My Review Academia S4 FINALE: Burning Determination

I’ll admit I’ve been harsh on season four of MHA. Granted, I don’t think any of my criticisms were undeserved. It’s definitely been a season full of ups and downs. Thankfully, they ended it all on one of the highest ups we’ve seen yet!

This episode picks up right where the last one left off. High up in the sky, with all of Japan watching, Endeavor and Hawks clash with the talking Nomu. But when the monster’s power proves to be stronger than he thought, Endeavor quickly finds himself struggling. With intense panic taking the crowd, can Endeavor prove himself to be a worthy number one hero?

Alright, let’s get this out of the way. The animation in this episode is amazing!! Each shot of action fits right into a library of sakuga! Endeavor’s flames look incredible, the Nomu’s disgusting regenerative powers are on beautiful display, and each of Hawks’ individual feathers looks stunning in motion! This is easily one of the best-looking fights in the series!

It certainly helps that this episode is dripping with drama! I mentioned last week that it felt like the plot was finally moving again. This episode completely proved my point! Finally, the world of MHA is starting to change in big ways!

It only took a whole season…

Ever since All Might retired, we kept hearing about how dark and scary the world was now that he was gone. However, aside from a few very brief scenes, we didn’t actually get to see much of what that meant. Here? We see a full-on public meltdown the moment things get hairy! It’s honestly a pretty chilling scene; the quiet and horrified commentary of the newscaster over the mass panic is truly menacing.

Which makes it all the more satisfying when what comes next happens. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

The main characters in this episode are those of the Todoroki family (which is unique, for a season finale; the main character has less than three lines of dialogue!). Not only do we get some more screentime for Todoroki’s two siblings (and a brief shot of a kid who is totally blue-fire villain dude and you cannot convince me that it isn’t), but we also get actual dialogue from Todoroki’s mom! We learn that Todoroki’s been sending her letters (and the best son award goes to…) and how she’s even started to forgive Endeavor for his past misdeeds! We even learn that he used to try being romantic by giving her her favorite flowers!

Also, those flowers have a nice little bit of dramatic wilting symbolism, which I’m always a fan of. Simple, but oh so effective. Albeit cliche.

We also get to see how Todoroki feels about his father’s efforts. Better yet: it isn’t through dialogue. It’s all communicated visually! The look of terror on his face as Endeavor gets his shit kicked in and the pure, exhausted relief when it’s all over perfectly show off just how much he’s grown. After so many seasons of the two being at odds, it’s nice to see Todoroki showing genuine concern for his father!

And then there’s Endeavor himself. Holy shit, this dude fucking killed it in this episode! He got his shit kicked in so badly that he couldn’t even move his body without using his Quirk! Plus, he had one of the coolest lines in the episode. One that perfectly captures his growth as a character.

Bioengineered human… you… are me… from the past… or from another future. Burn up… and be put to rest.

The look of utter sadness on his face when he delivers this line… God damn, dude. I fucking felt that! Plus, we also got Endeavor shouting out a Plus Ultra, which was so damn satisfying!

Now, I mentioned earlier a moment of satisfaction. I was alluding to the end of the fight, wherein Endeavor crashes down to earth after burning the Intelligent Nomu. With all the eyes of Japan on him, his body collapsing, he raises his fist into the air in triumph.

This is a nice bit of mirror-symbolism. The last time we saw the number one do this, it was the end of All Might. Here? It’s the beginning of Endeavor. All Might performed the gesture to declare his final victory. Endeavor did so to declare his first. It’s a brilliant show of clever writing and I fucking love it!

Speaking of clever writing, let’s talk about Hawks and his relationship with Endeavor. Last episode, the new number two mentioned how he wanted Endeavor to do well so that he can be lazy; a society in which heroes have little to do would be the logical end goal of any hero. Here though, we see exactly why he thinks Endeavor should be the one to do it. He had been watching him for all those years, ever since he was a kid. He knows better than anyone how hard he’s worked to surpass All Might, a task which no one else seemed willing to take. It’s a nice bit of extra characterization that recontextualizes Hawks’ actions in the last episode; he was pushing Endeavor because he wanted everyone else to see in him what he saw.

Now, Endeavor wasn’t the only star this episode, although he certainly was the main one. Deku also got a very brief scene at the very end of the episode. In this dream, he sees All For One as he creates One For All, as well as the ghosts of the previous OFA users, save All Might. Not only that, but the ghost of the first OFA user actually talks to him directly. When Deku snaps awake, he finds his hand glowing with OFA’s power and his window completely shattered. Thus, season four comes to an end.

There’s… a lot to unpack in this scene. What the fuck was that dream? Why did Deku lose control of his powers? Why was he wreathed in a green light that kept him from talking? Why did he see this now? We know he’s seen these ghosts before, way back in season two, so what purpose do they serve? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS AND NONE OF THEM ARE GOING TO BE ANSWERED FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER YEAR!!

*Sigh* Manga, here I come.

I had hoped this season would end with a bang. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed! This was a phenomenal episode from start to end! Season four certainly had its fair share of struggles. But at the very least, it ended on a huge high note!

Hopefully season five will have a few more of those. We’ve had the calm before the storm. Can we get to the storm already?

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