「平和の象徴」 (Heiwa no Shouchou)
“Symbol of Peace”

There aren’t many series that can make me whoop for joy. Even fewer can do it repeatedly and consistently. Boku no Hero Academia is one of them, and this episode was another example why.

For all the over the top destruction, this was an episode marked by its restraint. The greatest moment came about because of what the characters were not allowed to do. Iida and Yao-momo wouldn’t let the other three fight; Katsuki wouldn’t have reached out his hand if Izuku had been on the other end. Constraints defined the gambit Izuku and co were able to pull off, and that’s what made it so grand. Izuku had to figure out the path, threading the needle so that they could get Katsuki out of there without engaging in battle. The solution he found: a high speed boy rocket, with Kirishima the central piece to get Katsuki to accept the help. It was marvelous! I whooped aloud in joy as Katsuki grabbed Kirishima’s hand! It’s also damn lucky for Izuku, because All For One may still be ignorant that All Might has passed on his quirk. But most of all it was a stirring moment, and that’s what I’m here for baby.

Speaking of All For One, dude is scary. He’s also really, really damn impressive. As he was mixing and matching quirks, I was reminded of Yao-momo’s earlier struggles, which in turn reminded me of the video game Magicka. (Stay with me.) Magicka was a video game that I found really fascinating, but I nonetheless did not much like. (Nor did I like it when its combat system was imported into the latest Gauntlet game.) It suffered from the problem of too many options: mixing and matching all the elements gave rise to endless permutations, but that made it really annoying to use in the middle of a battle. (That’s why most shooters give you just a few options, and ask you to flourish within those constraints. Restraint is power.) That was Yao-momo’s challenge too, the paralysis of choice. When you can do anything, how do you pick? All For One has that too, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s planned ahead, found combinations that he likes, and even if he seems to be relying on a few tricks more than others, that’s what you’ve got to do in that situation. And he still mixes it up. The guy is scary powerful, but he’s also wicked smart. No wonder he’s survived to do so much damage for so long.

Speaking of, Best Jeanist. Whether he’s dead or not, he reminds us once again that it’s not the quirks that matter. Best Jeanist’s quirk isn’t that impressive. It’s Best Jeanist himself that is impressive, for all his experience, his skill, his quick decision-making, and the steel in his spine. Even if he falls, he shows what it is to be a hero. Maybe he couldn’t get to #1 without a quirk as sterling as All Might’s, but #4 when all he can do is manipulate fabric? It’s not what you’re born with that matters, it’s what you make of it.

The big reveal this episode is that Shigaraki Tomura, AKA Shimura Tenko, is the descendant of Shimura Nana, friend of Gran Torino and the previous wielder of One For All prior to All Might. Which, hm. Not sure the relevance of that quite yet, to be honest. I’m sure it’s there, we just don’t know enough about the 7th user of One For All quite yet. Unless we are manga readers maybe, in which case don’t spoil it thanks.

Next episode, it appears the secret is out. I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to go down. I have a feeling All Might isn’t going to go out without one helluva bang.

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  1. Why do I root for the villains? Why do I feel glad when they escape? These are not just your typical superhero villains who just die because their own mistake or just too arrogant. One plus ultra point of Hero Academia is they also humanize all the characters including the villains. Mind you, what All For One did is bad but somehow I like how he helps the other villains to escape and cares for Tomura like the way All Might cares for Deku.

    One Pinch Man
    1. You shouldn’t root for the villains. They’re unrepentant killers. Doesn’t mean ya can’t enjoy watching them, though, nor get annoyed if excellent characters are wasted (which they’re not, here).

  2. It’s funny, I’ve actually seen a lot of anime-only viewers not pick up on the name connection, even with this episode. I guess it isn’t quite explicit so far, but the names are totally out there, Nana was even referred to just as Shimura last season.

    But oh well, sure it’s just a matter of time…..

  3. This guy lost many quirks , had his body irreversibly damaged and still is THIS strong ? and All Might had him visit death when both of them were in their prime ?
    Do the other heroes ( especially Endeavor ) have the slightest idea of the level difference between them and All Might ?

  4. Any thoughts on Mt.Lady’s minature character arc that was completed this episode, I also like to imagine that it, specifically the “prioritize the mission” line, was in some way influenced by Jeanist’s seriousness and his admonishment of her/tips, last episode.

    I also like her hero moment as a repudiation of Stain.

  5. What I liked about this episode is the real establishing of how the kids are clearly out of their depth. Many of them have famously tried to take on real villians. Sometimes they have had no choice but others they did. It’s worked out for them for the most part even though the powers that be have rather clearly said “don’t do that”. This time they knew just how out of their league they were and they focused just on a very smart rescue plan.

    1. Gran Torino made it clear to Midoriya that Stain wasn’t fighting them seriously. I think they really do a good job of showing that this isn’t a typical kids save the world type of situation.

    2. I agree with both of you. They are doing a good job overall of making it so everything doesn’t come down to the kids (adult pro heroes save them in the USJ incident, during Stain, and they barely muddle through (and lose one of their number) in the camp attack), but it still feels focused on the kids a lot since they’re in the thick of it, so it was nice seeing them realize (and act upon) how out of their depths they were.

  6. All For One is such a compelling villain. You’d expect someone as tyrannical as him to consider the league of villains merely a means to end, a commodity. But no. He really considers them part of the future he envisions, and as such, he gives them the same treatment he’d give a family of his, especially Shigaraki. I don’t know if that is who he is personally or just his way of manipulating the minds of his subjects (if his treatment of Shigaraki is anything to go by, I’d lean towards the former), but it works either way. A huge part of that is him taking in the son of the previous One For All successor. His methodology of taking in people who are supposed to be heroes (like Katsuki) or, in this case, related to heroes, means his intellect spans not just his organization, but society at large. Had she been alive, I’d like to hear what Shimura Nana would say about that, especially concerning her son, but alas, we only have her son, who has been completely converted. I don’t think it matters even if All For One is defeated here. He already won against All Might from an ideology perspective, which is bigger than a simple beat’em up, as Shigaraki would no doubt carry on his duties. A compelling villain indeed.

  7. Really liked what you said about constraints and limitations enhancing the story. In a lesser [most] shonen shows, Deku and the others would have said “screw the rules, it’s the right thing to do” and gone charging in, but here they found a better more creative solution that worked out best for all the good guys. I’m glad this show didn’t do that and pulled something more unexpected.

    Also, I want to give a shoutout to Mt. Lady for her last-minute save that let the kids escape. Despite how she’s been characterized so far as a somewhat self-serving layabout rookie, she’s a genuine hero. Despite being so battered, she still but everything she had left into protecting them; although, I don’t think the show displayed correctly how she did it. IIRC, that move is supposed to add the rate of her growth to the force of her hit, magnifying the power but also probably giving her a bigger headache. Otherwise, she probably would have lifted her hands to protect herself. She’s one of my favourite heroines outside the main cast.

    1. I didn’t know that about Mount Lady’s power! That makes her efforts even more amazing, and I agree I really love her as a heroine despite her somewhat selfish behavior.

      As much as I love the heroes I would kill for more pro heroines that really get to show off their skills and experience.

    2. @Roguespirit

      Thanks! Building in these limitations (writing yourself into a corner) really is a central part of good storytelling. It’s also hella hard (the standard plan you outlined is much easier—and I’ve used it myself in my own fiction), so I gotta give props when they’re due. As they so often are with HeroAca 😀

  8. I forget. Was anyone filming the fight? The preview shows that All Might’s normal form has been exposed to the public.

    God this show is so good. Every other week a single episode expands and changes the status quo, and nothing will ever be the same.

  9. This was a fascinating, heart-pounding episode. I was absolutely breathless when All Might slammed fist-first into All For One and the latter didn’t so much as budge.

    The awareness Bakugo showed with the League of Villains was also cool, as it reminded again that he’s so much more than just a hotheaded jerk. Deku’s plan was thrilling and I love how he banked on Kirishima and Bakugo’s friendship to be the lynch-pin. And Beast Jeanist, man I hope he didn’t die because that resole was awesome. I was happily surprised when Mount Lady got one last burst of resolve as well, in order to protect the kids!

    That said, was anyone else frustrated af that Yaoyorozu was completely left out of Deku’s plan?! I’m getting pretty depressed whenever the female heroes don’t get a shot to contribute. I mean, her power is literally creating inanimate objects! That couldn’t have played a part too?! (I hope this is rectified in the next ep. or else it’ll join the Missed Opportunities pile that is sadly amassing for me, as much as I adore HeroAca it doesn’t utilize its girls half as much as it could).

    1. Momo might not have been able to do much in terms of the actual rescuing of Bakugo but she had done a lot up to that point. She’s the one who made the masks that allowed many of them to survive the poison gas attack, she’s the reason they were able to track the villains whereabouts thanks to the tracking device she created and she was the one that got them into their disguises, allowing them to get to the Nomu factory undetected in the first place.

      The last arc was a great showcase for the girls being able to do their stuff, with Ochako briefly taking down Himeko without using her quirk, Kendo helping stop Mustard, both Ochako and Tsu helping catch Compress before he got away.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m always up for the girls having a chance to show their stuff, they’re such great characters here, but Momo had already done plenty to prove she wasn’t useless. Her quick thinking was what put them in a position to save Bakugo in the first place. She wasn’t useless.

    2. I thought the same thing [about Yao-momo], Ashen, but didn’t comment because of the things Roguespirit outlined. I get a bit touchy on the subject because female characters, both in anime/manga and elsewhere, are so often criminally underused and marginalized, so I’m on the lookout, y0. But HeroAca has a pretty good track record all things told, both of respecting its female characters (all of its characters) and of letting them strut they skillz. It’s bought some leeway.

      Honestly, my biggest persistent complaint is that none of the female students are in the main character group (of Izuku, Shouto, Katsuki, Iida)—maybe Ochako, arguably, but she’s only had supporting character plotlines so far, not the big multi-stage ones the others have had. Which is cool for someone like Tsuyu, her being a competent, unflappable rock is part (most) of why she’s so awesome, but I’d like to have one of the girls be in that main group.

      Still, sometimes it doesn’t work out like that. Or maybe it does later, and I just don’t know yet. That’s all really besides the current point anyway.

      1. I think this is more of a meta problem than anything else for right now. Of all the girls, Yaoyorozu is perhaps my favorite. I have a soft spot for the awkward, rich, sweet/spoiled-sweet girls. I find them so adorable. That being said, in shounen a lot of the girls tend to have a more support/utility type ability that you need to be a bit more creative to utilize for offense as apposed to a more direct attack type that a lot of the guys tend to have. To be fair though, the distribution of attack, defense, support, and utility seems to have a more even distribution among boys and girls in HeroAca.
        Yao-momo probably could have done a lot of things to assist, but that may have been the issue. She might have TOO many options for Izuku to factor into the plan, which was basically “become a rocket man”. Todoroki was basically needed because he could make a really long launchpad very quickly. I saw it as Yaoyorozu not necessarily having the best tools for that job, but then I could just be making up excuses because I really love the show and the manga.

        The Waker
      2. Agreed on it being a meta issue, and also that Yao-momo’s powers having SO MANY options makes it hard to factor in. There’s also the time it takes to create more complex (or larger) items to factor in. With more planning time, she’s great; just turn to her and be like, “I need a jet pack,” and done. But in the few seconds they had to plan, she probably wouldn’t be able to create something complex quickly enough, and it would be hard to factor in all the things she can do and pick the best one. It’s like with what I was talking about with FPS games in the main post: it’s easier to flourish within restraints than it is to have the option to create anything.

        All of which are back justifications for a decision that likely didn’t factor much or any of this in, and hinged more on simple math for Horikoshi-sensei: Kirishima needed to be on the rocket, Iida is a natural choice, Izuku needs to be there because main character, and it’s easier to have Shouto create the ramp. Problem solved, no need to complicate it further—and with no thought as to how it ends up sidelining the female character again. Mangaka have deadlines, after all, haha

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