My Hero Academia: How Endeavor Redefined What Being the Number One Hero Meant

Since the beginning of My Hero Academia, All Might was touted as the series' most powerful character. Using his unrivaled strength, he created order within the villain-saturated society as the Symbol of Peace and #1 Pro Hero. His abrupt retirement weakened not only the heroes' strength, but the country's overall morale since he left a vacuum that couldn't easily be filled. Nevertheless, his successor, the Flame Hero Endeavor, was never one to back down from a challenge. Here's how he changed what being #1 meant and became the Symbol of Peace on his own terms.

Shortly before Endeavor was officially recognized as #1 on the Hero Billboard Chart, he visited the supplementary classes Todoroki Shoto was taking to make up for his abysmal showing at the Provisional Hero License Exam. Endeavor's main purpose was support his son -- but upon realizing All Might had escorted Bakugo Katsuki and Todoroki to their class, he seized the opportunity to ask the former #1 Hero a question that had been eating away at him.

All Might had long built a larger-than-life picture about what MHA's top heroes were supposed to be. He could say with full confidence "It's all right now. I am here," when he arrived at any crime scene and was all-powerful enough that his very existence was a deterrence to crime. Naturally, he was a tough act to follow but his charisma and charming personality -- when contrasted with the #2 Hero's stoic and aloof nature -- made Endeavor seem like a poor replacement not only in the public eye, but among the lurking villains as well.

Endeavor noticed this growing unrest and decided his best course of action was to ask All Might what the Symbol of Peace meant to him. He told his predecessor that he could feel something All Might had built up over the years slowly crumbling away. Depending on whom you asked, All Might's answer wasn't very helpful.

He told Endeavor that his version of the Symbol of Peace was one he'd come up with as an answer to the ills he'd recognized in society; since they were quite different people, Endeavor couldn't blindly copy it. His final advice to Endeavor was to work out an answer to the Symbol of Peace for himself, one that he could understand wholly and would suit him better than trying to imitate his predecessor.

Even though All Might didn't give him much to go on, it appeared Endeavor had made a breakthrough in the time between that conversation and the ceremony where he was officially recognized as the new #1. Whereas his colleagues in the top 10 delivered messages ranging from inspiring to downright brazen, all he had to tell the crowd was "Just watch me."

Endeavor's cryptic message must have confused the crowd but they didn't have to wait long before he provided an explanation, complete with a demonstration of what he meant. His first trial as the newly minted #1 was to defeat the High-End Nomu that suddenly attacked him during a meeting with Hawks. He was clearly outmatched, which was clear to all who watched the live broadcast of his struggle across the country. Endeavor sustained several injuries throughout the fight and after a particularly nasty hit, the #1 fell. It looked like all was lost.

Panic began to spread throughout the streets until an eagle-eyed Endeavor supporter pointed out the glowing flames in the distance. Endeavor had risen once more and even though he couldn't move his limbs anymore due to his injuries, he propelled himself toward the Nomu as he prepared to deliver his super move with the widest range: the full body attack, Prominence Burn. With Hawks' help, he flew the Nomu high enough to use his full firepower without any collateral damage and incinerated it, nearly dying in the process.

The fight encapsulated exactly what Endeavor meant when he declared "Just watch me." A new era of My Hero Academia society had begun.Unlike All Might, Endeavor wasn't strong enough to guarantee absolute victory every time he'd be called to action. Promising the public as much would have been irresponsible, but the comfort he could give them was that he'd do his work as effectively as he always had. Without an all-powerful symbol, a sense of terror would persist -- but citizens who saw Endeavor's flame in the distance would always be reminded that their #1 was still hard at work protecting the peace.

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