The final war arcs of two massive shonen anime, My Hero Academia and Bleach, both began in the Fall 2022 anime season, and there were many significant similarities between the two. Each series features a zero-to-hero protagonist who will eventually defeat the ultimate villain, and the heroes are becoming more and more worn out and suffering terrible losses.
These shocking losses caused promotions and changes in the power rankings for the MHA Pro Heroes and Bleach's Soul Reapers, with Captain Shunsui Kyoraku and the flaming hero Endeavor both unexpectedly rising to the top spot. Even Endeavor, who had long since fantasized about being number one, has reasons to resent and disapprove of the circumstance, and this is especially true of Kyoraku. These two heroes and the factions they represent could succeed or fail in these final arcs.
The Devastating Losses & Imminent Catastrophes Endeavor & Kyoraku Face
Both Endeavor and Shunsui Kyoraku spent years as powerful, famous heroes with an excellent reputation. Kyoraku was content to be #2 behind Yamamoto, while Endeavor was desperate to succeed All Might, to the point of having a Quirk marriage so his children could surpass the symbol of peace. As of Bleach's and MHA's recent war arcs, both Endeavor and Kyoraku have succeeded All Might and Yamamoto as the commanders, fighters, and representatives of their respective factions. It's fascinating to see these two fighters finally at the top, but Endeavor and Kyoraku would rather it didn't come to this.
Both warriors became #1 at a steep price that they would take back if they could, and they feel unworthy and unready for the burdens of living up to their predecessors. Despite his intense grudge with his rival, at no point in My Hero Academia was Endeavor happy to see All Might lose his powers and retire after defeating All For One during the Bakugo rescue mission. Endeavor got what he always wanted but under the worst possible circumstances, and he is not yet regarded as a symbol of peace. After Dabi's media stunt exposed the truth of the Todoroki family, in fact, the public actually despises Endeavor, and he can't do much about it. His longtime dream has become a waking nightmare, and he knows he can't defeat Shigaraki or All For One alone.
Similarly in Bleach, Captain Shunsui Kyoraku became Yamamoto's successor for the worst possible reason: Yamamoto's death at Yhwach's hands. Kyoraku and his friend, Jushiro Ukitake of Squad 13, both looked up to Yamamoto as a father figure and were heartbroken at his demise. This also robbed the Soul Society of its best Soul Reaper during the ongoing war with the Wandenreich. Even if Kyoraku is now the strongest Soul Reaper, he might privately consider that a downgrade, fearing he's not worthy to succeed "old man Yama" like this. Kyoraku was never trained or prepared to assume this position of command either, so he must figure it out as he goes. His peaceful days of sipping sake as Squad 8's easygoing Captain are over.
Bleach's Kyoraku and MHA's Endeavor Could Give the Fates of Two Boys into Their Hands
Both Endeavor and Shunsui Kyoraku need each other to defeat their evil counterparts, All For One and King Yhwach. For these tragic #1 heroes, it is a blessing that Bleach and My Hero Academia both have zero-to-hero protagonists with special abilities and unwavering conviction in their heroic, morally upright ways. Both Izuku Midoriya and Ichigo Kurosaki stand in stark contrast to the Pro Heroes or Soul Reapers, who are more seasoned but also discouraged. The adults have met their match despite their strength, and they lack the same youthful optimism and stubbornness that Midoriya and Ichigo do.
Despite their struggles and unworthiness as the new #1 heroes, Endeavor and Kyoraku can find comfort in the fact that these are just two of many anime in which a courageous teenager will save the world. The darkest chapters of Bleach and My Hero Academia may finally come to an end if the two bosses can simply hold the line against villainy and buy time for the real heroes to complete the mission.
Kyoraku may be centuries old, but he's smart and humble enough to step back and let the teenage Ichigo take center stage to defeat true evil. Endeavor may do the same as part of his redemption arc, giving up his own dreams of glory and victory so a certain Deku can rise to power and save society once and for all.