My Hero Academia Season 6 ‒ Episode 119

My Hero Academia Season 6 ‒ Episode 119

To say the tide has turned on our heroes would be to say the Pacific ocean is damp. They haven’t just gotten pushed back or suffered a setback – they got clobbered across the skull with a steel chair and are in the process of falling down a 50 foot flight of steps with a spike pit waiting at the bottom. With Shigaraki waking up and calling Gigantomachia to action, now there’s two walking apocalypses out there ambling towards utter annihilation, and neither front has much hope of stopping even one of them.

That’s where we come in at the start of this episode, and though the laws of narrative flow necessitate the good guys making some kind of stand, by the end of this episode it still feels like the fate of the world is tiptoeing on a knife’s edge. Throwing together everything they have left, combining powers, and capitalizing on Shigaraki’s goal of stealing One For All to distract him – all of it amounts to juuuuuust enough to keep him occupied and make this a fight rather than a slaughter. That tension just keeps building through the entire episode, knowing that any slip up, or surprise, or even the slightest outside interference could topple this teetering house of cards. Combined with some great animation showing off the intensity of the new and improved Shigaraki’s powers vs Endeavor, it makes for some of the most exciting action of this season, in an episode that just flew by.

Also helping is that our main characters are finally entering the fray in earnest. With most of the raiding force either turned to dust or scattered to the winds in Shigaraki’s wake, there’s no longer a buffer between Deku and the impending doom his fellow successor represents. That makes for a welcome return of the nervous, green heart of the story. Ever the self-sacrificer, Deku books it to an abandoned area the second he realizes the enemy is after him, but this time he’s not alone, as Bakugo comes blasting alongside him in probably my favorite scene of the episode. He may couch the whole thing in practicalities – and then rationalize internally by insisting this is just to prove he’s still capable of fighting on Deku’s level – but it’s clear that Bakugo is here to protect Deku from his own self-destructive instincts, and that’s incredibly heartening. Both these kids have come a long way over the series, and it’s nice to have that highlighted before they join the fray and start risking life and limb alongside their mentors.

Speaking of, I’m interested in the inclusion of both Eraserhead and Gran Torino here. Torino is the last real connection to the Shimura family, so I’m curious how he’ll feel going up against his old friend’s grandson as the new incarnation of destruction. Meanwhile Aizawa has come full circle, facing Shigaraki down once more while acting as the only real barrier between his students and horrific ends. His determination to pay forward all the times others have saved him is, to quote Shigaraki himself, really cool, and through just a brief scene manages to recenter this whole battle onto the characters.

That’s probably what has me the most excited for next week. It’s been fun to see this larger-scale battle play out, and the show has made time for more intimate story beats like Twice’s episode, but with the scope firmly established and the active cast winnowed down, it’s time for the real fight to begin. I’m especially interested to see Deku and Shigaraki interact, now that we have so much more context about who our handsy villain is and where he came from. (Sidenote: it’s kind of crazy that this is only the third time they’ve directly interacted, yeah?) While the action of MHA is always fun, it’s at its most impactful when in service of character drama, and it’s about time for that to take center stage.


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