My Hero Academia Season 6 Awakens an Old Foe

A major player for the Paranormal Liberation Front awakens and leaves even the strongest of heroes worried about the future.

My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 5 Gran Torino Kicks Nomu
Photo: Crunchyroll

This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.

My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 5

“The Pros that you admire so much play dirtier than guys like me.”

“Don’t reject me anymore” is a sentiment that’s shared by Shigaraki in the previous episode of My Hero Academia, yet it becomes the mantra for several characters–Dabi, Fumikage, Dr. Garaki, even the many Nomu–in “Thrill of Destruction.” The Shigaraki-centric installment features the character’s highly anticipated rebirth, but it’s also full of characters who prove that they belong and are beyond rejection before they’re pushed to dangerous, new places.

The beginning of My Hero Academia’s sixth season has been deeply immersed in battle with very little time for reprieve. “The Thrill of Destruction” focuses on three central clashes, all of which become irrelevant after the Paranormal Liberation Front releases their secret weapon: Tomura Shigaraki. There’s genuine tension that surrounds this moment. Shigaraki comes to when the episode begins, yet this ticking clock component magnifies the audience’s anxiety until he finally strikes. “The Thrill of Destruction” is a patient episode of My Hero Academia, but there’s a whole decayed city by the time that it’s over.

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Hawks and Dabi remain in an intense fight that’s as psychologically taxing as it is physically punishing. Each is determined to prove that they’re the real hero, but Dabi comes across as more convicted in his beliefs until Fumikage shows up to save the day–or at least, Hawks’ wings. Dabi brashly tells Fumikage to “think for yourself,” but this advice speaks volumes for all of these characters in terms of what they actually have to do in order to evolve.

Meanwhile, Pro Heroes like Endeavor, Mirko, and Gran Torino continue to lead the charge against the wild Nomu. These Pro Hero spectacles, combined with the assault on Dabi, continue to strive for excellence when it comes to My Hero Academia’s animation. These battles are beautiful sequences to behold, especially when everyone’s Quirks are working in tandem. These well-choreographed and realized bursts of action aren’t necessary, but they really do make a difference during a time where non-stop combat is the norm.

“The Thrill of Destruction” also gets to spend some time with the Class 1-A and 1-B students who are tasked with evacuation duty. This grows into a free-for-all for neglected characters as Ryuko, Burning, Iida, Najire, and Asui all get their respective moments. Once-crucial characters like Iida and Uraraka get to remind audiences why Midoriya was drawn to them in the first place. It’s always appreciated when the valuable support heroes from Class 1-A and 1-B are shown some love. “The Thrill of Destruction” also spins the series’ focus back to Midoriya, who’s been quite absent during the season’s first five episodes and finally receives some attention. 

It’s no coincidence that My Hero Academia’s return to Deku occurs right when Shigaraki awakens. It’s more rewarding evidence that suggests the connection between these two. Midoriya is even driven forward by an internal One For All vestige that warns him of Shigaraki’s rebirth and that All For One’s revenge is imminent. This all gets very Star Wars and Force Spirits, but it’s still a direction that works for the series. If nothing else, it gives Deku and Shigaraki some means of “communication,” which is crucial since it may be some time until they actually face each other in combat.

Midoriya’s conscience and inner sense of heroism has never wavered, but this newly triggered voice of authority finally starts to interfere and assert itself within Deku. It’s exciting that the previous One For All vestiges that occupy the fringes of Midoriya’s subconscious are becoming more of an active presence. However, this is also terrifying for what it implies about the impending danger that lies ahead for the heroes. 

Alternatively, Shigaraki’s grand awakening is treated tantamount to the arrival of a god. It’s a truly intimidating display that’s felt by every character and becomes the catalyst for what’s to come this season. It’s chilling that Shigaraki’s strength is equated to a “Plus Ultra” miracle that’s as much of an inspirational symbol as All Might’s power. Shigaraki’s new look poignantly includes X-Less’ cape, which is more evocative of All Might than ever before and further blurs the lines between heroes and villains.

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“The Thrill of Destruction” lives up to its name and there’s genuine fear that’s seized Deku’s resolve by the end of the episode as the city crumbles and Shigaraki reaffirms his control. If My Hero Academia continues to build off of this momentum then next week’s successor promises to be one of the series’ most dangerous episodes. However, despite everything that’s learned and accomplished across “The Thrill of Destruction,” it’s still ultimately an episode of My Hero Academia that feels a bit like a placeholder that’s egregious with its pacing. 

The heights of “The Thrill of Destruction” are undeniable, and it maintains this season’s track record for stunning, kinetic action sequences, but it still bides time until its big finish. The episode’s grander points feel like they could have been combined with last week’s entry or with what’s to come next week, but in the end it’s likely for the best that Shigaraki’s comeback tour gets some proper time to breathe. “The Thrill of Destruction” is an engaging, important episode of My Hero Academia, but it still needs to shake loose the final stages of stasis before it properly embraces its best self.


3.5 out of 5