Quarantine Post #4 – My Hero Academia

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Since I am just now getting back into watching anime regularly after taking a long break from it… I spent a lot of time catching up on things people watched years ago… If you read my other blog about Bleach you have already seen that. So of course like all things I watch, I was behind when I started watching My Hero Academia. There was so much hype about it online… I dragged my feet because I normally can’t into things that everyone enjoys… So my hopes weren’t high for this and I am glad to be proven wrong. I am currently waiting for season 5 so I am currently on pins and needles. I figured I would tell you why I enjoyed this show so much. So much so that I am now buying the manga month to month and reading when the seasons are all over so I can get my fill. So here we go.

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The story follows Izuku Midoriya, a boy born without superpowers (called Quirks) in a world where they have become commonplace, but who still dreams of becoming a hero himself. 80% of the population have quirks of some kind that manifest by the age of 4. Midoriya is part of the minority. I enjoyed the show more and more because I realized early on that it highlighted a few questions that people have to answer in life at some point. The first point being what do we do when we learn the thing/ career path that we want to go down, we are not suited for? Do you find a new “passion” and just learn to walk a different path? Or would you try what’s been in your heart for a while no matter how much harder you know it is going to be? Midoriya is nearing the end of his middle school career and is needing to decide where he wants to go to high school. Choosing a high school sets those with quirks on a path to becoming a top hero. The top high school being UA, which turns out more top heroes than any other school.

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Midoriya is not cut out to be a hero but he strives to be one nonetheless. I felt bad for him early on as his middle school classmates do nothing but put him down. Trying to make themselves feel better than they are. (Insert eyeroll.) His want to become hero stems from his love of All Might. All Might is the Symbol of Peace,  a pillar of hope that people could always rely upon during harsh times. He was continuously voted the number one hero in Japan. Even at a young age, Midoriya was taken with All Might and wanted to be just like him. There was a bit of crying after coming home from the doctor who said he would never have a quirk. I guess his mom felt like he would grow out of his desire to be a hero but to her dismay he did not. I felt for his mom though… (Big Mystery on his dad though.) I get watching a person waste their life on a dream that is not going to happen or never would. She wanted to put on a brave face for her little boy and didn’t want to be yet another voice telling him he couldn’t do what he wanted.

Midoriya manages to cross paths with All Might. Their initial conversation is heartbreaking to watch. (It is why you shouldn’t meet your heroes. LOL.) When Midoriya asks if he is cut out to be a hero even though he doesn’t have a quirk, he is told no. (I mean, if we are really being honest it is true.)

“There is nothing wrong with having a dream but maybe you should be more realistic.”

He is told that he should look into becoming police or EMT especially since Midoriya talks candidly about wanting to help others. All Might told Midoriya there are other occupations that involve helping others and any one of those occupations is honorable in their own right. I mean it is so true… a lot of them being thankless jobs but I am sure not what a 14-year-old boy wanted to hear. While this may have hurt Midoriya, he was given a straight conversation. A look behind the curtain of Oz if you will. It is here that All Might is forced to reveal his injury. An injury that changes his appearance and effects his ability to do hero work. Essentially, this sparks the second issue that people have to contend with while coming of age. That being, you’re saying this is what you want to do with your life… but are you sure you really understand what it entails? Do you really understand what is expected of you when you go down this path? While All Might may be seen as being harsh, he is giving a frank talk about becoming a hero. It is not all fun and games (even for people who have quirks) and you are putting your life on the line everyday. It is not a joke. One of the things I appreciated about this conversation was All Mights demeanor. He is not attempting to stomp all over Midoriya’s dreams but try ing to get him to make a fully informed decision.

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In the end, Midoriya is a bit discouraged, he even tells himself that deep down he knew that with no quirk it would have been hard to be a hero. On some level, I felt bad for him because I remember when everyone (family members) giving their advice on what I should do with my life and no one seemed to care about what I enjoyed doing. Everyone had an opinion and seemed to know what was the best fit for me. Do you listen to older people who know you a bit better or go with your gut? I also remember thinking that I always knew that I may have to choose a different path. During a villain attack, it is Midoriya who steps in and springs into action regardless of not having a quirk. (My first thought was he better not get himself killed. My second thought is while everyone waiting on All Might someone is going to die. It really just seemed as though no one really knew what to do and was just waiting around on All Might.) I thought it was fitting that the person needing saving from the sludge monster was Bakugo…. a childhood “friend” of Midoriya but also one of his biggest tormentors. But hell Midoriya jumps in there nonetheless. It is this action that forces All Might to reconsider his thoughts on whether or not Midoriya is worthy of being a hero. All Might storms in and saves the day and of course, Midoriya gets a stern talking to for risking his life and not listening to the heroes on the scene.

All Might then catches up with Midoriya and lets him know he can also be a hero. We learn that All Might is able to pass his ability to another person. And it was Midoriya jumping into the foray to save someone (who doesn’t even like him) with no regard for his own wellbeing that sparked All Might into action. What blindsides Midoriya is the fact that All Might reveals that he was born quirkless as well. He was passed his power for All For One and he wants to do the same and help Midoriya achieve his goals. (Getting into the best Hero high school and becoming the number one hero.)

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But here is where the real work begins. Here is where we move from fantasy to reality. It is one thing to say you want to be a hero, it is one thing to say you want to help others… but when it comes to putting in the work, do your actions reflect what you’re saying? Midoriya undergoes extensive training in order to be ready for the entrance exam for UA. (I was thinking that he was going to automatically excel once he received the power.) Thank goodness he did not. Mostly because that would have just been super boring and not realistic at all. I know… I wrote ‘realistic’. It was interesting to see that Midoriya’s resolve didn’t falter. He manages to get beefed up by the morning of the exam… where All Might finally passes the power over to him. (Cutting it close indeed.)  He shows up still a bit anxious and overwhelmed because even though he may now have a quirk… old feelings die hard. He takes one look at the competition and feels ill-equipped. (Now in regards to others who have had use of their quirk from a young age. He is ill-equipped.) They take a written exam which Midoriya excels at given the number of notebooks he has filled on all things.

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The object of the practical part of the entrance exam is to destroy as many villainous robots as you can and rack up points doing so.  (I found it funny that more points were given to smaller robots and lesser point to the larger robots but I went with it. The largest, bone-crushing robot was work zero points. There is a reason behind that which we find out later.) Of course, Midoriya is out of his depth, and to me it felt as though he thought he was just going to perform well and mesh with his quirk and that is not all how it worked out. Poor guy. The test begins without a countdown. Present Mic (teacher) claimed this is because real battles don’t have countdowns. The participants rush into the battle arena and try to destroy as many robots as they can. While Midoriya frantically searches for just one point, other students rack up anywhere between twenty and forty-five points within the first few minutes.  He hesitated at the start and that was really all it took. The other participants take off and there is a sure difference in the others self-confidence and self-assurance versus that of our main character Midoriya. (Because of course, this is long-reaching… deep-seated. Believing those who had told him over the years what he could never do.)

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Now of all the teaching that occurs in the time frame of meeting All Might… I do not remember All Might revealing how to activate the power (All for One). Sent Midoriya into an exam where people have died in the past with little to no know-how. Poor Midoriya. I mean the guy could have given him cliff notes or something. (You’ll find that I have a soft spot for Midoriya as I understand him 1000% and see my younger self in him.) The other participants are destroying robots with their quirks left and right. Realization sets in for my boy super slowly, there will soon be nothing left for him and he will end this exam with a big fat zero.

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The 0 point robot makes its appearance and my goodness I was scared for my life. It was interesting to watch all of the applicants who were eager and raring to go at the beginning turn on their heals and run away. One thing that stands out in my mind is that Uraraka ends up being trapped under some rubble and NO ONE comes to help her. (What kind of future heroes are these?) It really signified to me that they all had a narrow view of what being a hero means and that a program such as this was necessary. It is revealed that the robot gives the judges a chance to view how students react to the desperate situation created by the giant robot. It presents an opportunity for some students to truly shine. Midoriya shows his true heroic side when stepping in to save Uraraka and BEING THE ONLY ONE TO DO SO. He doesn’t hesitate to rush to her aid and uses his quirk to destroy the giant in a single blow even though was running out of time and had no points.

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This causes Midoriya to break an arm and two legs and is essentially falling to earth with no way to save himself. Uraraka returns the favor by saving Midoriya from a life-threatening fall, granting her forty-five rescue points. Time runs out. Midoriya has zero points and is left to be treated by recovery girl. He goes home to sulk believing that he didn’t make it. His poor mom (probably torn between relief and heartbreak) had no clue how to help him through his hurt. But thank goodness that the letter from UA comes. He is shown that his actions were heroic. He is told he earned 60 rescue points and that he has been admitted to UA. (Now… This is a big deal because it lends to the fact that people really don’t get what it takes to be a hero. Rescue is a big deal. Not just beating up the bad guys.) They give you a breakdown of how Midoriya ranked. He fell within the top 10. (They also show a clip of Uraraka pleading the school officials to let him have some of her points so that he can get into UA, as he is the only one who came to her rescue. SUPER CUTE. I mean who would have done some shit like that for him in the past.)

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Now… I could go on about Midoriya’s time at UA… where he makes actual friends (which he has a hard time dealing with since he is so used to being picked on.) Where he broadens his horizon about being a hero. I will say I enjoy watching him being at school with people and heroes where he seems to be coming more and more into his own. He challenged Bakugo (his biggest tormentor. I will say I am still slowly warming up to him… but his treatment of Midoriya made me not like him for a long time.) and managed to beat him. In another scene, he is paired with Bakugo (who is difficult as hell) to take on All Might as an exam… That was interesting and fun to watch. (Ever watch a person get slapped with another person?)

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But I will skip forward to the end of season one… where the villains break into the school and ruin a field exercise they are supposed to be doing.

This had to be my favorite part of the season and solidified the hook for me. There was a lot of misjudging on the part of the villains. (My thought was ‘who signs up to break into a school over overpowered children without knowing what they are getting into?) As is mostly the case with MHA, the students generally have an advantage in that they have been working together and know each other’s quirks, meaning they know who works best together and can formulate plans based on that knowledge. The villains use their powers to scatter and ambush the students in order to attract All Might for a trap. What’s great about this is Eraserhead (Midoriya’s homeroom teacher) who is portrayed to be too laid back gets to work whooping ass. Midoriya is initially worried that there is only so much that his teacher can do with his quirk (which is the ability to temporarily erase other people’s powers simply by looking at them. However, this only works as long as Aizawa’s eyes are open and aimed at the opponent. Meaning that once he blinks, the effects are over.) to which Eraserhead states that has more than one ability. Eraserhead fiercely takes down criminals one after another while the League of Villains leader, Shigaraki, observes from a distance. Shigaraki decides to enter the battle once Eraserhead has knocked out all the other criminals. Shigaraki runs into join the fighting while counting out loud the decreasing maximum time between erasures. He lets himself be pulled in close so he can attack. Shota closes the distance and strikes Tomura’s stomach with a hard elbow.

Shigaraki blocks Eraserhead’s elbow by catching it in his hand. He taunts the hero and reveals that Shota’s hair gives away when he is using his quirk. Shigaraki uses his own quirk (Decay: allows Shigaraki to destroy anything his hands or feet touch, making it crumble to dust.) to destroy Shota’s elbow and inflict heavy damage to his arm.

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Eraserhead backs off after punching Shigaraki with his free arm, dodging the attacks of a pair of nameless villains as he does so. Nomu suddenly appears from behind him. Nomu slashes Eraserhead with such a heavy blow that it draws blood and breaks Eraserhead’s signature goggles. Nomu pins Shota to the ground and breaks his arm with incredible ease.

Because of being scattered, Midoriya ends up stranded and surrounded on a boat along with his classmates Asui and Mineta, Eraserhead tries to erase Nomu’s quirk but it is doesn’t because Nomu’s base strength is so enhanced. As Midoriya, Asui, and Mineta watch from the water, Nomu pounds Eraserhead’s bloodied face into the ground. Midoriya is looking to help but he can’t figure out how. However, after learning more about their powers, he comes up with a plan to turn the tides.

Shigaraki’s minions arrive to let him know that a classmate of Midoriya’s (Iida) escaped and is on the way to notify the Pro heroes at the school and that they should consider retreating before the heroes show up. Before they leave, however, Shigaraki decides they will scar the Symbol of Peace’s pride by killing some of his students. Shigaraki confronts the observing students and attempts to kill Asui by grabbing her face. Eraserhead intervenes at the last moment by looking at Shigaraki to nullify his quirk. As Eraserhead is slammed back into the ground by Nomu, Midoriya quickly leaps out of the water and punches Tomura with the force of a full-powered attack. This was when Eraserhead became my favorite pro hero. He may have seemed harsh, to begin with (It is a theme with this show not to sugarcoat things.) but he cared about his students and went in to protect them without a thought about it.

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The rest of the classmates are holding their own against the villains. I mean did these villains think they were going to storm into a school where they have no clue what powers the kids have. Seems like a dumb move. But I enjoyed watching Todoroki freeze people and how Tokoyami lets his inner beast rage on. But you know that All Might shows up and the kids flank him, attempting to give him support. All Might manages to save Eraserhead and tells the kids to take him to safety. Things are pushed to the limit for All Might. It is a race against time as All Might faces off against the Nomu and he is barely holding his own. Midoriya, Bakugo and Todoroki hand their teacher over to Asui and Mineta before heading back to help All Might. I have to say, it was epic watching them all work together. In the end, the reinforcements show up and recovery girl works among the injured.

What stood out to me is about this event was the realization the students had that the villains had no qualms about killing one or all of them… another lesson about being a hero. (Midoriya may have gotten a glimpse of this early on when talking to All Might… especially about his injury.) The other students seemed to have it visibly click for them on screen. I am not just here for fun and games. This is a dangerous business. People get hurt. I was super impressed by how the students worked together… figured out how their quirks worked together and meshed well. I enjoy this show because it is an interesting take on what it means to grow up thinking that you know what you want to do with your life, how people deal with it if and when they are not equipped for that career path and getting into the field and finding out it is way more than you think it is. Midoriya and the show as a whole get a lot of hate… they claim he’s too emotional or he shouldn’t be the main character because he isn’t dynamic enough in comparisons to others in the class…. what is funny about that is…. 1. it is what everyone at some point has to deal with… 2. Of course, he isn’t dynamic enough… that is the whole story. Him coming into his own. Learning about a quirk that was handed to him hours before the entrance exam vs people who have had theirs since the age of 4 years. 3. He’s emotional as anyone would be (people like to pretend they wouldn’t be… not sure if this is a curse of my generation where everyone has to be hard or what?) if the tide of your life turned abruptly. Going from being told that you’ll never be what you want to be and to get another dream… but then actively pursuing your goals. Not having real friends in school… everyone looking down at you, laughing at you or taking pity on you to going to a school where people respect your hard work and dedication, where there is no bullying and you don’t have to have your guard up all the time.  I mean it makes sense to me but then again I see a lot of myself in Midoriya.

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Anyways that is all for now. I have word vomited to you all about my fave parts of this show, how it hooked me and how it sheds light on some serious issues that some take for granted. It is a pretty fun show to watch if you are into battle shonen. Two movies were made that were awesome.

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