Mirio rushes ahead in My Hero Academia 4 episode 11, confronting Chisaki and making a bid to save Eri from his evil clutches. Meanwhile, Deku and Sir Nighteye’s team clean up house against one of Chisaki’s shape-shifting minions and the League of Villains alike. But things quickly take a turn for the worse as Mirio puts his life on the line – will he ever be able to recover?
In terms of adaptation, this episode is an interesting one. While the first part covers chapter 149 of Kohei Horikoshi’s original manga in a relatively faithful manner (cutting and rearranging some lines here and there), the second part is much more drastic. It cuts many of the superfluous elements from chapters 150 through 152, making for a more dramatic but less comprehensible clash.
Cleaning Up House
But before we get to that, My Hero Academia 4 episode 11 actually opens with a flashback scene from chapter 152 (where the episode will come to an end) that makes it clear that Shie Hassaikai has managed to finish production on their Quirk-erasing bullets, derived from Eri’s Quirk. This sets up very nicely the fact that they will be used at the end of this episode, to devastating consequences.
The episode then remains in the past for a little while as we get to see Toga and Twice’s induction to the yakuza following their instructions from Shigaraki last week. But Chisaki is still wary of his newfound ‘allies’ and instructs one of his Eight Bullets, Shin Nemoto, to use his ‘Confession’ Quirk to interrogate the two villains against their will. Again, this acts as a nice set-up to the fact that Nemoto and his Quirk will be used multiple times throughout this episode and also gives the viewer a quick recap of both Toga and Twice’s Quirks.
The practical function of these earlier scenes from a narrative perspective is obvious, but it’s not all dry housekeeping. This scene also not only highlights just how entertaining Toga and Twice are as characters – something that was already quite evident from their escapades last week, mind – but also how cool some of the Quirks inside of the Shie Hassaikai truly are, ‘Confession’ being an obvious example of this.
That fact, in turn, may have been lost on some viewers given that the previous two fights featuring Suneater, Red Riot, and Fat Gum were essentially big, flashy battles with not much in the way of non-physical strategy. Bringing the conflict back to something more cerebral in My Hero Academia 4 episode 11, therefore, is a welcome return.
Moving back to the present, the villains’ true colors are revealed as they purposefully anger Joi, who accidentally reveals himself in the process and provides the heroes an opportunity to strike. Deku grasps the chance and puts down this menace once and for all. On reflection, there really is a lot of narrative housekeeping being done here in service of the lead-up to the final conflict – but there is at least the added bonus of finding out what the League of Villain’s true aim is – as Toga puts it, they’re too weak to take on the yakuza themselves, so they’ll let the heroes do it.
Lemillion’s Last Stand
Afterward, My Hero Academia 4 episode 11 moves back to catch up with Mirio, who has been absent from the action ever since he went charging off back in episode 8. By using his ‘Permeation’ Quirk, he’s been able to phase through Joi’s shapeshifting tunnel and catch up with Chisaki – beginning what will become his final fight as Lemillion.
Aside from the Red Riot fight, it’d be safe to say that this fight between Lemillion and Overhaul was one of the moments I was most excited to see in animated form from reading the original manga. Reading the fight as it unfolded in the manga almost two years ago, I remember being actively shocked by the outcome, where Mirio heroically sacrifices his Quirk and everything that he trained for in order to save Eri. Unfortunately, Studio BONES was not able to replicate this.
Most of the problems stem from the studio’s choice to cut most of the dialogue and narration from this fight as it existed in the original manga for the anime version. While that does mean it plays out in a more cinematic manner that goes far beyond most more direct manga-to-anime adaptations, it also means that many of the machinations of the fight are completely lost on the viewer. How did Mirio manage to overcome the Quirks of both Nemoto and Sakaki? How did Nemoto manage to recover from Mirio’s attack to shoot him with the Quirk-erasing bullet? What is it about Eri’s unconscious reactions that makes Mirio’s blood boil so? My Hero Academia 4 episode 11 also misses out on a large portion of a very impactful double-page spread from chapter 152 that displays some of Mirio’s memories surrounding his Quirk training, which makes the loss of his Quirk that much more effective.
Of course, this isn’t entirely Studio BONES’ fault. A more direct adaptation would’ve been impossible in the first place, and simply converting all of the narration into voiceover wouldn’t have been nearly as effective. The studio’s focus is much more on the cinematic potential of the drama present within the chapter, which is admirable. But the problem is that an alternative way of presenting this information – either visually or through dialogue – was not found or even attempted; instead, the studio has simply opted to cut it from the anime altogether. That’s disconcerting, as the viewer loses out on the logic of the fight and becomes unable to follow it as comprehensively as a result.
Hence why the issues of still frames, utilized for the climax of the entire scene, doesn’t rub me the wrong way as it has done some other fans of the series. Whether or not the limited animation is due to production constraints (perhaps it is), I’m actually a fan of the freeze-frame approach as it makes the tension that much more palpable. Letting it down, however, is the lack of explanation as a result of a half-hearted adaptation.
Still, it’s not all bad. The drama of the fight is still present in its inherent form; it’s hard to make Mirio losing his Quirk any less dramatic and heartbreaking than it already is. Plus, the Quirks on display during My Hero Academia 4 episode 11 are some of the best yet – carrying on from the first part, the way that Nemoto uses his ‘Confession’ Quirk is very interesting and Sasaki’s ‘Sloshed’ Quirk is an interesting concept, if underutilized and circumvented very easily by Mirio. Of course, that’s to say nothing of Chisaki’s own Quirk ‘Overhaul,’ which is terrifying in its destructive ability and combat potential.
Also present in this episode is a real sense of Mirio’s regret surrounding Eri that was brought to the forefront all the way back in episode 6. The way that he refuses to rise to Chisaki’s taunts that ‘To her, you’re no hero’ and instead attempts to prove this fact through his actions is truly inspirational and speaks to Mirio’s character as a relative weakling. But he’s not alone in this sentiment – Deku, too, is struggling with emotions of guilt and regret, and the way that he crashes in at the very end displays his fierce determination to right his wrongs.
Nevertheless, My Hero Academia 4 episode 11 was a very mixed bag. As a result of their adaptational choices, Studio BONES failed to deliver on the potent dramatic potential of what many, including myself, consider one of the best moments of the entire arc. This is highly unusual given their track record. Hence why, as we head into the final part of this arc and into the next cour, I can’t help but feel a little worried about how this will all shake out as a whole. Will BONES be able to stick the landing? We’ll just have to wait and see.
You can watch My Hero Academia 4 episode 11 via Crunchyroll.