My Hero Academia: Why [SPOILER] Had to Die

Warning: The following contains spoilers for My Hero Academia Chapter 333, "Specter," by Kohei Horikoshi, Caleb Cook and John Hunt, available in English through Viz Media.

Fans of My Hero Academia are beginning to suspect that series writer Kohei Horikoshi doesn't like women. Between what happens with characters like Ochako, Mirko and Midnight, it seems like women in the series are doomed to have significantly reduced roles from what's promised. The latest in this line of unfortunate failures is Star and Stripe, who has fallen in battle against Shigaraki and had her Quirk, New Order, stolen.

It's strange how someone like Star and Stripe could die so easily. Whatever Horikoshi's stance on women, one would think that America's No. 1 Pro Hero would at least find a way to make it out of this fight alive. To make things worse, it's only been six chapters since she was formally introduced. A character who's been made out to be so important in the world of MHA getting taken out relatively quickly is difficult to understand.

My Hero Academia Shigaraki And Star And Stripes

The first thing to look at is the set of circumstances surrounding Star and Stripe's defeat. Star and Stripe's New Order allows her to apply "rules" to anything she touches and invokes the name of. This allows her to do crazy things like make the atmosphere a giant version of herself or turn laser fire into a holdable weapon. As powerful as this Quirk makes Star and Stripe, she's still not strong enough to finish off Shigaraki. The villain is able to survive everything the Hero can throw at him, catch her off guard and steal her Quirk. To add insult to injury, stealing a Quirk and causing a target to decay can be done simultaneously through physical contact, so Star and Stripe disintegrates as Shigaraki claims his prize.

Looking at matters from a narrative perspective, it makes sense for Star and Stripe to lose. Her purpose in the story is not to defeat or stop Shigaraki. That privilege is likely reserved for Deku and his friends. Her more tragic role is to provide a standard by which to indicate how dangerous Shigaraki has become. It's also to have her incredibly powerful Quirk stolen from her, as hard as that is to admit.

Of course, even with Star and Stripe dead, her efforts aren't totally meaningless. She manages to rig New Order to "revolt against other Quirks" before it gets stolen. As a result, when Shigaraki takes the Quirk, it starts destroying him from the inside out. If he wants to survive, he'll have to either find some way to get it under control or pass it on to somebody else. At the very least, Shigaraki won't be able to use New Order like he wants to.

Deku and Star and Stripe

It's probably for the best that New Order has been removed from the field of play. For all the reality-bending it allows the user to perform, it would be entirely too powerful for either the heroes or the villains to have. Whichever side wields the Quirk shouldn't logically be able to lose. This is part of the reason why fans are so annoyed by Star and Stripe's defeat. Shigaraki's ability to survive a fight with a user of New Order makes him come off as overpowered.

It doesn't feel like Star and Stripe should have gone out the way she did. Besides proving Shigaraki's regenerative abilities are entirely too powerful, it makes what should be a truly powerful character look like an absolute jobber. Narratively speaking, she certainly is one, but in-universe, she's supposed to be much more than that. She's the best Pro Hero in her country and possesses one of the most powerful Quirks in the series thus far. She's someone who even All For One is wary of. It's almost as if her downfall is purely the result of plot-necessitated reasons. That, or Horikoshi really does hate women and wants to watch them crash and burn.

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