Two more days! Two more days!
All Might is the single most important character in the world of My Hero Academia. His mere existence is crucial to every character in the story! Everything he’s done, both before the story starts and when it does, is essential to everything. He is the centerpiece of the entire world.
Not to mention that he’s just so damn lovable! He’s genuinely heroic and bad-ass, but he’s far from boring! While he’s certainly strong and wise, he’s an inexperienced teacher, a bit of a goofball, and prone to reckless acts of heroism. Out of all the lovable characters in the series, All Might is one of, if not the, most beloved!
Better yet: he’s spectacularly written! He’s not just lovable, he’s deep and compelling!
The Wound: A Hole in the Heart… and Stomach
Man, master characters in anime just have the worst luck!
All Might’s wound is exceptionally simple. He was born Quirkless at a time where that was becoming increasingly less common. Despite this, he had a simple goal: to create a society where everyone could smile. It was thanks to this drive that his master chose him to be the next bearer of One For All, one of the strongest Quirks in the world.
Unfortunately for our budding hero, his master wouldn’t be around to finish training him. Much like every teacher character in anime before her, she was murdered by the world’s mightiest villain: All For One. Thus, a young Toshinori was left in the totally responsible and not at all abusive hands of Gran Torino.
That made All Might’s goal crystal clear: defeat All For One and become the Symbol of Peace. Which was a goal that he practically achieved in record time! He managed to defeat All For One, a feat that none of his predecessors could achieve, and create a society where crime was at an all-time low! At long last, he was the pillar that held the world aloft!
Sure, he lost his stomach and his career now had a hard expiration date that was well within sight, but hey! You take the good with the bad!
The Want and the Need: To Pass The Torch
When we first meet All Might, he doesn’t seem to be much a character in need of a goal. His story seemed just about done! He was already the Symbol of Peace! Sure, he was injured. But he seemed to be doing a good job!
That is, until episode three.
Even with All For One gone, All Might knows he has to keep passing his power on. If he doesn’t, then the world will simply go back to what it used to be before he became The Symbol of Peace. We see this starting at the end of season three, and we’ll likely be seeing it all throughout season four. He knew this would happen. Which is exactly why he needed a successor.
He needed and still needs Deku. He has to continue training Deku so that he can be the next Symbol of Peace. Without a Symbol of Peace, the world is doomed to fall apart. Everyone needs a single pillar of justice to look up to.
Which brings me to:
The Lie: A Singular Pillar
This, if you ask me, is where All Might becomes really interesting!
While All Might does often acknowledge the capabilities of other heroes, he does follow a simple idea. They do good work, yes. But only the one who carries One For All can be the true symbol of peace. The world needs someone to lead the charge.
Except here’s the thing: one pillar isn’t enough to support an entire building. You need more than one to keep the structure where it stands.
Without even knowing it, All Might has planted the seeds to truly make the world a better place. You may have noticed that there are a lot of characters inspired by the Symbol of Peace. Deku and Bakugo are the two obvious picks, followed by Todoroki and even the murderous Stain!
But it’s not just them. Every single member of Class 1-A is, in some way, inspired by All Might. They all strive to carry out the ideal that he set in place, albeit in their own way.
The world doesn’t need one Symbol of Peace. That simply isn’t a sustainable tactic! What the world needs are Symbols of Peace. Multiple heroes that can uphold the ideal that the one set before them years ago!
Every comic book storyline, be it from the west or the east, knows that one hero isn’t enough. As powerful as Superman is, he wouldn’t be able to handle everything without the help of the other DC heroes. No single Marvel hero can protect the world, which is why they have teams like The Avengers or The X-Men. Before Dragon Ball became ‘The Goku and Vegeta Show’, every character contributed to keeping the Earth safe!
I have no doubt in my mind that My Hero Academia will be going the same way. We know that Deku will end up the world’s greatest hero eventually. But he isn’t necessarily the only greatest hero. By the end of the series, I think that every member of Class 1-A will be among those ranks.
All Might did the work alone. But thanks to him, Deku won’t have to.
The mentor archetype is an extremely common one, especially in the Shounen genre. To have a truly great hero, they must have a truly great teacher. Deku has quickly proven himself to be a wonderful hero. And All Might has more than proven himself to be a great mentor.
Though his teaching skills could use a bit of work.
I can’t wait to see where he goes in the fourth season! How will he react to not being able to help people the way he used to anymore? What will the villains do with the knowledge that a weakened All Might is still out there? The possibilities are vast and I am super excited to see what happens!
Two days have never felt so long…