My Review Academia S6 E17: Family of Frost and Flame

God damn, this episode was dark! I mean, we all knew it was gonna be dark, but I doubt anyone was prepared for it to be this heavy!

With the news of Toya’s survival, the rest of the Todoroki family gathers to face their past. Meanwhile, Hawks and Jeanist turn their attention to the mystery of One For All and the UA kids gather in fear for the comatose Deku.

I was absolutely captivated by all the Todoroki family drama presented here. It’s been my favorite plotline for a while now and it all comes to a head magnificently in this episode. It’s dark, it’s powerful, and it is gripping from start to end.

So I’m gonna rant about it for a loooong time.

We’ve seen plenty of perspectives on the broken family that is the Todorokis. We’ve seen how it’s left pretty much everyone involved. But actually seeing the family break, actually watching Endeavor fall deeper and deeper into darkness and dragging everyone around him into it with him, is so much more uncomfortable and painful than any of that could have prepared us for.

All of it is shown in the eyes of Endeavor, Rei, and Toya. Each scene, the madness and longing in the Flame Hero deepens, more and more lines appearing in the whites of his eyes. Meanwhile, poor Rei grows more pained and exhausted, the bags beneath her eyes getting thicker and heavier. All the while, Toya’s eyes slowly grow wilder with abandonment and longing.

What’s especially heartbreaking is seeing that Endeavor, even at the height of his madness, does still care for Toya and his other kids. He tries to convince Toya to stop because he doesn’t want his son to hurt himself. But Toya misinterprets this as his father pushing him further away and rejecting him. So he snaps and tries to destroy the object he blames for this rejection: his own baby brother.

At this point, all the light has vanished from both of the parents. When they confront each other, their faces are cast in shadows. Only their eyes can be seen. The hate, the pain, the rejection in both of their gazes. Any love the two had shared is dead and buried.

And things still get worse. The next time the two share a scene, Endeavor’s eyes are completely engulfed in rage, two points of blazing white in his shadowy form. When we do see them, they’re completely engulfed in hate. Up to now, the lines within them were thin and black. Now they’re thick and red. All Rei can do is cry and stare in horror, her mental state breaking.

Then there are the kids. Shoto, the only one brave enough to stand up to his father in the height of his rage, crying and screaming while his older siblings cower behind the cover of a bookshelf. Then, finally, we see the scene we’re all dreading: Rei’s ‘punishment’ of Shoto. Seeing the relationship between mother and father deteriorate was horrifying enough, but seeing how it actually affected the children makes it a thousand times worse.

And then there’s Toya. Crying alone in the woods, rejected by both of his parents. Without anyone to help him when he set the forest ablaze. Without anyone to see whether he lived or died.

After all that, we finally cut back to the present. And I love how seamlessly this episode transitions from past to present. There’s no abrupt cut or transition. The events of the past bleed into the events of the present as each member of the family comes together to confront their shared demons.

It all ends as it all began: with Shoto and Endeavor. Shoto, the one who suffered at the hands of both of his parents the most, reaches out to pull them all together. The Todoroki family is forever scarred by the burns of their shared past. But they all come together to face the consequences in the present. Thus, the family arc comes to a close.

Unfortunately, once that all ends and Hawks takes charge, the episode takes a bit of a nosedive. Hawks just stands there and explains all the information that we already saw and know to Endeavor all over again, complete with unnecessary flashbacks abound.

Thankfully, it doesn’t spoil everything. The episode still wraps up on a strong note. Now that we’re done with the Todoroki family drama, it’s time for the other plot thread that’s been building since the series began: One For All.

Next time. Enough ground has been covered this time.

In terms of presentation, this episode is incredibly strong all around. The direction is rock solid, delivering us some of the best scenes in the season. It’s a large portion of why I’ve ranted for so long about this one episode.

The music is definitely hitting at maximum as well. It’s fairly subtle for most of the episode, being quiet and chilling tracks playing beneath the family drama. It’s just strong enough to punctuate the scene while being subtle enough not to distract from it. Then once the ending ramps up, the music booms, loud and heroic and full of hope. It’s all excellent work!

Overall, this is my favorite episode of season six so far and one of my favorite My Hero Academia episodes. It’s a strong showcase of the series’ writing and visuals. It makes a pretty strong argument to prove that My Hero Academia is still a series worth watching.

And now we get into magic Quirk nonsense with One For All. Hopefully that doesn’t make me regret writing that last paragraph.

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