This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 25
“This is the reason…”
My Hero Academia boasts such a large cast of characters that it’s only natural that some will catch on more than others. Endeavor has always been presented as a disapproving and stubborn individual and despite his strength, he didn’t seem to be a hero that was at the top of everybody’s lists. Due to this, this season finale of My Hero Academia makes a risky, but clever, decision to make Endeavor the centerpiece.
“His Start” is all about Endeavor and his trepidations over becoming the new Number One hero. It’s an important story to tell, but one that also acts as a refreshing point of view considering how drained Midoriya and company are from their battle against the Shie Hassaikai. Deku’s also experienced an even more recent showdown with Gentle Criminal, which in many ways was just as taxing on his body as his previous fight.
It’s always satisfying to see our favorite characters get to kick some ass and save the day, but there honestly would have been diminishing returns to throw Midoriya back into combat here. Instead, “His Start” centers around a character who in the past has been much more a peripheral presence. My Hero Academia’s prior installment introduces the new responsibilities that Endeavor is ready to accept as the new Number One hero and the nation’s Symbol of Peace, but now he needs to actually prove that he can do it. The result is an exciting, emotional season finale of My Hero Academia that closes out the year on a beyond satisfying note that also helps establish an encouraging direction for what’s to come.
First of all, this episode is essentially just one giant fight between Nomu, Endeavor, and Hawks and it’s maybe the most visually stunning fight that My Hero Academia has ever done. It’s even on par with the climaxes of its feature films. Why hasn’t the series just always been Endeavor and Hawks slaughtering monsters on an epic scale? That’s something that needs to be happening on a regular basis. The bio-engineered Nomu that Endeavor and Hawks are up against exhibits an advanced level of intelligence, which he uses to split himself into more versions of himself and then regenerates Akira style to regain the lost mass.
As strong as the heroes are, this Nomu’s resilience makes it seems like they’re up against an endless goal. This results in quite the stunning battle that’s easily on the same level of All Might’s fight against All For One and it’s the perfect way to show off Endeavor. “His Start” is certainly Endeavor’s time to shine, but this episode is also an excellent vehicle for Hawks, who’s nearly as awesome through this crisis. The way that he uses his feathers to help speed up Endeavor is also a great level of teamwork that should happen more in the series.
The animation doesn’t just look incredible during this showdown, but Bones makes many creative decisions that show off just how ambitious and different they are as an animation studio. There are a handful of moments in this episode that made me shout out loud over the beauty that’s on display. At one point Endeavor briefly turns into a UFO as he smashes through a building. During another Endeavor’s Flashfire Fist Hellfire technique incinerates a building into fire particles. Even just smaller scenes like when Hawks runs backwards on the roof with Endeavor are visual masterpieces. Bones really saves the best for last with this season and it’s immensely satisfying to see that they’ve saved a lot of tricks for this finale and it’s not a lazy retread of old material. It’s the kind of sendoff that this season deserves.
There’s a moment where it looks like the bio-engineered Nomu has possibly defeated Endeavor and it really highlights the city in panic mode. It’s a nice change of pace to get the general public’s reaction as they’re spectators to this clash. The series can often get tunnel vision with all of the highly powered individuals that it throws into the face of danger, but in this case the threat of the Nomus feels much more drastic because of the calamity in the streets. In this case the public’s perspective is actively important because this whole episode is about how important it is for the public to have a Symbol of Hope and a Number One hero. Without someone in that role there’s greater pandemonium than ever before. The necessity of this position really gets to be seen in “His Start.”
It may be touch and go for a little bit, but Endeavor’s triumphant fist moment as he wins his fight is seriously great and exactly the kind of display that the world needs to see to officially buy Endeavor as the new Number One hero. Shoto Todoroki’s complicated feelings when it looks like he might have lost his father come across as deeply realistic. He may have been on bad terms with his dad, but this entire act really opens his eyes to how me may actually feel about his father. Mind you, all of this also plays out without Todoroki saying a single word, but merely through his facial expressions and intense gestures.
Another major benefit of this episode is that Endeavor has always been a very closed off character. The scene in the last episode where he attempts to casually connect with a fan and they’re openly upset by it due to how off-brand it is perfectly illustrated the uphill battle that Endeavor now faces. It’s one thing to be powerful, but he also has to exhibit empathy and positivity in a way that was natural for All Might, but seems somewhat foreign for Endeavor.
“His Start” begins to scratch the surface of this rich area of character development, but one of the highlights of season five will definitely be Endeavor’s transformation into a more approachable and cheerful version of himself. He’s already gone from a character that was never that interesting to me to someone that’s now one of my favorite characters and I’d have no problem with him taking center stage next season.
“His Start” deserves a ton of credit for its morose cold open where a glimpse into the Todoroki family that Endeavor has left behind is shown. At first it just looks like it’s just a way to expand on Shoto a little more, but it’s actually more about how this family is still incredibly emotionally fragile from Endeavor’s abusive treatment towards them. This family feels very vulnerable and just mentioning Endeavor’s name causes tension between everyone.
While Endeavor has gained acclaim as one of the most prestigious professional heroes that are out there, his former family still struggles with PTSD. As My Hero Academia positions Endeavor for the spotlight it intentionally brings up his flawed past as a reminder of the amends that he needs to make. Shoto’s mother eventually reveals that Endeavor has been trying to find a way to respect and pay service to his former family, but “His Start” wants that baggage present and on the audience’s mind as he goes through this big fight.
It’s actually fantastic that Deku is absent through all of this, sparing the post-credits tease at the end. This isn’t his story. That being said, the brief glimpse that’s given here seems to indicate that next season will look at Midoriya becoming even more in tune with the nature of his powers. It appears that he makes some kind of contact with One For All’s equivalent to the Speed Force. The whole “You’re the ninth,” line is a pretty strong indication that the apparitions that he sees are the former bearers of the One For All Quirk. It should be very exciting to watch Midoriya make even more progress with his abilities, especially when the villains appear to be upping their game in considerable ways.
This season of My Hero Academia has truly blown me away. It’s always been a very entertaining shonen anime that’s impressed me, but the places the storytelling went to this year were on a whole other level and the type of content I’d expect from something more mature like Attack on Titan. Children were used as test subjects and human weapons. Heroes lost their Quirks. Role models died.
Even the material that seemed extraneous and a waste of time like the entire “School Festival Arc” had such a stunning conclusion that genuinely brought me to tears that it’s hard to begrudge it. Season four is exactly what that show should be and hopefully My Hero Academia season 5 will only continue down the path that’s been started here.
The days of Plus Ultra are gone. Prominence Burn, everyone!