The students of class 1-A have run out of time. Though they’ve only gotten a single semester into their official hero training, the world can no longer wait for them. While the League of Villains have failed to kill All Might or destroy U.A. Academy, their actions have sent tremors all through their superpowered society, and the stability of the world order represented by the Symbol of Peace is now an open question. All Might, Eraserhead, and all of their fellow teachers have struggled to shield these students from the grim realities of the world they’re entering, but as My Hero Academia’s third season begins, they will soon learn the limits of their power. 1-A’s students are no longer merely students – they are the half-trained vanguard of a war for the future of society, and they must be ready. Each of them have their own demons to face, and if they don’t rise above, their whole world order might crumble into ruin.
For Midoriya, the great hurdle remains what it has always been: his immediate willingness to destroy himself in pursuit of his goals. Midoriya’s journey began with every application of his powers literally shattering a limb along with it, the starkest possible articulation of the fact that to him, his own survival come secondary to embodying the spirit of heroism. The tragedy for Midoriya is that his greatest weakness also reflects his greatest strength – Midoriya’s dedication and spirit of selflessness truly are inspiring, and his willingness to sacrifice for others has helped raise his friends up again and again and again. But at a certain point, Midoriya must realize that he himself has value, and that destroying himself with no concern for the consequences can be selfish in its own way. For Midoriya to inspire faith like his mentor, he must recognize that heroism isn’t just achieving great victories, but surviving to smile and inspire others with your triumph.
For Bakugo, I would like to say he simply needs to calm down, but I can’t imagine that’s ever going to happen. Bakugo’s anger is his drive and, at this point, I’m not sure he could push himself so hard if he weren’t driven by a rage to prove himself. Instead, it seems best for Bakugo to learn something else: trust. Bakugo’s physical aptitude, mastery of his power, and quick thinking are second to none within 1-A, but along with his often destructive anger, his lack of faith in any of his teammates means he has already been eclipsed as a well-rounded hero by many of his peers. No single hero can survive in this world, and if Bakugo wants to live long enough to achieve greatness, he’ll have to accept he can’t do it alone.
Having spent so much time in Midoriya’s shadow, many of his close friends need precisely the same thing: self-respect. Such is the case for both Iida and Todoroki, who’ve suffered through great personal hardship, and who have up until now lived their lives according to scripts adopted from their families. Iida’s “I want to become my brother” and Todoroki’s “I’ll never become my father” are very different motivations, but they both limit the potential of their bearers as heroes in their own right. Having risen above the shadow of those motivations with Midoriya’s help, I’m hoping both of them learn to value their strength, speak their mind, and arrive at the great heroes they’re already on the cusp of becoming.
Finally, the problem for Ochako and Yaoyorozu is perhaps the simplest of all: a lack of confidence. Both of these heroes made it into the top sixteen of the sports festival, both of them passed their first semester exams, and both of them still seem convinced their own ideas are less valuable than those of their loud-mouthed male peers. Ochako’s astonishing festival performance and Yaoyorozu’s quick thinking during the exams should have earned each of them tremendous respect and authority, but they are still only as strong as they think they are. If these two can learn to believe in themselves, they’ll easily convince the world to believe in them too.
Many of Midoriya’s other classmates have their own mountains to climb, but as season three begins, I’m expecting great things from Midoriya’s core group. There frankly just isn’t time for anything short of greatness – if Midoriya’s classmates don’t rise to heroism now, there will be no second chances. Every exam will be a practical exam from here on out, and every failure will send cracks down the foundation of All Might’s peaceful society. If ever we needed heroes, now is the time.