I’m terrible. In the middle of Endeavor’s epic battle against Hood, I couldn’t help but think of James Franco singing “Firework” in The Interview.
— Alright, let’s get started. In the cold opening — and I do find this oddly appropriate — we see the rest of the Todoroki family. Y’know, the ones that Endeavor doesn’t have the mental fortitude to face. Well, it’s not like his kids really want to see him either. They’re not too fond of their father, but their mother still tries to defend the man. According to her, Endeavor hasn’t abandoned her or his family. He’s doing what he can to show that he cares. Sure, I don’t doubt that Endeavor can feel guilt. I don’t doubt that he’s trying to redeem himself. But that still isn’t justice in my eyes. Rather, redemption should come after justice. Endeavor still hasn’t really accepted responsibility for his actions (i.e. what he did to his family), so any attempts to redeem himself will ring hollow… to me, anyways. Granted, I’m (obviously) not a part of his family, so what I think ultimately doesn’t matter. If they want to accept him with open arms, it’s certainly their prerogative. But it’s like… how do I put this… honestly, my brain is fried at the moment, and this topic feels like it should merit its own post. Nevertheless, I’ll try to give the Cliff’s Notes version of what I’m thinking.
It’s not that I believe in retributive justice, but I don’t think a man (or a woman) can truly repent until they have confessed. I’m not religious, so this isn’t coming from a Judeo-Christian perspective even though it seems like it is. Rather, I don’t believe that a person can simply feel bad in isolation for some arbitrary amount of time, then declare themselves absolved of all their sins. And yes, this includes performing good deeds. Performing good deeds shouldn’t absolve you of your sins. It can be a redemptive act, but like I’ve said, redemption is just one part of the equation. Take Crime & Punishment‘s Raskolnikov, for instance. It doesn’t matter what his punishment ultimately was. What mattered was that he eventually confessed to his crimes and accepted his punishment. Until then, you are simply hiding. You don’t have to confess to God, but you should have to confess to somebody. And for a public servant like Endeavor, perhaps he should confess to the people. I wouldn’t ever say that Endeavor isn’t do any good. Clearly, he has used his powers for good. He has used his hands to save countless lives (I presume). But even though the scales of justice is a prominent metaphor, I don’t see justice as some sort of balancing game. You can’t just put bad deeds on one side of the scale, good deeds on the other side of the scale, and say, “Look! My goodness outweighs the badness, so I guess that means I’m good!” Otherwise, it would be okay for me to kill one person as long as I turn around save a hundred. Justice should not be reduced down to a set of moral calculations. We can acknowledge that Endeavor has done good things without running from the fact that he still hasn’t confessed to his sins.
Alright, I gotta stop talking about this, because this is ultimately a show for kiddos.
— Shoto’s mom doesn’t have a phone, so he can only communicate with her by letter. Geez, what year is this? But apparently, her health precludes her from having one? Shrug.
— Endeavor isn’t having an easy time with Hood, because the Nomu has more than a few tricks up its sleeves. Not only does it possess insane strength and speed, it can even heal itself rather quickly. Well, you know what that means. Whenever someone can regenerate a limb, then you gotta vaporize all of them.
— I do like that these fights always occur in and around a city. This isn’t like a certain shounen series where the combatants always magically do battle in the middle of nowhere. Civilians here are in direct danger… kinda.
— What I don’t like, however, is the lengths the anime will go to prevent any casualties. Endeavor’s intense fight against Hood ends up causing major damage to a high-rise building. It’s going to collapse and kill not only the people inside the damaged portion of the skyscraper, but everyone around the building as well. So what happens next? Hawks sends out his feathers, and each one is capable of lifting a grown adult to safety. Seriously. As a result, he manages to save every single person in the damaged portion. Endeavor follows this up by cutting the damaged portion up into smaller pieces so that it can’t hurt anybody beneath it. C’mon… I’m not here to watch people die, but you can’t avoid death forever. You can’t kill one superhero in 88 episodes and go, “Well, see? We can be tragic too!”
— Endeavor realizes that he’s going to have to go all out in order to beat Hood, but this will put his body at risk. Sure, he can turn up the heat, but can his body take it? This is why he tried so hard to create a spawn like Shoto. Obviously, this doesn’t excuse his actions, but it does explain why he did what he did.
— Unfortunately, the episode isn’t over yet, so Hood managed to tear its own head off and thus keep it away from Endeavor’s attack. Wouldn’t this mean then that Endeavor really only has to target Hood’s head? ‘Cause I mean, if the brain is turned to ash, would the rest of the body be able to somehow regenerate it? Ah, whatever.
— Hood’s counterattack looks quite brutal. In fact, it even leaves his kids — the ones that don’t really like him — in shock. Sure, they’ve cut him off, but it’s not like they want their own father to die. Especially not in front of them. It’s a good thing their mother doesn’t have any sort of technology in her room. Seeing her husband get beat up like this might have done a number to her health.
— Unfortunately for me, I went and watched that movie. And in that movie, Endeavor is A-OK. So of course, I can only shrug at what we see here. Ah, he’s gonna be fine.
— His son (not Shoto) wonders why Endeavor can’t just wait for backups. After all, he’ll never fill All Might’s shoes. Likewise, the public starts to panic and despair. If the number one hero can lose this badly to some random Nomu (even if it is a really strong one), then what chance do we have against an actual supervillain? Well, this is gonna sound harsh, but man, I find the whole “Oh no, there is no Symbol of Peace” nonsense to be really, really pathetic. The masses are basically declaring that they’re no better than sheep. They’re basically saying that if some super strong ubermensch doesn’t save them, then all hope is lost. What kind of defeatist bullshit is that? I guess we should just forget the fact that human ingenuity has managed to overcome all obstacles without the need of Quirks.
— Anyways, a freaking kid ends up talking sense. Endeavor’s fan — maybe his biggest fan — starts screaming on camera, telling everyone to not give up hope because his hero hasn’t given up.
— So even though Endeavor has taken so much damage that he can barely move his own body, he’s propelling himself after Hood through his Quirk and sheer force of will. I couldn’t help but think of the angry bird meme.
— Hawks is finally able to rejoin the fight, and we get a glimpse into his mindset. He actually does respect Endeavor. Why? Because every other hero simply capitulated to All Might. They saw the Symbol of Peace high above them and decided that they could never reach his heights. They simply accepted that they would always be inferior to him. Endeavor, however, was the exception. For all his flaws, he was the only one who had the will to keep pushing. So I guess that’s worth something. It’s certainly worth Hawks’ admiration and respect.
— Endeavor tries to burn the Nomu from inside out, but Hood still manages to regenerate from the damage. He needs more heat! As a result, the pro hero drags the Nomu high into the sky. This way, he’ll be far from the city and can thus let it shine! And own the night like it’s the Fourth of July! ‘Cause Endeavor, you’re a firework! Go and show ’em what you’re worth! And make’em go “Oh, oh, oh! As you sail across the sky-y-y!
— On a more serious note, Endeavor sees his old self in Hood, so this victory means more to him. He feels that he needs to put his demons to rest, and defeating the Nomu is one step towards that. Sure, the man can self-reflect. But I would still argue that we still have a long way to go before we can say that we’ve achieved justice.
— When the smoke clears, Endeavor is the only one standing. Which we already knew, ’cause the movie spoiled it for me.
— Here’s Bakugo showing his massive range of emotions. You’ve seen him angry, but have you seen him… slightly irritated?
— After the ending credits, Deku has a rather familiar dream, but this time, he gets a little more. He gets to see what appears to be All For One fighting someone who looks a whole lot like him. Hmm.
— I was thinking about One For All and how it seems to combine Quirks from all of its users. Unfortunately, All Might gave it to a Quirkless kid, so One For All doesn’t get to continue evolving with Deku… or does it? Maybe Deku has some hidden Quirk that we just don’t know about yet. Or maybe it simply doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, strength is useless without the right person to wield it.
— Any final thoughts? Eh. I dunno, I don’t feel as though this season had the most exciting arcs. Deku’s climactic battle against Overhaul was dope, but everything leading up to it wasn’t all that interesting to me. Finally, the school festival arc felt like a bridge to something we won’t get until the fifth season rolls around.