Animation
Characterization
Story
Summary
This episode showcased the amazing power of All For One as he goes up against All Might. Where Episode 48 "Symbol of Peace" really shines is the growth of the students in terms of their battle sense and maturity.
97 %
Excellent Episode

Finally, we get to see the real brain behind the League of Villians. All For One, one of the most epic enemies of the series, has graced the battlefield. This week’s episode of MY HERO ACADEMIA brought forth this fearsome enemy against All Might. We’ve learned a bit more about All For One and the way he fights. But, while All for One’s powers are certainly at the center of the episode, the attitudes of various heroes come into play too. The anger and pride of All Might, the casual arrogance of All for One, and even a rare moment of trust from Bakugo all come into play. Like several episodes this season, Episode 48 is mainly setting up future episodes. The fight to recover Bakugo is quickly becoming a fight for the legitimacy of all hero society.

The heroes used the short bit of time following Bakugo’s kidnapping to plan. Within just a few nights, they were able to locate both the League’s hideout and their Nomu facility. The police managed to find the true name and identity of almost every part of Bakugo’s capture. Pro heroes assembled in units meant to counter the powers of the villains. In moments, they seemed to massively have the advantage in terms of information and planning. Shigaraki Tomura lost before he even understood how thoroughly the heroes had outsmarted him. But All For One turns the tide. In the same way that All Might’s power turns the tide of battle for heroes, All For One boosts the villains.

What this episode did well was characterizing his power relative to All Might. On top of that, we saw a lot of interesting battle dynamics that have greatly evolved since the Unforeseen Simulation Joint battle. The students of MY HERO ACADEMIA have also evolved in how they fight. Finally, they’re learning when their attempts at heroism do more harm than good.

MY HERO ACADEMIA Episode 47 Recap

All For One’s Incredible Power

So he’s broken. Like, really broken. All For One has the unique Quirk to steal, give, and use Quirks from other people. Unlike some minor Quirks capable of copying abilities for brief moments, All For One’s power is permanent. Additionally, as we saw this episode, he is not limited to using one power at a given time. All For One’s fighting style reminds me of a kid with cheat codes for every buff in a game. Countering All Might’s insane strength is simply a matter of combining a Quirk to reflect power and boost his own. He can use a Quirk called Forcible Quirk Activation to use the Quirks of others even if he has yet to steal them. Oh, and he can fly.

MY HERO ACADEMIA has many powerful people, but All For One is able to easily counter the strongest hero.
All For One effortlessly counters All Might | Image: Crunchyroll

What makes All For One so simultaneously terrifying and awe-inspiring is how casually he fights. He isn’t taking damage and surveys the battlefield like a buffet. This is to say, rather than think of his enemies as people who might defeat him, he thinks of whose Quirk he might want to steal. He just chooses to not steal some on account of the individual possessing the Quirk being important to Tomura. He alone turns the tide of battle and helps the League escape.

One of the biggest marks of an overpowered character is how he shifts the form of battle once he enters. With most characters, they fight using relatively consistent strategies for a variety of foes. All For One is able to so thoroughly rush his adversaries with pure power that they must either avoid him completely or be just as overpowered as he is. Up until now, All Might has maintained a comfortable power ceiling for MY HERO ACADEMIA. All For One has busted straight through it.

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Reconciling Heroism and Rules

In the face of an ultimate evil, it seems Midoriya finally understands the limit of his resolve. While All Might is dealing with All For One, the students slowly have a revelation. While their collective power rivals that of some villains, that ceases to matter around All Might. The most powerful villains and heroes so thoroughly outclass standard fighters that just fighting near others is a nuisance. All For One only needs to protect Shigaraki and has the Quirks to do so while he fights. But All Might has to not only try to defeat All For One but keep him away from Bakugo. Given the amount of battle experience the students have, they’ve finally understood something important. Civilians are of paramount importance, but they also are the reason strong heroes die.

MY HERO ACADEMIA character Bakugo is more than an angry teen. He's incredibly smart in and out of battle.
Bakugo quickly realizes he is an impediment | Image: Crunchyroll

This is an idea MY HERO ACADEMIA first exposed us to during the very first episode. The various sides of it come more into play during the Hosu arc via hero killer Stain. Recall that in the very early episodes, heroes like Kamui Woods had to fall back in order to let someone with a more suitable Quirk stop a sludge-like villain. All Might, in a truly heroic fashion, found a way to defeat the villain with air pressure since blunt force wouldn’t work. For many heroes, choosing to be “a real hero” is maybe a strong moral stance, but it will get you killed. Civilians don’t have a choice in being victims, so this concept is foreign to their immediate danger. It is not foreign to Bakugo. He knows he is hampering All Might’s ability to fight. Midoriya recognizes some value of the hero rules once he understands this.

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Adaptive Strategies

While their understanding of this is clear, it is a unique form distinct from a “follow the rules” mindset. Midoriya and Iida have reached a sort of ideological compromise in choosing to not fight. They don’t categorically follow the rules, but they understand the logic of them and thus planned to rescue Bakugo without fighting. This sudden comprehension bestows Midoriya with a certain boost to his planning capacity. What we often forget about due to the brute force fighting style of One For All is Midoriya’s penchant for planning. MY HERO ACADEMIA breaks from typical shonen style by making its protagonist intelligent not just mid-battle, but also outside of it.

MY HERO ACADEMIA characters show off their strength and smarts in a complex escape.
Midoriya improvises a massive aerial escape from the battlefield | Image: Crunchyroll

Midoriya specifically has frequently shown a great understanding of physics to travel long distances with flight. During the Sports Camp arc, he used the force of an explosion to rush into first place of the obstacle course. In the training camp, he essentially combined his friends’ Quirks into a multistage rocket. Now, he and his friends are showing an ability to adapt not just to the needs of battle, but also to rules, moral codes, and particular wants. Focusing on more elements within a single strategy and accomplishing all of them is a testament to how impressive the strategy is.

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A Troubling Legacy of Power

As plenty likely noticed, Shigaraki actually shows respect to All For One. He’s generally been a pretty arrogant, childish villain up until now. He treats missions like video games and villains like characters at his disposal. He had no qualms about leaving weak villains like Mustard behind at the training camp. After all, who would care if their weakest team member in a video game perished in order to beat a difficult level? Interestingly, this almost commodification of heroes and villains into inputs for Shigaraki’s desires is the perfect mentality for a user of All For One.

All For One refers to Shigaraki as a successor. This could mean a couple of things for MY HERO ACADEMIA. It might mean that he’s grooming Shigaraki to become the next best villain. But it also might mean he intends to give Shigaraki incredibly powerful Quirks. All For One curates Quirks that would work together. He even stops short of stealing Best Jeanist’s Quirk because “it wouldn’t suit Shigaraki’s disposition.” In either case, this frames the longstanding battle between All For One and the holders of One For All as a generational one.

MY HERO ACADEMIA Symbol of Peace, All Might, has been more stressed this episode than ever before.
All Might must defeat all evil even at reduced power | Image: Crunchyroll

All Might has inherited the anger and frustration of the holders of One For All before him. The emotion he shows during this fight is not merely righteous, heroic anger. It, in a rare moment for All Might, is prideful anger. He feels legitimate insecurity and fear at someone capable of nullifying his abilities. But more than that, he feels insecure in his inability to quell a threat. It’s unclear how old All For One is, but he has been at the helm of a seven generational fight and bodied every opponent in it.

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Title Fights to come in MY HERO ACADEMIA

While this episode mostly functioned as the setup for future fights, it was damn good setup. All Might was expressive, but All For One’s mask keeps us from inferring his emotional state from anything but his calm, regal voice. Even at his weakest, All Might was able to travel five kilometers in just over thirty seconds. That is a high-hypersonic speed that would expose a human to temperatures and chemical changes strong enough to corrode their skin. And All For One scoffed at it. If All Might’s fight against the Nomu is any indication though, he is capable of drawing beyond his limits. One For All as a Quirk has a functional limit, but it’s clearly surpassable in the right circumstances. We’re sure to see that happen in the MY HERO ACADEMIA fights to come.

What was your favorite part of the episode? Is All For One too powerful? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image courtesy of Crunchyroll.

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