In the final moments of good versus evil, everybody clenches their fists and prays that the side of justice will prevail. Luckily for us, fiction provides an infinite number of scenarios wherein that is the case. However, what happens after the villain falls? More often than not, the hero ventures onward to thwart new evils that may arise, content with saving the day. This is not one of those times. Having finally reached the limits he spent his life breaking, All Might is the Symbol of Peace no longer. Reduced to the frail form the world now knows true, we catch our first glimpses into what comes after the cape.
With All Might and All For One’s clash still burning within the collective conscious, this episode takes us on a more subdued path through the repercussions of such a titanic bout. Looking much like his protege after every fight, All Might is laid up in hospital, pondering the revelation that Shigarakiis the grandson of his mentor. To Gran Torino’s credit,he spends much of his time reminding All Might that, despite this new information, Shiaraki is still a pretty bad guy. Remember that time he tried to murder Tsuyu? Because I do. Oh, and when he shattered Eraser’s elbow? That was pretty evil. Though the truth of his past, even if only hinted, does add a shade of sympathy to the hand-clad disciple of evil incarnate, I appreciate the avoidance of the classic Shonen trope of absolute reformation. At least for now. Still, that was a pretty sucky thing that All For One did, distorting a child for the sole purpose of getting back at a guy, even if that guy did turn the entire upper half of your face into scar tissue, presumably (and horrifyingly) with punches alone.
Inner turmoil aside, the bulk of this episode is devoted to the newly implemented U.A. High School dormitories. Longing to keep a closer eye on the growth of their students, the teachers make haste to ask permission from the parents of a few familiar faces. Though we don’t see many familial units, those we do are fun enough to warrant the time spent. Kyoka’s family, for example, consists of at least one musically interested parent and another from whom she inherited Earphone Jack (her father and mother, respectively). Far from the focal point of the episode, I do always enjoy learning more about the other Class 1-A students. So often is the plot relevant to Midoriya, Bakugo, Iida and Todoroki, that it’s nice to be reminded that there are a few more desks in that classroom. The joke that Kyoka’s father already agreed to the dorm plan and was just pretending to play it tough to All Might and Eraser is also a pretty fun little character moment, as is the mother’s appearance and demeanour being more akin to a librarian than a fan of rock music. Brian the Sun specifically.
The next stop brings us to the rather explosive domicile of the Bakugo family. Though we’ve already learned what to expect from Lord Explosion Murder, we finally see where both his looks and temperament hail from: his mother. Seemingly the only person on the planet who can out muscle and out scream her son, Mama Bakugo proves quite the force to be reckoned with. Still, this being My Hero Academia, she is far more self-aware than your standard first-appearance character and applauds the change U.A. has fostered in her spoiled brat of a son. Although still not the major focus of this episode, it’s rather endearing to see how much effort is put into reminding us that there are a number of characters affected by what happens on a day-to-day My Hero basis. Sure it was bad that Bakugo was captured by villains, but I bet his parents probably felt worse than we did. Yes the episode plays most of his parents’ interaction with the teachers off as humorous, but I would still like to believe in the heart that beats behind the bluster. Or I’m just reading into things too much, which is equally possible, though far less heart-warming.
The crux of this episode, however, arises in the most unexpected of places and from the least expected person: Mama Midoriya. Though er worried support of her son has brought much joy to the heart’s of the fan-base, it seems that this most recent string of incidents culminated in the proverbial straw that broke the back of the equally proverbial camel. In less confusing terms: she is done seeing her child battered and broken in the pursuit of heroism. To be honest, you can’t blame her and, in her defiance, she may just be one of the first parental figures to impede the core of a Shonen series in a completely justifiable way. I mean, if she had gotten her way, that’d be it. Midoriya would be out of U.A. and the series would’ve veered way off the course we had all assumed. And though I think the series is strong enough to work in something like that, it would have been hard to handle. And yet, despite this, there is not part of me angry towards her. She has every right to demand such a thing. How would you react if your child came home everyday covered in bandages? If a simple test shattered every bone in their arm? Hell, before Midoriya even got in to U.A. he busted all four limbs. Come to think of it, it’s an anime miracle Midoriya has made it this far before being called out (though receiving a de-powered Texas Smash to the face is a pretty dandy way for the series to make up for it). Still, to anyone out there who doubts the pure compassion of Mama Midiroya, her words were enough to humble All Might and have him beg for the chance to do right by her son who, by the way, surprised both of them with his resolve to be a hero no matter where he learns the trade. There’s a lot of emotional fortitude on display in this episode. You know, the soul-searchy kind that makes you wonder about the stability of your own psyche? Stupid impactful medium…
So, what did we learn this time? Well for starters, just because you literally punched the superhuman strength out of your own body, it does not mean that your life as a hero is over. Well, maybe the punching part is, but there are plenty of other ways to help society. We also learnt that the impact of one’s actions can spread further than even they are aware, emboldening some and severely emotionally crippling others *cough* Endeavour *second cough*. The lesson line gets a little blurry from here on out, but it’s probably also a good idea to arrest criminals even if they have tragic backstories and are the grandson of your mentor. I think there was also something in there about children being the obvious combination of their parents, in both looks and personality, although that one may be anime specific. But, above all else, we learned one valuable lesson that will keep us all safe throughout the rest of our lives: never, never, never, ever, never even think about bringing harm to Mama Midoriya’s son. It will not end well for you.