My Hero Academia is known to pull at the heartstrings of fans, and its spin-off manga is no different. The story of Vigilantes has become an easy favorite with fans, so you can guess at how invested they are in its heroes. So when the most recent update from the spin-off went live, readers were devastated when they finally learned all of Knuckle Duster's history.
The truth was set free in chapter 75 of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes. The series followed Knuckle Duster from afar as the long-missing mentor made a return. He dropped off a letter for Koichi on the sly after learning about Pop Step being captured. It was in that letter Knuckle Duster critiqued Hero Society and his part in it.
"I knew a hero like that, once. A man who specialized in fighting crime. Sometimes, he'd fly solo, sometimes he'd work with police, but either way, he was responsible for taking down an impressive number of illegal organizations. But at the end of the day, he was no more than a particularly efficient cog in the machine meant to uphold societal order," the man wrote of himself.
The letter confirms Knuckle Duster was the hero O'Clock at one point. He was considered a top hero for years, but things turned south when he took on a solo mission which introduced him to All For One. The villain wanted to steal the man's quirk, leaving Knuckle Duster helpless to stop anything.
"He lacked the means to struggle against the irrational or fight back against true evil."
In the wake of such a big loss, Knuckle Duster writes that people can often fall into despair and become monsters himself. The vigilante says he was one such person, but Koichi is better because he perseveres through those tough moments. That is why Knuckle Duster says Koichi is a true hero worthy of admiration, and he has total faith the boy will rescue Pop Step before long. Now, fans are left hoping. Knuckle Duster pops up before the side story comes to a close or perhaps make a cameo in My Hero Academia's main series shortly.
Does this full story explain some things to you? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCBto talk all things comics and anime!