It’s almost always the case with adaptations ongoing manga, of course, that the anime and manga run on different timelines. It seems especially acute with Boku no Hero Academia, though. The manga is in the very final stages, bringing to a close an astonishing success story even by Jump standards. I’ve read almost all of it but made a conscious decision to stop before the end, so that I could experience the ending fresh with the anime. Still I can’t help but think as I watch these events unfold how they reflect on that eventual climax. We don’t know how that will happen – Shuieshia has shown an increasing tendency with really huge franchises to end them in movie format. I sincerely hope that’s not the case here but if it is, I’m not going to wait around for them – I’ll read the manga.

This arc certainly has a “final battle” vibe to it, though it most assuredly isn’t. It ‘s playing out on eight fronts, though the coffin in the sky is really ground zero. That’s why Deku not being there is such a big problem – the one element of the All Might-Eraser-Takauchi plan that really went off the rails. The notion of Monoma-kun using “Copy” to slap “Erasure” on Shigaraki was a good one, but Shigaraki’s such a freak that even this doesn’t seal the deal. This weird explosion of arms thing isn’t even a quirk, he says – just his body growing out, like it was hair or nails.

The full extent of the problem is considerable. In theory Kurogiri’s “Warp” could be copied again and used to bring Izuku to the coffin – he phones (surprised everyone is getting bars) to request just that. But the problem is that the moment Monoma switches Copy to Warp, he has to drop Erasure. And that means all those hands of Shigaraki’s are going to be free to open a massive can of “Decay” on the coffin and everyone in it. Given that Aizawa-sensei estimates it would take at least ten seconds for Monoma to swap quirks and get Midoriya-kun back, that option is off the table.

Enter Toga Himiko. She was sent to far-off Okuto Island. with – let’s be honest – mostly “B” heroes is because she’s a total wild card. But that randomness turned the plan on its head, because she defied expectations by nabbing Deku. And she makes it clear why, though I think most of us apart from Deku already knew. She loves him, she says – flat-out, she wants him to be her lover (though the official subs censored this to “boyfriend”). He’s such a feckless innocent that the mere idea is ludicrous to Izuku. But even setting that aside, the gap in understanding between what that means to a normal human and what it means to Toga makes any sort of understanding effectively impossible.

I wouldn’t go so far as to call Toga sympathetic. But one does get a sense for what a tragic character she is in her own way. What she feels is her own personal equivalent of love – it’s just that she’s so twisted that it comes out terribly, terribly wrong. Her desire to possess in unquenchable. One could see a path where the other villains might be happy with a certain outcome to all this – they each have something they’re chasing that might be achievable. But I can’t imagine any scenario where Himiko Toga could ever be happy. Or satisfied. She’s going to go from one desperate attempt to sate her desires to the other until her luck runs out and someone ends her.

Tsuyu and Ochaco are right to want to get Deku out of there as quickly as possible. He is desperately needed at the coffin in the sky, and he’s incapable of looking at someone as broken as Toga and not being driven to try and help her somehow. Even Ochaco feels sympathy for the devil here, but she knows the stakes are too high for Izuku’s usual kindness to rule the day. As it stands it’s tough to see him covering 200 KM quickly enough to get back to the Shigaraki Stage in time for it to matter (though he applies several of One For All’s abilities to try) but nothing good could come of his being in the same place as Toga any longer.

The focus now, it seems, will turn to the battle of the brothers, facing off at All Might Square in Camino Ward (where the “You’re next” showdown took place). For Dabi, it’s a major disappointment that his father didn’t come to face him personally. Instead he gets his little brother and his father’s sidekicks. Touya is a contrast to Toga, someone who’s desires seem crystal clear. But it might not be so different for him either – I can’t imagine him deriving much satisfaction from this vengeance quest, whatever the outcome.



One Comment

  1. Toga Is sympathetic just in a different way compared to guys like Twicr and Gentle. Her family forced her to be “normal” and ignored her quirk. Sadly it was inevitable that she would snap.

    Zemo x2

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