If there is one thing that fiction has ill prepared the world for, it is the aftermath to climactic conflict. The bad guy falls, the good guy stands, the movie ends and that’s all she wrote. Sure the hero may get a kiss in before the credits roll and people rush off entirely too fast to leave the cinema, but the rest, more or less, is silence. But let us say, for the sake of argument, that the world upon the screen did not end when Johnny McEvil was bested, that another evil perhaps sought to fill the proverbial void and reign chaos down upon the temporarily jubilant populace? Well, you get a sequel…but what if they didn’t wait that long?
With Stain captured and taking a little time off to heal from his burns and shattered bones (before being transported to whatever maximum security prison can hold a guy who can paralyse via blood and wears enough blades to make a cutlery drawer blush), the world at large is in a bit of a shambles. Though villainy is nothing new to the world of My Hero Academia, Stain stands as the first representative of something heretofore unforeseen in the circuit of evil; Ideology. With his belief that heroism is dead and has given way to capitalism and selfishness, Stain fought for something more than himself and, as twisted as his world view may have been, he was not entirely wrong. As funny as she is, Mount Lady is entirely selfish. Endeavour couldn’t care less about anything other than his ranking, a fact his home life has painfully shown. And though not every Pro Hero follows this pattern, that any do is enough for Stain’s words to resonate with a certain percent of the populace. And resonate they do.
Far and away one of the more interesting facets of this series, Stain’s capture focuses on the dark side of admiration. As All Might is the Symbol of Peace, Stain is the Symbol of Revolution. Having called attention to the corruption of heroism, villains the world over have found a new method of justification. They’re not wrong for murdering people, or threatening the populace, or stealing, it’s the heroes who are wrong. Heroes shaped society into what is is today and they who determined who is considered a villain. So it stands to reason that, once the heroes are gone, the downtrodden villains will be free. Defeating Stain didn’t stop a Hero Killer, it created a martyr that will seemingly echo throughout this series for quite some time…and that’s kind of awesome. With Stain being both found and defeated so quickly after appearing in the series, I was a little worried about the flow of Iida’s subplot. However, with the revelation of Stain’s impact on the world, I realise that Iida’s story was of little consequence, as was Stain himself. None of these villains crawling out of the woodwork know Stain, none of them even met him and yet they are willing to follow his example and tear down society. It doesn’t matter who he is and it never did. Chizome Akaguro is inconsequential. The Hero Killer is more than a name now, it is an idea. And that is far harder to destroy than a man.
Speaking of destruction, My Hero Academia apparently has a penchant for doling out some serious damage to people’s hands. Lampshaded by Todoroki himself, every major conflict in which he takes part result in somebody severely injuring their digits. Previously seen with Midoriya and his to this day painful to think about Delaware Smash barrage, the curse has fallen to Iida this time around. Although, as cruel as it sounds, I am pretty happy with that fact. Following the trend of this story, actions have consequences and problems are not simply swept away by the changing of a story arc. Stain inspired villains and they shall soon rise. Iida tore a serrated blade out of his body using his teeth, something that leaves all kinds of literal and metaphorical scars. Though not enough to end his career and role in the series, especially considering he is a leg based hero, Iida is still left with a reminder of what he went through and we as an audience are shown that, even in a world of superpowers, a simple knife can be devastating in the right hands. Now just imagine the hell that would spread if Shigaraki was a more competent combatant…
Although, all things considered, the guy is pretty damn lucky. Not only did Stain distract the populace enough that the Nomu were largely ignored, but what should have been a hindrance to his plan actually served as a colossal boon. So now we find ourselves with an underprepared and largely unskilled villain about to helm perhaps the greatest force of chaos ever assembled…which is less than inspiring. Hints continue to emerge, however, that Shigaraki’s teacher is in fact far more intelligent and leading events from behind the scenes. Also, he may have an ability called All for One and is the person who gave All Might his debilitating injury…and also killed the previous One for All Holder. Which seems like a really, really big deal. Like, the biggest deal. And as much as I want to see the one pulling the evil strings of this series, anyone who can punch All Might’s stomach in is not somebody I ever want to meet.
So, this week turned out to be much more interesting than first anticipated. Though still very much a cool down episode, the progression of Stain’s story made sure the proverbial foot never left the pedal (even if the internet video proclaiming his ideology cleverly edited out the part where he fell unconscious). Combined with the revelation that a being with the Musketeerian second half of All Might’s Quirk exists and is very much still alive, the future of our heroes is looking rather uncertain. That being said, the idea of a plotline directly involving All Might sounds rather enticing…and potentially devastating to the infrastructure of the world. I mean, All Might alone can punch a storm into existence and now there’s a bad guy with that level of power? Unsettling doesn’t even begin to describe it…
It’s fine now. Why? Because My Hero Academia is on Crunchyroll