“Say a God has fallen, prostrate upon the Earth and his divine soul has turned feeble and mortal…”

Boku no Hero Academia 326 – Who Are You Really?

A man stands in the rain, lost. The leather of his jacket sags heavily over the hunched skeleton of a fallen God. Remnants of his failures stretch as far as his sunken eyes can see. “At this point, you’re only getting in the way…” he says to himself. Yagi Toshinori wages war upon his shadow. “I’d give my life in an instant to protect my disciple, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell him to take time for himself,” he admits. We’ve recently addressed All Might as an ideal and Toshinori (the man) as evidence of how an ideal cannot be sustained by itself. Now we see the conflict between the heart and the mantle it once wore. A man is lost because he attributes his identity to the powers he once held. Truth be told, his values were born way before his gifts were received. It’s easy to forget these values are the real foundations of who we are, when we so easily get carried away by what we believe is our identity. “Powerless though I was, I refused to sit on the sidelines. I had to make the world a better place somehow.” A man is lost because he thinks himself broken.

The Judgement.

The crisis of the mentor is another unusual route Horikoshi takes in the Heroaca journey, one we don’t often find in shounen manga. We’re much too used to our heroes undergoing growth at the loss of their mentors, through grief. Now I see that this Toshinori x Stain confrontation has been building up for ages. Hero-goroshi Stain, the villain––or is he a vigilante of his own beliefs? Depends on who you ask. I believe it was GRRM who once said the greatest monsters of our history thought themselves the heroes of their stories, and sometimes a villain is the hero on the other side. Food for thought. Stain’s justice as his sword descends upon those he deems guilty is rooted in what he perceives as real heroism: not power and quirks, but souls brightly aflame in service of others, “…who succumb neither to chilling rain nor howling wind!” And what better judge to preside over the wallowing of a lost man? It was about time Toshinori realized his real role means way more than his powers ever did. The Symbol of Peace, a common goal toward which these select few orient their paths. And what of his disciple?

“Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery, hmm… but weakness, folly, failure also. Yes: failure, most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.”
– Master Yoda, The Last Jedi.

Why is Toshinori so ready to give his life for his disciple, but unable to tell him to rest? Midoriya Izuku and Yagi Toshinori are mirrors of one another, hence why Katsuki raged in Enji’s face about their carelessness in leaving these two to their own devices. The pressure of wearing the mantle created an incessant loop of fear reactions. “If you stop to rest, people will die.” Toshinori never allowed himself to be vulnerable. Of course he couldn’t stop Izuku; he never realized his own destructive behavior. And when he saw his protegée finally break down and ask for help, this sinks in. Stain leaves, and as a parting gesture opens a door to a new opportunity: for the man to act in alignment with his value, to be of service to society, to find himself again–never broken, simply lost.


  1. Never thought Stain would be the one to pull AM out of his depression. And I love the callback to the final fight with AFO with the woman All Might saved. Even after the war she refused to give up hope and believed in All Might.

    Seeing All Might breakdown and show vulnerability was a strong visual. He finally realised his own flaws and how he imparted them to Deku. I am glad to see Both character saw how bad self sacrifice is and now they can both truly move forward.

    And I bet that paper Stain left has information on all the villains AFO released from Jail

    1. I’m sooo curious about what’s written in that paper.

      Also, it’s quite cool how Stain has his own agenda–he might prove to be an unexpected variable for AFO (not to say he’ll end up joining the heroes, just that he might add pros and cons for both sides due to his own motivations/intentions).

  2. The woman that All Might saved saying: “I’m doing my best, You too, okay?” was such a panel. Having someone still cheering him on despite his retirement as well as the fallen Hero society is such a nice added note from Mr Star Head (no idea what he is called) from that previous chapter.

    1. Indeed it was! Sometimes the darkness takes over and we don’t see how much support we have from those who surround us, so it was lovely to see All Might recognize and fully accept that!

      Haha I called him Mr Stars too! I mean, he has such a strong aesthetic going on we might as well embrace it. Hoshi-jiisan (?)

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