• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

My Hero Academia Season 6
Episode 137

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 137 of
My Hero Academia (TV 6) ?
Community score: 4.6

© Kōhei Horikoshi/Shueisha・My Hero Academia Production Committee

There's a lot that could be said about how MHA handles the general public. I've seen more than a few comments about how the average people of this show are ingrates, forever challenging or distrusting the heroes; especially now, when those heroes are at their lowest. I understand that reaction – these are often random, anonymous characters offering harsh criticism to characters we've known and related to for ages. The entire tradition of modern storytelling has conditioned us to react negatively to that, and we're always going to be inclined to instinctively side with characters we're ingratiating with.

Yet I've never felt like those random bystanders were entirely without a point. I'm just some schmuck after all. I'd probably be among the huddle masses if I lived in MHA's world. I'd be scared to death seeing human disasters annihilate cities in that scenario, and feel pretty betrayed that the super-powered authorities who swore to prevent this keep asking for more rope to hang themselves with. We, as the audience, might understand and sympathize with the human struggles of Deku and his fellow heroes. However, without the omniscience of existing outside the show's universe, I can't say I wouldn't be thinking exactly like the scared, angry people at UA demanding Deku get out and take the big target on his back with him.

Of course, the whole point of Deku's cryptid era, and All Might's role in the entire show, is that these larger-than-life superheroes are still just people. The ability to fly or bench press a bus doesn't preclude them from the universal human vulnerabilities we all face. The societal pillar that was All Might's “Symbol of Peace” moniker was reassuring, but it created a perception that heroes could and always would be unstoppable and perfect. What's more, while that illusion was comforting, it also led many to a state of complacency. We saw in Shigaraki's backstory that “letting the heroes handle it” allowed so many people to ignore a child in obvious need. If rebuilding means going back to that status quo, what's to prevent the same damn thing from happening again? Yet, if you don't rebuild that pillar, how do you convince the people who have lost their normal lives to forego that comforting illusion?

The answer MHA comes to here is to tear down the curtain entirely; to present Deku and heroes at large as they are, rather than the reassuring symbol. They might have impressive powers and may take on responsibilities and dangers that most of us would never consider, but they're not some distant ideal. Heroes are flesh and blood meat sacks like the rest of us. Putting them on a pedestal isn't healthy for anyone because it creates the expectation of boundless perfection for heroes and engenders passive negligence in civilians. At the end of this episode, what diffuses the mounting fear gripping these people's hearts isn't reaffirming platitudes that everything will be alright – it's the earnest and personal offer of trust and solidarity. In a way, it's just that classic shonen power of friendship but expanded to society as a whole, promising that the way to face fear is to stand together.

It's a thematic resolution I've been wondering about and waiting to see for a long time, and MHA nails the delivery. Ayane Sakura kills it with Uraraka's speech, gradually evolving from the wavering nerves of her opening lines to the voice-cracking, desperately earnest pleading at the end. Kota is the first to run out and embrace Deku hit with the force of a story beat years in the making that I never expected. This episode's ultimate conflict may be on a macro-scale, but with that single choice of character, it becomes intensely personal once more. The first person Deku saved as a hero is now the one reaching out to save him at his lowest point. Hell, even the nameless civilian who answers Uraraka's pleas is somebody we know – he's the guy who called Deku a hero fanboy way back in episode one.

All in all, it's a strong culmination of elements MHA has been juggling for years; it fully earns its place as the final climax of this arc. The large and small-level fallout of the war has required a lot of sifting through the rubble, but here it seems like both characters and the show have found a way forward. That makes it just as satisfying as any action set piece that has finished out previous stories.

Now please, for the love of god, let Deku take a bath.


My Hero Academia is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

discuss this in the forum (132 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

back to My Hero Academia Season 6
Episode Review homepage / archives