This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 20
“There are times where you must kill someone to save them.”
“Do you really think that it will all end with that boy?”
My Hero Academia perpetually praises the heroes who safeguard society. However, there have also been striking occasions where heroic individuals lose their way and the series highlights how easy it is for misplaced morals to forever change someone’s life. These unfortunate victims of circumstance have popped up throughout the course of My Hero Academia’s run, but “Hired Gun” unites multiple characters on this front, whether it’s All For One, Shigaraki, Lady Nagant, and possibly even Deku as he wobbles on the precipice of darkness through the season’s final arc. “Hired Gun” marks the start of some big decisions on Deku’s part that will forever change his future, but also society as a whole.
My Hero Academia hasn’t struggled to advertise the heightened stakes of the seasons’ final handful of episodes and “Hired Gun” is when society’s swayed power structure begins to truly set in. This episode looks at the visceral fear that’s taken over society and nearly driven the public to rebel in martial law. There’s anxiety over the concern that the status quo may never return to what it used to be. The public may always fear for their lives and distrust masked vigilantes, to some extent. “Hired Gun” does its best with Deku’s efforts to save random pedestrians and prove that not All Heroes Are Bad (AHAB). He’s never looked more terrifying, which makes it eerily disarming when he remains affable and exudes a calm demeanor through his villain-esque visage.
As scary as everything has become with Shigaraki and All For One’s impending revival, on some level it feels like everything has gone back to a season one mentality where meek heroes fear impossible enemies. This imbalance of proper illustrates just how little has actually changed since the start of the series, despite the heroes’ and Deku’s tremendous progress. The heroes’ have never been physically stronger than they are now, but it’s quite chilling to have freely seen former Big Bads like Stain casually out in public since the Tartarus jailbreak. On that note, Kai Chisaki, aka Overhaul, is also back in the picture and All For One appears to have big plans for this forgotten threat. However, there’s so much going on with Shigaraki and Lady Nagant that “Hired Gun” just breezes past this bombshell.
Midoriya launches himself through a fractured city, now in full communication with the previous One For All bearers in his head. He’s grown more confident in this department, as well as his use of their Quirks, but “Hired Gun” suggests that Midoriya won’t be able to defeat Shigaraki until the two vestiges in “time out” get over themselves and also contribute their Quirks to Deku. “Hired Gun” explains that these two former heroes have experienced the worst of All For One and they’re so reluctant to contribute because it’s their own killer instinct bloodlust in the name of heroism that’s pushed them to these shameful positions. Midoriya has been clear that he plans to save–not slay–Shigaraki. These remaining heroes seem skeptical that such an altruistic approach is possible. One of the more powerful messages that comes out of “Hired Gun” is the notion that One For All was truly born when these vestiges first started cooperating with each other and it’s this cooperation that’s essential to the Quirk’s survival.
Alternatively, All For One’s secret weapon during his lengthy comatose incubation is his eternal anger towards all of the One For All vestiges, whether they’re his brother who started this, All Might who left him in this condition, or Midoriya who continues to evade him. This rage powers All For One with an almost jubilant evil that’s as dangerous as the collective unity that Midoriya has experienced with One For All’s past. This anger and optimism are set to explode once All For One and One For All finally clash, which is closer than ever before.
The newest soldier in All For One’s war to acquire One For All is Lady Nagant, a powerful assassin who’s body is literally a sniper rifle and easily one of the coolest characters to appear in My Hero Academia in a long time. Intimidating female characters have been few and far between in the series and Lay Nagant quickly rises to the top of the ranks through her steely resolve and the ability to create bullets that take any shape that she wants with crazy trajectories. Lady Nagant could have assassinated JFK from Austin.
“Hired Gun” only scratches the surface with Lady Nagant, but it’s revealed that she’s a former hero mentor who killed a fellow hero ally and was locked away in Tartarus for the act. That’s a deeply compelling backstory that My Hero Academia will continue to pick away at, but “Hired Gun” just teases Lady Nagant’s skills. The assassin is likely to dominate the next episode or even the final installments of this season as a worthy challenge to keep Deku at bay before All For One’s possession of Shigaraki is fully finished. The moments in “Hired Gun” where Deku swings between Lady Nagant’s massive sniper blasts are beautifully animated and the episode’s visual peak.
My Hero Academia has set high standards for itself during this season’s final arc and “Hired Gun” is an installment that carries the season’s cutthroat momentum and delivers satisfying developments in both immediate dangers and long-term lore. “Hired Gun” gets lost in Deku’s internal One For All free-for-all, but never to the point where it feels like the real world gets neglected. As My Hero Academia begins to wrap up, “Hired Gun” is a confident entry that builds upon the season’s obstacles and villains in a manner that makes Midoriya’s lot seem even harder for what he has to accomplish. A thin silver lining of hope outlines Deku’s silhouette in the darkness as he fights for this collection of lost souls who are in search of salvation.
Oh, and Hawks and Best Jeanist have a sick as hell Batmobile.