「オール・フォー・ワン」 (Ouru Fou Wan)
“All For One”
What an absolute rollercoaster. That’s the best way I can describe this, from the press conference (low) to the successful assault (high) to All For One haxing Nomus into the situation anyway (low) to Katsuki disappearing again (lower) to All For One unloading on the pro heroes (lowest). I loved so much about this episode, but what I really appreciate is that because the rollercoaster moved so quickly, and because it was mostly confined to one episode, we never had the time to anticipate what was going to happen next. It was reversal upon reversal once the pizza guy knocked on the door, with the hits flying too fast for our minds to sprint that far ahead. It allowed for sneaky hits like Katsuki being teleported away (again) to come out of left field. There was much we didn’t expect.
Save for one small detail. Because we are privilege to knowledge that only a few other characters are—All Might, Gran Torino, a handful of others—we knew something that everyone else did not. We knew about All For One. Which is why, no matter how good the heroes were, we knew that total effort-negating cheat codes were very much on the table. All For One is so powerful it would be called a deus ex machina if it weren’t so well foreshadowed, and if, much like in the USJ incident, someone hadn’t worked to bring it about. All of which made the whole thing more emotionally grinding, because we knew it was inevitable. All For One was there, and he can have whatever quirks he needs to save his protege. It’s crushing.
Especially in light of how good some of these pro heroes are. I don’t mean (just) in their morals, but in their skills. Kamui Woods was rightly called out for his performance, but it was Best Jeanist who really caught my eye. He might be a ridiculous dude, but he was wise to try to shape Katsuki, and Katsuki was smart to remember his words. He was also just really damn good in the situation, chiding Mt Lady for conflating difficulty with importance and acting decisively to stop this dangerous new presence—though of course that kind of thing doesn’t work against All For One. He has a level power against which no tactics can succeed—or none have so far, at least not permanently. I hope Best Jeanist and the others didn’t die. At the very least, I wouldn’t be surprised if they come out looking considerably worse than Ragdoll.
The other big theme of this episode was underestimation. Everyone was underestimating everyone else. The media and the League of Villains were underestimating Katsuki, Katsuki was underestimating the League of Villains, the rest of the League was underestimating Shigaraki, and those who knew about All For One were underestimating him—though that one I don’t blame. The dude is so crazy powerful that it must be hard to plan for him. He could (potentially) do whatever the hell he wants. It’s hard to plan for that.
The slickest trick of all, though, is how these events conspired so that Izuku and co were once again in a position to potentiall save Katsuki. Katsuki, who was filled with emotions when All Might came to save him—though damned if I know what precise emotions they were—was teleported by All For One too, and the pro heroes on the scene aren’t in any shape to save Katsuki now. It’s up to Katsuki himself or his friends, or the capricious nature of All For One, or something (or someone) else I’m not considering. But not All Might, not unless he moves fast (and abandons everyone to deal with those Nomu in his absence). Looks like Izuku’s group might be the best option.
- Kirishima showing that when a friend’s life is on the line, money don’t matter. Good on him.
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 updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: Risk Tolerance in the Creative Life.