Tuesday, May 21, 2024

My Hero Academia Chapter 423 Review: The Final War Ends On a Bittersweet Cliffhanger

After literal years of high-stakes Quirk battles, nail-biting cliffhangers and emotionally poignant goodbyes to some of its most beloved characters, My Hero Academia’s final war officially comes to an end with Chapter 423. While this chapter included a definitive end to All For One’s oppressive legacy, its lack of closure in certain respects betrays that there’s still some more story to tell. Even if the main conflict was resolved, there are still several loose ends that need to be tied up before the series can reach a satisfactory conclusion.

My Hero Academia Chapter 423 "One For All vs. All For One" is the first installment in a while that is centered on All For One instead of Deku and the other Pro Heroes. As the supervillain inches ever closer to defeat, his desperate gambles finally reveal a facet of his true personality to Deku and the rest of the heroes. Apart from granting the appropriate closure to one of the most celebrated villains in modern sh┼Źnen storytelling, “One For All vs All For One” also includes a much-needed explanation for the intricacies of Midoriya Izuku’s Quirk transfer to Tomura Shigaraki and the final fate of One For All. By reintroducing One For All as a factor, the chapter also hints at the Quirk's potential return to Deku.

My Hero Academia Chapter 423 Rectifies a Potential Story-Breaking Plot Hole

One For All Destroyed Tomura Shigaraki’s Weak Body From Within

In its early days, My Hero Academia went to great pains to illustrate that although it was transferable, One For All was not a Quirk that could be accepted lightly. Before he could inherit it from All Might, Deku had to go through a strengthening process with the Symbol of Peace himself over a 10-month period. Even under those conditions, careless activation of the powerful Quirk caused some adverse effects on Deku's relatively weak body, shattering his limbs from within. Shigaraki’s casual acceptance of the Quirk in Chapter 417 raised some eyebrows, but Horikoshi reminded the audience in Chapter 423 that this particular plot point is still relevant.

In Chapter 423, the volatile nature of One For All is weaponized against the weakened form of what was previously All For One’s “masterpiece” body. As the heroes rain on the attacks, All For One realizes too late the true peril he is in. Ever the tactician, he immediately begins to plan his next move, but his analysis involves an internal inventory of his Quirk stockpile that only confirms that his body is all but done for. Even his Simple Growth abilities can’t contend with the full might of One For All strengthened by nine users, along with all the other punishment that Shigaraki’s body has suffered since the war began.

As if to seal his fate, All For One’s Super Regeneration Quirk also failed him. With the Decay Quirk still ravaging his vestige, it took all his concentration to barely maintain his bedraggled corporeal form, but his troubles weren’t over yet. The Danger Sense Quirk he stole from Deku also overwhelmed his attention span, responding to the unbridled hostility directed at him by the dozens of heroes that were still fighting. All these factors contributed to his defeat, but it was One For All’s sudden manifestation that pushed All For One over the edge. As he faced powerful attacks from both the physical and vestige realms, All For One’s defeat was now inevitable.

My Hero Academia Chapter 423 Highlights the Difference Between All For One & Tomura Shigaraki

All for One’s Final Moments Exposed How Lonely He Truly Was

When All For One finally expired, it wasn’t with the kind of pomp or drama that usually accompanies the deaths of major antagonists in anime and manga. The mundanity of his final moments and his pathetic attempts to cling to life ripped the veneer off the calm and self-assured mastermind that the villain always projected himself to be. It exposed him as a coward who ultimately feared the potential erasure of his narcissistic legacy. At one point, he was so desperate that he considered once more transferring the All For One Quirk to Deku to take over yet another youth’s body and start the villainous cycle all over again.

All For One and Shigaraki weren’t directly compared in "One For All vs. All For One", but the stark differences in their final moments revealed just how different My Hero Academia’s two main antagonists were at their core. All For One proved Deku’s final assessment that he was just a lonely man, esepcially when all his vestige could do in its final moments was beg the ghost of his long-dead brother’s Quirk not to abandon him. Shigaraki’s vestige, on the other hand, was seemingly at peace with his death and the part he played in ensuring All For One’s downfall. His final request was for Deku to pass on a message to Spinner, assuring his lieutenant and friend that he never gave up on their shared goal of total destruction.

For all the League of Villains’ faults, the sense of belonging that Shigaraki inspired among his band of ne’er-do-wells was essential to defeating All For One. Just when they needed him most, Kurogiri stirred once again, just in time to prevent All For One from transferring his consciousness to Deku. Before the villain could lay his hands on him, Kurogiri’s decoy Warp Gate distracted him long enough for Bakugo to deliver a devastating surprise attack on All For One.

Kurogiri’s help here wasn’t because of any allegiance to the Pro-Heroes, but because, at that moment, saving Deku aligned with his original programming to protect Shigaraki at all costs. It’s an almost poetic irony that Shigaraki’s life, which had been manipulated and forced to take certain paths against his will and knowledge, ended up having more significance than All For One, who believed himself to be the epitome of free will.

My Hero Academia Chapter 423’s Ending Answers Some Important Questions, but Raises a Few More

Deku Might Regain One For All Before the Series Ends

My Hero Academia Chapter 423 placed a definitive end on All For One’s role in the story, but it reintroduces One For All to the fray, leaving the powerful Quirk’s fate open-ended once again. In the chapter’s final sequence that leads up to the destruction of All For One, the vestiges of One For All’s previous wielders are summoned once again along with Shigaraki. This possibly hints that the Quirk may not have been entirely destroyed as previous chapters led fans to believe.

While this is certainly an exciting development, Chapter 423 also stops just short of confirming the Quirk’s return to Deku. He engages with the vestiges while they punch All For One out of existence, but there's currently no solid proof that One For All has been returned to Deku or otherwise. What the chapter deigns to include, however, are several dedicated panels that highlighted Deku and Shigaraki’s connected fists after their vestiges team up to destroy All For One.

In one particular panel, Horikoshi emphasized the fact that the blood on their fists (i.e. Deku and Shigaraki's DNA) intermingled, signifying that the transfer requirements for One For All have been met. With how significant the recurring imagery of connected hands has been to throughout My Hero Academia, it’s unlikely that this clue is a simple red herring. To receive final confirmation on whether Deku has regained possession of One For All and updates about the aftermath of the war's ending, fans will have to tune in to the upcoming chapters.

My Hero Academia Chapter 423: One For All vs. All For One is now available in English on VIZ.com.

My Hero Academia Chapter 423 Review: The Final War Ends On a Bittersweet Cliffhanger