10 Harsh Realities Of Rereading My Hero Academia | Pretty Reel

My Hero Academia was once the biggest shounen of the modern generation, but in recent years, series such as Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer have established themselves as the next big things. Still, My Hero Academia remains a solid seller in its own right and maintains a dedicated fanbase.

It must be said, however, that My Hero Academia has not aged well on re-reading with trained eyes. A lot of flaws are starting to show up. For some former fans, these harsh realities caused them to stop reading the series altogether.

Deku is a bit bland

It’s not like Deku was the first bland shounen protagonist. Far from it, he’s just another in a long line of main white bread characters in manga. Unfortunately, Deku has a particularly bad case of it. He’s basically as basic as a determined shounen protagonist as a character can get, and there are plenty of problems with that. First, it brings out his blandness when faced with such strong personalities as his mentor All Might or rivals like Bakugo and Todoroki.

There’s so much more going on with the three of them in terms of backstory and personality. Meanwhile, Deku has no real internal struggles or flaws. His family is supportive, his friends are great, and his mentor is there. These aren’t bad things per se, but Deku himself isn’t interesting enough to carry a story on his own. His “flaw” is that he’s too dedicated to being a hero, which isn’t a fault at all.

One for all Ex Machina

Another aspect that makes Deku so frustrating is that his powers literally change at the whim of the plot. Literally new powers suddenly exist if it means Deku can win an encounter. The reveal that One For All actually imparts powers makes a lot of encounters in the series have a lot less tension as a result. Deku’s intelligence is barely a factor thanks to this.

Without warning, a new One for All power will suddenly make itself known. It’s a plot device that’s also very unreliable. There’s also the fact that it’s just a rather boring power at first too. It’s just super strength and super speed, which makes a lot of fights for Deku much more similar than other more interesting quirks like Bakugo’s or Todoroki’s.

Bakugo has nothing to do with being a public hero

Bakugou is by far the most polarizing character in My Hero Academia. His toxic and abrasive personality makes him such a controversial character for both readers and in-universe characters. While there are many avenues to explore with Bakugo’s character, one thing that boggles the mind is his presence as a public hero.

Obviously, there are heroes who aren’t public, like Aizawa, who are nonetheless effective at their jobs. Public heroes exist to appease citizens. Bakugo is literally the opposite, making children cry in incredibly tense situations. There’s simply no reason for Bakugo to be a public hero when he can barely keep his friendships with Class 1-A afloat.

The stain has no real points to make

Stain is one of the first major villains Deku faces, and there was a lot of potential for his character. A man so cynical that he started killing heroes because he believed they “oppressed the people”. However, on rereading, this is not true. All of the heroes featured on the show were unequivocally good guys. There is not a single example of heroes abusing their power over innocent people.

You could say Stain is crazy, but that only makes his character worse. There’s nothing convincing about fighting a guy who doesn’t make the heroes question their morals. They know full well it’s full of them, so it boils down to boring black-and-white morality debates. The only true shade of gray is Endeavour, and even then his sins are kept for his family, and nothing Stain would have ever encountered firsthand.

Students are irrelevant outside of Deku, Bakugo, and Shoto

It’s frankly astonishing how useless the rest of the student body seems in comparison to these three prodigies. Sure, they manage to beat a minor villain or two. However, each of them inevitably has to rely on the big three from the early years to even the odds. It’s honestly an insult when you stop to think about how underutilized Class 1A is.

Each of these students should be considered a true hero. Yet in almost every dating, it boils down to “waiting for someone better.” Even though the characters don’t know Deku is coming, they’re still on the ropes, waiting to be rescued by an adult hero or one of the Big Three. It even happens to Lemillion, the man who was once considered Deku’s successor.

Badly written racism

No, the author was not racist towards anyone. Horikoshi seems to really want to explore the subject of his story. Unfortunately, he doesn’t quite pull it off. In the manga, a community of people with quirks who have changed their physical appearance have banded together to fight the oppression of their kind by “normal passing” quirk users. Sadly, this wasn’t presented with any screen time dedicated to it. There’s a story to be told with downtrodden mutant oddities, but there were better ways to do it than out of nowhere.

It could even be seen as a negative buildup, as readers were shown the opposite from the start. Heroes with physical alterations such as Octopus, Anivoice, and Pinky are all openly loved, with little regard for their looks. The hand wave of “they were raised in a big city” also comes out of nowhere, and from the mouth of some unhinged villain, so it comes out so weird. Not to mention that implying that racism doesn’t exist in big cities is incredibly ignorant of real life. Frankly, the only societal bigotry seen on the show was against oddities, much like Deku once was.

The spin-off is a more consistent quality

This is more of a meta example, but MHA fans have read Vigilantes and noticed something rather unfortunate. It’s the fact that the characters in Vigilantes are much better written in every way than in the main series. Even younger versions of adult heroes are much more character-driven in Vigilantes than in My Hero Academia.

This is something that is only really noticeable on replay. The vigilantes feel at home in the My Hero Academia universe, but they also manage to have more complete and relevant characters. Plus, there’s still the feeling that Koichi is a much better “Deku” character than Deku ever was. An All Might fanboy who, despite his unimpressive powers, strives to be a hero in his own right.

Lack of focus on female characters

This one is a problem that has become more prevalent in later arcs. If that’s not a My Hero Academia-specific issue when it comes to shounen, it’s frankly pretty bad unlike its inspirations. For example, Naruto features a female Hokage in Tsunade, and the original series’ literal final boss was the goddess Kaguya. In contrast, female characters in My Hero Academia rarely achieve main character status.

Often they exist as bystanders, which is a shame given their otherwise interesting motivations and personalities. Characters like Ochako and Toga also have their motivations solely around Deku. That’s not to say there aren’t relevant female characters, of course, far from it. However, they have their own set of problems.

Relevant female characters tend to be mutilated

Characters like Miruko and Midnight are great adult characters that play a major role in the heroes’ power structure. Unfortunately, an extremely harsh fate awaits them. That’s not to say the female characters should go unscathed. They should be in danger just as much as the men. The issue occurs when affected female characters still get the boot. When there are already so few relevant female characters, shaving off their numbers like this is so untricky.

Most disrespectfully, Midnight dies offscreen in a fight against a villain who hasn’t even been named. She was arguably the most important adult female character and she doesn’t even have time for a moment. It’s something that doesn’t happen on the death of any other character, which is given far more respect. Curious, the only female Meta Liberation Army, is also the only one of them to die, so the villains aren’t safe either.

My Armor Academia storyline

By far the most annoying achievement when replaying My Hero Academia is the abundance of plot armor. It’s always bad to have inexplicable survivals over and over again, but it’s even worse when they’re the main hero and villain. Deku keeps throwing himself into suicidal situations and always manages to emerge victorious, regardless of the actual experience.

Shigaraki is even worse, as he is a villain who is constantly portrayed as an awkward antisocial teenager, whose most publicized murder against the good guys was that of a minor hero. He’s always been beaten by the good guys and it’s frankly a shock that they see him as some kind of threat. He rarely uses his instant kill powers to instantly kill people.