This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 12
“We will spin together the threads of Hope.”
There are so many characters in My Hero Academia that it’s understandable that certain heroes and villains operate more as visual gags or one-note jokes rather than serious threats. However, it’s always fascinating when characters who are superfluously designed end up evolving into important individuals, like Pro Hero Best Jeanist. This denim-clad defender of justice has been an anomaly throughout My Hero Academia’s run, but he’s continued to show audiences that he’s not someone to underestimate. A lot of “Threads of Fate’s” success is dependent upon the viewer’s opinion of Best Jeanist. Even the hero’s harshest critics should leave this episode with a better understanding of why he’s called “Best” Jeanist and not just “Good” Jeanist.
Best Jeanist is a pivotal player throughout “Threads of Fate” and is the episode’s namesake, but this is much more an episode that celebrates collective strength and the never-ending relay race that is heroics. It’s the ultimate example of “I loosened it for you,” only in My Hero Academia’s case it’s dozens of heroes who have “loosened” the Paranormal Liberation Front’s stranglehold on society. “Threads of Fate” is abundant with heavy-handed thread metaphors, but their thematic resonance still stands, especially in an episode that also functions as Best Jeanist’s return. “Threads of Fate” allows many characters to properly contribute to the greater accomplishment at hand. They’re all binded together to achieve remarkable heroism that’s only possible because of those who have previously fallen. It’s an exciting build up to what appears to be the climax of season six’s war.
Best Jeanist returns and restrains the gargantuan Gigantomachia, but the episode’s title really buries the lede, which is that “Threads of Fate” also marks Lemillion’s glorious Quirktastic comeback. My Hero Academia’s sixth season has been incredibly busy and Mirio Togata’s struggles feel so in the past that his appearance makes for an effective surprise. Togata blazes into action at the exact moment when Midoriya feels most helpless and like the heroes haven’t accomplished enough in this war.
Lemillion’s Permeation presentation is a gorgeous standout in an episode that’s full of stunning animation and action. It’s a beautiful moment of inspiration for both characters and another strong celebration of My Hero Academia’s exceptional and copious supporting cast. Nejire Hado takes a major blow and it’s effective because this wounded symbol of innocence becomes a reminder of what’s at stake, but it means even more in the context of Togata being by her side and two-thirds of The Big 3 suffering in stride together.
“Threads of Fate” uses Best Jeanist and Lemillion to push these battle proceedings along. However, the fiery feud between Shoto and Dabi is still far from over and consumes a large portion of this episode. Visually, these two contrasting flames look incredible, especially when they clash. Flames have never looked better in My Hero Academia, but what’s most memorable about this encounter is the words exchanged between these estranged siblings.
Dabi boasts that he feels nothing for his former family and that he’s finally free to kill them, which is absolutely chilling, especially once Shoto thinks this appeal to reason will help snap Dabi out of this funk. If anything, “Threads of Hope” reiterates that Touya Todoroki is officially dead–and has been for some time–and that there’s no coming back from the dark side for Dabi. This rageful vengeance has become his entire personality. His utter glee over the realization that his father is “broken” is some of the darkest material to ever come out of the series.
Bakugo isn’t forced to reconcile with a shattered role model, but Best Jeanist’s return still awakens a very primal side of the young hero. Bakugo’s showcase in “Threads of Fate” is powerful, both in a physical and emotional sense. It means so much to see Bakugo push himself beyond his limits to selflessly save others. It’s such a beautiful evolution of his character and how far he’s come from a reactive bully. There’s a moment in “Threads of Fate” where Shigaraki mumbles out a few detached words, “I have to stop itching,” which speak towards his eternal struggle for acceptance and satisfaction. However, Bakugo has just as bad of an “itch” to prove himself to his former mentor and current colleagues.
There are some special sequences in “Threads of Fate,” but all of these setpieces immediately pale in comparison to Bakugo’s boastful announcement of his Pro Hero name, Great Explosion Murder God Dynamight. In an anime that’s full of ridiculous alter egos, Bakugo’s is by far in the top one percent and perfectly encapsulates his chaotic personality. The name itself is fantastic, but it also leads to the sublime exchange between Bakugo and Togata where the Big 3 hero compliments Bakugo’s name by telling him that “It’s fun,” only for Bakugo to retort with, “It’s not supposed to be.” It’s excellent interplay that highlights the beauty of My Hero Academia and its eclectic characters and themes. It’s so nice that broad and hilarious moments like this can occur in the same episode where Dabi mocks his father’s failures while he tries to kill his brother.
One of the most rewarding aspects of this season of My Hero Academia is the questions that characters have asked each other–and the audience–to consider about the very nature of heroism and villainy. “Threads of Fate” adds to this ongoing discussion by the pangs of genuine fear that villains like Spinner and Mr. Compress experience during their apparent defeat at the episode’s end. They lack the same level of camaraderie that’s united the heroes and helped give them the advantage here. It’s strangely bittersweet once these villains grow dumbfounded over the realization that they’re on the losing side of this war. Defeat never crossed their minds. If there’s any fundamental difference between heroes and villains then it’s the endless support and insulation that keeps heroes fighting for another day.
“Threads of Fate” is a busy episode that’s full of quiet cooldown periods as well as fiery bursts of power as this season continues to juggle a lot at once. There are definitely moments in “Threads of Fate” that feel like padding that help run out the clock–the first five minutes are basically a glorified recap, albeit one that’s presented in such electric sizzle reel fashion that it’s invigorating instead of annoying. Flashbacks to Eri’s attempts to hone her Quirk are touching, but redundant, and connections that the audience could make without this degree of hand-holding. That being said, every confrontation in “Threads of Fate” is satisfying and it sets these players up for an extremely exciting mid-season finale. The subdued moments of reflection in “Threads of Fate” are for the greater good and in service of a showdown that’s not tied down by the threads of baggage and backstory.