This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 12
“But in the end, it all comes to nothing.”
There’s a lot of power in being able to see the future. Much of this season of My Hero Academia has looked at Nighteye’s powerful Foresight quirk and the limitations that he places upon it because of just how dangerous it can be. Nighteye’s ability to see the future has informed some very important decisions that he’s made in the earlier years of his life and during this assault on the Shie Hassaikai.
As much as Foresight may fill Nighteye with a certain confidence and strength, there’s even more power in someone who can deny the future and ignore the lofty concept of fate. When Nighteye confronts Midoriya with a bleak prognosis, rather than run away and hide he becomes even more resolved in his stance. It’s this ability to stay strong in the face of defeat and to never give up hope that helps “Unforeseen Hope” become such a moving episode of My Hero Academia.
As “Unforeseen Hope” moves into crunch time with the battle between the Shie Hassaikai and the heroes, there’s expert coordination from both sides of this fray. The heroes and the villains elegantly work together and use each other’s quirks to their advantage while they attempt to outmaneuver their enemies. Midoriya may impulsively throw himself into this fight, but he tries to approach Chisaki with as much strategy as possible. There are a lot of angles to consider here and Midoriya admirably takes stock of the bigger picture to help guarantee as much survival as possible here.
Midoriya does a good job at pushing Chisaki to the offensive, but there’s still too much for the young hero to evaluate and losses start to occur. The apparent death of Nighteye is a very devastating moment, both in terms of how it’s physically depicted as well as in the metaphorical way that the filmstrip of his Foresight quirk suddenly runs out. The music that plays over this powerful scene really accentuates the emotion and gives it more of an impact.
Even though Nighteye is a fairly recent character, he has been a major guiding force for Midoriya through the first half of this season. Now that season 4 heads into its second half it will be interesting to see how the weight of Nighteye’s death effects these characters and who will step into his mentor position next. It’s also extremely touching to see Nighteye tell Mirio how damn proud of him he is before everything falls apart.
My Hero Academia’s previous episode really made it seem like Chisaki was overwhelmed and that this fight may not be as difficult as it was initially perceived. “Unforeseen Hope” dashes those expectations and confirms that Chisaki is absolutely calling the shots here. He never even seems concerned during his battle and he attempts to wear out his opponents in different ways. Chisaki’s quirk has already seemed overpowered in the sense that its vague description allows him to cover radically different ground, like how he can demolish and control the landscape of an arena or heal physical wounds. If that wasn’t enough, the wider spectrum of his Overhaul quirk gets exhibited here, which highlights another of its frightening advantages.
Overhaul’s ability to disassemble and reassemble objects also applies to human bodies, which allows him to absorb individuals and obtain their quirks in the process. This is exactly what Chisaki does to one of his fallen underlings, which aids him with some helpful new skills and turns him into a chimera-like beast. This is clearly a last-ditch effort for Chisaki that he doesn’t like to utilize, but in a sense it may make the Overhaul quirk the most powerful quirk in the entire series. In the right hands, it can turn the user into a veritable quirk sponge.
“Unforeseen Hope” revolves around its action, but the tense moments are broken up by strategic flashbacks, whether they’re from Toga and Twice’s perspective, or look at important moments from Nighteye and Eri’s past. There’s even a brief glimpse into Rock Lock’s family life as he opts to stay behind and look after Irinaka and any other lingering League of Villains members.
Toga retains her Harley Quinn on bath salts demeanor, but there’s something so disturbing about her obsessive dedication to seeing Midoriya all beaten up and incapacitated. She still wants to get the upper hand on Chisaki and demonstrate that she’s smarter than she’s given credit for, but her motivation regarding Midoriya’s pain is what really stands out about her.
All of these moments are helpful and carry some rich, emotional resonance that improves upon the chaos at hand. In the past, this variety of flashback can feel manipulative or unnecessary, but that’s not the case here and none of these are too cumbersome.
This season has shown Chisaki’s quirk in action, albeit in a limited capacity, but it’s skirted around the edges around both it and his whole situation with Eri. However, “Unforeseen Hope” actually provides some very helpful, yet disturbing, clarification on these fronts. The fact that Chisaki’s Overhaul quirk allows him to break apart or reassemble anything that’s broken—dead or alive—means that he can use this to heal himself or others.
Many people have been concerned over Eri’s health since this process of bullet-ification takes a considerable toll on her body. Evidently, whenever Eri reaches the brink, Chisaki just heals her so the process can begin anew. This not only keeps her in a perpetual state of torture, but Eri’s dependence on Chisaki deepens because he’s the one to provide her with some temporary form of relief. Chisaki and Eri’s relationship has by far been the most unsettling material that My Hero Academia has ever explored, but each new facet of their history together only turns things a darker shade of black.
As some more interesting food for thought, it’s also revealed that Eri is Chisaki’s granddaughter, not his daughter. This doesn’t really change anything, but it does imply that Chisaki has offspring out there and that Eri has an actual guardian. Eri’s parents could easily be dead and this development may not go anywhere, but the idea of Chisaki’s son or daughter turning up seasons later with some messed up agenda would make for an entertaining epilogue to this story.
The most distressing instance of Eri’s complete submission to Chisaki occurs during the episode’s final moments. Slowly, yet surely, an injured Mirio rescues Eri and takes her to safety, but she still freaks out. Eri is simply ill-prepared for a world where Chisaki isn’t polluting and controlling her every thought. Mirio’s difficulty with Eri also leads to his own breakdown. Mirio puts on a big show after losing his quirk and he still seemed to embody the resilience of a hero, but now that he’s limping through the shadows with Eri his doubt begins to get the better of him.
It’s really difficult to watch the typically cheerful Mirio fall apart and curse himself as Eri looks on in fear. This culminates in an utterly broken Eri returning to Chisaki and actually apologetic for everything that’s happened. It’s chilling when Chisaki announces to Eri that he’s about to kill Midoriya unless she does the right thing here. It’s a torturous threat that speaks to years of abuse, but he delivers it casually like he’s giving her the weather.
Most of this episode’s excitement is restricted to the war against Chisaki, but Aizawa gets himself trapped in an unfortunate situation with the Shie Hassaikai’s Chronostasis. It’s no secret that Chisaki has a deep interest in the ability to erase quirks, which Aizawa’s Eraser quirk caters towards perfectly. Aizawa is likely to become the Shie Hassaikai’s newest test subject and even possibly the next Eri. This upsetting scenario is left hanging and even though it looks like the next episode may go out with triumph for the heroes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Aizawa ends up becoming a major casualty and part of the fallout from all of this. Even with Eri’s rescue, the villainous organization may still be able to erase quirks.
“Unforeseen Hope” wallows in a lot of tragedy and even though Nighteye tells Midoriya that his death is nearly a certainty, the episode ends in an uplifting place. Midoriya is ready to fight until the end, but the unexpected arrival of U.A.’s many heroes makes for an exciting finish. This development is a bit of a deus ex machina, but it’s honestly the benefit of telling a story that’s been so isolated this season. It makes the appearance of all of these characters matter even more and it promises a very epic showdown. It’s such a satisfying strategy to have the series return to its roots and celebrate its larger cast as the first major arc of this season presumably comes to a close.