With the recent influx of superhero movies, who hasn’t dreamed about becoming a superhero in real life? My Hero Academia takes this wish and makes it a reality. In a world where being a superhero is a legitimate profession, a young boy meets his hero, impresses him, and is given powers. If you think that our newly empowered boy creates a costume and gets to crime fighting, hold on a minute! There is a special school were you learn about your powers and attendance is strongly encouraged. With the second season wrapping up, I decided to take a look at both the anime and manga.
School for Heroes
Izuku Midoriya is a young boy who wants nothing then to become like his super idol, All Might. The problem is that superheros, and super villains, all have one thing in common. Powers, called quirks, put the super in superhero and Izuku does not have one. After saving a friend from a super villain, All Might gives Izuku his own quirk and admission to a school for superheros. Izuku must now balance school work while dealing with some villains who have become very interested in his quirk.
My first though about viewing was of a little known Disney movie called Sky High. Both the movie and this anime are about a school for superheros. This is the only similarity, as My Hero looks at the superhero archetypes that have come from America. Take the student Tenya Iida for example. His quirk gives him super speed by way of rockets in his legs. His family has been heroes for quite some time and are known through the world. Does this remind you of a certain scarlet speedster? The Flash is not the only superhero alluded to, as I caught references to Superman, Batman, and Captain America. By showing us these types of heroes, the creators are allowed, and allow the viewer, to think about why they do or do not work. Being a comic book fan, this made me think about the characters I grew up with.
The Art of Villainy
A hero is only as strong as their villains, and My Hero certainly has some interesting ones. Himiko Togais a psychotic girl who likes the color red a little too much. Her quirk allows her to assume the appearance of anyone whose blood she has ingested (Yuck). Tomura Shigaraki will disintegrate anything he touches with his hand. This is not the most disturbing thing about him, indeed he looks 90 years old and talks to his hand as if it were a real person. The alliance seeks to rule the world and cut down as many heroes as they can.
If there is one fault with the villains of My Hero, it is that their motives are a little too generic. Ruling the world and defeating their arch nemesis. How many times have we seen that before? I realized that maybe that is the point the creators are trying to make. If the Green Goblin were to actually kill Spider-Man, what would he do? Start running OsCorp and try to take down Google? Villains, My Hero seems to suggest, are trapped in their roles. If they did mange to take over the world, they would probably get bored very quickly. Even so, the villains in season one seemed to lack some punch. Luckily, a new baddie takes center stage in Season 2.
Heroes who turn to the dark side are a mighty interesting bunch. Sometimes it works, most of the time it does not. Chizome Akaguro definitely belongs in the former group. Once a very promising hero, he began to despise his classmates, thinking that most of them were becoming heroes for the wrong reasons. He quit school and tried to persuade others that a reform was needed. When that didn’t work, he decided that the only solution were to kill heroes he deemed to be unfit. He is my favorite character, a villain with some real meat to his back story. His actions may not appeal to everyone, but even Izuku acknowledges that he truly believes in his cause. This passion starts to inspire other people as well, leading to a growth for the villains.
The Stain story brings up an interesting question: Why are these kids becoming heroes? Some of doing it for noble reasons, but there are some who are doing it because it will get them fame. In the real world, we are told that we must go to school in order to be successful. Anything that we might be interested in is fine, as long as you can get paid later for doing it. The jobs we eventually take might be more motivated by the success we will have rather then any real passion. Izuka has a passion for being a superhero, but his motivation is changed as he learns that his idols are not perfect. My Hero shows that as we grow older, we have to start picking our own path, not the ones are family or idols have picked out for us.
Battle on, Challengers!
My Hero Academnie might just be the next great anime. Full of smart writing, great action sequences, and a likeable hero, it is a must if you are a fan of superheroes. If you don’t like superheros, this show will also speak to you as well. Catch up on the two seasons as we wait for the third. I hope that Stain does not stay locked up for long, and that Izuku starts to have more control over his quirk. Quirk? Why do I get the feeling that that reminds me of something? I guess I will just take a STAND and think about it a little more.