**Heavy My Hero Academia (anime) Spoilers. If you are not caught up and don’t want to be spoiled, please don’t read!!**
What. The. Hell.
As a person who is more caught up with the manga than the anime (don’t worry, I won’t spoil the manga!), I have been waiting for this fight for what feels like a millennia. And it was so, so worth it.
Season 4 took My Hero Academia fans on a roller coaster ride. Though some argue that the filler episode at the beginning took away from what the rest of the season could be, I find that point useless coming from the old ages of lots and lots and lots of filler episodes constantly in my anime. Nevertheless.
Story-wise, the Overhaul arc is not my favorite. But am I absolutely nuts about Overhaul? Yes. Overhaul is a pure villain in a sea of characters that constantly get humanized and become relatable.. It’s part of mangaka Horikoshi’s special skill, I think (though it ends with like ten thousand layers to the story that I sometimes can’t even keep up with). But then Overhaul comes into the picture and is so deeply evil and ruthless.. It makes it a very bitter arc to reflect on. Eri was kidnapped and hurt, Nighteye killed, and Mirio lost his quirk – it’s like this arc was just made purely to be cruel. Perhaps it was meant to be a test of Horikoshi’s writing ability or to mix things up a little, but the events of this arc have (so far) had seemingly little effect on the rest of the story.
(Super side-note, but I also thought his dub voice was exceedingly nerdy-sounding and not fitting at all. But that might be me being biased for Kenjirou Tsuda’s deep, silky voice..)
Moving into Todoroki and Bakugou’s remedial classes and the school festival was, therefore, the next right step, I think. Something a little lighter and back into the swing that we’re so used to in My Hero Academia – villain Gentle is given a heartwarming backstory, we get to see 1-A play in.. a band? And Bakugou knows how to play the drums, I guess? Todoroki likes to watch concerts online?
The remedial classes are more of what fits in with the main story, though. We start to get another taste of Todoroki’s journey as a hero, and Endeavor’s path to becoming a better father. There’s a lot going on with Hawks, the newly introduced winged Number Two hero who has conveniently idolized Endeavor since being a child and puts on a carefree look for his fans. We also learn that he’s actually a double-agent, hiding amongst the heroes for the League of Villains. Or, no, he’s hiding amongst the League for the heroes. It’s a pretty lackluster reveal for what could have been a great twist, but I guess I see why it was introduced so early whose side Hawks was really on.
Season 4’s finish, though, is entirely where it’s at. Even if you’re not an Endeavor fan, if you hate his guts and his story and wish they would stop focusing on him.. You have to admit that the final fight is super badass.
Hawks invited Endeavor out to eat, while a mysterious figure seems to unleash a nomu on the city – and it happens to attack directly where Hawks and Endeavor have met up. This nomu is more intelligent, and even appears to have coherent thoughts.. Much more developed than the nomus previously encountered.
And so, of course, as the number one hero Endeavor proceeds to engage in an epic (and I mean epic) one-on-(mostly)one fight with this giant Nomu. I can’t try to describe it in words, but seeing it animated and in color. You just have to root for the guy. This fight changes so much for everyone. It’s a known fact that Endeavor keeps himself very private despite being so widely successful. He is known for his skill and power alone, with no interviews to pry through or public background to scrutinize. It’s part of why Shouto resents him so much. That nobody knows the truth. This, of course, creates added tension when he becomes Number One Hero – why should the people put faith and trust in someone they barely know or can relate with? What is there to attach them to Endeavor other than his impressive strength and power?
Then, as the fight begins to reach its peak. Endeavor’s fans speak up. We see that he does indeed have people who look up to him, like a fan in the audience, and Hawks himself. Hawks acknowledges that Endeavor has always been quietly building himself up, not seeking fame but rather success – which to him was defined as being number one. And as Endeavor gets beaten down by the Nomu, everyone begins to realize: he can’t keep doing this alone. He is flawed and he has done irreparable things. But he is human and he is trying.
His family cheers on from behind their screens, watching with such intensity. Shouto, who we know to be constantly frustrated with how his father chose to raise him, is incredibly shaken and shouts, “I’m watching!” (A reference to after remedial training when Endeavor asked Shouto to watch him as Number One).
It’s a beautiful moment that I think Horikoshi and the animation team absolutely nailed. Everyone involved, really. So much so that when Endeavor rises up from the rubble with his fist in the air and everyone sighs in relief, I found myself doing the same.
But what does all this mean for the future of My Hero Academia? Will Endeavor truly be redeemed in Shouto’s eyes? I don’t think so. That kind of deep, deep wound takes a lot of time and communication to heal, and they are only just barely touching the surface.
On a grander scale, these advanced Nomu are definitely something worth looking into as well. If they can think, and even just barely talk, what else are they capable of? And just what is that quick snippet at the end of the last episode about??
If you’re too excited to wait, you can read the manga for just $1.99/month on the Viz Manga Shounen Jump app like the same chapters released in Japan, or wait for season 5, expected to air in July 2021 with another 23 episodes. If you haven’t caught up yet and read this whole thing, you can see it for yourself on Funimation.com (or Hulu, who hosts their videos).
“Heroes cannot stop moving forward.”