My Hero Academia Proves to be “Plus Ultra”

The ever-so-popular Japanese animation“My Hero Academia” continues to capture the hearts of fans around the world with its stunning creativity and lovable characters.

October 31, 2019


Photo Courtesy of Kōhei Horikoshi

The bold colors of the “My Hero Academia” logo parallels the boldness of the show’s students who train vigorously to become notable pro-heroes.

The concept of superpowers and superheroes — it has been overdone for years. 


But have you heard of a superpower of shooting tape from your elbows? How about half of your body producing ice and the other fire? Or how about having the abilities of a frog? 


In the futuristic superhero world of “Boku No Hero Academia,” or “My Hero Academia” in English, the possibilities are endless.  


“My Hero Academia” is a Japanese-animated series that follows a young green-haired boy named Izuku Midoriya. Although 80 percent of the world has a quirk–a special ability–Izuku was born quirkless. His lack of a superpower crushes his dreams of becoming a pro-hero like All-Might, his idol and the show’s number one hero. 


But, after saving his childhood friend-turned-bully, Katsuki Bakugo, from a slime monster, Izuku has a fateful encounter with All-Might. Inspired by Izuku’s selfless heroism, All-Might passes his secret quirk onto the young middle schooler so that he may become the next number one hero. 


Izuku goes on to enroll into the prestigious U.A. High School–from the Japanese word for hero, eiyuu, backwards–to achieve that dream, meeting many friends and encountering a multitude of crises and situations he must tackle. 


The journey that he ventures into makes this anime incredibly unique and absolutely splendid. 


It is no wonder that the anime has reached extremely high levels of popularity throughout the globe, especially in America. Crunchyroll, one of the largest anime platforms, announced “My Hero Academia” to be the most watched show of 2018, and the fourth season just released in October 2019, exciting many fans. 


One aspect of shows that typically leave a significant impact on me are the characters. It can be a “make-or-break” situation for me–I can either really like or disregard a show depending on the characters. 


“My Hero Academia” does not disappoint. The characters are so, so unique. It is notable how all the characters have such different personalities.


Katsuki Bakugo: the angry, yelling guy with the explosion quirk. Tenya Iida: the rule-keeping class president with engines in his calves that give him super speed. Tsuyu Asui: the straightforward girl with the abilities of a frog. Shoto Todoroki: the aloof, quiet prodigy who can produce ice on the entire right side of his body and fire on his left. Hanta Sero: the friendly guy who can shoot cellophane tape from his elbows and use it like Spider-Man. 


All the characters have very distinct personas, and they all undergo massive development. There is more to them than just their basic character traits or quirks. They make mistakes, succumb to their anger and learn from their failures. 


Their transformations can be seen in so many characters as they develop in each story arc. For example, Tenya succumbs to his anger after the hero-killer, Stain, attacks Ingenium, his pro-hero brother, nearly to death. Blinded by his anger, Tenya hunts Stain down but is stabbed by the villain and ends up endangering Izuku and Shoto as well. He later learns to not act out in rashness and let his emotions overcome his logic.


We also learn that Katsuki is not as prideful and conceited as we may think he is. He might insult others and yell often, but, it turns out, there is an emotional ball of insecurities and guilt boiling inside of him. Each character is carefully crafted and developed into a deeper human being. 


But it is not just the students who fascinate me. I am also very fascinated by how structured the world is: the professional heroes perform heroic actions and defeat villains as a living. There are so many diverse pro-heroes everywhere. Even the teachers at U.A. High School are all pro-heroes themselves. Eraserhead, the homeroom teacher of Class 1-A (the main class), intrigues me. Depending on how long he is able to keep his eyes open, he is able to temporarily erase any quirk by looking at the quirk-holder.


But it is not even just the pro-heroes who fascinate me. One aspect that really impresses me is the creativity of all the different kinds of quirks. 


These are not your typical superhero abilities. They are distinctive, and each quirk even has a catch to it, so no one is overpowered. And even if a quirk is somewhat basic, it still has a uniqueness to it. 


Izuku has “One-For-All,” a quirk that powers up his strength. That sounds basic, right? Super-strength–the typical superpower. But no: his bones break when he uses the power. It took him so long to be able to use his quirk without breaking his bones every time. But even so, his bones do still break if he uses a high percentage of power, making it a very risky but powerful quirk.


Momo Yaoyorozu has the quirk “Creation.” She can create any non-living object through the molecular manipulation of her fat cells and produce it out of her body–as long as she knows the chemical composition of the object. I find this incredibly creative. At first glance, the power to create any non-living item sounds massively powerful. But then we realize that there are so many catches to it, and it would require someone so intelligent like Momo to use it effectively.


The ability to have a dark monster companion, to harden your body to the power of steel, to have earphone jacks come out of your earlobes, to throw sticky purple balls that grow on your head, to gain super-strength after eating sugar and to be invisible throughout the entire show. The creativity is truly never-ending.


It does not even end at just Class 1-A. There are other classes, thousands of other students at U.A. High School, thousands more at other high schools, thousands of pro-heroes and so many other characters with interesting quirks and personalities. 


The villains are also so intriguing, and they also have their own unique quirks. I find that I do not even dislike the villains; I quite like them. While most stories have villains who are just plain evil for no reason, “My Hero Academia” is different. The show truly questions morality and compares the evil actions of the villains and the evil responses from the pro-heroes to eliminate the villains. Two villains even save Izuku because they believe that he is a real hero. Many recognize All-Might as a true hero and despise people who they believe to be “fake heroes,” who are only there for the money and fame. 


It is simply so intriguing. The characters never fail to amaze me.  


In terms of the storyline, the anime follows the plot of the original manga that the show is based on and is split into different story arcs. The plot is incredibly engaging and leaves me on the edge of my seat. 


The fighting and action scenes are amazingly emotional and real. It leaves me in fear of the safety of the heroes and students. And when the good guys do win, I scream for their hard-earned victory and sigh out of relief when they are safe. And when new villains are introduced to oppose the initial villains,  I scream for the safety of the villains I have become more familiar with. It’s a constant cycle.


Particularly, when Class 1-A was attacked while at a rescue training session, the dramatic moment of the villain Tomura Shigaraki lunging at Tsuyu with his disintegration quirk left me stunned. She was a second from dying on the spot. Eraserhead is also on the verge of death after a fight with a monster causes him to overuse his quirk, break many of his bones and bleed everywhere–yet he does not stop. He manages to raise his head, cancel Tomura’s quirk and save Tsuyu. This is just one example of the many breath-stopping moments. 


In terms of production, the animation is visually pleasing and smoothly executed. The colors are vivid and bright, and the animation during dramatic moments is loud and pronounced, which adds on to the action and emotional roller-coaster during fight scenes. 


In addition, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the voice actors fit the characters, truly bringing them and their emotions to life. 


Daiki Yamashita, the voice actor for Izuku, does an incredible job of displaying the character’s emotions. For example, Izuku’s desperate scream after Katsuki is kidnapped by the League of Villains made me feel Izuku’s despair after failing to save a fellow classmate. It was so raw and full of emotion. 


The insanely high-quality, original soundtracks and sound effects add so much emotion to every scene. Peppy and funky tunes are played during light-hearted scenes while dramatic and heightening tunes are played during emotionally-thrilling and tense situations. The anime also has multiple opening sequences with catchy and electrifying music and fun ending sequences. 


Overall, “My Hero Academia” has most definitely impressed me. Through its fun and lovable characters, creativity, splendid animation, high-quality voice acting and emotionally stirring soundtracks, the show has earned my deep respect and desire to recommend this wonderful anime to all Beckman students and anyone who is interested in an exciting and emotional rollercoaster. 


I firmly give the show five stars out of five. And like All-Might would say to that positive review, “Plus Ultra!”


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