「てめェの”個性”の話だ」 (Temee no “Kosei” no Hanashida)
“A Talk About Your Quirk”
This is huge. Everything is shifting. Whether it will be for better or worse will be determined by the next few moves.
I’m not surprised that Katsuki, Shouto, and Yoarashi didn’t pass. They didn’t deserve it. What I didn’t expect was that they will be able to get their provisional licenses soon anyway, without having to take the exam all over again. On the one hand, I’m kind of disappointed. It feels like they should suffer more for their failure, to learn. On the other hand though—and this is the larger hand, the more I think about it—I’m glad. Supremely so. Not only because a retake would have been tedious storytelling-wise, and its outcome would have been all but preordained (and thus, useless and a waste of time), but it also reaffirms the forward-looking and fundamentally kind worldview of Boku no Hero Academia. This is the story about the powerless nerd who becomes the new #1 hero. It’s a world where passion is rewarded, hard work is rewarded, and people who give it their all, even if they screw up, are rewarded for their attempt. Having Shouto and Yoarashi do all that and be discarded would have felt callous and cruel. Having them be nurtured into even greater heroes feels life-affirming. And Katsuki … I have a feeling the association wants to have a hand in guiding his development. He has so much potential, and he’s not so proud as to turn down a second chance, but he definitely needs work. I think this honey will capture and guide Katsuki’s potential far better than vinegar ever would.
Toga, though. That’s another one I should have expected, but did not. Now it makes sense why “Cammie” could turn into Ochako, and why she was so fanatically focused on Izuku. Why create another yandere girl after Izuku when the existing one will do fine? Two is too much of a coincidence/pattern. One is just right. It’s one of those reveals that’s perfect, though, because either you figured it out ahead of time (the clues were there), or you go “Ohhhh, that makes sense!” when it’s revealed, because once again, the clues were there. Either way, bravo, and I’m super frightened for what her having a drop of Izuku’s blood means for him.
All Might’s discussion with All For One struck me as … well. It was striking. It really does feel like All For One is playing chess while All Might is playing Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. So far, All For One’s scenario is all playing out like he expected, and it doesn’t feel like All Might has the power to turn it aside. His determination was stirring, but it felt hollow, like the protestations of a child or the griping of a lone citizen without the power to effect change. The latter of which is literally true. Not that I entirely disbelieve him, though.
The key, I think, is Katsuki. I think everyone thinks they know who he is, and they’re mostly wrong. I think most people also think they know who Izuku is, and they’re mostly right. Izuku is who he seems. But Katsuki is both what he seems, and more. I think he’s the key because he’s the X factor people are incorporating into their plans, but they’re doing it wrong. I think he’ll be the one who sets things into motion so that the good guys win in the end, because there’s strength in that boy’s soul. He’s going to make an impact. And perhaps only Eraser head has him pegged correctly.
And maybe Izuku, too. It’s no surprise that Katsuki figured out how Izuku got his Quirk, with only one slight misunderstanding vis a vis All For One that makes it sound like Katsuki thinks All For One had a direct hand in transferring All Might’s power to Izuku (or maybe I misread that statement; Katsuki isn’t acting like he thinks Izuku and All Might consorted with a villain). Like I said, no surprise. Katsuki is the kind of guy who would see straight through Clark Kent’s disguise. What matters is Izuku’s response. He could lie. He could deny it. He could run away. He could even gaslight Katsuki for the rest of their lives. Some of these things could even be argued to be wise, because the secret of One For All is too great to let out into the world. Izuku was already reckless to let even a hint get out to someone he doesn’t trust fully.
But he already made that mistake, and that was the crucial piece Katsuki needed to collect all the rest. Izuku’s choice now is whether to face Katsuki head on, to accept his feelings and work through it together with him (with their fists), or to cover his own ass. I think we all know what his answer is. As I said, I think most people think they know who Izuku is, and they’re mostly right. He’ll do the right thing, and he’ll keep his faith in Katsuki, a bully who is exactly that, but also more. What remains to be seen is whether his faith will be rewarded. I have a feeling it will be, in the fullness of time, but things could get rough in the short term if Izuku doesn’t thread this needle perfectly.
- Ochako just can’t get that boy out of her heart.
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.