My Hero Academia Season 6 episode 22 was one that sent a lot of signals throughout. While it may have been uneventful for the most part in terms of action and was a more plot-driven episode, that doesn’t take away from the fact it could be argued as the most significant episode from this season for all the characters involved, especially All Might, Deku, and Bakugo.
All Might to No Might
I understand that most of the episode was focused on Deku and we all saw “that” panel from the manga finally animated (which looked incredible). Still, All Might was a highlight of this episode for me more than Deku actually was. When we think of All Might, his name connected with who he was as a hero and a person. He was everything you wanted a number-one hero to be. Then in this episode, we see that All Might officially lost all of that made him who he was as a hero. It’s interesting considering he literally scared two guys with quirks in the previous episode with just a stare and in this episode he’s sulking in the rain on the pavement.
All Might’s transition is one of learning and taking the wins with the losses. He’s a hero at heart, but physically he can’t be one anymore. Now he’s becoming the father figure that Deku needs and never had in the first place. And in this episode, we understand that he’s still struggling with that transition from hero to father figure. At one point when he reached out to Deku and just missed while saying all these things to himself when he should be saying them to Deku and it leads to him just missing.
This entire moment was symbolic in the sense that All Might just keeps on missing the mark with Deku throughout these past two arcs. It’s as if he’s fighting a battle himself with being a hero mentor to Deku and a father at the same time. If he’s not delivering bento boxes to Deku in the batmobile of the My Hero Academia universe, it’s almost like he’s lost and truly doesn’t know how to help anymore. The emotional pain that he’s going enduring right now comes from the fact he’s the former number-one hero who can’t even help the boy he promised to be a father to. And that moment in the rain, with Deku’s lunch everywhere and All Might on his knees, was really the first sign of defeat we’ve seen All Might in on both a physical and emotional level.
Deku’s Low Point
My Hero Academia fans love this arc and for good reason–Deku hits a breaking point with his anger, creating exciting conflicts both internal and external. This teenage boy with a heart of gold who inspires even the most powerful heroes (Endeavor, Jeanist, Hawks) has officially fallen so far that he would be willing to fight his entire class if it meant getting to All For One and Shigaraki. Not to mention, his character design for this arc is incredible. Hitomi Odashima and Yoshihiko Umakoshi have done wonders for his character design in the anime and it shined the brightest in this episode.
But what I loved to see regarding Deku in this episode is that it’s really the first time he’s not listening to any more outside perspectives. After listening to All Might, Endeavor, Gran Torino, and the One For All vestiges this season, it’s actually enjoyable to see Deku finally pursue his own path on his own terms for once. Yes, it’s hurting those around him more than he realizes but that’s also why I loved this episode–it created emotional internal conflicts and powerful external ones we haven’t witnessed at all in the story up until this point. Deku is finally showing that even the one who shines the biggest light for everyone else can have trouble finding his own light.
His character progression in this current arc is like one step forward and two steps backward. He’s a lot stronger than he was at the beginning of the season but as a person, he has slowly stepped back from everything everyone loved about him in the first place. A conflicting hero is always interesting, it’s a reason why Batman is a favorite hero among comic book fans. But to see Deku finally reaching his lowest point and threatening to fight his friends if they get in his way right after trying to save the citizens that were attacking him wrapped up his entire conflict in this arc, external and internal, in just a few split-second moments.
Bakugo Continues To Prove Why He’s My Favorite
Between Deku’s low point and the downfall of All Might beginning to unfold, Bakugo has proven to be the one they both need more than anything else. Mixed in with a serious dialogue with Endeavor and cracking jokes with Deku calling him an All Might wannabe just moments after saving him are just two small parts as to why I can’t stop admiring Bakugo’s character progression.
Deku is losing himself on the path of anger and revenge while being constantly antagonized by All For One is in perfect contrast to how Bakugo handled himself when he was presented with the opportunity to join the League of Villains earlier in the story. While Bakugo has grown to respect Deku, he was always a growing hero himself who never lost sight of what he wanted to become–the number one hero just like All Might. Meanwhile, Deku, the one who is literally mentored by All Might, has lost that goal. Having Bakugo be the one to reach Deku’s heart more than even All Might can is a testament to just how incredible Bakugo’s hero journey is.
Not only did Bakugo save Deku earlier in this season risking his life but he’s also willing to do the same again in stopping him from going down a road he knows that isn’t true to who Deku really is. Not to mention, having Bakugo at the front of the entire class leading the way to fight Deku and snap him back to who he truly is just goes to show that Bakugo has surpassed Deku as a hero in this current time. More importantly, he showed everyone who Deku’s best friend truly is and in a way only Bakugo knows how.
Episode 22 Wrap-Up
This arc was highly anticipated and for good reason. What’s even better is that studio BONES has done an unbelievable job of adapting everything from these past two arcs that are extremely crucial to the overall story. Episode 22 of My Hero Academia Season 6 wasn’t the most fast-paced nor was it the slowest. But what could be argued about this episode is that it was indeed the heaviest. From witnessing All Might’s fall from what he once was to Deku losing complete track of who he is was perfectly showcased in this episode.
Episode 22 rating: 9/10
If you enjoyed My Hero Academia Season 6 episode 22, be sure to vote for it in our weekly poll! Episode 23, titled “Deku vs Class A” will air on Saturday, March 11.
Images via Crunchyroll
© Kohei Horikoshi / SHUEISHA, “My Hero Academia” Production Committee