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My Hero Academia Season 7
Episode 146

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 146 of
My Hero Academia (TV 7) ?
Community score: 4.2

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I don't typically pay much attention to battle moves with special names. They're a staple of Battle Shonen anime—and I know folks who love to catalog and break down every last one—but I've never cared too much outside of how cool it sounded when a character yelled right before the climax of a fight. Sometimes those attack names become vitally important to what a story is doing, and “Two Flashfires” makes that point by putting it right in the episode title. While Shoto and Dabi's fight holds larger stakes for the world outside of them, at its core this is the story of two brothers, immeasurably hurt by their upbringing—deciding how to carry on the legacy their father burdened them with, all through the way they evolved his signature attack.

Dabi's decision was obvious long before he revealed his true identity. His alias is a reference to cremation—and since we learned his goal, it's been clear that he's only living to achieve his vengeance on his father. His body may be older and his powers far beyond what they once were but in his heart Dabi is still that rejected child—desperate for the affirmation he was raised to need. So it only makes sense that every attack, every special move, every flicker of flame is an imitation of Endeavor; a spectral blue ghost that's been living only to drag his father into hell. The narration describes Flashfire as a heat that distorts the view of everything around it, and after a lifetime of turning up that heat, that heat haze is the only way Toya can see the world.

It's far more complicated for Shoto because it has to be. Like his brother before him, Shoto bears their family's sins on his skin, but through the support of his friends and loved ones, he's managed to quell the fire inside him and master it to the opposite ends. I'm still not entirely sure how his Flashfire Phosphor works on a physical science level but the poetry of it is clear. Shoto has accepted, internalized, and embodied both halves of his lineage—and synthesized it into a flame that can finally do something besides destroy. He has found a way forward that neither rejects nor submits to his father's abuse and it's his one hope for saving his brother.

That sentiment is what ultimately makes this fight work. It's not about defeating Dabi but saving him—the same as Deku and Uraraka want to help their respective opponents. Just as Shoto found the courage to reconnect with his mother, he wants to offer a hand to his brother, to save the man from letting their family's faults define them both. Dabi has hurt and killed countless people, each life bit more kindling to make Endeavor's funeral pyre that much greater. Yet Shoto recognizes that it all stems from the hatred their father's obsession and rejection incited—and he wants to release Toya from this self-sworn murder-suicide pact. It's the only way to create an ending for their family that is more than a pitiable tragedy. It's a thorny, difficult path that Toya doesn't want but Shoto knows better than anyone that sometimes, being a hero means giving help that wasn't asked for.

It's a powerful feeling to cap off an episode that's pure character drama in the best of ways. Whatever quibbles I might have about how relatively short and simple this battle was on paper, the last attack is more than enough to make up for it. It's a striking, heartfelt conclusion to Shoto's story arc—even if we all know this can't be the end. Dabi has been stopped, and the fighting portion of this particular story might be over. Still, the pain that has so long festered within the Todoroki family isn't so easy to exorcise that a single fight could resolve it all. There's still so much to be addressed, but as a dramatic climax for Shoto and Toya, this episode said everything it needed to.

Rating:

My Hero Academia is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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