they shouldn’t have anyway. This gets into realms of censorship and free speech, and whether there are some ideologies that are so repugnant as to be incompatible with civil society, in which case they should be ruthlessly stamped out—and those are questions to which I do not have the answers. I’ve thought about them, the ‘ol “When should you punch a nazi?” question, and where the line is from words just being words to words being weapons. I mean, obviously you should punch a nazi when they start shoving people in concentration camps, but before then? My rule of thumb is to avoid punching anyone unless it’s to stop violence—you’re okay, boys—but it’s undeniable that allowing Stain’s ideology to get out there is going to do a lot of harm, and not just because that’s what Horikoshi-sensei decided would happen. It’s happening in real life too, though fortunately with less colorful results. Most of the time.
They probably wouldn’t have been able to stop it getting out anyway. The enemy general is too clever. This was all according to keikaku. And keikaku means plan.
Kudos to Manual for being such a great guy. Endeavor might get all the plaudits, but Manual is more my kind of hero, the one who will help positively shape Iida as a person through kindness, stern warnings, and forgiveness. And then Gran Torino and All Might start talking about a villain who has reemerged, the one who gave the Nomus their quirks and killed All Might’s predecessor and hobbled the Symbol of Peach himself, and name dropped All For One… Well. Shit, son. This is heating up in a big way.
Next week is an anime original episode about the others students’ internships, and yeah, I’m worried. I’m all for those who adapt stories taking liberties with the source, to improve it and tweak things for the changed medium, but some source material just works as a straight adaptation with not even pacing changes required, and HeroAca appears to be one of ’em. (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is my archetypal example, because that one just seemed to work so well as an anime.) This anime original episode could be good, it could be fun! And I’m glad, if they were going to do it, they decided to do it after the arc, where the breather (for us viewers) is fine, as opposed to in the middle of the arc where I woulda been piiiissed. But still, trepidation. I guess we’ll see how it goes.
- Heroes remind me of football players, where a short career can end with debilitating injuries that will plague them for the rest of their lives. All Might will be plagued by his injuries for the rest of his life, and now Iida might too, even though he’s so much younger. (Oh, and Iida’s older brother.) Which probably is an indictment against American football and a few other sports as much as anything else.
- Special points go to Izuku for realizing that it wasn’t about him, he can’t beat himself up for not stopping Iida, and not apologizing to him again. Also, special points go to Todoroki for not realizing that it’s not about him, and worrying that he’s the Hand Crusher. Hah!
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.