Well, I’m back with the anime topics.
I watched episode 2 of MHA Season 5 yesterday (I’m not a premium member, that stuff is expensive) and I assume anyone who cares about spoilers will have watched it already, if not, don’t read this post.
So, the fandom has known for a while that Endeavor is getting a redemption arc, and it started last season anyway, but this season has finally caught up to the manga enough to really get into it, and the outrage was predictable.
I can’t believe how often I see this not just in for this fandom, but for Webtoon fandoms (Webtoon comics have to be the abuse capital of fictional venues, every freaking story has an abusive, parent, boyfriend, girlfriend, or ex, or in one case, sibling. I thought anime was bad, but it’s even worse.)
I am often surprised by how unforgiving people are, and how easily they let their emotions be manipulated, in fandoms.
Exhibit A: Itachi from Naruto, kills entire clan save for his brother, including babies and elderly people and his own girlfriend, leaves village. Pins whole thing on Sasuke not being strong enough to stop him, later uses his hypnotic power to make Sasuke relieve his trauma until his mind actually shorts out, and then fights Sasuke 3 years later, saying he will steal his eyes, then dies because he exhausts himself. Later he is reanimated, and gaslights the crap out of Sasuke because other people as well as himself claim it was all done out of “love.”
Based on what I just described (which is the literal events of the show, and not an exaggerated fan rant) Itachi is an S-class abuser such as you rarely meet in real life, and it’s terrifying when you do.
You know what this jacked up fandom says about him? “Oh, I wish I could be a brother like Itachi.” “Itachi is such a good brother, protecting Sasuke.”
I wanted to throw up, and it’s not like these fans are being ironic, they put this on freaking inspirational GIFS.
Even if by some twisted stretch of the imagination, Itachi did love Sasuke in his own psychotic way, he’s a terrible person. He committed Genocide because he was too much of a sheep to stand up to Leaf, and he didn’t shed a single tear over it (until the retcon anyway).
I was amazed that out of all the villains to redeem, the writer chose easily one of the most evil people in anime, but even analysts who’s opinions I generally respect have bought into it. I’m confused by how the show has manipulated people so much into calling evil good.
The power of anime and its emotional flashbacks and reframing of villains into tragic anti-heores. We can never just call it evil.
Exhibit B: We have Endeavor, or Enji Todoroki. He’s a pretty bad guy, I won’t deny it. Smacked his wife around for disagreeing with him. Drove one son out of his home (it’s still unclear whether it was his choice or the son’s) and pushed Shoto way too hard in training. He’s also just unpleasant to pretty much everyone.
However… Endeavor was never shown to be cruel or unprincipled completely. He is never shown to be psychotic. His abuse comes form anger issues and not liking his worldview questioned. It’s notable that he doesn’t abuse Shoto for talking back to him however, in the future, which indicate to me that he already began to understand that it was going to far to do that.
Endeavor is not a good person, but is he straight up evil? No.
People are hating on his redemption arc to a concerning degree, and I wanted to address it, as someone who’s been abused, and has perhaps an inside perspective on it.
It wouldn’t be fair not to acknowledge that they are right about one thing, abuse is inexcusable.
When I explain the reasons why Endeavor did it, it’s not to say that gave him an excuse. That’s not the point. The point is that abusers are some of the hardest people to change, in life, even in Christianity, the most life changing religion, abusers lurk and cover their sins with false spiritualism, that it can take a very perceptive person to see through, and not all Christians have that gift (we are just humans with different weakness, after all)
Different types of abusers:
To properly understand how to judge Endeavor, you have to know that people are abusive for different reasons.
- 1. There are some people who are abusive without meaning to be. They act off what they were taught, and no one ever told them it was wrong. These people can often learn very quickly if they make friends with others who actually confront the behavior. Provided they are not too bitter to listen. I don’t even call these people abusers properly because for them it’s not a power trip, it’s just a habit. And they’re whole identity isn’t tied to maintaining it.
- 2. People who are abusive in order to stay in power. This may be the most common form of abuse. Someone will use brute force and violence to get their way because they don’t have the maturity or humility to talk it out and admit it if they are wrong. This person has massive insecurities and usually needs to deal with those before they can change their behavior.
3. The psychotic abuser: This is the worst kind. The person who is twisted enough to enjoy getting the reaction they do. Scarily, even playground bullying can run dangerously close to this, but when bullying has merged with an even bigger amount of control and sway over others, and close emotional bonds with them, it becomes abuse. This abuser is cruel, merciless, and will gaslight the victim so they can keep the cycle going.
My dad is a number 3 mixed with a number 2. He wasn’t very violent, as most of you know, but when nothing else would serve, he’d become aggressive. Then he would play the victim and say you left him no choice. I detest number 3.
I detest number 2 also, but I’ll tell you, it scares me way less.
I might have to worry about being punched by a 2, but, I don’t need to worry that they’ll keep kicking me once I’m beaten and humiliate me just for the fun of it, once I stop bothering them, they have no interest in hurting me more. They’re a bully, but they aren’t a psycho.
I shouldn’t have to put up with either, but if I had to pick who’s more likely to realize the error of theirs ways; I’d pick a 2.
A 3 likes being the way they are too much to change most of the time, the only way is if they lose all ability to get what they want by being that way, then they have to reevaluate. But thanks to the toxic circle of people they surround themselves with, it’s rare for them to be left that way.
When it comes to deciding if Endeavor’s redemption make sense, we have to decide which group he is in. So let’s look at the facts:
We know from the show (what most of us have to go on) and from what I hear from manga readers that Endeavor
- Hit his wife when she crossed him.
- Pushed his sons too far in training
- Refused to listen to reason
- Put wife in mental hospital after she snapped completely and burnt his son’s face
- Refers to Shoto as his “masterpiece” or “creation” at least in the 2nd season.
All this is pretty bad. But what no one ever talks about is the more interesting things Endeavor actually does, which one wouldn’t normally expect.
- Though he hit Rei for crossing him, we are not shown him hitting her at any other time. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but he also does not keep beating her once she’s down, which a more textbook abuser would have done.
- He pushed Shoto in training, but we are never shown or told that he beat him at any time. Pushing him so hard is a form of abuse, but it’s one that has nuances, exactly at what point it became too far would be hard for someone like Endeavor to say. No doubt he pushes himself just as hard and feels it’s not wrong.
- When Shoto tells him bluntly that he will not do as he says, Endeavor doesn’t react like an abuser. He tells Shoto it will not work, but leaves him alone after that. Basically waiting for him to try and fail first. An level 3 abuser would have used manipulation to try to get his compliance.
- When Shoto blames Endeavor for what his mom did, Endeavor makes no attempt to squash his rebellion, instead, he seems to take it seriously. Also not textbook abuser behavior.
- Endeavor does isolate Shoto from his siblings, but does not isolate him from his friends. When Shoto pushes him, he doesn’t double down on his controlling, he actually allows Shoto to do pretty much as he wishes.
- Finally, Endeavor is never shown guilting Shoto for failing later in the show, if he did it before, it seems he may have realized his mistake. He only ever shows concern for him. True he embarrasses him at the remedial course, but it’s not done in the spirit of guilt.
Does this make him a good parent? No. But you have to understand, I’ve lived it, and it would have been nice to see my Dad do any of these things. That never happened for me. If I saw even this much of a chance of redemption for my dad’s behavior, I would not have blocked his number and cut off contact with him. Because you can reason with someone who can do all that, but not with someone who only uses you for their own benefit and then discards you.
Granted, Endeavor did do that with his other children, but he doesn’t abuse them in other ways, so it makes him more negligent than abusive. Negligent is more understandable.
What I think makes the show writing brilliant is that Endeavor’s redeeming qualities, such as they are, were not all introduced in season 4 and 5, as early as season 2 he demonstrated better characteristics than just his past self would have led us to believe. To me that indicated he’d already begun to question his past.
In a strange way, I got the impression Endeavor actually respects Shoto because he is tough and still stands up to him, though it annoys him, he kind of likes the little punk. Evidenced in season 2’s Stain Arc, before the redemption arc officially began for Endeavor, Shoto still asks his Dad for help, and to my amazement, Endeavor complies without even giving Shoto any crap for it later. And he doesn’t downplay what Shoto tells him, as soon as his son says it’s important, he sends back up after him. We never see him scold Shoto later for acting rashly.
This is season 2, the same season we even learned what an ass Endeavor was to begin with, and yet we already are shown some actually decent aspects of his personality. he’s doesn’t screw around with saving people, even if he’s very stiff about it. And he takes Shoto seriously, even if he doesn’t understand him.
I don’t say any of this because I like Endeavor, I actually don’t really like him. I don’t think I need to like him to judge him fairly, I just need to be… well, fair.
Let’s talk for a minute about Rei.
Really, Rei is the only reason that I even consider Endeavor abusive at all, as I wouldn’t say what he did to Shoto was abuse, at least in his own eyes, and would be hard to pinpoint like I said. But it’s not okay to beat your wife.
I can’t excuse it either.
But, there is no going back, I always say, there is only going forward.
Ignoring what Endeavor did in the past, what did he do later? Does he act sorry? And is his regret believable? Let’s look at it.
Fans seem to ingore two things when they accuse this Redemption of being too rushed.
- Endeavor has had 8-10 years of watching Shoto be miserable in order to rethink his actions.
- Rei is not compeltely innoncent here.
It’s not the 1900s okay. If your hsuband is beating you, you can leave.
Now hear me out before you say “No! She couldn’t leave! He’d never have let her.”
If Endeavor really cared about it, he would have put more effort into keeping the family together. I honestly think he wouldn’t have chased Rei down had she just down as she said to her mom and “run away from this life.” He could have hushed up the whole thing, and let her live on her own. I think he would have, she was just an annoyance to him anyway, after all.
Even if not, she could have tried it first.
Yes, she was terrified. But, the guy was not manipulative, we never saw him threaten her, nor does he threaten Shoto, so I assume, he doesn’t threaten people that often.
That tells me a lot of what Rei feared from him was in her own head.
I’m not saying that makes it not his fault. I feared stuff form my dad that he never did, because once you feel unsafe around someone, you imagine they could do anything to you. They’ll turn everyone against you.
It’s terrible to be trapped in your own mind like that.
But, to be honest, not all of that can be pinned on Endeavor.
I can’t victim blame here, but being unstable isn’t just something you can blame solely on one person. Even if you are mistreated, you can control your response, you can seek help. You can do something to save your sanity before it gets to a snapping point. That was what I did. I escaped before I went crazy because I knew what would happen if I didn’t.
Rei is not to blame for Endeavor betting her, but what she did to Shoto was her fault. I’m sorry if that bothers someone to hear, but it is.
You cannot excuse psychotic behavior on “She was driven crazy by Endeavor.”
It’s a lot of pressure to be with someone you’re afraid of. But, when you start projecting that on others, like your own children, you’ve crossed a line. If you now you’re doing that, then, you need to get out. Run away. Turn yourself in. Do something. Don’t wait to snap and hurt someone.
Am I the only one who got the uncomfortable impression Rei hurt Shoto partly so Endeavor would get rid of her? Does she really seem unhappy with the results?
As terrible as it is, her level of remorse just does not match the situation. She seems relieved to be out of there, and hesitant to talk to him. I mean, if she wanted to apologize to Shoto, she could have sent him a note via his siblings, she could have told him it wasn’t his fault, and not to hate himself…something. Not that it would have made a difference, but the effort could have been there.
Shoto believed he would only cause her pain by visiting her, and that in some way, he needed forgiveness for never doing that.
I’m sorry, but the 6-8 year old needs forgiveness for being terrified to go see the mom who burned half his face?
It’s interesting, that Shoto is actually way more traumatized by his mother than his father. It always hurts more to be betrayed by the person you trust. He blames Endeavor of that…but who does he feel safe acting out on? Who does he actually go to for help?
He may not like it, but he knows in a strange way, he can count on his Dad, and he can’t on his mom. And before someone says that’s because she’s locked up, do you really think it would be any different if she was free and just lived somewhere else? No. It wouldn’t.
She will always be the fragile one, in his mind.
And, hey, that’s the way it is sometimes. It’s not her fault really, but it’s not Endeavor’s fault either.
Rei was clearly unstable before she married him. We can assume her family life wasn’t too great if they were willing to sell her to Endeavor to be his baby mama. Heck, for all we know, Endeavor initially might have treated her better, until she was no longer of use. It seems like they didn’t have as many problems in the past.
I love Shoto, but he is a bit naive if he thinks his dad started all of this. You can bet Rei brought plenty of trust issues into this partnership that didn’t get helped by Endeavor, but didn’t start with him either.
Rei went off the deep end because she lacked the mental strength to get herself out of the situation, and to not project Endeavor onto her children, and that is just not fair to them.
My issue is that people ignore this. Endeavor gets crap for abusing his wife, but Rei gets not lame at all for literally scarring her son, and giving him the guilt of thinking he was like his dad for years.
Give the woman credit, she also taught Shoto to be true to himself. He should be grateful to her for that. And she’s trying her best.
But, one can’t get away from it. She gave up. She didn’t carry it to the end. She let herself lose her grip until she hurt him.
When she burned Shoto, it wasn’t because she thought he was Endeavor. It was because in a crazy moment, she thought it was the only way to protect herself.
And I’m sorry, but Endeavor was completely right to put her in that hospital. I notice no one ever says anything about that, but…what else would you do? A wild animal has to be confined too if they lash out at innocent people, and if a person become like that, what else can we do? She’s not safe for anyone to be around who’s not a professional.
Endeavor says he put her there because she hurt Shoto, but she could easily have hurt his siblings too, and even Enji himself, if he was caught off guard. What if she threw water at whoever walked through that door?
Why it’s personal
The reason this matters to me so much is because I’ve been Shoto before.
At first, when my dad moved out, I thought I could blame the entire situation on him. That would be simple.
But I soon realized my mom had plenty of problems of her own. Not all of which I could pin on him. She had them for decades before she knew him. My dad was drawn to her because like attracts like.
My mom could also be cruel to me, and inconsiderate. Some things I still cannot believe she said to me. I think she treated my badly because she couldn’t take it out on my dad, so she projected onto me.
Like Shoto, I got the idea that I was a monster from my mom, almost more than my dad. From both, really. What do you do when one parent accuses you and the other just tells you where you could do better?
I am not being hard on Rei because I am angry at my mom, though no doubt, some frustration is part of it. But because, I know the importance of being honest. both parents are at fault.
An abuser can’t abuse without an enabler, usually.
Endeavor was a crap husband, but putting Rei in the hospital was the right thing for her, and for the kids, sadly. Even if it feels cheap that he was the one who did it.
But, moving on from that time, it seems he began to see Shoto’s point.
I don’t agree that Endeavor made Rei hurt Shoto. I might excuse her hurting Endeavor himself on the grounds of self defense because she snapped, but not Shoto. Nor do I think she can get off just because she went crazy. Clearly she had some idea of why she did it and could have acted differently prior to that.
The worst of it would be if she ever admits that one day… because, I’ve had people tell me to my face that they knew what they did to be was wrong… and they still did it in that moment because they were too scared to do anything else. But that fear was their problem, not mine. I just paid for it.
Look, people, either we take responsibility for our own actions, or we don’t. If we say a victim has no responsibility, then everyone who makes themselves a victim will get away with literal murder. And, why do you think that mentality is so popular now? People love getting away with their crap.
I confront people and expect them to take ownership of their actions, and they usually blame me for them. Like I made them do what they did, sheesh. I did’t force your to do or say anything, I didn’t even tell you to do it, you just did it. How’s it my fault?
It’s not Shoto’s fault either. And, it’s not Endeavor’s. He didn’t threaten Rei to do what she did, if anything, hurting Shoto should have been something she was afraid to do because it would anger him.
That proves to me that she knew, somehow, what would happen. And she chose it.
It’s ugly, but it’s human nature… I wish it wasn’t. I wish we all could be noble enough not to hurt each other just to save ourselves.
Enji and Rei are both jacked up, that’s for sure.
But, Enji has had time to reflect on his actions, and he’s realizing that he got nothing he wanted the right way. I actually buy it. I think getting the No#1 spot in a away that he didn’t want would make him question whether he got anything in a way he should have. One epiphany can lead to another, you know. That’s how it is for me.
And realizing now that he is number one, he can’t maintain All Might’s rapport, it’s exactly what would show him his character deficiencies. Plus, Shoto is a constant visible reminder to him of his failures.
I think it’s to Endeavor’s credit that he doesn’t resent Shoto for this at all. Instead, he’s admitting it was his fault. That he doesn’t deserve what he has, and he needs to change.
He’s as clumsy at it as most people are when they try to change and it seems people are not willing to give him any leeway at all.
I know Natsuo is hurt and all, and I can understand him, but, the fans? Not so much.
I mean, it’s like you expect 20 years of dysfunction to just go away in 2 months. Endeavor’s heart may be changing, but he has no idea how to act, how to be, no one showed him how. And Shoto and Fuyumi are the only ones even willing to acknowledge he’s trying at all; and Rei herself, perhaps.
I actually feel bad for Endeavor now. I had to change once (and still do) I used to be mean too. I remember how little encouragement got from anyone. Instead, I got constant criticism from my parents.
I know it’s hard to change, and when people refuse to let your past mistakes go, it’s even harder. It takes character to decide to change even when people think you ca’t.
But when you truly have repented, you know you have to change, or case to be.
When God got a hold of my heart, there was no going back for me, I was going to become a godly person if it was the last thing I did. So I studied, and worked at it, and swallowed my pride.
8 years later, I live in the fruit of that. I’m not perfect, but I can control my temper, act with maturity, and forgive people much more quickly than I used to. I love not being ashamed of myself anymore.
And, if Endeavor were a real person, I’d root for him all the way. Believe me when I say this people. I am not kidding. Real or imaginary, I don’t care. I judge them the same way. If he’s legit about this, I’m all for it.
And I hope to goodness, that there are people like Endeavor out there, realizing that abuse is wrong, and changing. We don’t her enough about ti.
The abuse cases make the news, the cases where someone changed never do. They don’t make the surveys either. But, it happens.
And you see, no matter how rare it is, if it happens at all, then I owe it to people to believe it can happen for them, until they prove otherwise. I owe everyone the benefit of the doubt. Some might have said I would never change, (actually, I think , my dad did say that), but I did.
Endeavor’s redemption arc is actually really good. The events leading up to it make perfect sense to me. I consider the Todoroki family to be the best written aspect of the show, along with Bakugo’s character development. The author shines in interpersonal drama, much more than he does on plot. That’s what drew me in, for crying out loud. Shoto Todoroki’s story is why I got hooked on this show to being with.
This post ran really long, so I think I should end it here.
What about you? I don’t know if you were at all interested in this debate or just clicked out of curiosity, but did it make you see a little differently? Just curious.
Thanks for reading, until next time–Stay honest, Natasha.
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