My Hero Academia
by Sam Leach,
How would you rate episode 67 of
My Hero Academia (TV 3) ?
If season four's actual plot doesn't start rolling sometime soon, I'm going to riot. It's a good thing My Hero Academia is good at being emotional and engaging in the meantime, however! Last week's episode had that post-credits scene where Midoriya and Mirio meet a little girl who's connected to Overhaul, the villain that they're on the lookout for, which natural connects us to the events of this week's episode. There's a strangely surreal flow to the story, where we're inching closer to Overhaul in the more detective-like plot, but just as quickly putting the search for him on hold and falling back into the more contemplative discussions about heroism. We're jumping back and forth a lot between plot and preamble.
There's a lot that comes up in this episode on the topic of heroes' names and what they represent to the rest of the world. Mirio explains to Midoriya that his chosen hero name is "Lemillion," meaning he plans to save a million people in contrast to All Might who saves all people. Both are exaggerations, though it's a cheeky humble brag to suggest that the man who will save a million people has room for improvement. If Mirio were to hypothetically replace All Might as the world's number one hero, would he change his name? It's melancholic to think that the next generation could only aspire to "good enough" in the wake of All Might's retirement, but that speaks to the myriad of self-esteem issues that naturally come with the job. It's good to be confident, but you also don't want to presume to reach further than you actually can. Perhaps that will itself prove to be a part of Mirio's charisma.
Relevantly, we also learn the truth behind All Might and Nighteye's break-up. Despite Nighteye being a huge fan, once they started working together he felt responsible for his hero's safety. All Might wanted to continue fighting and performing as a hero, even while his injuries were slowly killing him. Nighteye's powers foresee All Might's death within the next several years—something we'll surely have to deal with in the story itself one day—but All Might is the type of man who will continue down his chosen path, even to his own detriment. Like the superhero names mentioned earlier, All Might's smile is crucial to his ability to put the public at ease. If he's in too much pain to even do that, it doesn't really matter how hard he works to change his destiny.
The classic magic hour sunset during this scene does a lot to anchor the episode with something visually interesting, since the visuals and storyboarding have been feeling especially flat lately. It's hard not to be moved by Midoriya and All Might's relationship, and they keep finding new ways to surprise me with the emotional depth that they continue to tap into. Their moment together felt like a heart trying to burst out of its ribcage. There's a lot of talk about changing fate, and the future is uncharted territory. Will they power-of-friendship their way out of All Might's eventual death? Or is the context in which All Might dies the only aspect we have control over?
The thing I've always admired about this series is how vividly it defines heroism. There's so much three-dimensionality that goes into it beyond simple acts of selflessness for the greater good. It's often about protecting yourself so that you can protect people, and giving the world something worth protecting in the exchange. In many stories, the villains often feel the most human because they represent something that we don't like about ourselves, but in this series, it's the opposite. I hope Overhaul proves to be the show's best villain yet, because our heroes are currently at their most malleable and he seems to have a very direct plan of action paired with a truly black heart. Shigaraki and Stain are too ideology-driven to really be scary for my money, but this guy... This guy seems to be on to something else.
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