Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (2024)

My Hero Academia uniquely blends the fighting spirit of Japanese shonen manga with American comics. Kohei Horikoshi is a student of the superhero genre and often makes direct references to popular western series like Spider-Man, whether its characters with similar abilities or a thematic question of what it truly means to be a hero in today’s society.

It redefines the superhero genre in several different ways, but it leans more towards an idealistic rather than cynical perspective. The series asks hard questions about how superheroes would possibly function in modern society and how anybody can bring peace into a violent world. Yet, it also reaffirms a strong belief in never giving up on dreams to protect others. Horikoshi deconstructs and then reconstructs the superhero genre.

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10 U.A. and School Setting Humanizes The Superhero Experience

Midoriya and His Friends Enroll in Programs Dedicated to Superheroism in MHA

Like most shonen manga, My Hero Academia is set in a high school environment to appeal to its teenage demographic. The students of the U.A. enroll in courses designed to help them progress in their future superhero careers. It takes a fictional concept like super-heroism and blends it with the reality of scholastic learning and coming of age stories. Even relatively mundane school activities have more stylistic flair.

Slice of life feels just right in a shonen that it wouldn't in a comic. In one memorable instance, Class 1-A has to come up with their own code names prior to their hero internships, often based on their power or personality. The excitable Denki Kaminari calls himself ''Chargebolt'' because of his electric abilities, while punk rocker Kyoka Jiro calls herself ''Earphone Jack'' due to her extra long earlobes.

9 The Powerlessness of Those Without Powers

Quirkless People Are Seen as Weak in My Hero Academia

Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (2)

Superpowers are typically rare in most superhero comics. These are reserved only for a select minority due to their destructive potential. My Hero Academia subverts this particular trope by making 80% of the population have Quirks, a special ability that grants superhuman powers. The main protagonist of the series, Izuku Midoriya, starts off the series without any powers, which initially crushes his hopes.

Long before he becomes the hero Deku, he grapples with the giant existential question of being Quirkless. He lives in a society where that 20% will surely decrease over time. Almost everybody has superpowers, yet for somebody that wants to save people, not having any superpowers is a major roadblock that could negatively affect their heroic aspirations.

8 Sometimes Even Heroes Can Just Give Up

The Super-Hero Life Take a Stressful Toll on Pro-Heroes

Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (3)

Heroes are sometimes just normal everyday people in My Hero Academia. They mean well and they want to uphold societal order. However, they can also crack under severe pressure due to low morale. Heroes also have feelings to consider, and if they cannot deal with terrible publicity and relentless criticism, they might even retire in the face of public backlash and lack of perceived respect.

After the disastrous Paranormal Liberation War that left behind many casualties in its wake, citizens began to question heroes for not doing their jobs properly. Former pro hero Death Arms quits his job in protest over the criticism, despite doing everything he could to save as many civilians as possible. It goes to show that heroism is not always a given in society.

7 Clone Powers Cannot be Taken Lightly in MHA

Misuse of These Abilities Will Have Lasting Consequences

Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (4)

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10 Best Things About Twice In My Hero Academia

Though a member of the League of Villains, Twice still became a fan favorite for plenty of fans.

The ability to create several clones is a staple of the superhero genre. My Hero Academia gives a more realistic take on the consequences of cloning powers. Twice’s backstory reveals that he almost lost himself completely when he abused his special abilities. Since all his clones have complete autonomy, they eventually fight over the matter of which one is the true original.

This ends up with the present Twice barely surviving the major brawl out. It comes at the cost of his mental stability, as Twice is left unable to tell whether he’s just a mere clone or even the original. The League of Villains consider him to be a very useful asset, but it calls into question whether or not such powers are worth it. Twice is a completely broken individual, despite the ability to multiple into several more.

6 Heroic Acts in My Hero Academia May Suffer From Bureaucratic Oversight

Bystanders Are Encouraged to Do Nothing, Even if They Could

Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (6)

In order to deal with a rising population of Quirk users, society places restrictive laws on when and where to use these powers. Heroes require a professional license in order to even perform legal acts of heroism. Regulation laws are meant to dissuade the overuse of powers, but they also cause problems in more serious cases where help is required.

In the Hero Killer arc of My Hero Academia, the highly dangerous Stain wreaks untold havoc until he’s stopped by Deku and a few of his fellow Class 1-A students. However, this gets them into major trouble with the law since they don't have licenses. Society creates a very intentional bystander effect. Superhero powers can’t just be freely used in this series.

5 My Hero Academia Represents a Cultural Exchange of Ideas

The Japanese Series Adds Its Own Take on American Super-Hero Ideals

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American superhero comics took off in 1938 with the release of ''Action Comics #1.'' It features the debut of Superman, the quintessential archetype of caped heroes with moral virtues and superhuman powers. In the near century since then, the superhero genre remains exceedingly popular in the United States, but it also finds success with exports overseas.

My Hero Academia represents a cultural trade between American superhero comics and Japanese shonen manga. It draws particular inspiration from the Spider-Man comics. Both series feature young superheroes with famous mentors and stand up for what they believe is right. However, My Hero Academia remains firm in shonen roots with a complex power system, tournament arcs, elaborate monologues, and a fiery Japanese spirit.

4 Society in MHA Cannot be Dependent on a Superman

Complacency Prevents Communities From Building a Better Future

Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (8)

All Might stands on top of a mountain peak of power in My Hero Academia with his unmatched strength and speed. For several years, the number one ranked hero protected Japan from the world’s most dangerous villains. He single-handedly ushered in a new era of peace. When he effectively retires, Japan faces a massive crisis on how to replace him.

When villains start to rise up, society’s overdependence on a single hero causes a mass panic when he’s not there, simply because they have nobody else left to fill in those massive shoes. The status quo cannot always be upheld by a single person. Otherwise, the rising heroes of today will deal with too much pressure and might even break under it. Japan is left unprepared after All Might's retirement simply because the ''Symbol of Peace'' was an individual title and not the collective society.

3 Determination in MHA is a Detriment Sometimes

Deku Often Pushes Himself Way Too Hard

Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (9)

Deku shoulders great responsibility in My Hero Academia since he is the successor to All Might as the ''Symbol of Peace.'' With the One For All Quirk, he can stockpile raw power to exceptionally high levels. However, unlike most superhero comics where phenomenal strength lacks any drawbacks, Deku often exceeds his limitations and breaks down his body.

Whenever he goes up against powerful villains with greater physical stats, such as the massively built Muscular, he willingly breaks fingers and even his arms to deliver equal blows in battle. Deku’s endless determination is both a blessing and a curse. He’s not Superman with naturally gifted powers, so he will suffer the consequences of using his Quirk too much.

2 Superhero Fame Will Have Inherent Flaws in MHA

Heroes Can Even Create Their Own Villains This Way

Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (10)

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MHA: Endeavor's Journey Opens a Discourse on Redemption and Cancel Culture

Endeavor's past mistake is enough to ruin his public image. Whether this is right or wrong, the incident speaks volumes about society's media culture.

My Hero Academia stands out with a superhero ranking system. Japan has their very own Hero Billboard Chart to evaluate professional heroes. Crusaders with capes and costumes are graded by their overall approval, sheer display of power, and special ability to solve major cases. However, popularity contests often breed unhealthy competition.

Endeavor is the worst case scenario of what happens when heroes cannot achieve their selfish goal of being number one. He was always behind All Might, so he callously breeds children with the hopes they will inherit a powerful Quirk. Endeavor destroys his entire family through harsh training and parental neglect. This results in his eldest son becoming the major villain Dabi, who swears vengeance on his father due to a lack of love and detrimental Quirk.

1 Heroes And Villains Aren't Just Good And Evil

The World is More Gray Than Just Black & White in My Hero Academia

''Heroes and villains'' are very strict binary concepts, but they are easy to understand. It’s how society refers to ''good and evil,'' or ''law and chaos'' in My Hero Academia. However, it’s a very oversimplified idea that results in marginalization. Those who don’t fit into the mold fall right through the cracks without any support or guidance to help them along the way. The disorderly League of Villains is entirely made up of disenfranchised people.

Himiko Toga is a tragic example, given that she was born with a transformation Quirk that only works if she consumes blood. Her fascination with the viscous liquid is seen as unnatural, and with the lack of understanding, she is forced into villainy. Likewise, someone like Endeavor is given the hero label, but right before his character development later in the series, his despicable behavior towards his family makes him a realistic villain.

Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (12)
My Hero Academia
Created by
Kohei Horikoshi

First Film
My Hero Academia: Two Heroes

Latest Film
My Hero Academia: World Heroes' Mission

First TV Show
My Hero Academia (2016)

First Episode Air Date
April 3, 2016

Cast
Daiki Yamash*ta , Justin Briner , Nobuhiko Okamoto , Clifford Chapin , Ayane Sakura , Yûki Kaji
Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes (2024)

FAQs

Ways My Hero Academia Redefined Super-Hero Tropes? ›

In many cases, the clichés are the very reason fans find themselves drawn to anime time and time again (and if it's not broken, why fix it). So, whether its clichéd moments and characters are good or bad, there are many times My Hero Academia came across as clichéd.

Is MHA a cliche? ›

In many cases, the clichés are the very reason fans find themselves drawn to anime time and time again (and if it's not broken, why fix it). So, whether its clichéd moments and characters are good or bad, there are many times My Hero Academia came across as clichéd.

Is My Hero Academia inspired by? ›

Horikoshi cites Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto as being the main influence for his art, specifically stating it gave him a love for drawing hands. Horikoshi has also cited Dragon Ball, Ultraman, and Kamen Rider as sources of inspiration.

Is mha lgbtq? ›

Does the whole Mineta debacle mean that My Hero Academia has no positive representation of LGBTQ characters? The answer is a resounding no, and queer fans have to look no further than the character of Tiger, who was, in truth, the first confirmed LGBTQ character in My Hero Academia.

Why is MHA controversial? ›

My Hero Academia doesn't properly express why Midoriya can suddenly share his Quirk, let alone why it's only a temporary upgrade for Bakugo instead of a permanent change. It's a decision that raises more questions than it's worth, and it's one of the larger problems in the earlier My Hero Academia movies.

Who was Bakugo inspired by? ›

Summary. Bakugo's character in My Hero Academia draws inspiration from Akira's Tetsuo, as both characters have a contentious relationship with the protagonist and share similar traits.

Does Bakugo actually like Deku? ›

Bakugo Hated Deku Because He Felt Deku Surpassed Him

Bakugo hated this feeling more than anything and wanted desperately to prove his strength to alleviate his fears, which explains why he was so merciless.

Who is Deku's dad? ›

From the very first episode of the anime, viewers learn Izuku's mother, Inko Midoriya, is raising him alone. His father, Hisashi Midoriya, is working abroad in the United States, and according to Inko, he has an unnamed Fire Breath Quirk. Not much else is known about the character beyond that.

Is there anything inappropriate in MHA? ›

There's a fair bit of animated violence, plus scenes that show children in peril, so it's a movie for anime fans, older children and teenagers, particularly those who can cope with fast-moving subtitles.

Who is the least popular in MHA? ›

Sadly, most of the least popular characters from My Hero Academia are students from Class 1-B who just don't get a chance to shine. This includes Togaru Kamakiri, who has one of the more interesting 1-B designs, resembling a praying mantis.

What makes MHA so popular? ›

Plus, it shows that there are many paths to success apart from being the number one hero. MHA also shows sides to the Hero Society that aren't often shown in other superhero shows. Everything from politics, press conferences, rebuilding, and vigilantism are addressed in this wonderful anime.

Who are the perverts in MHA? ›

Alongside Denki Kaminari as his partner-in-crime, Mineta is shown to be lecherous pervert when he is obsessed with women (including those his class) as he attempted to peep the girl's locker room or bathe. He even touched their breasts. According to Momo Yaoyorozu, Mineta is the worst pervert.

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