Animation
Characterization
Story
Summary
Turns out Midoriya's mother might truthfully be the strongest character in the show. As the heroes confront the aftermath of All Might's retirement, there are drastic changes to be made. Episode 50 handled that beautifully and with perfect execution.
100 %
Incredibly Emotional

The feels man! Rarely is the non-combat focused episode in a shonen series one of the best. Especially in an anime that is wholly focused on superheroes in society. So, this episode was surprising. And while I might be beginning to sound like an extremely broken record at this point, MY HERO ACADEMIA has outdone itself again. Every new episode delves deeper into a story that is as emotional as it is badass. Every character has a degree of complexity and uniqueness that is on more than one level. The students, teachers, and heroes of UA aren’t just unique within the show. They’re characters that break free of the standard shonen molds. Midoriya cries, his comrades aren’t useless, and the heroes they follow lose. Often.

This is the most important part of the episode: uniqueness and a fresh approach. Unlike a lot of other anime, MY HERO ACADEMIA showcased the hero’s parents. Midoriya’s mother had more screen time than any parent I’ve ever seen in anime. Barring a series where the parent is a fighter or teacher, parents get neglected and ignored in anime.

MY HERO ACADEMIA Episode 50 “End of the Beginning, Beginning of the End” caps off the end of the Bakugo retrieval segment of the season and begins a new arc. The world of heroes has lost it’s greatest, the Symbol of Peace. But the world of villainy has also lost a strong asset. Both changes have made a path for the newest generation to make their mark on society.

End of an Era

After last week’s episode, All Might exhausted the final charred coals of One For All. For those who’ve forgotten how the Quirk’s transfer works, it doesn’t instantly disappear from the bestower. Rather, the remnants of power become finite and slowly disappear with more and more use. For All Might, who continued to work even after passing One For All on, this happened somewhat slowly. But the fights against Nomus and All For One were too strenuous. Prior to this final matchup, he was still only capable of quick bursts of power. His United States of Smash removed that small capability.

In MY HERO ACADEMIA, All Might has always been able to fix problems. Now, he has to watch from the sidelines.
All Might struggles with powerlessness | Image: Crunchyroll

What makes this change even more apparent is how All Might’s weakened form became visible to everyone. The public reaction was quite a bit different than what we’ve seen so far. Generally, the public would react negatively to hero’s shortcomings or failures. But here they found themselves confused about All Might, the infallible savior in their minds. Even in his lowest moment, he still maintained the Symbol of Peace through his action if not through his appearance. All Might is truly strong because he inspires the public and allows them to always have hope. His fighting style, mannerisms, and consistent focus on ensuring peace all worked toward this.

Now, however, the Symbol of Peace has retired and is visibly decrepit. In terms of losses for heroes and villains, losing All Might amounts to a greater harm to the heroes than losing All For One was to the villains. All For One wasn’t extremely active as a villain. The public didn’t even know he existed. Hell, half the cops tracking down his and Shigaraki’s hideout didn’t know about him. As such, while All Might didn’t fail, his loss is certainly an incredible one.

The Aftermath

Hero society has to make two massive changes to correct for the incident with All For One. For one, they have to correct for the loss in hero numbers. After being kidnapped, Ragdoll is completely out of commission and several heroes are critically injured. Best Jeanist won’t be fighting for quite some time after taking the brunt of All For One’s power. The eternal calm and constant hope that All Might guaranteed is now somewhat gone. For heroes like Endeavor, this is both a good and bad thing. He now has reached the spot of number one hero. The pressure has to be enormous. His entire life has revolved around sourcing a degree of power that exceeds All Might.

MY HERO ACADEMIA hero Endeavor angrily reacts to All Might's retirement.
To be number one without earning it is tough | Image: Crunchyroll

The position of ‘top hero’ has to be earned to carry any legitimacy at all. Now, those most deserving of it are out of commission. This feeds into the second thing heroes have to do. It’s more important now than ever to strike back against the new and rising villains. All Might constantly enforced some degree of risk to villains since someone was always around to catch them.

Hopefully, you stuck around after the credits to check out yet another bonus scene featuring All For One. Just as All Might left behind a legacy for Midoriya to follow, so too did All For One for Shigaraki. Now, both of them have the tools to carve forward their own path toward heroism and villainy, respectively. While All Might eventually won the fight against All For One, the fight still proved there are people out there capable of ending his career. Shigaraki can much more easily recruit and mobilize villains now that the League has massive name recognition.

A Mother’s Love

Midoriya’s mother deserves literally everything in the world. Something interesting about this particular episode of MY HERO ACADEMIA is that it gave half the episode’s screentime to a non-hero. We seldom see parents in anime, but this episode showcased the many personalities that raised and improved the students we know and love.

Midoriya has been so focused on his heroism and studies that he barely even considered his mother’s feelings. After the Training Camp Arc, we heard her leave a message for him about leaving UA. But Midoriya was too focused on saving Bakugo to even give it a moment’s consideration. We as fans did the same thing. Viewers focus on the rising action and plot, not the characters it often leaves behind. Midoriya’s mother has silently suffered every time she saw her son come close to death.

MY HERO ACADEMIA superstar All Might prostrates himself before Midoriya's mother.
Keeping Midoriya at UA is truly a heroic act | Image: Crunchyroll

All Might bowing to her seems like an incredible reversal of stature. Normally, we would think that this was a major move for All Might. Yet even he is indebted and linked to the public he serves. This moment thematically represents Midoriya advancing in his heroic journey; he accepts the risk of protection and enters into the same position All Might has spent his time in. So long as he can save people like Kota, he’ll suffer anything and endure all shortcomings.

Even with the fight against Stain and Bakugo’s rescue, Midoriya didn’t get rid of his reckless attitude. But, he has begun to moderate the way he reacts to it. When he saved Bakugo, he managed to do so without injury. He’s finally ready to start making real heroic decisions.

The Next Chapter of MY HERO ACADEMIA

This was MY HERO ACADEMIA’s most emotional episode yet. Midoriya’s mother expressed the height of parental love. She was willing to deny her son every one of his dreams to keep him safe. Even if it led to him hating her for the rest of her life, she was entirely fine with it. With All Might out of commission and several pro heroes injured, the beginning of a new era is here. This new era has Endeavor as the top hero, and it’s doubtful he’ll be able to maintain the image All Might had. In that case, it’s up to the rest of the world’s heroes to rebuild the perception of heroes that All Might maintained.

MY HERO ACADEMIA continuously impresses, but episode 50 “End of the Beginning, Beginning of the End” goes above and beyond this year’s highest in anime standard. Now that BLEACH and NARUTO have ended, plenty of fans are trying to determine what series form the new ‘Big Three’ shonen. Generally, I would always include MY HERO ACADEMIA as a possible slot in these three. But that feels disingenuous. MY HERO ACADEMIA is in a class of its own, bigger and better than anything else this season.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image courtesy of Crunchyroll.

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