Warning! There are spoilers ahead for chapter 361 “My Hero Academy”!
The embarrassing friendship comment made by Lemillion to the merged Tomura Shigaraki— now known as Shimura—in My Hero Academia initially seemed to be nothing more than mangaka Kohei Horikoshi shamelessly pandering to the overused senen trope. But instead, he turned what could have been an unfortunate cliche upside down into a brutal twist that no one expected.
The concept of friendship has always been the main theme in senen, thanks to which heroes usually receive unprecedented power from people they care about, and it is always implied that they will not be able to get anywhere without their friends. Meanwhile, senen villains usually do not have such relationships, because they either sacrifice them for power, or are under the false impression that having friends is a weakness. And in a recent chapter, it seemed that the forgotten, fan-loved hero Lemillion indulges in this tedious trope after he hears that Shimura is destroying everything because the current structure has failed, saying, “Oh, I get it… You I’ve never had friends. Otherwise, you would have realized that there are a lot of things worth having with you!”
Related: Shigaraki’s New Uniform Officially Turns My Hero Academia into a Horror Manga
But apparently he has. In chapter 361, it becomes clear that what Lemillion is saying has hit a nerve, because Shimura starts screaming at the top of his voice about how two children treated him in a certain way when he was a child, which means that he, of course, has friends. . Shimura’s reaction is so unexpected that even Lemillion, aka Mirio Togata, is caught off guard. In fact, the hero even tries to apologize, thinking to himself how bad he feels because he makes Shimura behave like that.
Unlike this last chapter of My Hero Academia, a typical senen response would show that the villain openly ridicules the hero’s words about friendship, most likely saying that it will ruin the hero or that this is why the hero is so weak. Then the formula would probably lead to either the hero’s friend playing a monumental role in the villain’s downfall, or the villain failed because there was no one to help him. In any case, the hero is likely to throw a joke at his defeated enemy, which will resolve their previous differences over friendship. Despite the fact that mangaka Kohei Horikoshi gives readers something completely different than this, which pretty much makes fun of what they expect, nothing serious comes out of Shimura’s tantrum, except that Lemillion feels bad. Shimura, in fact, loses his composure in this outburst of hot emotions, but then somehow immediately after that controls himself and manages to keep cool throughout the rest of the chapter. What would be more effective, or what could give the impression that the topic of friendship is more important to him, is if Shimura couldn’t pull himself together and just fought in uncontrollable rage for a while to the detriment of his battle.
Of course, fans are grateful not only for the unexpected turn, but also for an additional look into the past of the character, which they clearly care about. The origin story of Shigaraki was quite brutal, and many readers have undoubtedly been eager to learn more about his lonely youth since this brief introduction happened so long ago. Fans would have been even more curious if My Hero Academia hadn’t walked away from the whole eruption as if nothing had happened. But something happened, and it was that Horikoshi destroyed another senen stereotype.