This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 11
“We’re the same, aren’t we?”
My Hero Academia has no shortage of duplicitous individuals who carry seismic secrets. However, some of these incendiary figures hold particular importance because their secret is directly connected to another character. Dabi is a villainous wild card who’s teased the heroes ever since Hero Killer: Stain’s bid for power back in season two. Season six still hasn’t reached it’s half-way point, but it’s already proven to be the most substantial year for this fire-powered foe.
So far, Dabi has been an agent of chaos when it comes to the fallout that’s experienced between Twice and Hawks. Dabi shares some surprisingly wise words on the nature of heroism that properly echo Stain’s sentiments. However, after seasons of hanging a heavy secret over the hero’s heads, “Dabi’s Dance” finally brings forward a painful truth that will forever change the Todoroki family and society’s perception of Endeavor.
“Dabi’s Dance” is a painful, vengeful installment that many fans might have seen coming for a few years now, but that doesn’t reduce the impact that’s made when Dabi finally admits that he’s Toya, the missing member of the Todoroki family. The news that Endeavor’s son and Shoto’s brother has dedicated himself to villainy is a crushing blow for both members of this already-fractured family, but it’s even more devastating to learn the truly elaborate nature of Dabi’s plans to ruin his father. This revenge scheme has been years in the making and the fact that Dabi is actually able to succeed in his efforts technically makes him one of the most productive villains in My Hero Academia.
Dabi’s been able to quietly unravel the Todoroki family’s resolve while he also actively improves his powers for the “greater bad” of mankind. It’s a brutal examination of just how far these characters are willing to go in order to accomplish their goals. However, Dabi’s actions are a direct result of Endeavor’s abusive parenting. My Hero Academia has properly litigated Endeavor’s abuse in the past, but all of those ill deeds turn into fresh wounds once Dabi highlights that they’re the cause of his internal and external scar tissue. My Hero Academia hasn’t struggled to create personal stakes in its showdowns, but the feud that forms with Dabi doesn’t fail to rival the larger battle between Shigaraki and Midoriya that continues to rage on.
“Dabi’s Dance” isn’t lacking in action, but the episode’s most thrilling moments come out of a cathartic confession. Dabi’s titular dance is beautifully animated by Studio Bones and it becomes the centerpiece to this episode that it deserves to be. The villain’s flowing movements are so fluid. It’s the freest and happiest that Dabi has ever looked, which makes it even more disturbing that it’s the result of pure trauma for Endeavor and so many other heroes. It’s such an unexpectedly graceful sequence in an otherwise action-packed and dark entry. It’s one of the most effective monologues to be delivered in My Hero Academia and it’s appreciated that “Dabi’s Dance” let’s this moment fully breathe so that all of its painful weight can be sufficiently unpacked. Every single one of Dabi’s words hits with tremendous impact, but what’s just as effective is Endeavor’s complete stupefecation over this revelation.
Endeavor looks like he’s seen a ghost because in many ways he has. The actual fight in the next episode where he’s forced to strike blows against his son and reignite old wounds is going to make for one of My Hero Academia’s most devastating showdowns. Dabi’s diatribe shakes the heroes to their cores, but some of the strongest moments out of this installment involve many of society’s errant spectators. It’s really a stroke of genius to bring back the ultimate Endeavor fanboy, the “Can’t You See” Kid, to clock his reaction to Dabi’s harsh words. This news is devastating to Endeavor and his immediate family and friends, but it means even more to see public opinion on Endeavor get so poisoned.
Dabi’s message to the heroes about reaping what they sow and how villains and heroes are all the same also carries over to the conflict between Toga and Uraraka. This feud becomes more of an emotional and psychological clash than a display of Quirks, but it helps both of these characters properly process some raw feelings. There are many ways in which Toga could hurt Uraraka and yet she strikes her most vulnerable area when she targets her affection towards Deku. Toga equates Uraraka’s love for Midoriya with her own love for Twice and what she’s recently lost, all of which is completely valid. It’s brilliant to use Deku’s All Might gift to Uraraka as the symbol behind this tense altercation. Just like how All Might himself is a symbol of peace and hope for society, this token is a symbol of Deku and Uraraka’s bond.
Uraraka is able to emerge from this fight relatively unscathed, but it’s really raw material that hangs over the episode and is likely to haunt Uraraka far after this season is over. It’s also quite touching that it’s Asui who shows up to help Uraraka. It’s always sweet to watch this friendship strengthen over the course of My Hero Academia. The series’ sixth season has had a lot of supporting heroes rise to the occasion and help each other out and “Dabi’s Dance” is an important stepping-stone between Ochaco and Tsuyu.
Everything with Toga continues to work so well and there’s hopefully a chance that this conflicted hero finds her way to the side of good instead of going out in a fiery blaze. There’s still so much to do with her and My Hero Academia would benefit from actually reaching a point where Toga and Uraraka do in fact discuss “romance, and stuff.” It’s quite compelling to consider how her Quirk could be used in a heroic context instead of perpetual nightmare fuel. Toga’s ongoing obsession with Uraraka is far from over and although there isn’t a sense of closure here it’s still effectively juxtaposed against Dabi’s reflective threats.
“Dabi’s Dance” is a My Hero Academia episode that fans have been waiting to see for years and it’s a rare case where the finished product absolutely lives up to the fandom’s expectations. This is a bleak episode that still works even if you suspected that Dabi was a Todoroki since his first appearance. In a season that’s focused so much on physical strength and the co-opting of Quirks, it’s an important reminder that the harshest blows are the emotional and psychological ones that don’t leave visible scars. Shigaraki and Gigantomachia’s powers have kept the heroes at bay for a while, but it’s not until Dabi’s bold bombshell that they truly feel beaten and scared. Thankfully, there’s a jean-based Pro Hero who arrives just in time and is ready to weed out the evil.