This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 4 Episode 4
“Haste makes waste.”
The biggest piece of advice that Izuku Midoriya is given within “Fighting Fate” is that cooler heads prevail and that there’s nothing to gain from rushing into battle. Right from the start of My Hero Academia, Midoriya has been an incredibly emotional character. This has often worked out for the burgeoning hero, but now Midoriya finds himself in a world where logic and foresight rule everything. Midoriya has adapted a lot throughout the series, but he learns that this is a more difficult transition than he initially anticipated.
This is a smart, but also a very emotional episode of the show. Its first half is filled with an extreme variation of Stockholm syndrome and the latter is fueled by an honest heart-to-heart discussion about mortality. “Fighting Fate” is an episode that’s nearly bereft of action, but the emotional drama that fills it is more than enough to satisfy My Hero Academia fans.
Midoriya has finally achieved his goal of working under the tutelage of Sir Nighteye and right away he’s thrown into their reconnaissance job on the Shie Hassaikai. Bubble Girl Kaoruko Awata and Nighteye do surveillance on the group’s headquarters while Midoriya and Togata take to the streets. It’s only Midoriya’s first day on the job, but he already finds himself in a deceptively serious situation when he runs into Chisaki (Overhaul) on the street.
This totally innocent moment quickly turns serious and it morphs into a masterclass of calm. Chisaki and Togata try not to hint at the significance of what’s happened, but Midoriya can’t help but notice how petrified little Eri is during this encounter. Togata exhibits better judgment and tells Midioriya to let this one go so they can develop a strategy for this plan of attack. However, Midoriya’s instincts torture him as he strives to help this young girl.
This is really a fantastic, tense scene in so many ways. It’s fascinating to see how Midoriya, Togata, and Chisaki all operate under this intense pressure and how much of themselves they’re willing to let slip out. Midoriya is the most vulnerable and caustic one here, which nearly gets the duo into trouble. Togata is right in his approach to leave Chisaki and Eri alone, but Midoriya brings up a valid point that heroes would naturally want to help in this situation rather than turn a blind eye to it. No one’s exactly wrong here, but Midoriya has to quickly learn on the spot the nuances of his new job.
It’s a much more interesting encounter than when Midoriya first meets Shigaraki because no one can say or do what they want here. It’s an experience that catches them both by surprise and happens incredibly early in the season. This will hopefully just be one of many ways that My Hero Academia’s fourth season attempts to subvert their normal conventions.
The exchange also resonates strongly because of how it’s been established that Chisaki is insanely powerful. It’s dreadful when he gets Midoriya and Togata to follow him into a dark alley. They’re fortunate to get out of this unscathed, but it feels like if Eri didn’t intervene that they probably wouldn’t be so lucky. Afterwards, a glimpse of Chisaki’s true feelings are shown and it’s a terrifying Darth Vader-esque image. He’s irate over what went down and even though Midoriya and Togata kept a low enough of a profile, it’s hard to imagine that Overhaul wouldn’t recognize the both of them if they meet again.
Chisaki’s rage is focused on a lot in “Fighting Fate,” but what’s just as important as the deep sadness that consumes Eri. She leads a very tragic existence and it’s easy to see why Midoriya instantly wants to protect her. In spite of her sad lot, Eri shows herself to be incredibly selfless. She abandons the potential safety that Midoriya and Togata provide when she notices that Chisaki is about to attack or apply his quirk on them. She seems to be miserable, but she’d rather return to that life than risk seeing these heroes possibly get hurt. It’s a tragic encounter, but it’s a wonderful introduction to Eri and the depths of her kindness.
Eri’s frail state begins to weigh on Midoriya and he becomes a distracted mess in the other aspects of his life. Brief updates are provided on how some of the other students’ work study programs are going, but Midoriya is by far the one who is most consumed by his work. The biggest frustations that he faces is that he wants to be reactionary and do something to help her out, but Nighteye and Bubble Girl reiterate Togata’s strategy to take their time with this one.
Granted, Nighteye’s Foresight quirk means that he’s a hero that relies on planning and strategy, almost to a fault, but it’s still important here. As passionate as Midoriya is, he’s still very new to this and any brash actions could actually do Eri more harm than good. It seems like Midoriya’s ability to grasp this will be a major struggle of his this season, but hopefully it won’t be a lesson that he has to learn by Eri getting hurt.
Midoriya’s inability to act on the Eri and Chisaki situation bothers him, but he also suffers from the news that Nighteye dropped on him that Togata was initially supposed to be the one to inherit All Might’s quirk. Even when Midoriya is out in the world he’s plagued by thoughts of imposter syndrome. He wonders if he actually deserves to be in this position and reaping the benefits that could be better suited for someone else.
Midoriya may need to bide his time with Chisaki, but he knows that he doesn’t need to be so guarded when it comes to All Might. In a very refreshing, heartfelt conversation between the two of them, they clear the air on the whole successor topic as well as the rift that formed between All Might and Nighteye in the first place.
There’s really not much to the story that All Might tells, but its simple nature is perhaps what gives it such power. Togata was supposed to get the One For All quirk, but then All Might met Midoriya and thought he was a better fit. That’s it. The more rewarding material here deals with the more tender side of Nighteye that’s shown in the past. As much as All Might’s declining health has set him back, it’s also the catalyst for what started to harden Nighteye. It’s appreciated to get this insight into the character since he’s presently such a guard individual.
Midoriya gets answers to his questions, but he also has to grapple with the reality that All Might really is at the end of his rope. This grave inevitability makes Midoriya’s scene with All Might even more emotional and it looks like My Hero Academia may be preparing to say goodbye to this very important. If and when this happens, it will be a major turning point for Midoriya and it’s exciting to see the series get into these more adult themes.
In addition to the idea that All Might is close to his expiration date, “Fighting Fate” also beautifully toys with the premise that Midoriya’s presence in All Might’s life might be enough of an anomaly to change fate. Nighteye’s Foresight has never been wrong and it’s predicted All Might’s death, but he might have managed to change fate when he bestowed his quirk to Midoriya instead of Togata. The way in which Midoriya and All Might are able to inspire and bolster each other’s confidence is what My Hero Academia is all about. In the face of all of this death and despair, these two couldn’t be more optimistic for the future.
“Fighting Fate” is a strong installment of My Hero Academia that trades in frenetic battles for psychological drama and grueling suspense. The episode covers a very short span of time, but it elegantly highlights how one random event in Midoriya, Togata, Chisaki, and Eri’s lives will irreparably influence the rest of the season. This is an emotional episode, but it earns all of its bigger moments while it also helps hint at where this is all heading.
As Midoriya gets further in his journey to become a hero, he sometimes learns just how far he still has to go. “Fighting Fate” is an impressive example of that and just an overall entertaining episode in what’s already shaping up to be a great season.
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, and Bloody Disgusting. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and that Hannibal is the greatest love story ever told. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.