Dueling Shonens: How MHA and AOT are the same/different

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This is one of my favorite types posts to write. Making comparisons to shows that people otherwise wouldn’t realize is always fun. Especially when it come to My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan, because these two shows are more similar then one would realize. And yes, it is more than they are just shonen shows or they air on Saturday for us living in the western hemisphere/American continents. Just like the last post on Gundam stuff, this isn’t any sort of critique on either show’s quality. This is just an analysis on how each show can be considered similar. A more formal “review” type post will appear for each when their second season ends. With further to do, let’s move onto the comparisons.

How they are the same:

-The protagonists start out as normal human beings:

Starting out, Izuku Midoriya is the only person in his middle school class that doesn’t have a quirk. Eren Yeager on Attack on Titan is also started out a normal human being before his titan transformation.

-They gain an ability early on in the series:

Izuku gained ONE FOR ALL from his childhood hero All Might. Eren Yeager gained his titan ability through some convoluted scheme involving his dad, a basement, and a titan eating him.

-Normal Humans are in the minority:

While there is a different context here, it still is a truth. In My Hero Academia, 80% of humanity now possesses quirks. In Attack on Titan, the humans built a wall to save themselves from the titans that vastly outnumber them.

-Different Job Types:

In My Hero Academia, there are multiple types of heroes. There aren’t just front line heroes like All Might, but heroes dedicated to safety and rescue, and probably some others that haven’t been named yet. The armed forces in Attack have three different choices for where recruits can go: Military Police, Survey Corps (scouts), or protecting the wall.

-Ranking System:

This seems to be Japanese thing in general, so it’s going to be here anyway, but yeah. Still important. The student heroes in My Hero Academia took an exam to get placed in either the hero course or other things at the U.A. In Attack on Titan, the trainees worked hard to get placed in the top ten of the class. These people were able to choose to be in the military police option.

How they are different:

-World Differences:

The difference between the two is always going to be context. For example, humans are not on the verge of dying out in My Hero Academia, while the people in Attack on Titan lived crammed together behind walls because those giant naked people want to kill each other. The humans in my Hero Academia are evolving, which means they gain special abilities. Context means a lot.

-Wanting these powers:

Deku in My Hero Academia wanted powers like All Might for his entire life, yet never received them until he met All Might himself. After showing All Might that he has the iron fortitude and will to be a hero, All Might accepted Deku as his student. After training, Deku finally got the power One For All.

-Eren never wanted to be a Titan. All it has done for him is cause him trouble again and again. He was put on trial for being a traitor and has been used by the military in unusual ways ever since he got his powers. If he wanted them, why would he say “I got my first kill” in his maneuver gear after he killed a lot of the titans in his titan form.

-Influences:

My Hero Academia is as shonen of a series as they come and that’s because the creator was influenced by series like Naruto (and American super hero material, but that’s not the point here). While My Hero Academia is not a happy go lucky series, despite the spirit behind it, it’s full of optimism. Attack on Titan isn’t.

I feel like Attack on Titan is more influenced by Neon Genesis Evangelion. The titan going berserk, the sitting of the last of humanity, Eren as a more focused Shinji clone, and a mystery plot that we don’t know the details of. To me, that shouts more Eva than anything else. I mean, the breaking down of the gate in the beginning of the series could be called “the second impact”.

-Time Periods:

This one is easy to explain. My Hero Academia takes place around the time period we live in, while Attack on Titan is more medieval steam punk

This was probably a lame exploration of these two shows, but I wanted to show you guys that details matter. Context is the huge separating line between My Hero Academia, besides their character designs and color palettes. Those two things are very superficial and surface level things. Both of these shows air on Saturday mornings and have been amazing. If you haven’t watched these two shows you, which I would be shocked if nobody has, please do. I highly recommend both of them.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Karandi says:

    It is interesting how the basic plot when boiled down to basic components is much the same between the two. There are certainly cosmetic and tonal differences in delivery which would be why some people prefer one over the other, but they are both basically standard shonen stories. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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