My Hero Academia 4 Episode 14 brings the Shie Hassaikai Raid arc to a final, final close as our heroes regroup, reflect on the events of the arc thus far and lick their wounds – both physical and emotional. But the League of Villains isn’t about to give the forces of good even a moment of peace as they take up a golden opportunity to shore up their position in the criminal underworld and score one last victory against the upstart yakuza. How things will go from here on out will be fascinating to see.
In terms of adaptation and structure, this episode is, once more, relatively faithful to the events as they appear in chapters 159 through 161 of the original manga. There’s only a couple of minor changes and additions here and there, but the small touches that Studio BONES do make go a long way in terms of selling the emotion of several scenes, as we shall see.
Licking Your Wounds
My Hero Academia 4 Episode 14 opens with a brief replay of the fantastic fight scene that rounded off last week’s episode, penned by the fantastic Yutaka Nakamura, with only a minor change in narration before getting directly into the fallout of that fight proper.
One of the more pressing issues to address in the aftermath of the fight was the matter of Deku and Eri. The two were able to work together to unleash 100% of One for All and defeat Overhaul, but this was only possible because using all of All Might’s power destroyed Deku’s body and kept pace with the ‘Rewind’ Quirk as a result: now that the fight’s all but over, there’s no longer anything standing in the way between Deku’s body and Eri’s terrifying Quirk.
The result of this is a scene that is thick with atmosphere and emotion, Eri’s frantic narration creating a feeling of panic, Yuki Hayashi’s somber score droning in the background, and Deku writhing on the floor. It is only thanks to Eraser Head and his Quirk that Deku manages to get out of the situation in one piece, and by the time that this happens, you may very well feel emotionally drained.
In many ways, this scene is even better in the anime than it is in the original manga, which featured a lot more narration and dialogue: the anime’s version feels almost suffocating with the amount of tension it exudes. Nevertheless, once this is out of the way, the episode moves onto to more uplifting stuff, as we get to see (nearly) all of our heroes safely extracted and satisfied with the work they’ve done. After six episodes of near-constant action and emotional heartbreak, I’d say that the sense of relief and self-satisfaction that it so clearly sets out to create is more than deserved.
Jumping ahead a little bit, the second half of My Hero Academia Episode 14 features even more self-satisfaction as our heroes recuperate in a nearby university hospital, also attempting to wrap up one of the series’ most important plot threads: the journey of Sir Nighteye.
The inner struggle of All Might’s former sidekick has been a constant ever since we were first introduced to him back in episode 3, as it is his quest to earn Nighteye’s approval that Deku plunged himself into his internship hero work in the first place, and it is the trauma stemming from his Quirk that has made Nighteye into such a cold, bitter individual.
But, on his deathbed, the former All Might sidekick finally gets some absolution. He sees that the future isn’t set in stone thanks to the actions of Deku, absolving him of his trauma, and it is by praising both Deku and Mirio that he signals that he’s accepted them both as fine heroes in their own right – regardless of who ‘deserved’ to inherit One for All.
Having let go of his trauma and his bitterness, his final moments – delivered with tangible emotion thanks to the excellent performance of Shinichiro Miki – also show that he was finally able to understand All Might. He dies with a smile on his face, saying that the future can’t be bright without one. His character arc was truly brilliant and excellently adapted for the screen by Studio BONES, and My Hero Academia 4 Episode 14 should serve as some indication as to why he is so highly regarded in the fan community.
Capturing the King
Even so, the quiet absolution of our heroes is spoiled somewhat by the events that take place in the middle part of My Hero Academia 4 Episode 14 as the League of Villains make a smart play against the Shie Hassaikai: as Tomura puts it, twisting Chisaki’s shogi metaphor, they’re going to “capture the king.”
What the true intentions of the League of Villains really are has been a constant question looming over the events of the series thus far, and in My Hero Academia 4 Episode 14 we finally get an answer: they never intended to help the yakuza in the first place, instead they chose help the heroes to win so that they could grab Chisaki’s ultimate Quirk-destroying weapon and neuter the upstart criminals once and for all. It’s a diabolical plan, but one that worked out pretty well.
The reveal of Tomura and the League’s true intentions should’ve been a key moment, eliciting more than a few gasps from the audience in the process. Unfortunately, however, it turned out to be a little muted in comparison with the original manga: there’s a little too much dialogue between the villains as they gear up for their assault which saps the energy of the scene, and there’s bizarrely not much music to go along with the dramatic events – a strange choice given composer Yuki Hayashi’s impressive repertoire.
That being said, the scene between Tomura and Chisaki once the League has defeated the escorting heroes more than makes up for this. There’s so much narrative and thematic meat, particularly in the way that it is framed, that unpacking it all is not an easy task: Chisaki looking up helplessly at Tomura signals his final admission that his brand of more chivalrous villainy was no match for the pure evil that the All for One protegé embodies, Tomura destroying his last remaining arm which not only renders him Quirkless but also reveals the contradictions in his ideology, and hearing him say that ‘Next, it’s our turn’ in a deliberate aping of what All Might said to Midoriya and Bakugo back at the end of last season seems to be the narrative’s way of telling us that the ball is firmly in the court of the new generation of both heroes and villains…
Punctuating all of this is a harrowing scream from Chisaki, he cries in his desperation and realization that he has completely lost to the Tomura and the League. It almost makes you feel sorry for him – provided, of course, you forget all of the terrible things he has done in the past and was planning to do in the future. Such is the strength of Chisaki as a character.
My Hero Academia Episode 14: What’s Next?
With this episode out of the way, the Shie Hassaikai Raid arc is really, truly, finished. I already did a basic summary of my thoughts on the adaptational as a whole last week, so this week I’d like to take a moment to talk about the OP.
I will admit that I was a little harsh on the OP when it first graced us in episode 1. I said that the song, ‘Polaris’ by Blue Encount, “[ranked] among some of the most forgettable shonen anime openings and endings I’ve ever heard” and that the sequence itself was “by-the-numbers” and suffered from a “real lack of visual flair.”
Do I stand by these comments? Not really. I’ve mellowed on the OP over the weeks and months, and when I realized that My Hero Academia Episode 14 may very well be the last time we ever see it (KANA-BOON are slated for the second half), I was even a little sad. While the instrumentation still sounds, to me at least, a little corny – especially the guitars – the way that it ramps up towards the climax won me over in the end and began to actually pump me up to watch each episode and write my reviews as a result. To be honest, maybe that’s all you want from an opening sequence.
In any case, next week’s episode will start a new mini-arc in the form of Bakugo and Todoroki’s Pro License test before diving into the School Festival arc proper. While my excitement to see this arc on screen is at nowhere near the level it was for the Shie Hassaikai Raid arc, it will be interesting to see how and if Studio BONES’ adaptational approach changes with newer pastures, as well as how they’ll fair as a result. Roll on next week!
You can watch My Hero Academia 4 Episode 14 via Crunchyroll.