My Hero Academia Episode 12 Review: All Might

All Might arrives just in time to help handle the League of Villains' threat, but Nomu may be more than the legend can handle!

This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.

My Hero Academia Episode 12

“The deeper the darkness around you, the brighter the light shines when a ray of hope appears.”

The fight between good and evil is naturally full of ups and downs as the two warring sides fluctuate in power. Sometimes darkness reigns and strangles a city and at other times the good guys are on top and justice prevails. 

While My Hero Academia’s previous episode, “Game Over,” was the show at its most depressing and morose, “All Might” is absolutely the rainbow after the storm and restores hope that this season may end on a positive note. If last week’s episode was Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, then this week’s installment is absolutely Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie. “All Might” isn’t without its darker moments, but the mere fact that the cavalry has arrived to lend a hand represents the show at its most optimistic.

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“All Might” very much functions as a continuation of the story threads that were put in motion last week. Midoriya and the rest of the U.A. High campus are stuck facing off against Shigaraki and the League of Villains. Fortunately for the good guys, All Might has finallyhit the scene and with his help this mission to vanquish evil goes a lot smoother than before. 

All Might’s timing couldn’t be more impeccable as the more durable of superheroes like Eraser Head and Space Hero 13 are out of commission and even the bravest of U.A. High’s students are starting to show wear in their resolve.

The League of Villains’ big weapon here is the monstrous Nomu who’s been present for much of the past few installments, but the extent of his abilities and horrors has yet to be seen until now. Nomu is that classical Hulk-style of creature that packs an incredible challenge when it comes to his strength, but he still brings plenty to the table beyond that (besides looking like road kill).

It turns out that Nomu has been genetically modified to wield multiplequirks, which makes for an unexpected twist to the situation. Even still, Nomu’s brute power alone is enough to act as a challenge for All Might. 

The fight between All Might and Nomu really occupies the bulk of the episode, but it’s an incredibly well done sequence that’s just a pleasure to watch. The battle carries a fluidity and rhythm to it that’s deeply reminiscent of Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart, which is a super generous compliment. 

All of the suplexes and tumbling physics of this juggernaut showdown give the battle a certain freshness and flavor that makes it even more entertaining than the usual brawls. This amounts to a highly memorable fight, but then the void-like Kurogiri jumps in and adds some warp gate physics into the mix that makes all of this even more creative and bewildering to watch. 

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At times throwing too many elements into a fight can definitely feel like overkill, but in this instance it’s absolutely the right choice. The many lengths that both the League of Villains and U.A. High need to resort to in order to stay alive and take out their opponent only highlights the significance and stakes of this battle.

The larger dilemma that surrounds all of this—something that only Midoriya is privy to—is that All Might is in no condition to be fighting. His body is in terrible shape and yet he rages on for the greater good of the school. Even if All Might comes out of this successful, Midoriya knows that he’s still putting his body at extreme risk in the process. 

The series begins to lean into the idea that this might be one of All Might’s very last battles and that retirement may come sooner than he anticipated. All of this also leads to All Might re-examining what his role should be for other heroes and the sort of symbol that he comes across as. 

The character of All Might and what he stands for have been looked at to great detail earlier in the series, but the character digs into new facets of who he is and it deepens his role in an exciting, new way. In many ways this episode is the perfect representation of what All Might stands for and why he’s such a bastion of hope. 

Additionally, the scene where All Might really goes into overdrive towards the end of his fight is the character’s strongest scene to date and it shines brightly in an episode that’s full of powerful moments. On that note, the moment where Izuku decides to step in to help All Might out, along with the others that he inspires to jump into action, might be hisbest moment from the show so far. It’s such a touching and uplifting climax to all of this. Bakugo’s brief tango with Kurogiri is also supremely awesome, if only for how fearless Bakugo is through the whole encounter. 

As satisfying as it might be to watch All Might just swiftly extinguish the threat of Nomu, the fact that the legendary superhero needs the help of Izuku and company to defeat him tells a much fuller, more enriching story. Ever since All Might bestowed his One For All quirk down to Midoriya, it’s been very clear that a big theme of this show is the concept of passing the torch over to the next generation. 

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That message has perhaps never been more clear than when All Might fights alongside these students as their equal as they all share the communal goal of wanting to do good. It’s a beautiful message and sequence and it makes for some strong imagery to go out on as this season begins to wrap up.

Even though Shigaraki is mostly Nomu’s cheerleader through this episode, “All Might” still highlights how vindictive, frightening, and insane of a character he is. He’s not even the real focal point, but he leaves an intimidating impression on both the audience and the students. The character has done well with the show’s “less is more” approach so far, but the moment when Shigaraki is in the spotlight should make for some powerful stuff. He’s currently doing a great job to make the League of Villains seem like a dangerous collective and that he’s also a volatile cog in the system.

“All Might” goes out on quite the exciting high note and even though Nomu is defeated, Shigaraki and the rest of the League are still out there. Plus, All Might is even more wiped out than before. There’s just one episode left to settle this fight, but it’s clear that the larger struggle between good and evil is far from coming to a close. 

This finale is sure to push everyone to their limits and beyond, but My Hero Academia has done an exceptional job plotting out these final episodes and they’ve set themselves up for a great, climactic finale.

It just hopefully won’t come down to Shigaraki challenging All Might to a game of rock, paper, scissors.


4 out of 5