Episode 17 of My Hero Academia Season 6 aired on Saturday giving us another much-need backstory on the Todoroki family. While this could be said to have been the slowest episode of the entire season it’s still, again, necessary. Everyone is in the hospital and recovering from their wounds. Nobody is jumping back into action and it’d be completely unrealistic, even for anime terms, to just jump right back into fighting.
Endeavor Was Always The Problem
While the Todoroki family all harbor their own level of guilt, there’s no denying the cold hard fact that Endeavor is the reason their family is like this in the first place. He fanned the flames of hatred that Dabi began to bask in at an early age. He treated his family as an experiment and nothing more. He nearly sent Rei to an early grave due to years of brutal abuse and mental torture. He isolated Fuyumi and Natsu entirely. And he made Shoto out to be his own golden trophy. Endeavor wasn’t just the spark that lit the flame of guilt throughout the entire family—he was the spark, fire, smoke, and ash.
Rei setting Endeavor straight was needed at this point in the series. And no matter how many tears Endeavor sheds or how much he begs for forgiveness, the more and more Natsu’s feelings for him become more apparent. There are just some things in this world that will never go away. And Endeavor selfishly believing that he’s the only one living with guilt in the family in itself goes to show he remains as unlikeable as ever. And it’s a testament to Rei’s character how, after all this time, she can find light in her family in Shoto being the hero they all need.
The Shoto-Hawks Dynamic
There are more reasons than one as to why Hawks called Shoto “so cool” to his face in the hospital during this episode. Shoto isn’t just the hero of the Todoroki family, Shoto is the hero that even the #2 hero aspires to be like. Hawks said a few words that meant the world to Shoto that he’ll never know, but we will. We know why he called Shoto “so cool” and it’s because Hawks realized Shoto shouldered a lot of the same weight Hawks did as a kid and then some but turned out to be better.
But what I love so much about Shoto and Hawks is how both walked similar paths, yet Shoto was the one who never lost himself. While Hawks was basically forced to become a hero as a kid because that’s what the government forced him to become, Shoto became a hero because that’s what Endeavor forced him to be. Both were abused by their dads and both of their dad’s treated their mothers as nothing more than waste. Yet, while Hawks realized he lost himself along the way and almost became a villain himself, Shoto didn’t.
He strived to be a hero in his own way, one that reflects Rei a lot more than Endeavor. And I think that’s something so many people seem to overlook with Shoto—he is his mother’s son above all else. Shoto is her hero. And that’s something Hawks couldn’t become for his own mother. And it’s not just what they did or didn’t do for their mothers. It’s also a testament to how Rei came out of the other side still holding strong while Hawks’ mother broke and sold off her own son.
But Hawks is now striving to be the hero he wants to become through the current Shoto—providing such an incredible dynamic between two characters that have rarely ever been in the same room as each other. And now they’re going to team up against Dabi on the same battlefield? Couldn’t ask for better writing from Horikoshi and the production staff for conveying both of their histories.
Studio BONES Does It Again
While it’s easy to praise BONES whenever we see hard-hitting animation during fight scenes, it’s making the slower episodes stand out that also bring forth new challenges. And this is where proper direction can make or break slower episodes such as this one. In episode 17’s case, it’s the latter. One of the production feats I want to give praise to is the constant selection of similar shots that showed Rei and Endeavor and how they looked at each other.
The passage of time throughout the episode from these perspectives wasn’t one you might think of at first glance, but it was wonderful directing in this episode that most viewers overlooked and need to give praise to. A nice touch was how Rei is looking down at the beginning and Endeavor is looking up. Then look at the very last frames and notice how that switched. Then the ice blue background of Rei crying compared to the fiery red of Endeavor’s in the third row shows BONES really did take into account the little things.
Another beautiful, yet brutal, production feat in this episode was the difference in tears that came from Toya in the past and present. Take a look below at how the flames that made Endeavor think his son was dead started off as tears to now—just a stream of blood. This isn’t character progression. This is the story of how one father’s selfishness drove his own son to insanity. And now Dabi, who has shown no mercy to innocent lives, can only cry tears of blood because he burned his own tear ducts. BONES didn’t shy away from the creepy visuals in this episode and I’m glad they didn’t. This episode was truly crucial for setting up what’s to come in more ways than one.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 17 Wrap-Up
An emotional episode topped off with a little bit of humor from Hawks and Bakugo didn’t take away from everything before it. Rather, it was nice a icebreaker from the serious moments. It gave me that feeling of “okay, it’s time we move on to other important matters” just as the Todoroki family was doing. And get ready My Hero Academia anime-only fans because this week will be another slow episode as well. But, much like episode 17, you’re going to want to pay attention to what’s being talked about between Deku and the One For All vestiges.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 17 rating: 9/10
If you enjoyed My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 17, be sure to vote for it in our weekly poll! Episode 18, titled “Izuku Midoriya and Tomura Shigaraki,” will air on Saturday, February 4.
Images via Crunchyroll
© Kohei Horikoshi / SHUEISHA, “My Hero Academia” Production Committee