I’m still reeling from the end of My Hero Academia’s fourth season, but we’ve got more fights to discuss and dissect, because this is the internet and we’ve all got an opinion to share. Yesterday I shared part one of my top My Hero Academia fights and today we’re finishing off the list with my top three.
Same rules apply. These are opinions so feel free to disagree. We’ll be discussing spoilers for season four, so be warned. And we’re not taking into account movies or spin off series. Just the anime.
With that cleared up, lets dive in!
All Might vs All for One (Season 3, Episode 11)
It was a showdown we all knew was coming. Between All Might’s fearful recollections of his previous fight against him and the images of him manipulating things behind the scenes of the League of Villains, My Hero Academia was built around the menace of All for One. So when he burst into plain view in season 3, we knew the coming fight would shake the world to its core. However, I certainly couldn’t have guessed it would be the final time All Might stood as the Symbol of Peace.
The grotesque half-powered form All Might fights in. The creative and devastating combination of quirks on display from All for One. The crowd looking on, seeing their greatest champion falter for the first time. The revelation of Shigiraki’s lineage. All of it made this fight one of the most emotional battles in the history of My Hero Academia. The cost is high, but when the dust finally settles, we’re left with the broken image of All Might, standing with his victorious fist in the air, as his final act as the Symbol of Peace that has held society together through dark times.
Deku vs. Overhaul (Season 4, Episode 13)
This fight was as much a celebration of Studio Bones’ place as one of the top animation studios as it was an emotional capstone to one of the most heart-breaking arcs of the show. Deku has finally reached Eri and is pushing himself hard to keep her safe. His body is breaking down under the strain of keeping up with Overhaul’s monstrous powers. With Eri at his side, undoing the damage on his body with her own powerful quirk, Deku pushes past his usual limits and uses 100% of One for All for longer than a single, arm-shattering blow.
This fight is significant because not only is it the first time we get to see the extent of what Deku will one day be capable of, its also the first time we’ve seen fully what One for All can do when unleashed. All Might admits at the start of the show that he’s not as powerful as he once was, so this glimpse of Deku, soaring through the air and breaking Overhaul’s body faster than he can be rebuilt, is the only time so far we’ve witnessed what All Might was back in his prime.
The spectacle shows why he was the undisputed number one hero for so long. Throw in the emotional climax of rescuing the young Eri and everything that it cost to do that and this fight had to make this list.
All Might vs Nomu (Season 1, Episode 12)
This is the fight that sold me on the show in the first place. With the students frightened and barely holding their own against the villains and Eraser Head broken and bleeding on the ground after an impressive display of his powers, it’s the first true peril we’ve felt in the show. Suddenly, there is a crash and there stands All Might, his face twisted in determined rage.
The music swells as All Might pushes himself past his previous limits, pumping all his strength into each attack against a creature specifically designed to be more than his match. Everyone, hero and villain alike, can only look on in awe as he shows why he’s Number One, launching the inhuman Nomu out of the training centre and into the clouds with a final, catchphrase-accompanied punch.
All Might’s fight against Nomu is one of the few times that My Hero Academia resorts to a blurred flurry of blows, but its effective in showing the desperate position All Might is in. Low on power and against a more powerful opponent than he’d faced in years, the shows his philosophy in action. That a hero must always find a way to succeed. That limits are meant to be overcome and pushed beyond.
This scene gets my top spot because it encompasses everything that makes My Hero Academia fresh and appealing within the Shonen genre. The drama of All Might showing up without a smile on his face. The excitement of seeing him prove why he is still the best, even at the end of his career. The sight of a hero living up to his own values. The stakes have gotten bigger in ensuing battles, but this first one still sets the bar in the show. All Might wants you to be a better hero, wherever you are, and this is the fight where he shows you how.