This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 24
“And you call yourselves heroes?”
Any series with a cast as big as My Hero Academia is going to face balancing issues where certain characters get underserviced or completely abandoned. Ochaco Uraraka is one of the first friends that Midoriya makes in My Hero Academia. The anime’s first season implies big things for this budding hero, but she’s been significantly sidelined and Uraraka fans are lucky to get two episodes a season that put her in the spotlight. Uraraka’s Zero Gravity is on the stronger side of abilities, yet she’s seldomly involved in any of the show’s big villain brawls.
Audiences have accepted that it’s unlikely that Uraraka will use her Quirk to defeat Shigaraki, but in “A Young Woman’s Declaration” she makes use of an even greater power–empathy–to assist Deku during a time when it‘s needed the most. Quirks and fists make a powerful impact, but some of the most effective fighting of all is done with words and wit, which “A Young Woman’s Declaration” beautifully illustrates before My Hero Academia’s big finale.
“A Young Woman’s Declaration” begins with some lengthy exposition that takes up a quarter of the episode as Principal Nezu explains the stakes and endgame strategy to U.A. High. It’s a slow way to ease into the episode’s conflict and My Hero Academia could be a little more efficient with this material, especially since the audience has been able to connect these dots for several episodes now. It’s not an egregious display, but one that still overstays its welcome. The big takeaway from all of this is that U.A. High is reinforced in extreme ways that put Tartarus prison to shame. U.A. High has an intricate system of underground tunnels at their disposal and there’s even a bit of a Mortal Engines style security protocol where the school turns into a mobile target.
It’s all very convenient that Principal Nezu is financially insulated in a manner where he can easily help U.A. High rather than treat these precautions like risks that the school will struggle to recoup. It’s not the most eloquent of plot developments, but U.A. High’s surprise support doesn’t feel particularly grating because it remains secondary to Midoriya’s current struggle. If nothing else, the beginning of “A Young Woman’s Introduction” just underscores the fact that U.A. High can take care of itself and no longer needs to be viewed as a liability or place of ambush.
Nezu’s speech pushes U.A. High’s student body to hit the streets and face the judging masses. The public’s approval for heroes has steadily declined since the start of season six and it finally reaches a breaking point where rebellion breaks out. Angry and in need of a target, Midoriya takes on the martyr role as he bears the brunt of society’s blame for the heroes’ shortcomings. This is heartbreaking to Deku and tantamount to failure since all he’s ever wanted is to promote heroism and make the public feel safe. It’s very likely that Midoriya defeats Shigaraki and restores some sense of lawfulness to the world, but until that happens he faces an uphill battle from the public who remain burnt out on heroes and their empty promises.
There are some genuinely frightening moments in “A Young Woman’s Declaration” as the public lash out at Deku. Inspired and exaggerated decisions in the sound design transform this civil unrest into a cacophonous echo chamber. The visuals and audio make these scared civilians come across as rabid demons. Deku has accomplished a lot since his “dark” turn, but he’s become quite stoic through these actions. Deku’s strength has spoken for itself and while he remains mum for most of “A Young Woman’s Declaration,” these heightened fantasies highlight just how troubled Deku is in this moment even if he doesn’t verbalize his feelings. He’s paralyzed in fear, which makes Ochaco Uraraka’s rise to action all the more inspiring.
It’s extremely touching that Uraraka explains Deku’s special power to the public because as much as she’s talking about his One For All Quirk, she’s also just referring to the glory that is Deku in general. The subtext of this emotional speech is that she’s always gravitated towards Midoriya’s inner beauty ever since they first met in the third episode of the series, long before she even knew he had a Quirk. Deku’s swiss army knife-esque Quirk is essential for his defeat of Shigaraki and All For One, but who he is as a person is just as crucial of an ingredient. Quirks are important, but it’s the person underneath that counts the most.
The past few episodes of My Hero Academia have emphasized that Midoriya will succeed where previous One For All bearers have failed simply because he is Midoriya. This is something that those around Midoriya have gradually clued into, even if he hasn’t himself, but Uraraka’s passionate declaration finally opens Deku’s eyes to what he represents–to himself, to Uraraka, and to society at large. It’s the necessary pep talk and re-grounding that Midoriya requires before heading into what might be his doom. It’s unclear how long My Hero Academia will continue after All For One and Shigaraki’s defeat, but hopefully any sort of epilogue will include Midoriya and Uraraka spending some time together. The two have finally reached a point of maturity where a first date wouldn’t be destined to be an awkward mess.
The poignant final moments of “A Young Woman’s Declaration” involve Deku pledging to his peers that he’ll get society back to how it used to be, only to quickly amend his statement. “We’ll get it all back,” insists Deku, and in this moment the term “One For All” has never been more accurate. Deku is truly united with the public and every blow that he launches with One For All will carry the collective impact of every member of society. “A Young Woman’s Declaration” is a subdued calm before the finale’s storm, but it’s far from an inconsequential installment. It’s important for everyone to flush out their emotions, remember what’s important, and regroup before chaos. “A Young Woman’s Declaration” isn’t the busiest or most exciting episode of My Hero Academia, but it’s easily the most cathartic celebration of Deku and what it means to be a hero.