This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers
My Hero Academia Episode 13
“Young Midoriya, you’ve saved me once again.”
“Thank you, All Might.”
Season finales are tricky beasts because there are many temptations on how to end something. This becomes even more difficult when there’s no sure sign that an additional season is on the table. Many ambitious series have gone out on big cliffhangers and unanswered questions only to learn that they weren’t coming back and those mysteries would never get resolution.
On a show like My Hero Academia that fits into the shonen genre of anime, it’s not unusual for a season finale to revolve around the defeat of the season’s big villain before the series can move onto a bigger, stronger threat. My Hero Academia doesn’t try to play against that stereotype, but it does leave a lot of the heavy lifting in the rear view mirror and instead focus on a more relaxed conclusion.
Midoriya and company still put their lives on the line in “In Each of Our Hearts,” but as far as finales go the stakes could be a lot worse for the heroes. This is a finale that’s confident in the work that it’s put in all year and this conclusion instead takes pride in letting these dozen and change character loose and watch them all try to be the best hero possible.
All Might has been able to look all impressive and play the role of uber hero in order to defeat Nomu in spectacularly awesome fashion (that hole in the roof will make a perfect skylight), but the results of which have left him completely drained.
He was already in questionable condition when he took on Nomu, so the fact that he’s still standing at all is a feat in and of itself. The only problem with this is that Nomu wasn’t the ultimate big bad at the end of the castle. Shigaraki is still hungry to fight and suddenly the good guys’ chances of survival are considerably less than stellar.
With All Might out of commission, Izuku is put in an all-too appropriate situation for a season finale. He’s left to step up to the plate and put the year’s worth of lessons from All Might and U.A. High into practice.
What’s respectable about Izuku’s plan here is that his goal isn’t to defeat Shigaraki and take down the League of Villains. He’s far too sensible for such a ridiculous task, even if his quirk is one of the stronger ones out there. Instead Izuku intends to stall Shigaraki and his evil posse until the rest of U.A. High’s faculty can show up and properly deal with this threat.
Izuku’s plan works surprisingly well here and for what’s meant to be the show’s first season finale, the episode is oddly anti-climactic. The previous installment, “All Might,” carried much more tension and uncertainty throughout it. The other teachers show up rather quickly into the episode and just as much of this installment is spent on the cool down period and aftermath of this tremendous battle as it is on the fight itself.
The series has pulled off plenty of impressive battles at this point, but the moment that Izuku stands in to defend All Might is just fantastic. The same can be said when Shigaraki almost gets ahold of Izuku’s face. The whole affair turns into a wild battle royale once the cavalry shows up and it amounts to a brief, but chaotic, encounter.
There’s a welcome symmetry to “In Each of Our Hearts” and “Izuku Midoriya: Origin,” the season’s premiere. In this case All Might gets to give his thanks to Midoriya for saving his life, just as the hero had done for the quirk-less boy back in the premiere. It’s a moving, cathartic moment for both of the characters.
It’s pretty damn sweet to see the two of them healing together in adjacent hospital beds, too (this is My Hero Academia at its best, in my opinion). Midoriya still has a long way to go in terms of becoming a superhero, but if this happened to be the end of the show it would make for a fitting conclusion for the arc of these two characters. The next generation of superhero is ready to take over the throne.
While the superheroes may end this episode in a rather positive place, their problems are far from over. Shigaraki returns to the League of Villains’ headquarters from his U.A. High retreat, but he’s filled with a feeling of determination rather than defeat. This feud is far from over and it even looks like Shigaraki might have anticipated this outcome to some degree and that a large component of this hero ambush was simply for reconnaissance purposes.
Shigaraki has always come across as a particularly terrifying villain and these final few episodes haven’t held back in terms of how intimidating he can be. That being said, the animation on him is just stunning in this episode. The way his hair and fingers intertwine in a twisted mess helps emphasize the creep factor in this guy and it’s nice to see his character design in top form for this confrontation.
Shigaraki confers with his boss about All Might’s victory, Nomu’s defeat, and the new heroes that should be on their radar. It’s a simple scene that speaks more to the fact that even if Shigaraki gets defeated the worst is yet to come.
The League of Villains isn’t even the most evil organization that’s out there. There are still plenty of threats that All Might and the rest of the heroes have no clue about. Season two should expand the show’s boundaries in this department in exciting ways. On that note, Toonami is going right into season two next week, so fortunately viewers don’t have to waste any time with repeats before new episodes begin. Toonami is running straight through with the entire series.
“In Each of Our Hearts” doesn’t really pack in any surprises or tries to change the series’ status quo as the first season concludes. Rather than mess with a good thing, My Hero Academia’s finale instead focuses on strong, well-choreographed battles between extreme personalities and the character dynamics that it’s been developing for the entire season.
A show doesn’t always need to go out on a big surprise and it sometimes demonstrates more confidence when a series is satisfied to just bask in what it does best. The battle between U.A. High and the League of Villains is far from over, but the show’s first season comes to a close after some major milestones are accomplished and Izuku and the rest of these heroes-in-training are ready to face the next level of dangers that await them.
Now let’s just make a Cementoss origin story one-shot happen!