If you have paid attention to popular culture since 2008, you would notice that our society has been filled with super hero media. There are going to be six hero movies this year with 3 MCU films, 1 fox movie, and 2 DCEU movies. This is not to mention all of the tv shows and video games. That’s just pop culture in the United States/West/Thing. There are also plenty of super hero things in other cultures too like My Hero Academia, One Punch Man, and The Reflection, a Marvel and Studio Deen product. Yes, there have been plenty of hero media in the past, because why wouldn’t there be, but it’s never been as big time as it is now. From these examples that I’ve seen recently, the biggest thing that stands out are the reasons why somebody wants to be a hero in the first place. While many of these discussions have been made from a movie like the Avengers where heroes with these big egos clash over why they are doing what they are doing. As you can tell, this isn’t a purely anime post. A hero’s relationship with the public is how people I define a hero’s motivations. Why? It completely reveals their intentions for why they are doing what they are doing.
Purely for the Public Good
To me, this is the purest and kindest form of a hero. Whether it’s from a character wanting to save people because they have had something bad happen to them that they don’t want other people to face or just because they want to, the motivation here is pure. Like ALL Might has said “It is the job of the hero to meddle in the affairs of others.”
1) All Might – My Hero Academia
In My Hero Academia, All Might is the number one hero a lot of good reasons. Despite having a wound that is slowly lowering the amount of time he can appear in his powered form, he can’t help it. On his way to work at the U.A., he goes out of his way to save people who are in trouble even if he can’t be in full hero form as long later. There is a reason why people like Midoriya would idolize him so much, because he practices what he preaches.
2) Mumen Rider – One Punch Man
Mumen Rider is in the same vein as All Might, except he doesn’t have any powers. He’s a normal human. That doesn’t stop him from jumping into the fray even if the problem is too big for him. How can you not like this guy?
3) Wonder Woman – Wonder Woman 
Once again, Wonder Woman is in the same vein as these two as well. At the beginning of the movie, she went out to help humanity by stopping the god of war. She literally lived in a bubble that was away from human society, but she jumped at the chance to be a hero when the opportunity presented itself. Later, as she discovered that the human world is more complex, her reasons about wanting to help humanity became more complex as well. She is such a great character.
Hero’s problems and people are equally important
To me, this is the more realistic kind of hero. A character who cares about the population they are protecting, but also has some issues they want to solve to. Yes, they want to help everyone they can, but they also might be the reason why the public is having issues or maybe they are distracted from worrying about them for some reason. Either way, not everyone can be Captain America.
1) Goku – Dragon Ball Franchise
Some of you may be surprised by this, but hear me out. What has Goku’s soul motivation been? To get stronger? Why? Partially to protect people, but to me it’s more about him coming face to face with a stronger enemy. It seems like he gets off on it. Starting from when he becomes a super Saiyan, he waits for enemies to get as strong as they can get before he fights them. If he was a pure guile hero, he would destroy enemies as soon as he can. At the same time, he does care about saving people. How many times has he helped people return to life with the dragon balls or many other noble deeds?
2) Iron Man – Marvel Cinematic Universe
The Iron Man films that are more motivated by Tony Stark trying to solve his own problems instead of purely for his own good. It’s either he did something in his past that will cause trouble to him later or he does something in recent times that will cause trouble to him and the world. It’s hard being a brilliant billionaire that invented technology everybody wants and being cocky about it. It gets even worse when he is doing things for the public good like creating an A.I. that is protect mankind instead of the using the Avengers in Age of Ultron, even if that was purely for the public good. You could possibly get the idea that Sokovia Accords in Civil War are his fault as well. Either way, Tony Stark is an egotistical screw up that does care about his public, but causes a lot of trouble by being a egotistical screw up.
Who are the public again?
These are people whose motivation to be a hero makes no sense to us normal humans or they end up being a hero despite not being one. This happens plenty of times, you would be surprised.
1) Bakugou – My Hero Academia
Why does this guy want to be a hero again? It has nothing to do with saving the public. He’s an angry person who wants to have a super hero like “Lord Explosion Murder”. He should be a villain and yet here he is wanting to be the number one hero. Does that make sense to any of you? I’m not sure if that makes him complex character, just a confusing one. Still, it makes the whole experience an interesting watch.
2) Vegeta – Dragon Ball Franchise
This the younger Vegeta, the Namek and Cell/Android Saga Vegeta. The one whose main purpose was to fight Goku and didn’t care about his family if he had one. He only fought alongside the Z warriors because the current threat he was facing was too much for him to handle alone and was a distraction to getting his vengeance. He was a person sent around to subjugate planets for an over lord, he doesn’t care about anyone except himself. Maybe he was playing the role of the antihero, but he never veered course off of fighting the main villain or attacking Goku when it was least convenient for him (unless you count that Buu thing, which was a part of the villain’s plot anyway).
Of course, this all changes when he gets older and starts carrying for his family.
This is first of three hero posts I plan on writing this week. The next one will be my Anime Justice League with the last one being a first impressions of The Reflection. Thank you for reading. Who is your favorite in anime/manga/comics/movies/etc?