My Hero Academia’s logo
Are we prisoners to our lineage? Does our past define our future? How far beyond must we go in order to inspire those around us?
We all have heroes, people that we aspire to be. Oftentimes we find ourselves modeling our decisions after the decisions that they have made; we tell ourselves that if we follow in their footsteps, we too can become great like them. My Hero Academia grips this form of inspiration and holds it at the very core of the show.
My Hero Academia begins with a concept that puts it in contrast with a number of Western superhero shows — 80 percent of the world is super, or have quirks, as the show calls them. Nearly everyone is capable of doing something completely out of the ordinary. The very premise of MHA challenges Syndrome’s iconic quote from The Incredibles, “If everyone is super, no one is,” because even in this world of incredible people, there are still a number of individuals who stand far and away above the rest. Due to the fact that superpowers are the norm, society has had to adjust its laws. Police officers still maintain the law, but heroes must attend school and attain licenses to assist the officers in their duty. This regulation of hero status has lead to a ranking system, in which the heroes who stand out above the rest are recognized. These heroes then build brands and sign on amateur heroes and sidekicks in order to get help with their difficult jobs.
Allmight is the #1 hero in the world; he boasts incredible power, he’s seemingly invincible, and he fights with ease, making his opponents look like punching bags. He is the World’s Symbol of Peace and Justice — by virtue of his existence, crime is at an all time low. He inspires the heroes around him and betters society by being an upstanding individual. Imagine him as Superman, except actually interesting.
My Hero Academia, however, is not the story of Allmight. It is the story of a member of the 20% of people who do not possess quirks. The protagonist is Izuku Midoriya, a boy small in stature who has looked up to the #1 hero his entire life. Everything he knows changes when he finally gets the opportunity to meet the World’s Symbol of Peace and Justice.
The story of My Hero Academia begins with this fairly simple yet unique concept and proceeds to tell one of the most heartwarming and inspirational stories I have ever had the pleasure of watching. Izuku Midoriya is a clever and likable protagonist who has about as much heart as he has brains; his passion for justice is immense, and he proves throughout the duration of the show that he is willing to push himself beyond his limits to save those who are incapable of saving themselves.
The dichotomy between Midoriya’s relative weakness and his desire to push himself creates a character that the audience cannot help rooting for. When he fails, audience members feel a sense of dread in the pits of their stomachs, and when he finally defeats a rival in an epic showdown, cheers of victory from both the wonderful cast of characters and the viewers of My Hero Academia can be heard. The show has brought me to tears on many occasions, most notably during fights, but the show is so compact and concise that even listing out names of fights can result in massive spoilers; for the sake of maintaining the integrity of the plot, just know that getting to episode 12 of season one will convince you that My Hero Academia is more than just another shounen anime.
It is impossible to boil down everything I love about this show into one review because so many of its beautiful aspects are hidden behind a massive wall of spoilers. With that being said, My Hero Academia is one of the best investments of time I have ever made, and could not recommend it more. The show has touches of Avatar: the Last Airbender, Spiderman and Dragon Ball Z all woven into a fairly dense two, going on three, seasons. Watch it dubbed if you like Dragon Ball Z’s dub, or Full Metal Alchemist, because Chris Sabbat voices Allmight. Watch it subbed if you are particular about subs; I have seen every episode in both formats and both casts do a hell of a job.