My Hero Academia Season 6 delivered what most could argue as the most heartbreaking episode of the entire Winter 2023 season. And when I mean episode, I don’t mean just a single moment or scene from one part of the episode. I’m talking from beginning to end, episode 24 of My Hero Academia Season 6 was perfectly heartbreaking in many ways.
Ochako Uraraka Shines
First and foremost, Ochako (CV: Ayane Sakura) was by far and large the star of the episode. I was waiting anxiously all week for her speech in this episode and was utterly blown away by the spectacle that Sakura put on. We have been blessed with incredible voice-acting performances from beginning to end with this season of My Hero Academia and Sakura shot right to the top next to Daichi Endo’s performance as Twice. That being said, this entire episode was more than just a perfect performance—it felt like a moment in time I experienced as if I were actually there at U.A. High School myself.
It wasn’t just Sakura’s voice cracking as Ochako went further along in the speech that brought a powerful moment to life. It was so much more than that. I think the word “declaration” is too light of a word for this episode title and the meaning behind Ochako’s words. This wasn’t just her declaration, this was her belief of what a hero is and the correct way she feels they should be embraced, not outcasted. As someone that’s been a bystander to heroes and a hero herself, Ochako’s words come from experience and passion, not exhaustion and anger like so many others from this season.
If there’s any character I could relate to the most in this episode, it was Hawks. Not because of his personality or his backstory, but how he reacted to Ochako’s words as if he just witnessed something he’s never seen before and felt the impact of words he’s never heard before. Ochako proved her growth in just a single episode. She doesn’t have the most powerful quirk. She hasn’t been given many chances to prove herself on the battlefield like other characters in the series are.
Yet, her words, her simple decision to take the megaphone and reach the hearts of citizens who are at their breaking point, struck a chord in me that hasn’t once been played since I began this amazing journey of watching My Hero Academia. And, for the first time this arc, we finally got to see her smile at the very end wiping away the tears.
This wasn’t just for the citizens to realize Deku’s pain as she has. It was also a cry to Deku. A last-ditch effort to reach the heart of someone who means the world to her. Someone that she can put her faith in as a hero and, more importantly, as a friend more than anyone she knows. Deku’s tears were heavier than all the rain that fell from the sky in this episode. Combining Ochako’s words and passion, Deku’s tears of pain, relief, and remorse, and the graceful piano composition from Yuki Hayashi, it became an episode unlike any other we’ve ever witnessed before in My Hero Academia.
Flawless From Beginning to End
Some may possibly look at this episode and think how it’s the most heartbreaking from this entire Winter 2023 season despite not even having a single character die in the episode. But you have to look past that for a second and realize that this scene almost felt like a funeral in some ways without actually involving death.
Endeavor dressed in all black. The disdain on everyone’s faces, including Bakugo at one point. Shoto looking past his father’s mistakes and realizing that working together is the right thing to do. Hawks having a moment of realization. The rain, the sad piano, the tears that fell from the face of Deku’s mother and those he saved. Principal Nezu even felt the impact of Ochako’s words and was given a dramatic close-up, someone who has never shown this side of him before.
Everything that culminated in this episode and how the production staff went about it was unbelievable in every sense of the word. So if we look at it as a funeral, then it’s for the death of who Deku was during this arc, not for who he truly is.
This episode didn’t need incredible animation or mind-boggling composition—the writing itself did it all. The impact I felt wouldn’t have been there had it been sunny. It wouldn’t have been there had it been a rock-n’-roll soundtrack instead of a gentle piano. It wouldn’t have been there if Deku didn’t break down and cry. And it damn sure wouldn’t have been there had Ochako just said all these things in a higher tone of voice on the ground in front of everyone rather than on the top of U.A. with a megaphone…no. This episode did everything possible in order to make this entire moment the most heartbreaking in every possible way with the littlest details included.
For example, one of those little details is Kota himself. He was the first one to embrace our favorite crybaby hero in this episode after Deku originally became the first hero he believed in. Their tiny, yet significant, story came around full circle in the most tear-jerking way possible. Deku was the first hero to save Kota then Kota became the first citizen to embrace Deku (a hero) when he needed saving—further proving Ochako’s point.
Another small detail are the few, quick shots we see of Deku’s mother. First we see her crying when she sees her son. Then Bakugo’s mom has to hold her back from running after him. Then the next is her on her knees crying for him. They’re very brief, but again, it’s the little details that really make a difference in moments like this.
Another is of all the citizens that denied Deku at the beginning only to embrace him at the end. It sort of reminded me of the scene in Spider-Man 2 where Spider-Man passed out after saving the citizens on the train and they lifted his body and laid him down gently, revealing that he was “just a kid” and how they’ll always have his back from then on. That moment of “we were wrong about you… we’re sorry” coming from a huge group of people when the hero is at a low point trying to do his best was definitely displayed.
But My Hero Academia took that to another level and perfected it, giving a deep feeling that left me with tears which still haven’t stopped flowing, even while writing this. This wasn’t just about Ochako being that final hand that lifted Deku from the darkness. It was about her making sure he gets out of the darkness and never returns–to being the hero
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 24 Wrap-Up
I didn’t mention it in its entirety, but the ending was also perfect. Seeing All Might nowhere near UA while Stain returns and continues to follow him was a nice cliffhanger to end the episode on. There wasn’t much action nor many moving parts. But this is how an emotional episode and a turning point for the main character should be. This is how a side character can show their true value to a story without having to do anything too dramatic (i.e fighting someone, traveling across the world, etc.).
Incredible character development in the right setting with every part of the production nailed from beginning to end rightfully earned this episode a perfect score.
Twice’s episode was tragically beautiful. Dabi’s episode was dramatic. Last week’s episode was emotional. This episode, however, hit something different that the others couldn’t for me. Not just for My Hero Academia Season 6, but in any other episode from any other series that aired this season.
Episode 24 score: 10/10
If you enjoyed My Hero Academia Season 6 episode 24, be sure to vote for it in our weekly poll! The season finale, titled “No Man Is an Island”, will air on Saturday, March 25.
Images via Crunchyroll
© Kohei Horikoshi / SHUEISHA, “My Hero Academia” Production Committee