「始まりの」 (Hajimarino)
“His Start”

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.

Mostly it will 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.

Final Impressions

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!

My novels are available now (Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics). Sign up for my email list for updates, or follow me at stephenwgee.com for miscellaneous blogging.

22 Comments

  1. Love this season like all seasons and thanks for the Le Million reminder as that was also a quite an epic fight. Loved how they handled Endeavor in this arc. I never thought I would be rooting for the man but gawd damn i was and yes…I got goosebumps throughout this fight. Kudos to all involved and thanks for reviews Stilts. Stay safe all and lets look forward to season 5!

    Kurik
  2. Oh man stop calling Endeavour a bastard! I actually love his not perfect charecter. I can only say I know people like him irl that I relate to Todoroki but even bad guys, some of them, have a reason and some of them will try to seek forgiveness many years on. I used to hate him but now I love him? I agree on good writing!

    I have only one thing to say, for me this season had 4 good episodes, 2 heart breaking episodes, and 2 minuets of cringe (only cringe because I am ashamed I loved it!!).

    Eri-chan is the hardest thus far and most boring arc I have ever seen, it is like the Zabuza arc of Naruto, it was only good near the end when the fights broke out but even then, the only thing about that arc was Sir NightEye and the third-year trio. The ending that Overhaul had broke my heart, he desrved it for what he did to Meriyo and others, and Sir Nighteye, ,but it was one of those stories that I cannot stand. Even the arc with Gentle, I really really really really really HOPE they have a connection for the future otherwise I loved the charecters, I just could not care for them.

    I love your reviews 😛 I really do, I have been a silent reader for a while but I am letting them feelings flow.¬__¬ nd it ain’t good for closet readers like me!!

    Mi-Chan
    1. You are obviously in the minority because everyone loves Eri. Seriously what the fuck was boring about the first arc? How can you say Mirio sacrifice, overhaul turning kaiju and the Tomura kicking ass boring?

      Also gentle is an awesome vision and the retuval arc was sweet.

      Tayo Jones
      1. there were some moments, but none of them for me made me care for Eri, it reminded me of bleach fillers, I dk how to explain it, I had to force myself to watch it until Miro’s and his octopus friend fight started, the stuff leading to that was just .. i would not watch it again for sure.

        Mi-Chan
  3. Good writers often take on difficult challenges, and try to write tricky characters. Sometimes they even succeed.

    Well put. But at least for me, he didn’t succeed.

    I must confess that Horikoshi’s writing of Endeavor has forever soured my relationship with MHA; the anime has just followed in his footsteps. The reason is a clash of principles: not the principle that a character like Endeavor can atone or be redeemed, but the way that atonement or redemption is presented. Horikoshi treats Endeavor’s sins of the past fundamentally as a family matter, not as a public crime. That if Endeavor managed to become a better man and his family chooses to forgive him, everything is well in the world.

    Already the moral of Todoroki’s revelations in his duel with Midoriya made me a bit uncomfortable. I actually commented on it in this very site, in the review for episode 23 (time flies). Sadly, the series confirmed all my fears. And spoiler alert, this is one thing that won’t change in the future.

    I admit I’m biased. I work in the justice system and I’ve lost count of how many cases I’ve seen of domestic abuse where the abusers promise to be better and the victims forgive them, no matter how heinous the abuse has been, only to repeat the vicious cycle again. Thus, I’m particularly sensitive to the way Endeavor’s arc is handled, for this is the kind of dirty linen that should be washed in public. Insisting on making it a purely personal issue for Todoroki’s family is something I can’t condone.

    Mistic
    1. The problem with Endeavor case is that he is a famous public figure.
      Let’s say all the family problems are exposed to the public, and Endeavor goes to jail. Then what.

      Not only people will see what it was supposed to be as the new symbol was just someone bad, and everyone will panic and the repercussions will be really bad… Not only that, but his family will suffer as well.
      He was known by almost everyone (he is/was the number one hero), and now, EVERYONE will remember to Todoroki and the rest what happened in their family (even if it’s just a “sorry for what happened”) and they would be unable to move forward.

      I know what are you talking about, but I think in this case it was better to leave it that way without exposing the stuff to the public.

      ChocoBar
      1. Guys. Try to keep an open mind. Enji retreats his actions and tries to repent later on. In fact I think the writer is going to reveal the abuse to the public later in the story. I mean this isn’t Steven Universe. Sho still has not forgiven his father neither has Natsuo. The writer is treating this issue quite seriously unlike SU where space tyrants are forgiven just because they are “misunderstood”.

        Tayo Jones
        1. In fact I think the writer is going to reveal the abuse to the public later in the story.

          Really? I myself am getting the opposite vibes. Nevertheless, I’d like that development. Not just from the perspective of justice, but also from the perspective of drama. “Top Hero revealed as a domestic abuser” is the kind of scandal plot that writes itself.

          Sadly, nothing I’ve seen in the manga gives me the impression that the author is going for that approach. Time will tell, I guess.

          Mistic
      2. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind if the lack of public addressing was done due to pragmatic reasons. Like a meeting of higher-ups saying “yes, we know he’s an abuser, but the country needs a hero now that All-Might is gone”, or something like that. It would highlight the darker parts of the hero community and reinforce the previous message that Stain had a point.

        Problem is, that’s not what the series has shown so far. Not in the anime, not in the manga. As I said, it’s left as a personal matter. And nobody questions it, not even those who haven’t forgiven Endeavor for what he did 🙁

        Mistic
        1. Making it public? I HIGHLY doubt that as Japanese culture would never make things public unless someones dies. The mangaka being Japanese and setting in modern Japan, I really don’t see it emerging to the public. Plus it would ultimately take from the story presented and that is Endeavor being the new symbol of hope and him trying to make amends to his family about the past.

          Passa
    2. @Mistic

      You’ll notice I never said Horikoshi-sensei has succeeded with Endeavor. I only said that he’s a good writer, and that Endeavor is more interesting than he was. Horikoshi-sensei’s success (or lack thereof) remains to be seen, and Endeavor’s crimes will always stain his positive actions.

  4. Al Mighty did bleed, too. But it is a secret and the Reason that his Flame is not that Strong anymore and put a strain on his Body,

    I think it was explained in Season 1

    worldwidedepp
  5. Very well said. I’ll also add that I love that Endeavor, rather than All Might, is the hero Hawks looks up to, because he can relate to him on a personal level. Makes the whole thing delightfully different. His fight was the best way to end this season. That being said, it’s gonna take a looooong time before any shred of forgiveness can ever be shown. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be, as this episode and the one before it showed.

  6. This first half of this season was difficult to get through. Sure I grew to somewhat care about Eri, Mirio, and Nighteye. Overhaul was pretty interesting by the end too, but everything else brought the arc to a crawl. They introduced so many other characters and I can easily say I didn’t care about any of them. We had entire episodes dedicated to some of them and they were some of the most boring episodes I’ve had to watch in this entire series.

    The second half ironically enough introduced Gentle and La Brava who were miles more interesting and entertaining than most of the characters in the first arc. I hope we get to see more of them in the future. I also really enjoyed this final episode.

    Avalon
  7. I am really hoping for the LOV to expose Endeavor’s domestic abuse at the worst possible moment, after he tried his best to be a better man. My issue with this ‘redemption’ arc is that instead of working extra hard at his day job, Enji should have instead apologized more to his family. His ability to do his job and his abuse towards his family are two completely separate issues.

    Yes he is great at his job, putting his own life at risk to protect others. But yes he is also a horrible father and husband who beat his wife and kids. I am hoping Hori is setting this all up for big reveal from one of the villains, to further crush hero society, instead of setting this up as career improvement = better family member.

    Noodlez

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