My Hero Academia Concludes “The Lovely Lady Nagant” With An Explosive Twist
Midoriya channels all of his abilities to survive against Lady Nagant’s killer Quirk as he considers the cost of redemption in a standout episode.
This My Hero Academia review contains spoilers.
My Hero Academia Season 6 Episode 21
“A public face and a secret face. You need both to keep going”
A wide array of heroes and villains make up My Hero Academia’s society, some of which are better adjusted than others. This season has shown many characters’ masks slipping and the different approaches that heroes–and villains–must adopt in order to survive. Lady Nagant was a Pro Hero, but her malaise over society’s hypocrisy and her inability to properly compartmentalize ultimately lost her her future as a hero.
Lady Nagant is a character whose accumulation of compounded weight and trauma reinforces that not everyone is built for this line of work. For every Deku there are a dozen characters like Lady Nagant. “The Lovely Lady Nagant” is an exceptional episode of the series that features engaging action and a catastrophic character arc, but it also operates as one big warning to Deku to not suffer the same fate as Lady Nagant.
Intense stakes fuel “The Lovely Lady Nagant” as My Hero Academia indulges in its first real battle episode after Deku’s dark evolution. Audiences have seen a very different and more powerful side to Midoriya, but it’s time that these Quirks and confidence get properly tested against one of the best assassins in hero society. Lady Nagant was already a formidable foe, but All For One reinforces her with multiple Quirks, like Air Walk, to better aid her in her assassination attempts. It’s a terrifying strategy for how to improve one’s team. My Hero Academia is in its endgame, but if it weren’t it’d be easy to picture a version of the series where the next handful of major villains all have carefully curated Quirks courtesy of All For One that turn them into the perfect super soldiers. This experimentation doesn’t consume the series, but what’s shown with Lady Nagant alone is enough to emphasize the power that the villains have.
On that note, the past few episodes with “Dark Deku” have taken tremendous strides to present him as a competent hero who’s the best version of himself, so it’s only fitting that he gets an opponent as talented as Lady Nagant to effectively prove how strong he’s become or if his recent One For all upgrades still fall short of the evil that he faces. The visuals that Studio Bones has brought to the table with these final episodes has been stunning and “The Lovely Lady Nagant” is easily one of the season’s prettiest installments and something that would have seemed impossible back in season one. The constant kinetic motion during Midoriya’s Black Whipping through the city while he dodges Lady Nagant’s attacks is beautiful. There are some truly gorgeous sequences as Midoriya and Lady Nagant fire their many Quirks off at each other.
This tense battle between Deku and Lady Nagant also turns into the backdrop for the former hero’s brutal backstory. My Hero Academia hinted that there were big developments in Nagant’s past and the answers provided here do not disappoint. Lady Nagant was a hired hand for the Hero Public Safety Commission who carried out their bidding and was increasingly forced to kill in the hollow name of heroism. Nagant followed the Safety Commission’s agenda by assassinating outlaws and problematic individuals to better maintain the illusion of a perfect society that’s upheld by heroes. This behavior in itself warps the grander narrative and transforms heroes into something that they’re not. Nagant reaches her breaking point with this illusion until she’s co-opted by All For One to fight for his cause, which in many ways comes across as more honest and the lesser of two evils.
Lady Nagant’s proficiency with her Quirk is evenly matched against Midoriya’s collection of powers. An interesting wrinkle enters the equation when Nagant uses Kai Chisaki as a potential sacrifice to throw Midoriya off his game and lead to his doom. Lady Nagant diabolically plays into Deku’s staunch heroism and knows that he won’t allow a reckless casualty to occur. This strategy hits even harder since the guilt of loss is something that Nagant understands first hand and in a way she’s using her own traumatic villain origin story to warp Deku’s ideals here. It’s a smart strategy, yet Deku has become elevated to such a higher plane of heroism at this point that he’s able to rescue Chisaki, pass this test, and still avoid any serious damage. Midoriya’s extremely casual, “I’ll talk to you later, Chisaki,” as he saves this past villain is the perfect closer to their interaction.
It’s appreciated that “The Lovely Lady Nagant” gets the most out of Chisaki’s return and finds time for him in what’s already a busy episode. It’s so touching that Deku wants to help give Eri closure when it comes to Chisaki, as well as this villain’s intense desire to apologize to his father. They’re very rational and honorable emotions by two individuals who were trying to viciously kill each other the last time they were together. It’s a tiny drop of catharsis in an emotional sea, but it’s another moment in “The Lovely Lady Nagant” that praises Deku’s heroic nature and that he’s destined to help others and heal pain.
“The Lovely Lady Nagant” presents Chisaki in a complex light that aligns with the season’s greater themes where heroism is not black or white. This murky territory has broken other heroes or become the spark for others’ villainy. However, it crystalizes into sublime character development for Deku, who celebrates the complicated shades of grey that make up the world. This doesn’t discourage his heroism, but rather it makes him more inspired to help out those who are conflicted, like Lady Nagant. Midoriya has helped rehabilitate villains who have lost their way in the past, but his breakthrough with Lady Nagant is especially meaningful. There’s a rare moment where Midoriya is in peak shape and he successfully reawakens Lady Nagant’s heroic heart and it feels like anything is possible for this hero.
Then Lady Nagant literally explodes and goes up in flames.
My Hero Academia triggers a devastating twist wherein All For One has apparently implanted Lady Nagant with an explosive Quirk–that she’s unaware of–that he can put into motion if she ever defects. It’s a dark turn that’s consistent with All For One and raises the alarming question of how many more of his minions are equipped with similar contingency plans that make it impossible for them to truly be free. Lady Nagant is only around for two episodes, but she’s immediately a compelling character and cautionary tale that makes her early benching by All For One a disappointing blow. Midoriya’s positive disposition finally begins to waver once he witnesses the lengths that All For One is willing to go. Everyone is collateral damage and merely a toy for All For One to play with until he grows bored.
The title “The Lovely Lady Nagant” initially appears to be tongue-in-cheek and that it’s a euphemistic description for a ruthless killer. By the end of the installment, it’s clear that this title is actually sincere. It’s a discovery that comes at a brutal cost, but at least for a brief shining moment there’s equality between these two heroes and Lady Nagant sees light penetrate the endless darkness of her life. My Hero Academia continues to deliver strong character-driven morality tales that reflect the complex spectrum of heroism. Deku’s accomplishments with Lady Nagant are incredible, but he’s about to encounter some icier hearts that won’t be as easy to melt.