This anime has a lot of great things attached to it. Great action scenes, a great soundtrack, great characters, and a lot of other elements. Basically, almost everything except an original story. My Hero Academia is far from original. It’s a story that has been told again and again, but then it’s not about originality. It’s about execution and My Hero Academia hits that up in spades. Almost everywhere I look online, I see people saying the same things. It’s a fresh take on a genre that has been done to death, because it makes shonen anime feel new again. Wrong or right, My Hero Academia feels new because it feels emotionally refreshing. Every character carries an emotional weight with them that emotionally potent to its audience. Why? Because every single character is enduring in some way, despite what we see on the outside initially.
This series’ emotional resonance starts with our main protagonist, Izuku Midoriya. The kid who proves to be much more than your average run of the mill shonen protagonist. Unlike all of those Izuku was not born with any given kind of ability or quirk. That doesn’t stop him from wanting to be a hero though. Before he ever gained an ability through All Might, he still had that strong will. He just put his energy elsewhere. Izuku analyzed every hero’s abilities that he came across and listed their advantages and disadvantages. Even when he did gain “All for one” from All Might, Izuku still uses his mind as much as he uses his new found strength. A great combination for a fantastic super hero to be, even if his ability is currently too much for his body. He questions why All Might chose him every day and is thankful for everything that he has every accomplished, so he is a wonderfully emotional main character that audiences can get behind.
Surprisingly, the next character that has this is the person that Midoriya has been in conflict with for a long time. Bakugou. By looking at his exterior and the way he acts, Bakugou can easily be written off as a jerk. That’s fair. For the most part, he is one. But there have been subtle changes in his personality, mostly noticed by Midoriya, that prove that there is something else that is going on with him. He ruled the school when it came to being in Junior High, but joining the hero academy has put him off balance more times than he would like. First, the guy that he bullied all the time suddenly has an ability, and then he gets constantly challenged by people who have strong abilities as well. Suddenly, Bakugou’s mind shifts from cruise control to a place where he has to work his hardest to maintain the number one hero status in his own mind. Instead of always going for brute force, he analyzes how to defeat people almost as well as Izuku and gets disappointed when other people aren’t trying as hard as him. That’s Bakugou in a nutshell. A jerk, but a relatable jerk.
Now we have the heart and soul of My Hero Academia, All Might. The public perspective of All Might is that he is the strongest and best hero that exists right now. Once again, we know more about All Might through Izuku’s perspective. We see that he can’t maintain his strength as long as he used to because he has a wound. We see that when he’s not a hero, he’s a quirky guy that could be mistaken for anyone, or even if he be a hero as long as he wants to be, he wants to save people anyway, and maybe how he is actually scared when performing hero duties and he smiles to keep himself going. Izuku’s perspective humanizes a figure that is as powerful as superman from the pubic perspective. All Might is not just the heart and soul of My Hero Academia, he is My Hero Academia. Such a great character. My favorite character in this show.
Do you know what? I can keep going. Every single character is like this. Uraraka wants to be a hero to help her parents. Lida is the younger son in his family and wants to live up to his families expectations. Then there is someone like Todoroki who deserves an entire blog post to himself, because he has some complicated family issues. Then there are the many side characters that aren’t fully realized yet. Izuku Midoriya isn’t just the main character we use to put some wish fulfillment on, he is an endearing character that has a perspective which makes other characters enduring. He is the reason why My Hero Academia is as strong as it is, because this show would not work with another main character. Izuku is essential. Why? Because he provides the solid emotional resonance that makes this show and genre feel refreshing and new.