Maybe I’ve seen too much anime where characters goof off at a mall but I really was expecting hijinks to ensue in this mall episode. This is after all, the season 2 finale of Boku no Hero Academia and after Deku and Bakugo’s big fight against All Might, a breather seemed likely to happen. At first, it seems that way as we see everyone pick out new clothes and equipment (amazing how some them account for mutation-based quirks) and Uraraka runs away from Deku because love will that do that you.
But seeing as Boku no Hero Academia isn’t the kind of show to take a ton of breaks, the episode takes a more dramatic turn as Deku runs into Tomura Shigaraki at the mall. It’s undoubtedly a really creepy encounter; partly because Shigaraki looks like he hasn’t been in the sun for days but because it’s eeriely realistic for a character to encounter a criminal when and where they least expect it. It’s like if you’re shopping for groceries in Gotham and you realize Joker is next to you picking vegetables; it’s downright frightening. And as funny and cute as it was seeing Uraraka running away from Deku, it does remind you how vulnerable you can be when you’re separated from others.
Give Deku some serious credit though, he handled the situation really darn well. He knew resisting would only cause more trouble for everyone around him so chatting with Shigaraki really was the best course of action. He really only resists at the very end though it did look like Shigaraki was about to kill him. I am a little stunned at how honest Deku’s comparison between Shigaraki and Stain was. Maybe he could’ve worded it in a way that wouldn’t offend the very easily offended Shigaraki but his comparison was impressively on point.
Deku can’t agree with Stain’s ideals and methods but he does understand where the man is coming from and can see how people could gravitate towards his viewpoint. By comparison, Shigaraki just seems like a child (which he kind of is, to be honest); a child who is just evil for the sake of it. And sure, we haven’t truly gotten to know Shigaraki as a person but I do think it is intentional that he does come across that one note and is forced to rely on someone with more ambition and gravitas to further his goals.
The aftermath also merits some discussion. Both All Might and Deku’s mother love Deku dearly but their reactions towards the situation leaves different impacts on Deku. All Might bemoans that he wasn’t at the scene to save Deku and Deku is forced to confront the reality that not even the greatest hero in the world can save everyone. Meanwhile, Deku has to deal with an increasingly concerned mother. And sure, that concern has been telegraphed ever since Deku got injured for the first time but it really doesn’t bode well if Deku’s mother can’t handle her son participating in mock battles. I imagine she’d have a heart attack if she found out about the Stain fight. There may indeed come a time where she insists that Deku stops working towards a hero license. No doubt, the path of a hero is harsher and carries more weight than Deku initially thought. I’m sure he’ll persevere no matter what but the farther he gets in his journey, the more he has to consider the gravity of the role he’ll play in society.
And thus, Season 2 has come to a close though fortunately season 3 was announced shortly after the finale ended. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised since Boku no Hero Academia has become extremely popular the past two years but I welcome the news nonetheless. It’d certainly be a bit odd if the anime just ended with this creepy mall scene and called it quits. No release date has been announced but anything more of Bones’ adaptation will be worth the wait.