There’s something quite touching about watching Toshinori, formerly the most formidable hero in the land, trying to act like a parent to Deku now. Because, honestly, that’s all he can do – bring him bentos, give him rides, and worry about whether he’s getting enough sleep. He knows he’s largely responsible for Deku being in this situation of course, but the pathos goes deeper than that. This whole affair is a reminder of how everything has slipped out of the heroes’ control – the fate of the country is in the hands of a kid, and 130+ episodes of hand-wringing about protecting the youngsters amounts to absolutely nothing when the chips are down.
This is the underlying truth of the latter arcs especially of Boku no Hero Academia. Hero society is a house of cards at best, and an abject fraud at worst. It’s been hinted at for a long time (not least in the “Vigilantes” spinoff manga), most cogently in the Stain arc. That was as great as it was because deep down we knew Stain was right, at least to a point (Stain embodies both the 1964 Goldwater campaign slogan and the Johnson rebuttal). Even in the superficially lighter School Festival Arc Gentle Criminal and La Brava pick at that scab. But it’s now where it real flowers in all its glory.
Obviously, this has evolved into a full-on final battle between All For One and One For All. As such, it would be nice if Izuku had all of OFA working for him – but he hasn’t so far. That’s because the second (Ono Daisuke) and third (Suzuki Ryouta) users have been holding out – conspicuously turned towards the wall every time we’ve seen the star chamber. The others (led by the original of course) do their best to convince them to come on board. But in the end the only persuasive argument is “what choice do we have?” And it’s deeply symbolic that those two end up going along anyway.
That’s the thing – the best argument the heroes have at this point is “yeah, but the other guys are worse” (if that sounds too much like whatever your domestic political situation is, my apologies). Hero society is a sham, a mirage – but with the quirk genie out of the bottle, it’s the best hope the world has. At least some good people (like Toshinori and Izuku) wind up in that camp. As I watch the current big three (especially #1) being attacked by an angry mob, I can’t help but wonder what the public’s opinion of All Might is at this point. Having faded from view before it all went so wrong is he insulated from the people’s current ire, or would they tar him with the same brush?
Deku’s game here is simple – to draw out his enemy and force a confrontation before they’re at full strength. The big three are playing a chancy game here, trying to stay close enough to pounce if he succeeds but not so close as to reveal that they’re working with him (if nothing else to shield him from the angry mob). Hawks, always the deepest thinker of the group, reasons that All For One needs to take Deku alive for the simple reason that until Shigaraki is groomed properly, he’s not strong enough to steal One For All. He warns Deku about the one escapee from Tartarus who might just be able to pull that off.
We caught a brief glimpse of Lady Nagant (Tanezaki Atsumi) when that escape was taking place, but she’s someone we know very little about. Most relevant is seemingly that she’s a former hero, and one who killed her partner at that. She’s also someone who hates hero society and wants to see it crumble – which is the carrot All For One dangles in front of her as he coerces her into fetching Deku for him. The most interesting question, of course, is what happened to make Nagant like this? She doesn’t come off as manic or a sociopath – just a very calm, reasonable villain who wants to bring the world to its knees.
Lady Nagant – with a barely-coherent Overhaul in tow – tracks Deku down and uses her “Rifle” ability (she’s the sharpest shooter in Japan, apparently) to disable Deku’s homing and communications device. He’s cut off from All Might and on his own, but with his bag of quirks (especially “Danger Sense”) he’s able to evade her initial barrage (and remember, she needs him alive). She’s got her own bag of tricks, though – All For One has gifted her at least one quirk, “Air Walk”, to aid her in the hunt. This is what both sides want – AFO to find Deku and Deku to be found – but each need what follows to happen on their terms.
Lady Nagant is one of my favourite villains from mha. I say more but I do not want to spoil anything (so no deleting my fucking comments this time)
I freaking love this season and the quality of writing in MHA overall. There isn’t one dialogue scene that feels pointless or long-winded. The story keeps introducing interesting characters with cool designs and creative abilities. Lady Nagant is really charismatic. And I thought I heard Ono Daisuke when the OFA user (the third?) spoke, glad that my hunch was confirmed.