According to some vindictive chefs, revenge is a dish best served cold. However, since nobody whose mind is bent on vengeance is inclined to wait that long, revenge is usually served at temperatures reaching that of Earth’s sun. A common side dish for something of such blood boiling impossibility, is unprecedented screaming. and not just the loud kind, the kind of screaming that says, “I don’t care if my throat aches like nobody’s business after this, because I honestly am not thinking that far ahead and, in fact, am not even really planning to be alive long enough for that to matter.” You know, the mentality of a hero…
…okay, so it’s definitely not the mentality of a hero and that is entirely the point of Iida’s recent subplot. Consumed by rage for his fallen brother, our engine-legged friend sought out the villain responsible and promised to bring him down once and for all. Only it wasn’t for all, it was for him. An intensely personal desire that cannot be blamed for existing and one that has made its home in protagonists throughout the ages. The problem here is that Iida does not want to be a protagonist, he wants to be a hero. The irony of this revelation is that it is laid out by Stain, the vicious criminal dubbed Hero Killer. With his own impossible standards corrupting him to the point of villainy, Stain sees all too clearly the emotions consuming Iida and proceeds to inform him how unheroic he is. Hypocritical and evil as it is, Stain is not too far of base, with the reminder that Native (a currently paralysed Pro Hero) has been sitting off screen throughout this entire encounter and Iida’s complete disregard for the poor guy is pretty far off base for a good guy.
This is compounded further by the arrival of Midoriya, representative of justice that he is. From the get go, Midoriya runs through every conceivable option for escape, even musing that he would have already saved Iida, were Native not also in need of rescue. It is only after this that he decides to fight Stain, remarking that meddling in the affairs of others is what makes a hero and is summarily all that allows them to exist. With Iida clouded by rage, he would rather destroy himself fighting Stain than receive help from anybody, which is another notch against him. If that wasn’t enough, even Stain respects Midoriya’s attitude, believing him to be worth sparing, which is a brutally macabre sign that he is inching towards his goal. A brutally, blood lickingly, macabre sign.
If even this was not enough, Todoroki rounds out the rescue party, standing as the middle point between Midoriya and Stain in the Let’s Save Iida Brigade. However, Todoroki’s involvement doubles as a showing of how far he has come since the Sports Festival…which was, like, a few days ago. Reminiscing over his own soul consuming Fury, we are given a direct example of somebody who redeemed themselves and avoided the path of revenge. Furthered by Todoroki’s internal monologue about being better than such a corrupting emotion and acknowledgement of Midoriya’s help, a nice little chain of characterisation forms. From Stain, to Iida, to Todoroki, to Midoriya, we see a veritable rainbow of heroism and villainy. Though all are distinct in their actions, they all hold heroes in the same regard and wish to see the spirit of justice prevail…Stain just kills a bunch of guys to do so.
More presently speaking, the actual actions of the major players in alleyway anonymous are something to behold. With Midoriya showing his wall jumping lesson has not been forgotten, nor his Full Cowling, the former bundle of bruises and broken bones is able to land some blows on the Hero Killer and remain standing throughout the whole episode. Todoroki also remind us he is no slouch, utilising both his right and left sides in a temperature spanning display that both gives Stain something to think about and keeps the injured safe. Compounded by their judgement enabling them to deduce Stain’s Quirk, these two UA students manage to bring a whole lot of the Hero Killer to light and chip away at the mystery that strengthens his frightening facade. Not that he still isn’t frightening, what with the swords and blood licking and all.
The Nomu also continue to rampage across Hosu this episode, though they mainly exist to showcase Gran Torino as still competent and Endeavour as an actual hero, despite his behind-the-scenes jerkery. His brief discussion with Todoroki further supports the overall vibe of multi-family characterisation, by revealing that Endeavour actually thinks his actions through and works by the book, even phoning ahead to Hosu City to tell them he would be working in the area. Though he is still obviously far from an ideal hero, who I’m sure Stain would love a minute or two with, he is still a base positive for society. After all, if somebody saves you from a monster man whose brain is visible, you probably wouldn’t care if he had a strained relationship with his son.
And so we find ourselves once again left in the holding space that exists between episodes, waiting for that next decisive blow to be landed. Stain is full of himself, Iida is back in fighting form, or a recently non-profit paralysed facsimile thereof, and Todoroki can still fling elements with the best of them. There’s also Native, but my hopes of him doing anything are pretty much nil, given his excessive blood loss. Still, Pro Heroes are apparently on the way and ready to give Stain a good ol’ fashioned serving of that justice he raves about. Though, if said justice is poetic in nature, Iida will be the one to land the decisive blow. Not for revenge, but because it is the right thing to do…also a little but for revenge.
It’s fine now. Why? Because My Hero Academia is on Crunchyroll