The true mean­ing of ev­ery­day hero­ics

FHM (Philippines) - - Contents -

Both Marvel and DC have had a slew of su­per­hero movies in the last decade, so is there room for more? Yes. Es­pe­cially if it com­bines en­ter­tain­ing Ja­panese school life with Western-in­flu­enced su­per­hero ac­tion like in My Hero Academia.

The anime is set in a world where a ma­jor­ity of hu­mans pos­sess spe­cial abil­i­ties called Quirks. Izuku Mi­doriyama, or Deku for short, is one of the Quirk­less few—but that doesn’t stop him from chas­ing his dream of be­com­ing a full-fledged hero. He even­tu­ally in­her­its a Quirk from an­other hero and at­tends U.A. High School where he hopes to prove him­self a wor­thy re­cip­i­ent of his new­found power.

The char­ac­ters in MHA deal with their abil­i­ties in dif­fer­ent ways, en­com­pass­ing the whole spec­trum of moral align­ments in the su­per­hero uni­verse. You’ve got the Mark Mil­larand Alan Moore-type of anti-hero in En­deavor; the Golden Age bea­con of light in All Might; and more. Not ev­ery­one has flashy pow­ers like el­e­men­tal at­tacks or su­per strength; most of the time, the char­ac­ters have to make do with their mun­dane abil­i­ties such as hav­ing frog-like skills, or hav­ing ear­phone plugs as ear­lobes. But with enough re­source­ful­ness, the peo­ple are able to use their Quirks in in­ge­nious ways. While the sim­i­larly themed One

Punch Man is an af­fec­tion­ate par­ody of the su­per­hero genre, MHA is more of a love letter to the Western su­per­hero comic book. MHA is a very self-aware se­ries—su­per­heroics is con­sid­ered just an­other pay­ing job in its uni­verse, with pro­fes­sional agen­cies draft­ing the best stu­dents from the academy, and much at­ten­tion is put in choos­ing the right costume, hero name, and how they’re per­ceived in the me­dia.

Deku is the nerdy hero archetype much like Spi­der-man (cre­ator Ko­hei Horikoshi’s fa­vorite su­per­hero), re­flect­ing the earnest and op­ti­mistic view of su­per­hero­ism that’s sorely lack­ing when darker and edgier sto­ry­lines are the norm. Just like the typ­i­cal shounen hero, Deku works hard, val­ues team­work, and cares for oth­ers. His idol, All Might, looks like he just walked out of an Amer­i­can comic book and the con­trast is jar­ring. He’s drawn in the dis­tinctly buffed up Western style, has flashy moves, and spouts mo­ti­va­tional phrases. Both char­ac­ters don’t just show off their prow­ess but in­spire oth­ers to do good deeds and make cit­i­zens feel safe just by their pres­ence alone.

MHA makes good on the whole “with great power comes great re­spon­si­bil­ity” adage. The anime shows us what true de­ter­mi­na­tion means as they get thor­oughly beaten up but keep mov­ing for­ward in fight­ing their op­po­nent. It’s not al­ways a solid vic­tory for the pro­tag­o­nist (just like real life).

More than the over-the-top bat­tle se­quences in the anime, it strikes to the core of what it means to be a true su­per­hero. It’s about over­com­ing ob­sta­cles, no mat­ter how dire and hope­less the sit­u­a­tion. And if you don’t get im­me­di­ately in­spired by All Might’s boom­ing voice and mo­ti­va­tional speeches to sud­denly save a cat from a tree, we don’t know what will.

Plus ul­tra!

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