My Hero Academia, Season 2 – Episode 23 – “Shoto Todoroki: Origin”

The anticipated fight has finally come. After all the other fights, the one this show has been waiting for is now here. It should be the final fight. And yet, it isn’t. But that’s how sports tournaments and anime sometimes works. The best fights don’t come usually come to the last match. It’s Izuku vs Todoroki. Let the match commence.

Before the match, all Izuku can think of is what Todoroki told him about his life, but even so, Izuku knows he can’t lose to him. Todoroki meanwhile flashes back to his younger self, where his mom told him he can be a hero. But he forgot everything that happened after it. Everyone is ready for this fight, as both fighters know what to expect from one another. The match starts, and Todoroki sends a wall of ice Izuku’s way. Izuku counters with a Smash, breaking the ice, and sending wind pressure that not only hits, Todoroki, but gets the audience feeling the chill. However, Todoroki can see that Smash broke Izuku’s finger, as he’s using 100% of One for All’s power to counter the ice.

Todoroki attacks again, as Izuku uses another Smash on it, losing another finger. Having little data on Todoroki is gonna cause Izuku to use up his fingers, as he needs to find an opening before using up the six he has left. Or else he may need to sacrifice an arm to beat him (It doesn’t help that Todoroki is also using his ice from being blow away by Smash’s wind.) Given all this, Todoroki swiftly attack again, as Izuku loses another finger to make it five left. These two are not giving an inch.

Kirishima arrives to the others, knowing who he is facing next. Seeing the fight, Bakugo does talk of how their Quirks, including his, are physical abilities, and you have to know their limits, how your body reacts to said limits, and everything. It’s why he knows Izuku wants this to be an endurance match. Another using another Smash, Deku loses all the fingers in his right hand. Todoroki charges ahead this time on his ice to attack, as Izuku uses a finger on his left hand to blow him away. But Todoroki dodges it, and smashes the ground, sending the ice Izuku’s way fast. Izuku tries to avoid it, but his foot gets hit by it. He knows Todoroki is trying to get close, so Izuku uses his whole left arm to attack and blow Todoroki away. It almost works, but Todoroki is still in it. However, Izuku can see Todoroki is trembling. Todoroki can see that Izuku is down an arm and looking bad, and intends to finish him with a straight-on ice attack. But Izuku isn’t done. He releases another Smash, surprising everyone and nearly sending Todoroki out of bounds. Izuku actually used one of his broken right fingers to fire it off. Seeing the trembling, and knowing about Quirks, Izuku knows it’s because Todoroki’s body is nearing its limit with the ice. Since everyone is using their all, he wants Todoroki to not use half and go all-out on Izuku.

Wanting him to use his dad’s power only makes Todoroki angry, and he charges at Izuku. But his movements are slower than before, seeing the cold start to take affect on Todoroki (as Bakugo explains it’s like the MP in a fighting game going down.) Todoroki gets close and jumps up, but Izuku, hoping his attack doesn’t leave to too much damage on Todoroki, uses One for All in his whole right arm, and punches him right in the gut. Todoroki does land an icy blow on Izuku’s left arm as he takes the attack. The good news for Izuku is that his attack didn’t break his right arm, as the audience is all excited for this right. Todoroki attacks with another ice attack, but Izuku dodges as it’s not as fast anymore. They both go back-and-forth, but cement dude wants to stop this fight cause of Izuku’s injuries he has sustained. Knowing he’s going off adrenaline, even if Izuku wins this match, he may not be able to fight in the next one. Eraser Head himself can see it might be too much, but can also see that Izuku has more control than he of his powers than he did before. Another ice attack comes Izuku’s way, and not being able to make a fist, he uses his mouth to launch another Smash from his right thumb. Why is Izuku doing this? To be like All Might. To meet everyone’s expectations. To smile and respond to them. Basically, to be a cool hero. He can’t understand all of Todoroki’s family issues or his own resolve, but he doesn’t want Todoroki to screw around by not using all of his true strength in this fight.

This causes Todoroki to again flashback to his younger years. A 5-year old Todoroki is being trained too hard by his dad, as his mom tries to stop it. Only to get a beating. Tiny Todoroki doesn’t want to be his dad and bully his mom. His mom asks if he wants to be a hero. It’s O.K. to be one, if he has a future he feels strongly about. To the fight again, Izuku lays out another Smash on Todoroki, but he is still lost in flashback land. He still has to train with his dad, as his other siblings have fun as kids. Todoroki wakes up one night, and overhears a conversation his mom has with her parents. She can’t take raising him anymore, since she sees him becoming Endeavor, with his “left side” becoming unsightly to her. He can’t believe this, as her reaction leads to the boiling water and him getting the scar on his face. Endeavor does put her in a “hospital” because of it, but Todoroki blames his dad for all of this.

Todoroki still rejects his dad’s power, but Izuku reminds him it’s HIS power. This leads to another flashback that has Todoroki and his mom watching something on All Might, talking about how kids get their Quirks from their parents, but it’s their own strength and resolve with said Quirks that drives them. It’s why All Might says “I am here!” He then remembers his mom’s words: Don’t be a prisoner of your own blood. Be who you want to be.” This causes Todoroki’s left side to explode. Izuku finally made him use that power, to not only win it when he’s at full strength, but saving Todoroki in the process. Izuku may be crazy for smiling, but he knows he wants this. Todoroki is very happy now, and knows what he wants.

Endeavor, on the other hand, thinks that his son finally accepted who he is, and will surpass him/fulfill his desire. But a single tear down Todoroki’s face says otherwise. The two get all ready to go all-out, but Midnight and the Concrete ref try to stop this fight. Todoroki launches an ice attack, as Izuku uses One for All in his legs this time to charge forward. Todoroki thanks Izuku, as he uses his fire this time, while Izuku uses his whole right arm to attack. Concrete dude make 3 walls to stop this, but the attacks hit with such power, they make a big explosion, destroying the walls, and sending a shockwave through the stadium. As there is so much dust around the stadium, they wonder who won. Midnight recovers from this, and sees who did. As does the others as the dust finally clears.

Izuku gets sent right into a wall out of bounds, as he collapses to the ground. It’s over. Todoroki wins as he can’t believe it. The crowd cheers his victory, as he moves on to the 3rd round.

I had a lot of expectations for this episode when it had the two meeting up in this tournament. I believe everyone else did as well. Well, my expectations were surpassed and then some. This. Episode. ROCKED!! Holy crap, just about everything was perfect about it. The scenes. The tension. The moods. The way both went back-and-forth. Todoroki’s past and how bad his father is. To the delight of being with his mom, until she couldn’t take no more. To Izuku wanting to win this fight badly, and at the same time, wanting to help his rival out with his own demons. To Izuku’s going to crazy lengths to win this fight by using Smash and injuring himself to no end. I mean, look at this shot of Izuku after the aftermath of a Smash and look at how freaking amazing this animation is.

The injuries in Izuku’s broken fingers. The blood coming from said injuries. The look of dealing with intense pain on his face. The ice passing by after his attack breaks it. The animation carried this episode to even more epic proportions. That last scene where Todoroki uses his fire and Izuku using Smash on each other for the decided winner just blew me away. More so than it did Deku. BOOOOOMMMMMM!!!! …. Yeah, that was a bad joke. But wow, this episode was just something to behold. If this was the season/series finale for any other show, this would be a fantastic way to end it. Sure, it’s not the one person you wanted to lose. Then again, Izuku is the MC of this show. Isn’t a show better when the MC does lose instead of have some ass pull come his way to make him victorious? There were no such ass pulls here. If anything, it was more  of the start of the character development for him being the hero he said he become in helping Todoroki. That what matters more than the fight. He got to Todoroki while going all out, and Todoroki showed him all of what Izuku wanted. In the end, it made for a great fight that as said in the beginning, should have really been the final fight in this tournament. But that doesn’t diminish this from being one of the best episodes of the anime season. Yeah, not just the best MHA episode. One of the best episodes of any anime. It was that good. I said all I can about this episode. The only thing I want you to do is watch this and enjoy it yourself.

My Hero Academia is simulcasted on both Funimation and Crunchyroll. It can be seen Saturdays at 5:35 AM on both, with a simu-dub on Funimation.

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