It’s not as if Horikoshi-sensei discourages the Star Wars comparisons. He names most of his locations after Star Wars (though I can’t place “Daina” off the top of my head), and the series is peppered with references direct and oblique. But I’ve never felt the material connection more strongly than this season. We’ve transparently been going through the series’ Empire Strikes Back phase, and now the Izuku as Luke Skywalker thing is impossible to ignore. The question that begs most strongly, of course, is – just who is Izuku’s father? And that’s one Horikoshi has offered no clues at all on, unless one squints really hard and makes leaps of inference an Olympic event.
That only goes so far of course – unless one wants to think of the Hero Association as the Empire. But Gran Torino is certainly Yoda and Toshinori Obi-wan, which I think makes Shigaraki Darth Vader and All For One Palpatine (though some like to liken him to Vader, which fits with the wild theory that he’s Deku’s dad). You’ve even got Deku able to commune with dead “Force” users as Luke did. And while Toshinori is alive, All Might is dead – symbolically at least. Deku’s current relationship to him is not dissimilar to Luke’s to Obi-wan after the ending of “A New Hope”.
The story picks up in the aforementioned city of Daina, which has become a lawless wasteland just as seemingly everywhere else. A couple of familiar faces from the “Provisional License Exam” arc return – Ketsubutsu Academy’s Shindo You and Nakagame Tatami – to try and get the remaining citizens to evacuate to the school. They’re having none of it of course – they’ve turned vigilante, and having a couple of children come and try and get them to leave their homes and businesses to the wolves doesn’t improve their mood.
That argument becomes moot when another figure from Season 3 returns, the villain Muscular. He had rather a memorable battle with Deku then and landed some cutting verbal blows about the fallacy of the hero society. You and Tatami are no trouble for him whatsoever, but Deku arrives in the nick of time to save You from death (though not from harm). Deku is in full dark knight mode now but Muscular recognizes him immediately, and is thrilled to see him at that. Muscular wants nothing more than to kick ass to the fullest now that he’s a free man, and Deku is a much more interesting foil for him.
If anything is clear here, it’s that Izuku has gotten much better at utilizing the weapons available to him. Sixth user En’s “Smokescreen” is especially useful here. But the man is too, not just his quirk – he advised Deku to think of the predecessors’ quirks as tools to be used, and not to depend on them too much. Ultimately it’s the quirk he’s most familiar with that Deku uses to subdue Muscular, a “Detroit Smash” at 45% power. And thanks to the Yankee support items All Might has procured for him, he manages to do so without damaging his body any further than it already is.
As it happens, this is Izuku’s life now – roaming the country covertly, accompanied only by Toshinori for support. Toshinori knows full well what he’s placed on the boy’s shoulders, but seeing what all this does to Inko only reinforces the sense of guilt he (not unjustly) feels. That poor woman has suffered so much, and seemingly alone – whoever the father is we can safely say he hasn’t been around to support her (at least when we’ve been watching). And now Deku is in a situation where there’s nothing he can do to avoid his fate, play it safe – his path is set for him, one way or the other.
No question the most memorable line of the episode comes from Gran Torino, as in flashback we see Izuku visiting him in the hospital. He bemoans the fact that he wasn’t the one to kill Shigaraki, and to Izuku he says “Remember – sometimes you have to kill someone in order to save them”. Can one imagine Yoda saying that? Well, maybe not – though the Jedi certainly had no taboo against killing when they deemed it appropriate. But one could hardly link Shigaraki to Vader more strongly than that statement does.
It just dawned in me that the bad guys can easily get to deku through his mother as they know who he is. Is she under protection perhaps? Great episode and review.. Happy for them to leave the father mystery unresolved for deku at this point as it would almost seemed forced like rey’s origin.
It is kind of a weird superhero universe where no one has a secret identity and all friends and family should be in danger at all times.
Or they could do so by targeting his old UA classmates. It is a bit of a logic hole, I think.