“Smile; a society without cheer and humor will not have a bright future” – Sir Nighteye
Pro Hero, Sir Nighteye, was All Might’s sidekick for a number of years. He looked up to All Might as a mentor, but also cared for him as a friend. Sir took being a hero seriously, but also appreciated humor. He was overly cautious, likely due to his quirk Foresight. He’d send chills down people’s spines due to his stern piercing gaze. Thanks to an introduction by Mirio (that All Might helped facilitate), he took Deku for the work studies program. Sir really agreed to it because he wanted to show Deku that Mirio was the better candidate to be All Might’s successor. While on patrol with Mirio, Deku runs into Eri and Chisaki. Deku wanted to save Eri, because she’s clearly frightened and does not want to go with Chisaki (Overhaul). For wanting to save her Nighteye chided him (although later they all wondered if it would’ve been better to save her then). Sir did not think Deku was useless, but he definitely gave him a hard time.
Having been a sidekick to All Might for years, there is history between them. Sir Nighteye saw with his Foresight, that All Might would die a gruesome death at the hand of a villain, and he wanted him to find a suitable heir and retire. At that point in time, Sir’s Foresight had never been incorrect, so there wasn’t a precedent for the future being any different. They also disagreed with who should succeed him as the Symbol of Peace.
Not knowing the history behind them, Deku wanted to work with Sir Nighteye. All Might doesn’t feel comfortable introducing them, plus he was against first year students doing work studies. But he does introduce him to Mirio who is currently working with Sir. All Might reflects upon the idea, presented a while back by the UA Principal and Sir, for him to pass his quirk, One for All, to Mirio (before he ran into Deku trying to save Bakugo from Sludge).
This episode really illustrates the meaningful relationships between mentors and those they inspire. Some of the relationships that came to mind as I considered this were All Might inspiring Sir Nighteye, Deku, Bakugo, and countless others, Mirio mentoring Deku at work studies, Aizawa inspiring his students, Sir Nighteye as a mentor to Mirio, Bubble Girl, and Deku, and Nana Shimura and Gran Torino helping train Toshinori Yagi (All Might). There are countless people in the world inspired by the actions, personality, quirks, skills, traits, and outlook of others, not just in the world of My Hero Academia and anime land, but all around us. You likely inspire people by being your true, authentic self, in your daily life, even doing what you consider mundane things.
As Deku works with Sir Nighteye at his agency, alongside Mirio and Bubble Girl, we gradually feel Sir warming up towards him. He is hard on Deku, but since he doesn’t see him as useless, he must see his potential. He is appreciative that Deku showed him the future can be changed.
In the episode, Infinite 100%, we see Sir dejected. He is mortally wounded and the future he sees, shows Deku dying. He doesn’t see a point to the pro heroes and students, especially injured, risking more to fight. As the crew on the podcast Popped Off (@popped_off) pointed out this seems unusual for a hero. But given that Sir’s Foreight has never been wrong, there isn’t a precedent for him to think it can change, so his outlook is understandable. Thankfully, the future is different than he envisioned. Overhaul is defeated and Eri is saved. Sir Nighteye received his wish, through Deku, and the energy and efforts of those helping. But now, in the episode Bright Future, Sir Nighteye (not All Might), has been mortally wounded due to a villain.