Don’t miss this one. This episode is one for the ages.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
It’s the final stages of the battle between All Might and Alll For One. Holding onto his last vestiges of power, All Might tries to fight back against All For One, but finds his strength rapidly diminishing. All For One taunts All Might about his dead master, (Whom All For One killed) and further crushes his spirit by revealing that Toshinori is the grandson of All Might’s master as well. From a young age, its revealed that All For One has been raising him to hate All Might, as an act of cruel spite against the symbol of peace.
It seems that All Might might not be able to win this fight, but as he stands broken and bruised, he hears the voices of all the other people urging him on. As their symbol of peace, he hears the cries of the world urging him on, the inspirational words of his fellow heroes, and the duty he owes Midoriya as his teacher. This empowers him to deliver his final attack, the “United States Smash” to finally KO All For One, rendering All Might the victor.
Yet, the victory comes at a great cost; All Might is no longer able to use his powers, and can no longer be the symbol of peace. Midoriya realizes that its his turn to become the symbol of peace, and carry the torch that All Might is delivering to him.
Sometimes, it can be very challenging to review My Hero Academia. This show has such splendid offerings in each of its episodes so consistently, that its hard for me to not just lavish the show with splendid praise. This week’s episode is no different, inspiring me with awe and earning its place as my favorite episode of this season, and possibly the best episode of the show thus far.
Within All Might’s backstory and struggle against All For One is the culmination of three seasons worth of character, story, and world development. This episode fires on all pistons as it echoes in operatic harmony the themes and conflicts that have been the driving force of the show’s heart and core. Each minute is used to great effect, jumping from tense moment to tense moment, where we are subjected to a flurry of complete heart-wrenchers.
We’ve seen All Might before, but usually in his form of immense power bringing the smackdown on whatever sorry sap stands in his way. That’s immensely satisfying to watch, but seeing him dragged down deep into the dark pit of despair reaches straight into my heart. As the chance of victory diminishes to almost nonexistence, witnessing All Might pull it all together and stand tall with his final display of power lifts the soul to high heaven, even for someone like me who’s read the manga and already knows what’s going to happen.
Its amazing how well the translation from page to screen has been accomplished, as well. Following in the footsteps of Shounen legends like “One Piece,” “Hunter X Hunter”, and “Naruto”, My Hero Academia adds a new dimension of sound, color and voice to the manga. Effectively breathing a surge of life and energy into a manga that was already pretty fantastic.
To that end, I’d like to make particular note of Christopher Sabat’s performance as All Might. His voice works this episode is not only the definitive voice of All Might but also a lynchpin for the entire episode. Without Sabat’s desperate and explosive deliveries, I don’t think this episode would have had nearly as much emotional impact. We see a side to All Might that we’ve never seen before, him at his weakest moment. His voice would need to reflect that and impart to the viewer the mythic struggle that All Might is embroiled in.
This is an episode that gets everything right and then pushes to a little extra. Glued from start to finish, this is some of the best anime you can watch this season. Oh, and bring some tissues, this one might bring on the waterworks.