This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 3
“You were just unlucky.”
My Hero Academia has always asked compelling questions about what it takes to be a hero. Lately there’s been just as much examination over what makes a villain. Dire stakes lead to difficult decisions and slipping moral compasses. Bitter showdowns can be dangerous places to learn someone’s true values and what they’re willing to do when there are no other options. There’s a lot of death and destruction in “One’s Justice,” but audiences might be surprised over which team is responsible for this carnage and if it might be time to reassess who the real heroes are in this war.
“One’s Justice” benefits from how it swings its perspective back over to the villains to highlight how they’re dealing with this well-orchestrated attack. It’s an appreciated detail to include at this point in the series, especially after so many of these villains have been drastically empathized with during the last season. Even Re-Destro’s (temporary) calm in the face of pressure is a worthwhile character moment. This point of view shift becomes the key to the episode as My Hero Academia asks its audiences to consider some disturbing questions in what’s not just the best episode of the season, but one of the most emotionally painful episodes of the series.
Twice has always been one of Shigaraki’s top soldiers and the last season really dug into the psychology of his character so that he’s more than just My Hero Academia’s rip-off of Deadpool. The character has made tremendous strides over a short period of time and he’s reached a point where his well-being is gripping enough to become the emotional core of the episode. Hawks’ betrayal of Twice has been a long time coming, but the execution of this con sends Twice into a terrifying tailspin. Not only has Twice been deceived, but his actions are largely responsible for the major takedown that the heroes seamlessly pull off. Twice is crushed on a personal level. However, this sobering reality check from Hawks opens Twice’s eyes to how he’s developed an unhealthy pattern where he continues to trust the wrong people, charting back as far as his approval of Kai Chisaki.
Hawks’ admission to Twice is a gutting betrayal, but it’s one that cuts Twice especially deep due to what it reveals to him about himself. It all stems from Twice’s sad compulsion to be able to trust the people that he cares about. It’s just as devastating that Hawks wants to help and reform Twice as a hero, but that the manipulated fighter has no interest in such an abandonment of his values. Neither of these two want to fight each other and an undeniably genuine bond has formed between them, even if it initially grew out of hate. Unfortunately, their contrasting values are just too strong for their connection to matter.
This emotional release is matched in an equally explosive Quirk clash between these two apex fighters. Hawks and Twice both spam their abilities ad infinitum and these unbelievable displays of destruction just casually consume the frame while they hash out their raw feelings. It’s one of the best reckonings that’s ever been in My Hero Academia, all of which is only made stronger by Twice’s valid criticism over Hawks and the rest of the heroes. Hawks might fight for the greater good, but is a hero really the type to give up on disenfranchised individuals who have been pushed into villainy? Is understanding not more heroic than elimination?
These themes have been in play since the start of the series, only to deeply evolve over the course of season five’s villain-centric storytelling and poignantly blossom across these early season six entries. It’s significant that top-tier villain Dabi is the one who builds Twice back up after he’s had his hopes and reality shattered by a Pro Hero. It’s hard to not root for Twice when he takes down a hero to save his villain friends, but it’s next to impossible to not get emotional over his muddy farewell. It’s a heartbreaking finish that leaves the villains looking like victims and the heroes have never come across as more vicious. It’s no coincidence that this epiphany is reached when the heroes’ success is at an all-time high and they tear through their enemies like a wave of terror.
The tragic fallout between Hawks and Twice is artistically juxtaposed against Hawks’ previous student, Fumikage. This individual who’s trusted his life in Hawk’s hands is living proof of the Pro Hero’s abilities and the goodness that he can instill in others. It’s bittersweet that the conclusion of “One’s Justice” seems to dash any hopes of an incredible hero team that’s made up of Hawks, Dark Shadow, and Twice.
Twice’s torturous fallout dominates most of “One’s Justice,” but the series doesn’t completely forget that it’s supposed to be about the heroes. The Gunga Villa strike team immaculately execute their attack as Chargebolt, Midnight, and Kamui Woods lead the assault. However, everyone gets a chance to shine and prove themselves, right down to Class 1-B’s favorite shroom girl.
Fumikage’s Dark Shadow Ragnarok also receives its best showcase to date in “One’s Justice.” He’s one of the many heroes who gets their due and yet the episode never feels rushed in its pacing. It’s incredibly fulfilling that My Hero Academia has reached the point where everyone can kick-ass in tandem. A consistent perk of the anime’s sixth season is in how it pulls together disparate threads and characters from across its run in a way that makes all the previously disjointed character development a little more tolerable.
“One’s Justice” isn’t just the culmination of the season’s first two episodes, but it brings together a powerful resolution to one of the longest running threads from My Hero Academia’s past few seasons. The ongoing war between the heroes and villains is still far from over, but episodes like “One’s Justice” are essential to remind audiences that there’s far more to this show than superpowered battles. Real people with delicate emotions are behind these Quirks, and whether they consider themselves to be heroes, villains, or somewhere in between, none of them deserve to be rendered to ash like cinders from burnt feathers.