The past month of “My Hero Academia” chapters have made for quite the read, with the rather imposing figure of High-End appearing at the end of Chapter 186 (titled ‘Endeavor and Hawks’), looking for a fight with the strongest around. This has then led to a fight between the advanced Nomu, and the new top two heroes, which has been both dynamic and gripping, and deserves plenty of analysis as a result.
The first chapter in this batch is used primarily for setup, but was still an interesting addition. While a conversation placed towards the end of the chapter between Endeavor and Hawks helps to establish the feelings of the general populace toward the Nomu menace, the first half of the chapter instead helps to display Hawks’ abilities as the new No.2 Hero, as well as his hometown’s reverence to him as a beloved figure. The aforementioned conversation has a secondary purpose though, in that it seemingly displays Hawks’ feeling toward heroism as a profession and ideal in this universe. This demeanour is certainly something that is unique to Hawks, and I believe that has helped to instantly endear himself to the majority of the series’ readership, over the course of the past month.
As for the other two characters though, in the primary trio of this month’s content, they are both given some fantastic action shots at the end of Chapter 186 that really set the scene of what is to come. As High-End comes crashing through the window of the restaurant, we are treated to a striking but incredibly well-drawn panel of him looming over Endeavor, before we are shown a close-up of his look under the hood, with his Kurogiri-like features and exposed brain which is now synonymous with the Nomu. Following this, we see Endeavor jump into action, as he utilises the first technique in his ‘Flash-Fire Fist’ arsenal, with that being named ‘Jetburn’. Then, we see him use his flames to hover high in the air, which mangaka Horikoshi uses to good effect, as it really adds to the anticipation of seeing Endeavor’s first fight since inheriting the title of No.1 from All Might.
Given where Chapter 186 ends off, the start of the following chapter (titled ‘Flaming Roar! Vs. Nomu: High-End’) is certainly somewhat jarring at first glance. However, after a second, the brief shift in focus makes perfect sense, as we are given a deeper insight into the Todoroki family beyond Enji and Shoto. In fact, through this, we are introduced to Shoto’s older brother Natsuo for the first time, while his sister Fuyumi and mother Rei are reintroduced into the narrative. Natsuo is presented as a fairly jovial character, and the general conversation amongst the three seems to be rather warm, until the topic of Endeavor officially becoming No.1 is raised. This drastic shift really works to highlight the disdain Natsuo has for his father, as well as drop further information, regarding a third victim of abuse besides Rei and Shoto. Given what we know so far, and have been shown through numerous hints at foreshadowing, I think it is safe to assume that this third victim and missing Todoroki sibling is the current League of Villains member Dabi. If this is indeed the case, I’m very much interested to see just when we’ll see him given some focus, and perhaps some rather powerful conversations and confrontations with his siblings and his parents. Rei’s commentary also, on the fact that Endeavor still delivers her flower, is rather interesting. After all, this fact isn’t used to necessarily redeem Endeavor in the eyes of the abused, but instead is able to shine a brighter light on his previous statement of “Just watch me”, as it is made clear that Endeavor was speaking directly to his family, as opposed to purely addressing the general public.
Back to the fight though, and we see High-End shrug off Endeavor’s ‘Jetburn’. Endeavor then makes an interesting observation, that all of the black Nomus appear to possess some kind of regeneration quirk, while the white ones do not. This is a clever and subtle detail, inserted by Horikoshi throughout the narrative. Following this, we see a failed attempt by Endeavor to use his ‘Hell Spider’ technique, and this then gives High-End an opportunity to display his own combat prowess. This results in Endeavor being casually thrown through a building, which is depicted through incredibly intense artwork, which really captures the destructive nature of the clash. Given the damage to the building, this then gives Hawks the chance to demonstrate his ability in a crisis, ahead of other local heroes. His quirk ‘Fierce Wings’ is explained, and the precise nature of its control does a lot to sell the readership on Hawks’ potential as a particularly prevalent rescue hero, despite his young age. As a final feature of this chapter, Hawks also manages to provide Endeavor with an opening, in which ‘Hell Spider’ finally finds its mark. The dialogue between the heroic pair though at the end, when coupled with High-End’s pseudo-comical facial expression, works again to build excitement for the coming chapter.Continued below
There is no cutaway at the beginning of Chapter 188 though (titled ‘Your Father, the No.1 Hero’), unlike the chapter that preceded it, as we see how Endeavor and Hawks handily dealt with the falling debris from the partially destroyed building. This is an incredibly cool moment for the new No. 1, which is narrated as much by heroes who are watching from the ground, although he does require the precise nature of Hawks’ quirk to complete the job successfully. However, the amusing banter between the pair that follows is unfortunately cut short, as High-End takes steps to stop others from interfering any further in his fight with Endeavor. To do, he brings more Nomu (although this time they’re the weaker white ones) to the battlefield, and Endeavor speculates that it either has access to a fission quirk, or perhaps it is just storing them within its body. Given the similarities it has to Kurogiri in appearance, and the fact that High-End seemingly has access to Muscular’s quirk too, I don’t believe it is outside the realm of possibility that the appearance of the new Nomu are tied to some sort of hybrid warping quirk.
Regardless, Endeavor also reminds himself of the other quirks High-End has demonstrated thus far, naming them: Shoulder-Mounted Jets, Transforming Arms, Muscular Enhancement, Power, and Regeneration. Given what he’s seen, Endeavor makes the assessment that High-End is capable of serious thought, and so he decides to go all out. Before that though, we do get a glimpse of Hawks utilising two of his bigger feathers as swords in order to swiftly take out two of the white Nomu, which is certainly made to look very cool by Horikoshi. Then, with the focus back on Endeavor, we are given some crucial internal dialogue regarding the drawback of his quirk, with that being the rather shallow reason as to why he had and subsequently mistreated his family. From there, as we see High-End gear up to attack, we see Endeavor do the same. Horikoshi does a wonderful job of displaying the intense light and heat emitted by Endeavor, as he engulfs High-End in a scorching attack called ‘Prominence Burn’.
Yet even this is shown to fall short of a victory, as High-End intelligently tears off his own head and tosses it to safety before it can be incinerated, thereby allowing him to regenerate fully. In this moment, Endeavor is then caught by two nasty attacks, as his family and the world watch on. One of the attacks appears to strike him in the gut, in a similar place where All Might had his own wound, while the other manages to rip up Endeavor’s face, seemingly taking out his left eye in the process. This is obviously rather apt, as it is the same side as Shoto’s scar, whose face is then of course shown on the following page, as it is revealed that he’s been watching the conflict unfold on TV at Heights Alliance. This is then followed by a rather haunting image of a menacing High-End towering over a seemingly defeated No.1 Hero, asking if there is anyone stronger around.
Given where Chapter 188 ended, Chapter 189 (titled ‘Why He Gets Back Up’) certainly did not disappoint. While Hawks and the other local heroes easily dispatch the white Nomu, and the news helicopter comments that the scene of carnage and defeat looks sadly reminiscent to the Kamino incident three months prior, the chapter truly starts with Endeavor reigniting. Now knowing that High-End is looking to protect its head, Endeavor fires himself forward, but his speed is lacking and High-End repositions. It then counterattacks, sending Endeavor flying through even more buildings nearby. Watching on a laptop, Natsuo cannot understand why his father continues to fight now, given how quickly he gave up on surpassing All Might previously. Fuyumi however counters this argument, by stating that Endeavor is actually the worst at giving up, as although he understood he could never surpass All Might, that’s exactly what gave rise to his twisted view on lineage, and inheritance of will.
Following this, we see the panic induced by High-End’s showing, in addition to a seeming lack of a stable symbol. In spite of this, an Endeavor fan that was first seen in Chapter 186, decides to speak up. He rightly points out that Endeavor’s fire is still burning, and the new No.1 is still risking it all for the populace, so at the very least they should be rallying behind him. We then return to Endeavor, who despite feeling immense pain as a result of his wounds, is in hot pursuit of the dangerous villain. His dialogue at this moment is truly fantastic, as the hero almost mocks his own wound, before doubling down on his alma mater’s motto of going beyond – Plus Ultra. In this moment, Hawks arrives, and makes a truly spectacular play. While distracting the enemy, he uses a vast number of his wings to grant Endeavor the speed he needs for his firepower to matter, transforming the new No. 1 into a pheonix-like figure. The art here is truly sensational, and I can’t wait to see just what the result of this combo attack is. However, it does appear as if Hawks is in considerable danger after giving away his wings, so that’s certainly something to keep an eye on in next month’s chapters.Continued below