Everything You Need to Know Before Season 3 of My Hero Academiaby Nicholas Dupree,
In just a couple weeks, My Hero Academia will be coming back for its third season, which promises to be even bigger and more explosive than its predecessors. There's a lot to anticipate for fans of both the anime and manga, so it's worth looking back to make sure we're all up to speed before exams start. It's time to strap in for an MHA study session, as we reflect on where all our major characters stand at the end of season two.
Season 2 focused on expanding MHA's ensemble cast, but the beating heart at the center is still the little superhero fanboy who could. The Sports Festival arc saw Deku using his powers at their most impressive and gruesome, when he repeatedly shattered his bones in order to face down his classmate Todoroki – and still ended up losing, on top of terrifying onlookers with the self-destructive nature of his inherited quirk. It wasn't until training with Gran Torino, All Might's crotchety old mentor, that Deku started to get some control over One For All. He's still nowhere near the level of All Might's prime, but he's made literal leaps and bounds from where he started, able to hold his own in battle against villains and even standing up to the Symbol of Peace himself in Class 1-A's midterm exams. Izuku's still only a fledgling trainee, but he's taken his first concrete steps toward becoming the hero he's always dreamed of being.
By contrast, Deku's rival mainly faced setbacks and roadblocks during season 2. While he did win the Sports Festival's tournament, Bakugo sees that as little more than an insult, since he won partly due to Todoroki being so emotionally compromised after fighting Deku. With his chance to stand atop the podium marred by an asterisk, Bakugo's ego only took a further beating when he spent his Heroism Internship being lectured by his chaperone while other other students faced dangers or honed their skills. Bakugo's frustration all came to a head when he was paired up with Deku for their midterm exam fight against All Might. While they managed to eke out a win, it was only after Bakugo nearly let himself lose rather than accept help from his old punching bag. So now Bakugo's entering season 3 with even more pent-up anger than before, and most of it's directed squarely at our would-be hero. Time will only tell if he'll channel that anger into self-improvement or let it fester into something nastier.
Speaking of festering angst, season 2 was also the debut of fan-favorite Todoroki, the stoic ice-and-fire wielding prodigy of Class 1-A. During the sports festival, we learned his backstory: his father, the #2 Hero Endeavor, forced Todoroki's mother into marriage in a desperate attempt to combine their quirks and birth a child who'd be powerful enough to surpass All Might's legacy. This abusive environment drove Todoroki's mother to scar her son as a young child, which left Todoroki with both a mountain of self-loathing and a vow to reject everything about his father, including his quirk. It took his battle with Deku to pull him out of that dark place and begin accepting his flames as his own, but by the second half of the season, he'd finally begun walking his own path toward heroism and accepting his own birth. But recovery is a long road that Todoroki has only just started traveling, and old wounds can still run deeper than even he may realize.
In season one, Iida was mainly comic relief as Class 1-A's earnest and lovable wet blanket. But when Engenium, his older brother and role model, was permanently disabled in a fight with Hero Killer Stain, Iida's dedication to the rules was shaken, and he nearly lost his life in a misguided quest for vengeance. It was thanks to the combined efforts of Deku and Todoroki that Iida escaped (mostly) intact, but it's hard to say where this has left him emotionally. He's been pulled back from the brink, but it's only a matter of time before the League of Villains makes their next move to test Iida's newfound resolution.
All Might took more of a back seat role in season 2, transitioning further into his place as Deku's mentor, but the #1 hero is both a man and a symbol, so he casts a long shadow over much of what happens in the world at large. The aftermath of Hero Killer Stain's capture forces him to reveal the origin of his One For All quirk to Deku, laying out the dangerous legacy our protagonist will have to shoulder as he grows stronger. All Might's spark is fading as Deku's grows, and his time as the Symbol of Peace is running ever shorter, something that the villains of the world are starting to notice. With the forces of chaos rising and his protege still just starting to learn, All Might is more vulnerable than he's ever been before, and the world with him.
For most of MHA's cast, All Might acts as a role model, an inspirational bastion of heroism from his altruistic spirit to his boundless strength. But in season 2, a darker side of All Might's legacy reared its head with the terrifying Stain, a murderous vigilante who took it upon himself to “cleanse” the world of heroes-for-hire. As a literally bloodthirsty villain decked out with an endless number of blades, he earned the title Hero Killer exactly how you'd imagine, hurting countless Heroes in his quest to cull society of all who failed to reach his ideal of heroism. But Stain's most dangerous weapon is neither his sword nor his quirk, but his infectious ideology. His capture only serves to light a fire under the angry and disaffected denizens of MHA's society, opening the door for a new era of chaos.
Shigaraki made his debut in the first season's climax, but in many ways he didn't really arrive until the end of season 2. Between his unsettling appearance and dangerously destructive quirk, Shigaraki is a perfect face for the League of Villains who seek to undo the order and peace All Might has built up over his career. Fortunately, he's spent most of MHA's runtime throwing tantrums and licking his wounds instead. It's only after Stain's capture that Shigaraki becomes a real threat – co-opting the Hero Killer's rhetoric to attract those inspired by his message to bolster the League's ranks. Just as Deku has started carving a path toward becoming a hero, Shigaraki's started to shape his own future as a truly dangerous villain alongside his master.
All For One
Above all, season 2's biggest bombshell was the reveal of All For One, the nigh-immortal villain who's lurked in the shadows of MHA's world since its beginning. His ability to steal and bestow Quirks is so powerful that the One For All Quirk was created solely to defeat him one day – a feat All Might thought he'd accomplished years ago in the battle that left his body in the deteriorated state it is now. But this villain is as resolute as his enemy, now fostering Shigaraki as his own apprentice to carry on his legacy of destruction. For now, he seems content to sit in the shadows and guide his understudy's growth, but with the League of Villains' ever-growing influence, it's impossible to say how long he will stay hidden on the sidelines.
And that's more or where less where things stand as we move into My Hero Academia's new season. The kids of UA's hero course are getting ready for their class trip to a top secret training camp, where their instructors hope to better prepare them for the looming dangers of heroism. Meanwhile, the League of Villains are amassing more and more followers as Stain's message spreads, and they've already shown that they're willing to strike at the heart of UA to achieve their goals. The world of My Hero Academia is on the precipice of war, and the deciding shot is only moments away. I'll be waiting on the edge of my seat to see the battle begin.
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