Endeavor is a tricky character. Like Katsuki—who resembles him in many ways, as men possessed of personalities that should by all rights make them villains, but they are not—he is a difficult character two write properly. Katsuki is a bully who may have driven Izuku to suicide had he not met All Might; Endeavor is an abuser who has irreparably damaged his wife and his family. Neither of these are forgettable, and forgiveness should not be given readily. Only Endeavor is the worse of the two, because he did what he did while he was an adult, rather than the child Katsuki was, and still is. Painting an abuser as heroic is problematic.
Good writers often take on difficult challenges, and try to write tricky characters. Sometimes they even succeed.
Endeavor’s battle against the talking nomu was an excellent way of showing how he’s different than All Might. In this setting, All Might’s role was always closest to that of Superman: an undeniably powerful, morally unimpeachable, bastion of hope and justice and boy scout good honor. Sure, All Might is more interesting than recent Superman movie depictions, and he’s mortal in a way Superman is not, but he filled the same role in the way the public perceived him, to the point I could have imagined people worshipping him as well. Which makes Endeavor … well, any of the others. Green Lantern, Flash, even Batman if you want to ignore the superpower thing. Endeavor could never be a symbol like All Might because he’s not like All Might.
What this battle illustrated so well is that Endeavor is a different kind of hero. He’s not a bastion of hope. He’s not a positive symbol. Endeavor is a stubborn, surly bastard who will not give up, will not go down, and will not stop trying until he’s broken or won. He’s a bastard, but what he proved this day to the people of Japan is that he’s their bastard, and he’ll go to remarkable lengths to defeat the villains that threaten them. It’s not going to be pretty, there will be collateral damage, and he’s going to take damage like All Might never did; he’s going to bleed. But he’ll keep fighting. He’s his own kind of symbol, and just like All Might, as long as he wins, it’s okay. It’ll work. It’ll work.
Like I said, sometimes good writers take on difficult characters—damaged, twisted, cruel characters—and try to make them complex and relateable. They try to redeem these characters, or show them redeeming themselves. And sometimes they succeed.
Endeavor is not forgiven yet. He still is what he’s always been, a cruel awkward bastard who tries to do good even with the sins in his past, whether for self-aggrandisement or morality or an earnest desire to make amends or something else. What this episode did was add depth to that color, so that even if Endeavor remains problematic, he’ll at least be interesting.
Horikoshi-sensei is a good writer.
This fourth season has been a banger of a show. Everything about the Eri-chan arc was excellent, from the villains and the battles to Le Million becoming a worthy competitor to Izuku’s title as most badass heroic UA student. It also gave us some of the best moments—and the best episodes—of the series to date, which is an increasingly impressive feat since it’s hard for a series like Boku no Hero Academia to keep topping its best. Le Million’s stand? Izuku taking down Overhaul? Holy shit y’all, amazing!
The school festival arc was pretty good too. No slouch, but certainly on a different level from the prior arc, cuz damn. Though it’s good to have these lower tension arcs between the mega ones, otherwise the constant high tension can get exhausting.
Honestly, I’m going to cut it off there and keep it brief because by this point, I’ve said everything I wanted to say in all my posts. Instead I’ll just thank you all for reading, and say that I can’t wait until the fifth season is released. Stay safe out there, and like everyone says: Plus Ultra!