「谷いずくと信楽戸村」 (Midoriya Izuku to Shigaraki Tomura)
“Izuku Midoriya and Tomura Shigaraki”

I’m going to keep harping on this (sorry) because it’s no less true than it was. People just don’t give Boku no Hero Academia enough credit. It’s seriously great most of the time, first of all. Season 5 less than the others (partly because of mostly necessary but detrimental changes in the adaptation), but most of the time truly elite. Also because it remains a true blockbuster, massively popular internationally and domestically. The series has seen a dramatic increase in manga sales over the past year, almost unheard of for a “Jump” title at this stage of its life cycle. Horikoshi-sensei deserves way more respect than he gets.

Season 6 has been a glorious renaissance for HeroAca, as even most of the fans seem to grudgingly admit. This passage is some of the strongest in the entire series despite focusing relatively little on Izuku. As I said this is Horikoshi’s “Empire Strikes Back”, and since that was the best the Star Wars canon ever was and Hori is a humongous fanboy, it’s not surprising that he’s achieving something of the same dark grace. The rise in prominence of characters like Endeavor and Hawks has allowed him to flex a different sort of literary muscle, and I think it’s clear he’s enjoyed it. This is passionate, forceful, and articulate shounen – and eventually it will be recognized as some of the best of the modern era.

One element that’s little-discussed is that the past few arcs have on a very basic level focused more on adults and less on teenagers. That in itself is rare for this sort of series, and that in itself has ushered in a very different tone and feel to the story. But more, Izuku and Toshinori have been largely out of the spotlight for a long time. And that’s prompted a lot of commentary on how Deku’s arc is boring, and how he’s less interesting than the likes of Endeavor. And that’s fine, everyone has different preferences in a big series like this. But for me, those two are the heart of Boku no Hero Academia in a very fundamental way, and I’m happy to see them re-emerge as the key figures.

Deku is the hero of this series for a reason. And he showed that this week, in no uncertain terms. And the focus on One For All means All Might, largely sidelined for a very long time, is finally relevant to the central plot again. This ep was a bit of an infodump and a lot of it was critical, but the emotional side of it is what really stood out. We learn so much here – the power of One For All has been growing. The fourth holder, Shinomori Hikage (Morikawa Toshiyuki) – he of “Danger Sense” – emerges as a key player here. Part of his entry in Toshinori’s notes was scratched out, and now we know why – he died of old age at 40.

Obviously this seems incredibly ominous for Midoriya-kun. But there’s a wrinkle here – the rise in OFA’s power has allowed the dead wielders to materialize and compare notes, and the recurring theme is that their bodies couldn’t handle OFA because they already had quirks. Toshinori, however, did not – and thus he was able to wield its power as “his” quirk. He has this in common with Deku, which theoretically means Deku might be able to sustainably carry its weight too. But the dark side of this is that he won’t be able to pass it on unless he finds another young soul with no quirk and the right makeup – and quirkless people are increasingly rare in this world. And people of Deku’s character are even more rare.

The truth is, it’s not only being quirkless that made Izuku the right person to wield One For All – and to be the #1 hero-in-waiting. He also shares All Might’s faith in justice (even if it may be misplaced), and a limitless capacity for empathy. That’s what allows him to look even at Shigaraki and see him as someone worth saving. He’s wrong by every logical metric, but that’s not the point. Someone has to be the one to see everyone as worth saving, even if their own grandmother is saying they’re not. Izuku understands the nature of One For All as well as anyone ever could. It’s not as if All Might was the smartest or most logical person in the world, but he was the symbol of peace because he believed in an ideal. Someone has to.

Redemption has been a major theme – the theme, probably – of the last arc. Shimura herself calls Shigaraki “unredeemable”, but what does that mean, exactly? Endeavor can’t be tarred with the same brush as Shigaraki, obviously. But redemption seems like a stretch for him, too. Nevertheless what choice is there? He and Hawks can apologize all they want (Best Jeanist – even more absurd in a suit – notably has nothing to apologize for), but that changes nothing. Apologies are meaningless, only actions matter. Call that redemption or not, that’s debatable. But all he can do is accept the responsibility for what he’s done and try to minimize the collateral damage.

Deku’s next act of heroism is to remove himself from the orbit of the other students and face the future without their support. The secret is out now – All Might realizes that there’s no point in trying to cover it up any longer. Izuku’s friends feel betrayed of course, intermingled with fear for his well-being physical and emotional. But what was he to do? All Might is critical in supporting him now, because the other OFA holders are all Deku has – and All Might, critically, is the only one who remains in this world. Wasted as he is physically, All Might still has a crucial role to play in the final act, and I’m heartily glad of it.




  1. We now return to Batman Deku. From what I hear this arc is very divisive. I can’t tell either way as of now, but I can tell the ending of this episode was HORRIBLY rushed, and they did Uraraka dirty. We don’t even get to see Deku wake up, and come to grips with what’s happened since he was out, although the preview hints we may see some of that next week.

    1. LOL same as in manga that stuff doesn’t happen till next ep anyway
      how did Ochaco get done dirty they actually showed more of her reaction here than in manga same as Class A

      Bill Plunderbones
      1. I’m speaking of in general, in all seasons. She peaked in being excellently written in the tournament, and then slowly declined in all seasons thereafter being reduced to either a melting puddle of romantic feelings for Deku, being paired with other female heroes only to achieve some act that serves Deku in the end, or just being the brunt of fanservice for absolutely no goddamn reason.


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