Being the No. 1 hero was a lonely role for All Might, but it doesn’t have to be for Deku—even if he stubbornly believes that’s the only way to do it.
Warning! Spoilers for My Hero Academia Chapter 319 ahead!
Chapter 319 of My Hero Academia reveals just how far Deku is willing to go to keep the burden on himself, and in the process has exposed a disturbing similarity between himself and his mentor All Might. If he has one thing going for him, however, it’s that his friends are just as stubborn as he is.
The end of the previous chapter featured the lone Deku battling against a villain who could use the mind-controlling Dictator quirk, making it impossible for him to fight back without hurting innocents. Surprise reinforcements from Bakugo helped to take care of that problem quickly, but this later chapter has confirmed that it wasn’t just Bakugo—the entirety of class 1-A has come to Deku’s aid, determined to bring him back to his senses and accept their help. With Deku having left even All Might in the dust, he’s never needed such a wake-up call more, and yet the boy is so set on standing alone against All for One that he’s become willing to fight his friends to do so.
While there isn’t a direct parallel between this situation and any previous flashback seen of All Might’s past, the feelings present do mirror those of another rift between friends. It’s been shown that while All Might seemed to work completely alone at the start of the series, he’s had plenty of help in the past, be it from Gran Torino, the previous One for All user Nana Shimura, or his former sidekick Sir Nighteye. The latter is the most directly comparable, as the divide between All Might and Sir Nighteye grew as a result of Nighteye’s desire to help All Might avoid suffering alone and facing a terrible fate. All Might didn’t appreciate Nighteye’s use of his precognitive abilities on him, and the two essentially never spoke again.
The number one hero’s biggest flaw has always been an inability to accept help, instead carrying all the troubles of the world on his own back. Even as he suffered from horrible injuries, he insisted on acting alone, and as a result had slowly driven away all those who had once known and cared for him. Unfortunately, that’s a flaw that All Might and Deku share, and since he was never able to recognize it in himself, he’s completely unable to help Midoriya deal with it. Characters like Recovery Girl have called him out on this before after witnessing the damage Midoriya dealt to his own body, and yet both have proceeded unhindered, taking this kind of self-abuse as an essential part of being a hero. His friends, however, have recognized how dangerous this attitude can be, and decided that they couldn’t let him carry that risk any longer. As Uraraka once said in a chapter recently adapted to the anime, “Who helps the heroes when they need help?“
It’s clear that while Midoriya may be dead set on going it alone, just as All Might did before him, his friends and fellow students will not accept being shut out. Regardless of what he’s willing to admit, he needs them, and they are just as set on helping him. Even heroes need a helping hand, and that’s one lesson All Might could never accept. If Deku is truly to surpass All Might and become the new symbol of peace, he’ll have to do things differently, and there’s no better way to avoid going down the same path than by trusting his friends. While it may be impossible for any one of them to live up to All Might, they all can by working together. The big question for My Hero Academia now is whether Bakugo will have to beat that lesson into Deku.
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