WARNING: The following contains spoilers for My Hero Academia Episode 88: “His Start,” available on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu and VRV.
Endeavor is now the Number One hero in My Hero Academia. The fiery character has long lingered in the shadow of All Might, the former Number One hero who’s retirement left the world without a symbol of peace. In the anime’s Season 4 finale, the weight of Endeavor’s new role might finally be sinking into the hot-blooded hero as he begins to show why he deserves to have it.
However, it can’t be forgotten that Endeavor, despite being a great Pro Hero, has done a great deal of horrible stuff that might make true redemption outside his reach… for now.
Endeavor might be a hero, but he’s done quite a lot of immoral, awful things over the course of the series. He engaged in a practice called Quirk marriages, where two people with exceptional Quirks produce off-spring that can potentially contain the Quirks of both parents — taken to extreme levels of power. The series presents these as a form of arranged marriages, but with the added breeding aspect of it, it could be seen as dehumanizing and, at worst, a sexually invasive process.
From Endeavor’s Quirk marriage to Rei Todoroki, he produced several offspring and all of them seem to resent their father for the way he treated everyone in the past. Endeavor sought to create the perfect child who blended his fire Quirk with Rei’s ice Quirk. That perfect child turned out to be Todoroki, who he trained in an incredibly abusive household. The children who didn’t meet his standards — Toya, Fuyumi and Natsuo — were also treated with a hostile, dismissive attitude by Endeavor. Toya is the only child who, as of yet, has not appeared as an adult in the series (unless, as some fans theorize, he is the villain Dabi). If something horrible happened to Toya… was Endeavor involved?
The constant abuse and violence he subjected both Todoroki and Rei to have already driven his wife into a state of hysteria, culminating in Rei scalding the entire side of Todoroki’s face in a fit of temporary insanity. Shortly after, Endeavor essentially locked up his wife in a mental hospital and seemingly cut off all contact with her. Ignoring his siblings, Endeavor pushed Todoroki to be the best early into his days at U.A., only recently finding healthier ways to encourage his son to be strong.
Endeavor has been an abusive father, abusive husband and only had children to create an heir that could beat All Might. So, really, what separates this man from the villains he fights? Very little. Endeavor does save people and fights incredibly powerful villains and he is, following All Might’s retirement, ranked as the current Number One hero in Japan. But it’s only in Episode 88 that Endeavor really started to embody the position as a symbol of peace in more than power alone, despite how long he’s been chasing it.
Admittedly, Endeavor does inspire hope in his own intense fashion. His recent victory is, for many — even his own family — proof that he can be a true symbol of justice for society and, ultimately, a hero that can carry the country forward.
But blowing up a Nomu in epic fashion doesn’t redeem Endeavor’s prior actions or make up for torturing his children and wife. Him being a great hero doesn’t make him a good person, and it’s pretty clear that both Endeavor and his family seem to understand that as well. This is why Endeavor has yet to redeem himself in their eyes.
Though he’s a long way off yet, Episode 88 — and the entirety of the second half of Season 4 — have revealed several moments that show Endeavor is at least trying to actively atone for his actions. In an earlier arc in the season, Endeavor sat in and watched as his son, Todoroki, took a remedial class that would help him earn his Provisional Hero License. This was in part so he could speak privately to All Might about being the Number One hero, but also so he could support his Todoroki on his son’s own terms. This is a far cry from the incredibly abusive training Endeavor put Todoroki through as a child and up to his arrival in U.A.
However, the way he treats Todoroki is just a small part of the larger picture. Natsuo doesn’t want anything to do with their father for entirely justified reasons. While less explicit in the anime, in the manga it’s made more clear that Fuyumi, on the other hand, at least wants her father to change and grow for the better, remaining the most optimistic about his chances.
The biggest sign of this growth in the episode is that we learn Endeavor has reached out to his wife. Rei once told Endeavor about a type of flower she liked. While Endeavor refused to even look at her for years, he did arrive ten years after leaving her in the hospital to give her that flower. In fact, he’s been returning there multiple times to leave her gifts. While Rei is still too frightened of him to see him face-to-face, she is touched enough by the gesture to share the story with her children.
It’s clear that, until Endeavor can ask directly for forgiveness that he’s never really going to make up for his past sins. But his recent actions towards atonement are a good start. Things like this take time. He is not redeemed for his horrendous behavior yet but, in time, perhaps Endeavor can at least prove he is sorry in My Hero Academia, even if his family never fully forgives him.
My Hero Academia's new Number One hero, Endeavor, has not redeemed himself for his horrendous behavior — but there's still time.