My Review Academia S6 E22: Burden of the Symbol

All For One continues to prove himself as one of the best villains in modern shounen in the opening scene. Dude can read Deku like a children’s book and he knows exactly which strings to pull. Thank god this dude is back in the driver’s seat; the story is so much more interesting with him taking an active part in it!

The strain of his actions are pushing Deku in massive ways. Throughout the series, our protagonist has always been a shining light of optimism and determination. Even when things were at their worst, even when he was scared out of his mind, he was still bright and positive for those around him. Now, he pushes himself beyond his limits, acts in cold and brutal ways towards his enemies, and distances himself from his few remaining allies.

It manifests really well in his changing design. In the first few seasons, Deku’s hero costume was childish and goofy. Now, the kid straight-up looks like a demon! His eyes are dark black, sometimes even red, his costume is frayed, and he walks with a hunched gate, like the burden of everything is physically wearing him down. Even the people he saves are afraid of him!

Even more interesting than that is the effect his actions have on All Might. Having once been in the exact position Deku is in now, the former Symbol of Peace wants to reassure his predecessor, to continue protecting him as he promised Izuku’s mother he would, to teach him the lessons he wished he had known in those darker days. But here, he’s faced with the cold reality that he’s completely powerless to do as he promised. Watching Deku break is sad, but seeing an utterly defeated All Might is downright heartbreaking!

Oh, and Stain is there too. I’m sure that’ll be fine.

Just as things reach an all-time low for our young hero, however, my boy Bakugo finally steps back up to plate. At which point we rewind time to see what all the Class A kids have been up to. While Deku was out chasing All For One, they were chasing him.

Which means the next episode is gonna be stuffed to the brim with everyone’s favorite shounen trope: the power of friendship. Honestly, after how depressing this whole arc has been, that doesn’t seem like nearly enough. But what are you gonna do?

Presentation wise, this episode definitely suffers from plenty of cut corners. Which makes sense; after the jaw-dropping display we got in the last episode, this drop was only to be expected. Some shots look really rough around the edges, we get plenty of still-frames, and there are a metric fuckload of flashbacks.

Hopefully, that just means we’re in for another treat next week. It would be a huge bummer of this season peaked with Nagant.

Overall, this was a fairly strong episode. It didn’t look great, but the writing was strong enough to make up for it. The scene with Deku and All Might alone was worth the price of admission!

We’re in the home stretch now, guys and gals. Let’s see if they can stick the landing.

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