*This blog post will discuss the latest episode of My Hero Academia, episode 49 entitled “One for All”, as well as past episodes. As a result, there will be SPOILERS.*
Let’s rewind about a month or so.
I was still getting caught up on My Hero Academia, and made it to episode 42, “My Hero.” The highlight of the episode was, no doubt, the young Izuku Midoriya’s fight with the League of Villains’ Muscular. After being knocked around and quite literally taking his body to the breaking point, it seems like Izuku will fall in battle, until, in his adrenaline-fueled desperation, he calls upon great reserves of strength and delivers a One for All 1,000,000% Delaware Detroit Smash, besting the villain.
It was one of the greatest fights in the anime, and possibly Izuku’s finest hour. Reading reaction on the Internet, the comments from those reading the manga all seemed to hit a certain theme.
“If you thought that was great, just wait until All Might’s fight with All for One.”
Holy sh*t, they were right.
It wasn’t just the fight though. It was all the accompanying shots, such as the images of U.A. students and civilians alike in tears or near tears begging for their hero to pull through, the music and the always-superb animation from Bones that has brought us one of My Hero Academia‘s best episodes. Not only that, this episode has cemented My Hero Academia‘s place as one of the greatest anime series out there today.
This episode had me feeling a mixture of emotions. When the League of Villains leader, the Quirk-stealing All for One, revealed his protege Tomura Shigaraki as being the grandson of Nana Shimura, All Might’s mentor, I was flabbergasted. When it seemed like All Might could not continue his fight against his villainous nemesis, I could feel tears welling in my eyes, even though I just knew he would succeed. And when he finally emerged victorious, unleashing his United States of Smash attack, I wanted to cheer along with the rest of the characters.
Or at least, I would have, if my baby wasn’t sleeping. I had learned my lesson from Izuku’s fight with Muscular.
It wasn’t just the final attack. This whole fight had me at the edge of my seat. From All Might’s true form, the scrawny Toshinori Yagi, being revealed to the public while the fight was broadcast (the identity of Toshinori was known only to a select few), other heroes jumping in to lend a hand (including Endeavor, who has had a maniacal obsession to surpass All Might), to U.A. students including Uraraka, Asui and Tokoyami glued to their screens, living and dying with each attack, the battle between the Symbol of Peace and the Symbol of Evil was the epitome of suspense.
The episode also served as a curtain call for All Might. Before he passed One for All onto Izuku, he was already losing his grip on the power, only being able to maintain it for a few hours a day. That time continued to compress after he passed along his Quirk, culminating in this final battle. In fact, the episode drew on the metaphor of a fire flickering out as a symbol of All Might losing his ability to use One for All.
It was fitting then for the image then to shift to Shimura, handing off all the power of One for All, along with the hopes and dreams of those who wielded it before, onto All Might before he delivered his ultimate attack. And when the United States of Smash landed, the fire flickers out completely. Yet another example of Bones’ brilliant animation work.
The end of the episode brought it all full circle as best as can be. All Might, completely reverted to his true form, points at the camera and says, “Next time, it’s your turn.” Obviously, it’s a nod to Izuku, who will one day have to take up All Might’s mantle and place the peace and security of the people on his back.
As I said, this episode is just further proof that My Hero Academia belongs with some of the best shows out there, anime or not. Kohei Horikoshi has crafted a compelling, well-told tale, and Bones has done an excellent job of bringing that tale to life.
I have not been this invested, this engrossed, in an anime series since Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood back in 2009-2010. My Hero Academia is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorites.
I don’t know what else this show has in store for us (I’m not reading the manga, though I’m sure I will start at some point), but I can’t wait to see it. And judging by the comments on the Internet, I’m not the only one.