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Boku no Hero Academia Season 7 – 08

When a battle shounen has been going as long as HeroAca has – and has this many iconic characters – you’re going to have a lot of “final battles”. That’s partly the reason why this arc has such a climactic air to it, despite being quite a ways out from what Horikoshi-sensei is calling the final arc. There is a risk of burnout (no pun intended) with that. And indeed, many big-name battle shounen whose writers aren’t as talented as Horikoshi suffer from it. But Boku no Hero Acadamia manages to avoid it a vast majority of the time, and this showdown is certainly no exception.

Any time the Todoroki family comes into focus, things take on quite a tragic air. No one epitomizes the hollowness of the hero label in BnHA more than Todoroki Enji does. One can strain a little under the weight of this series humanizing its villains so much, even if it is very good at it. But with Dabi-Touya, it’s pretty clear who the blame falls on. It’s hard to escape the belief that Endeavor is a flat-out terrible person. I mean, he really is. There was a whole arc devoted to the question of whether he could or should be redeemed, and I don’t think a straightforward answer was ever arrived at.

For me, it comes down to the fact that Endeavor should never be forgiven or absolved for what he’s done. But I do think he genuinely regrets it. And in the end, the answer is not to die, but to live and try to make amends for as long as he possibly can. Unfortunately, as usual it’s left to others to clean up his mess. In this case his youngest son, who stands on the front lines against Dabi instead of Enji. And in some ways I think Touya resents Shouto even more than he does his father, whose approval he still basically yearns for even after all that’s happened.

I don’t recall hearing the detail that Touya was unconscious for three years, though perhaps we knew that already. Or that he was expected to die within a month of waking up (which would seemingly make him a lot less useful as one of All For One’s potential “spares”). Just that much more time for the resentment to build up. As Garaki notes, Dabi among all the big name villains is one who has no loyalty or even connection to the “Demon Lord” whatsoever. He has no grand goals or political ideals or even lust for power or general violence. He just wants payback, plain and simple. And that makes him someone even his allies are quite a bit wary of.

Dabi’s expectation of death does cast his behavior in a slightly different light. It’s unsurprising and it fits, but it crystalizes his mindset very clearly. He doesn’t care what damage he does to himself as long as he takes his father (if he ever gets the chance) and brother out. Shouto by contrast not only wants to preserve himself, but wants to avoid inflicting mortal damage on Touya. That’s at least one hand tied behind his back, but the power that made his father exploit him so greedily does come into play here. Cold flames of one sort or another were always going to be his ultimate move.

This is a hell of a battle – intense and heavy with Dabi’s intense hatred hanging in the air. If Bones is having any production issues because of You’re Next they aren’t apparent this season or in this battle, which they really do justice to. It’s all going to come down to that ultimate move and Flashfire is something we know from Endeavor of course, but both his sons have their own twist on it. What Shouto has come up with for Touya is “Flashfire Phospher” – building to “Great Glacier Aegir“. With this, his cold flames seem to completely extinguish Dabi’s Blueflame – but is it really over?

For me, I like the idea that what Shouto “ultimately” came up with to battle his brother was more ice than fire. Half-Cold Half-Hot may be his quirk, but ultimately ice is what separates Todoroki Shouto from his father. And he really wants to be separated from his father in this context. As such it’s only right that his final move should rely on freezing his opponent, even if he’s using flames as the method of delivery. Unfortunately what Shouto wants out of this confrontation is much more difficult to achieve than what Touya does, and he’s going to need the strength not just to subdue his opponent, but to accept what he can’t change.

The post Boku no Hero Academia Season 7 – 08 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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