I’ll leave My Hero Academia alone after this, I promise. At least until either a) I catch up with the manga or b) season five happens. Whichever one comes first.
MHA villains are typically very… villainous, for lack of a better word. Shigurake and all his goons are clearly evil and menacing, All For One is literally described as a master of evil, Stain is a serial-killer, Chisaki is a mobster who tortures a child, all the Nomu are literal monsters, so on and so forth. They fit into the show’s typical moral compass: good is good, evil is bad. Up to this point, the morality of MHA is about as complex as the original Star Wars trilogy.
And then there’s this guy. The best character introduced in season four and I’ll fight you on that: Gentle Criminal!
This motherfucker is the best! He is completely different from any villain that came before him! His goal doesn’t involve the murder of hundreds and, much like Stain before him, is a distorted vision of something morally good! He’s bright and flamboyant, boisterous, even caring and kind! Gentle is a complete subversion of the show’s formula!
But the question stands: what makes him tick?
The Want: To Carve My Name Into History
Gentle’s aim is a selfish, albeit harmless, one. He wants to become a historical figure. Someone written about in the history books for being amazing. Someone like All Might. Whether it was to be loved or to satisfy his ego is not entirely known.
In his pursuit of this dream, Gentle desperately wanted to become a hero. He wanted to go to UA, train his ass off, basically do everything that our heroes, namely Deku, are currently doing. However, when that fell through, he decided to take a different turn. When his heroic dreams died, he decided to turn to villainy.
Still, despite choosing a path of villainy, Gentle held to his moral code. He only targeted those who considered deserving. He never killed anyone. Hell, he rarely actually stole anything! All he’d really do was commit a crime, record it, and upload it to MHA’s YouTube equivalant! He wanted to make a name for himself as a gentleman thief; a modern day Robin Hood, except not really.
But the question remains: why villainy? What happened? Well, that leads us to…
The Wound: A Fatal Accident
Gentle always seemed to have his head in the clouds. He thought that everything would work out, despite his failing grades and the words of those around him. No matter how hard people tried to kick him down, he never let go of his dreams. His confidence was positively unshakable.
Then he actually tried to do something heroic. Which ended about as wall as a Star Wars reboot.
Oh, look! I just made some enemies!
After his attempt at heroism completely backfired, Gentle was pulled out of the clouds and slammed into the ground with the speed and force of a charging rhino. He was kicked out of school, his parents came to hate him, and his schoolmates completely forgot about him. His life and dream came to a complete end.
Even still, he didn’t give up. He only thought to look in another place. Thus, the potential hero became a villain.
One who still doesn’t understand the consequence of his actions.
The Lie: No Problem
When we meet Gentle, his short-term aim is simple. He wants to break into UA during their school festival, record himself doing so, upload it online, and become a celebrity. He has no intention of taking anything or hurting anyone. The only real reasoning behind this course of actions is clout. To show the world that he can.
But here’s the dangerous thing. Gentle has convinced himself that his actions are going to have good long-term consequences. He believes that, by breaking into UA for the whole world to see, he’ll inspire those younger students to become better heroes. That his actions will help forge a new, stronger generation.
There is some logic to that. Unfortunately, that’s not the effect it’s going to have. Here’s what actually would have happened, should Deku have not stopped him.
For one, the people’s faith in heroes would have been shaken even further. We’ve seen time and time again that people don’t have the same trust in heroes that they used to, especially since All Might retired. Anything they can criticize heroes for, people are looking for. So, if they found out a common criminal broke into UA unnoticed, they’d be like moths to a flame!
This doesn’t just make the hero’s job harder. It also provides fuel to the flame. Villains will see that and go wild! Many others would try to get into UA with the mentality of “If this clown could do it, I can do it!” Not only would that prove extremely dangerous, but it would meddle in the training of the heroes that Gentle believes he would make stronger and better.
And then there are the short-term effects. If he broke in, noticed or not, the school festival would be sabatoged. The police would be even firmer wtih UA, keeping them from doing anything like it again. This would prove a great injury to morale for everyone, especially the students. We saw how excited everyone was over the festival; if it and similar events had to be cancelled, that would do great damage to their spirits, which would have direct affects on their training.
Also Eri wouldnt’ get to smile and we can’t have that.
Simply put: Gentle’s head is so far up his own ass that his fecal matter is making decisions. He doesn’t think his actions through far enough to truly comprehend the consequences. Even after that horrific accident that crushed his heroic dreams, he chose to continue living in the clouds. He was so desperate to become known and loved that he couldn’t do anything else.
Until he met La Brava.
The Need: A Gentle Love
La Brava gave Gentle everything he ever wanted. She loved and respected him greatly and proved invaluable in helping boost his ratings. He truly loved her for it, which we can see through his kind actions taken for her. She became truly invaluable in his life, someone he couldn’t live without.
When Deku pushes Gentle to defeat and La Brava is under threat of capture, Gentle is finally faced with the reality of the situation. His selfish actions have ended in disaster for both himself and the only person who loved him. He realizes that La Brava already gave him everything he ever wanted. That he didn’t need the world to acknowledge him. That she was enough.
Thus, beaten and exhausted, he makes the first truly heroic act he’s ever done. He turns himself in to protect her. During his interrogation, he makes it especially clear that none of their crimes were her fault or doing. In order to protect her, he sacrifices everything he’s worked towards and accepts all the blame.
Thankfully, the detective questioning him recognized this kindness. He could see that boht Gentle and La Brava had a strong love for each other. So, rather than beating them down and locking them up, he offers them a chance. We don’t know what that means yet or if it will lead to something in the future. But that’s not the important part.
The important part is the acknowledgement.
Gentle is the most morally gray character we’ve met in MHA so far. He clearly isn’t a bad person, he’s just a delusional one. His heart is in the right place. All he needs to do is pull his head out of his ass and face reality head-on.
We have no idea what’s in store for Gentle. Maybe we’ll never see him again. Maybe he’ll come back as a hero! Where his story will go from here is still a total mystery to us.
Unless something happens in the manga. Don’t spoil it, you fucks.
Either way, I really want to see more of Gentle! He’s one of my new favorite characters and easily one of the best things about season four! He’s one-of-a-kind and I love him to death!
Okay. I’m done. I’ll leave the show alone for a while.