When dealing with the fictitious legions of villainy, and other assorted vileness, there is always a top dog, one who commands in the aim of conquering. They may not always be the best at all things evil, but they possess an ability frightening enough to inspire loyalty in those who revel in chaos. That being said, there are a select few who are both cunning and powerful, threats who even the best-of-the-best fear. And wouldn’t you know it, this just so happens to be one of those times. All For One is here…and he isn’t playing nice.
So, that didn’t turn out how we thought it would. The Pro Heroes were so close to wrapping up the bad guys and calling it a day, then the most powerful villain in history decided to turn up and roger things rightly. Of course, by that lovely turn of phrase, I mean he looked in a direction and took Beast Jeanist down without so much as moving. Props to the denim dynamo for not only surviving, but managing to save every other hero on the scene. Of course, all he got for his trouble was a gaping hole in his stomach, but still. Said exchange also has the added effect of really driving home how evil All For One is, you know, in case you hadn’t figured it out by now. We are also definitively shown how large the gap in power is between All For One and everybody else on the planet. Even All Might is unable to topple the villain by episode’s end, despite his colossal strength. What’s most interesting however, is how All For One produces his insane level of power.
With a Quirk that every child would pick in a schoolyard discussion, All For One possesses an inherently unique manner of combat. Able to steal a seemingly limitless number of Quirks from others, All For One is able to adapt to a frightening number of situations, scrolling through his power wheel at whim. But that’s not the best/worst of it. With so many skills in his arsenal, All For One is also capable of combining Quirks, augmenting their original effects by magnitudes. Even at its simplest level, such as combining a Quirk that enhances physical strength with another Quirk that does the same, this concept is truly fearsome. Such an idea has really only been hypothesised within the realm of the series, namely in regards to the what-if of All Might granting One For All to somebody who already possessed a Quirk of their own. With this in mind, All For One stands as more of a twisted mirror to All Might than his name implies. Whereas All Might is the culmination of the strength of those who came before him, and Midoriya training to assume the same mantle, All For One is the realisation of selfishness. Despite constantly accruing new abilities, All For One has never passed the bulk of his power onwards. Sure, he is training Shigaraki, but that only serves to fuel the constant comparison of villainy to heroism in this series, rather than paint the Symbol of Evil in any kind of positive light.
Speaking of Shigaraki, he is far more integral to this tale than we previously believed. The dude hates All Might, we get it. All Might is the symbol of all that stands in Shigaraki’s way and the pinnacle of idealism and justice, otherwise known as the prime target to aim at when attempting to topple good. But again, we know this. What we didn’t know, however, is that Tomura Shigaraki is not his real name. Not that his name was ever his defining feature, or that his true name will mean anything to you, which is Tenko Shimura by the way. At least, it won’t mean anything until All For One starts boasting like a horrifying jackanapes, mocking the previous holder of One For All: Nana Shimura. Now, I can’t say for sure that Shimura isn’t a super common surname, but, given how fiction works, I highly doubt that angle. Plus, it’d be a real jerk bag move if All For One took the son of All Might’s mentor and twisted him to villainy. Like, the kind of move that makes me hate All For One even more than I did and he’s the guy who may have killed Best Jeanist. Also, he tried to kill Mt. Lady, which is so not cool. Imagine how sad Kamui Woods would be…maybe. Regardless, knowing the series and Midoriya, Shigaraki may have just shifted from the list of people we want removed from the picture, to the list of people our stubborn main character wants to save. Which I’m sure will unfold flawlessly.
Untold forces of villainy aside, for just a hot second, things are not looking too good for our pal All Might. With a foe who can challenge, if not best, him in raw power and a cadre of heroes and citizens far too close for comfort, All Might will have to pull out everything he has to save the day this time. If that wasn’t enough, his limit on using One For All has been pushed to a hereto unforeseen level, half of his body having reverted to his emaciated true form. The clash with the original Nomu way back when already saw All Might go beyond his limits and that fight seems like child’s play compared to now. Not only does All For One hold the aforementioned surplus of physical power, there’s no telling what fraction of his collected Quirks we’ve seen. The guy could have laser eyes for all we know, or the ability to breath fire, maybe even kung fu grip, the possibilities are frighteningly limitless. Villainy also tends to care little for collateral damage, so a few broken buildings and people are not difficult to imagine occurring in the near future. You know, more than have already happened thus far. Poor Best Jeanist…
Not to dwell on the abject horror unfolding before us, this episode also included a rather hefty win for the good guys. Despite the selfish folly of their actions, Kirishima and crew actually manage to save Bakugo from the grip of Shigaraki and the League of Villains. Though most of their time is spent visually representing the fear felt by all those who witness All For One, the group (well, Midoriya) manages to formulate an energetic rescue plan that just looks awesome in practice. Sure, it was a gamble and Bakugo may have been re-captured by facepalm himself, but man was it cool. However, despite the Full Cowling and Recipro Bursts and ice, the most endearingly cool element of the rescue plan was the acknowledgement of Kirishima and Bakugo’s friendship. With the best Midoriya can achieve being a begrudging co-operation, Kirishima is able to bypass the Bakugo Disbelief Barrier and immediately garner his faith in their stupid plan. It’s about as sweet as you can get where Bakugo is concerned, so we’d best just enjoy the moment while we can. Because very soon…
Everything is going to that very bad place in a very tattered basket. All For One is healthy enough to gloat and rescue his underlings, All Might is currently the first anime character to actually appear as a percentage of their full power and I’m pretty sure a million billion Nomu are still running around the city, give or take a baker’s hundred thousand. Still, if you’re the type of person who squints for that silver lining, these types of situation generally lead to some of the greatest moments in any series. I mean, you can’t just force a hero’s back to the wall and hope to get away with it, right? Surely All Might will prevail and put evil in its place. Like, I know he already fought All For One once before and was severely injured and is therefore weaker than he was whilst All For One has been adding more and more Quirks to his repertoire, but…huh. Let’s just pray that the better half of this musketeer motto prevails, shall we? Because it’s sure as heck a happier alternative to facing the fictional reality before our eyes. Less scary too.