「エンカウンター2」 (Enkauntaa 2)
We’ve seen the heroes have some pretty bad days in HeroAca, but this is taking it up a notch. They certainly can’t complain about not getting the matchup they wanted – it’s the #1 hero taking on the #1 villain. But Endeavor is clearly no match for Shigaraki – not as he is now. It’s one of those everything that can go wrong does go wrong scenarios, and the threat level for society is higher than it has been at any point in the series. It’s at times like this when one really appreciates how cruel a blow losing All Might really was.
Endeavor does his best, but even his “Hellfire” can’t do any (permanent) damage against Shigaraki. Super regeneration is one of the stolen quirks he inherited from All For One. It’s not discussed directly but there’s another benefit for Shigaraki from those four months of hell besides his quirk enhancements – he’s pretty much impervious to pain at this point. If you can’t kill him you aren’t going to stop him, and Endeavor clearly can’t kill him. Not on his own, anyway.
The only fly in the ointment for Shigaraki is the nagging voice in his head (you know whose) telling him he has to steal One For All. And because one of his lifted quirk catalog is Ragdoll’s “Search” it’s not difficult to find it – unluckily, she saw Deku not long before her quirk was stolen (one gets a sense of the almost Togashi-like level of planning Horikoshi put into setting this arc up). In truth, though, that’s not the worst break for the heroes. Once Deku finds out (thanks to the communicator) that Shigaraki is hunting for him, he can lure Shigaraki away from where the civilians are retreating.
In case one forgot – and it’s easy to – almost nobody knows Izuku has One For All. Endeavor certainly doesn’t. Kacchan does of course, which means he can see what Izuku is up to immediately and follows along – ostensibly for the chance to take revenge on Shigaraki, but undoubtedly for more complicated reasons than that (sorry Kacchan – he is the MC, whether you like it or not). One could argue that the time to keep this a secret has passed – doesn’t it put the heroes at a disadvantage here? It’s debatable – but then, they had no way of knowing Shigaraki could use “Search”, so to the few who did know, keeping Deku’s ability a secret probably seemed like the best way of protecting him.
Fortunately for the two boys, Gran Torino is one of the few who does know – including the fact that Bakugo does too. And he figures out what they’re up to almost immediately, which means he can get to them (just) before Shigaraki does. He’s right of course – they’d have no chance against this Shigaraki as the two of them are now, and the only chance any of them have is an “all hands on deck” coordinated effort. The best thing Izuku can do for the moment is hide, because the worst thing that could happen for anybody is if the already OP Shigaraki can add One For All to his arsenal.
Eraser is the key to any chance they have – that’s why Crust sacrificed himself to save him. Nobody else’s quirk can make a dent against Shigaraki unless it’s piggybacking on Aizawa-sensei’s. And while it wasn’t the original purpose, one impact of Izuku’s flight is that it’s brought Shigaraki into Aizawa’s field of vision. That would seem to make him vulnerable to Endeavor’s attacks at last – but there’s one more benefit Shigaraki got out of those four months. He has nomu-like physical prowess – meaning he’s capable of superhuman feats of strength and agility even when his quirk(s) are neutralized.
If that’s all the heroes had to overcome, they’d stand a fighting chance of overpowering Shigaraki through sheer numbers. But the enemy has planned this meticulously. With Shigaraki awake, Gigantomachia is finally on the move. And – though just how they escaped “Decay” isn’t spelled out – the nomus emerge from the wreckage of the hospital under orders to kill any humans they come across. The heroes can’t totally sell out to take down Shigaraki if it means leaving the populace to be slaughtered. That’s the disadvantage they take into every battle – they’re fighting with limitations the villains are not. The odds are anything but even here.