Since a man first leaped a tall building in a single bound, people the world over have pondered what it means to be a superhero. Is it strength? Skill? Speed? A conscience that cannot be quieted? Or the simple desire to help? Is it all these things? None of them? Some of them? The true irony is the answer is known and still a mystery. It is all of these and none of these. A mix that is specific to a person and what it all means to them. But what happens when ideologies clash? When one stands up and stands against what it means to be a hero? The answer is again a simple one: Chaos.
Though he has not graced our screens for long, Stain is already becoming quite the interesting stutter in My Hero’s flow. After critically injuring Iida’s brother, the Hero Killer was given an introduction to paint him as a malicious and intrinsically evil force. Which he is. However, the past two episodes have provided a glimpse into the mentality of Stain and why he does what he does. The most surprising facet of this is that his viewpoint is a fairly credible one, even if his methodology is abhorrent. Though a villain in every sense of the word, Stain respects the concept of a hero, of one who saves the day and does so out of the kindness of their heart. Therefore, he despises a world where heroes have become an attainable form of employment. This concept is enforced by the continued cuts to the work experience students, following heroes as they lay around or participate in photo shoots. Even Best Jeanist’s viable opinion that Bakugo should focus on his image is shown in a negative, vain light and therein lies the greatest element of Stain’s belief: He isn’t entirely wrong.
With Shigaraki, we were of no two minds. the kid was evil and wanted to destroy for the sake of it. He had no greater motive, he had no grandiose belief, so it was easy to watch All Might destroy his plans and punch Nomu into the stratosphere. Stain is a bit of a different case. Though the revenge ploy of Iida tips the emotional scales heavily back in the questionless removal of this fictional Stain, the points he raised give us some serious food for thought. A few weeks ago we were musing over how cute it was that lil’ Uraraka wanted to be a hero to make her parents life easier. Stain makes us wonder, if only for a second, if her plans work against the concept of a hero. Even Midoriya’s desire to be like All Might is an inherently personal one, with the simple notion of saving people coming afterwards. Though Stain’s single train of thought in no way invalidates the series as a whole, or every character we have seen thus far, it is nonetheless another interesting perspective in a world that is constantly revealing brand new corners.
Speaking of corners, a perpetually darkness filled one is called forth by All Might and Detective Tsukauchi, with whom All Might is friends. With the Nomu that wrapped up last season safely contained, we are given a brief, but painfully detailed, rundown of what the hell it actually is. Originally a small time thug, this poor soul was embedded with multiple DNA sequences that granted him multiple Quirks, the burden of which caused his mind to warp to the point of non-responsiveness. Then his body got all jacked up with drugs and the like. Don’t get me wrong, Nomu is still a horrifying villain whose defeat was well earned, but boy is it sad now too. And with Shigaraki rocking up to Hosu with three more of the things, this practice of slamming thugs into each other until they make a monster is beyond Frankensteinian in its disregard for the natural flow of life. Not to mention the fact that there exists a villain capable of gifting Quirks freely, beyond even the capabilities of One for All. Let that sink in.
On a less internally confusing note, Midoriya’s training with Gran Torino rather satisfyingly continues with Midoriya being slammed into a wall. Though I am more than thrilled by the sudden shift in One for All’s usage, the simple fact that he is yet to fully adapt is a nice element of realism. It shows that even as revelations strike our main cast, they are still far from the level of professionals who, as goofy as they can seem, possess a level of experience that makes them worthy of their position. This concept is seemingly being pushed to its unfortunate ends by Iida, whose desire for revenge is not looking great (a fact that his work experience trainer is able to detect with simple logic).
After finding Stain in record time for an anime series, Iida is stopped in a single move and noted by Stain to be a child who should vacate the area. In addition to quickly reminding us that the Hero Killer possesses some form of honour, this sequence drives home that Iida is a child. It may seem a simple fact to remember, but between the super powers and impossible physiques our main cast have, it can honestly be hard to remember they are fifteen years old. As in they can’t drive a car, fifteen years old. They can’t drink, fifteen years old. They aren’t considered old enough to vote, fifteen years old. That in mind, I can really understand the more hesitant parents in the series and their lack of desire to see their children literally run into fire and explosions and bad guys with in built weapons. Doubly so for Midoriya’s mother, whose son winds up in critical condition when he wins a fight. I also imagine Iida’s mother would not look to fondly upon her son speeding into the blade of the villain who near killed her other son. I’m not thrilled about it and I’m just some guy watching the show.
With every step of progression that filled this episode, we have drawn closer to an unexpectedly swift conclusion. The identity of the mastermind has All Might on edge, Iida has found the source of his fury and pain, Shigaraki has begun another Nomu based assault on the innocent and a newly empowered Midoriya has coincidentally found himself in the vicinity of both. And as beneficial as that may seem, let us not forget that it took All Might working at beyond 100% (with all the mathematical improbability that brings) to take down one…now there are three. And one can fly. Granted, the first was designed specifically to fight All Might, but still, I would not want to meet a Nomu in a dark alley. Or a well lit street…or a barren field, or a populated intersection, or a train, or on a hill, or on the ocean, or on a boat on the ocean, or a plane, or here, or there…
It’s fine now. Why? Because My Hero Academia is on Crunchyroll