Even My Hero Academia, a famous and well-loved series about superheroes with few vocal detractors, isn't without its share of divisive opinions.
Character Arc and Development
- Reactions to Uraraka developing a crush on Midoriya are mixed, with those that are against it stating that it has caused her to become Demoted to Satellite Love Interest. Not helping matters is that out of all the main characters, she's the only one that has yet to have A Day in the Limelight arc. However, some defend it because once Uraraka had her Love Epiphany, she decided that either Love Is a Weakness or that while Midoriya is nice, she has her own goals to work towards. As the series continues and Uraraka began to slowly drip Out of Focus, detractors began writing her off as a lost cause and claiming she's been Demoted to Satellite Love Interest, while supporters argue she has still had small appearances from time to time, with very few focusing on her feelings for Midoriya but rather more on her motivations.
- Endeavor's "redemption arc". This one has become a huge topic of debate since Endeavor and All Might's conversation in the provisional retake course. The huge amount of Draco in Leather Pants treatment Endeavor receives, along with the Ron the Death Eater treatment his wife and children receive, makes the possibility of a down-to-earth discussion even slimmer. Things such as whether he should be arrested, should his actions be made public, should his wife and Todoroki forgive him, does he deserve redemption, whether he can be considered evil, etc. are all questions that have evenly split the fandom between those that think the manga is not dealing with such a mature theme as "Should you forgive your abusers?" properly (or shouldn't deal with it at all) and those that think the manga is doing an amazing job and hope that Endeavor gets forgiveness or peace of mind for becoming The Atoner. There's also the third field that doesn't care whether Endeavor is forgiven or not, but like that the story takes this complex approach to the subject. It becomes problematic enough that, by the end of the Pro Hero Arc, some of Endeavor's detractors actually started sending death threats to Horikoshi on tumblr.
- Bakugo's character arc is polarizing for the same reasons that Endeavor's is. Some appreciate that he's becoming a better person over time. Others are unhappy that he hasn't faced any punishment for his past misdeeds, and that unlike Endeavor, he hasn't even apologized for or acknowledged what he did. There's even some controversy as to whether Bakugo or Endeavor is the worse person.
- The nature of hero society, and what constitutes as right and wrong; the topic of debate heavily tied into the nature of To Be Lawful or Good. Hero society is shown to allow anyone to attain licenses to be heroes and help people, at the cost of criminalizing individuals who attempt to help without proper licensing. Several instances in which characters perform heroic acts end with them nearly getting into legal trouble for doing so without permission, including Midoriya attempting to save Bakugo from the Slime Villain, Midoriya, Todoroki, and Iida's apprehending of Stain, and the Bakugo Rescue Squad's successful retrieval of Bakugo. Vigilantes, in particular, are treated as lawbreakers, in spite of their existence being the origin of Hero Society:
- Supporters point out that this is, at worst, Necessarily Evil so that Quirk usage doesn't run wild and so people without the proper training don't get hurt.
- Detractors, however, point out that punishing individuals for accomplishing things neither law enforcement nor heroes could manage to do is extremely idiotic, and does nothing more than enforce complacency as they are forced to do nothing but wait for a licensed hero, something heavily hinted in series to be part of the reason Shigaraki turned out the way he did.
- Not helping matters is the seeming hypocrisy behind some of the decisions made, such as the near threat of expulsion for most of Class 1-A for their part in saving Bakugo (in fact, the twelve who knew about it and did nothing would have been given the same punishment as the five who went), or the near-arresting of Midoriya, Iida, and Todoroki for apprehending Stain unlicensed, despite both situations being what they're being trained to stop:
- Defenders of the society point out that for all intents and purposes, the students broke the law, and shouldn't be given leeway just for having good intentions.
- Detractors, however, note that had said actions not been performed, the situations would have turned out much worse, and punishing them flies in the face of one of the core themes of the series, being a hero means sticking your nose in where it doesn't belong, in this case, outside the law. Also, they'd make the point that the lack of using their Quirks on the villains makes the situation different from the Stain incident.
- Stain's ideology. While originally near-unanimously agreed on, as the series continued and a deeper analysis of his ideals was made, Stain's ideology became a heavy topic of debate:
- Like Stain himself, defenders believe in the ideology, noting the hero ranking system has led to many heroes being focused more on competing rather than on saving people, and that this environment is what bred heroes like Endeavornote , while also pointing out that both Midoriya and Iida note that his ideals were justified, it was just his actions that made him reprehensible.
- Detractors point out that Stain's ideals disregard the fact that hero work is a legitimate occupation, and as such to not expect a form of income would be unusual and just like firefighters, police officers, and soldiers, heroes can save people and still be rewarded.
- Under Stain's own ideals, anyone short of All Might himself and those that aspire to be like him such as Midoriya would be incapable of meeting his standards.note
- Stain is also called a hypocrite due to not meeting his own standards, as his time as Stendhal proves, during which he resorted to working with the Villain Factory's Kuin, and routinely murdered villains as a vigilante. Add his rejection of Iida's acknowledgment that Stain was right leading into a Villainous Breakdown, it paints Stain more as a hypocrite drowning in Black and White Insanity that overlaps with a tautological templar, as only his point is right.
- Not helping matters are that his actions damage his own cause, as whereas All Might tried to promote justice and peace, Stain's actions promoted fear and chaos.
- Finally, his desire for the "heroes of old" comes across as reckless romanticism and a blatant disregard for the reality of the world he lives in: the worldwide prevalence of Quirks means that heroic intervention is an everyday necessity, not the rare, extraordinary event that it was in the pre-Quirk days. He is essentially asking that a regulated, organized, self-perpetuating infrastructure of highly-trained specialists be replaced by widespread vigilantism.
- Then there are those who Take a Third Option. They acknowledge, like Midoriya, Iida, All Might, and Mera In-Universe, that while Stain did have some good points, his ideology was far from flawless.
- While the state of the Hero Society, namely the Ranking system, is agreed to be flawed,note it's noted that Stain's standards are nigh impossible to achieve outside of All Might and those attempting to emulate him, and that expecting a form of income is not wrong and does not make someone less a hero, oft citing Urarakanote as someone who wouldn't meet Stain's standards yet still is unambiguously heroic. It's also debated in-universe that adopting Stain's philosophy wholesale would force Heroes into a nightmarish Martyrdom Culture where they are expected to sacrifice life and limb for the sake of defending people with no compensation for these actions whatsoever. While he is correct that any system of status or reward will inevitably lead to people who want to be a Hero for the wrong reasons, making Heroism a completely thankless course would be potentially worse.
- It's also noted that regardless of their motivation for being a hero, the heroes are still saving people and keeping the peace. Endeavor, despite being an Abusive Parent and driven by the desire to surpass All Might, still stopped enough crimes and saved enough people to become the Number 2, and later Number 1, hero. Mount Lady, the epitome of the kind of hero Stain detests due to her Glory Seeker nature, still saves numerous people and ended up blocking the villain counterattack with her face in giant mode to ensure the Bakugo Rescue Squad could escape when she was already injured.
- Lastly, it's noted that his actions did far more damage to society than it fixed, due to the attraction of various individuals who wholeheartedly agreed with his ideals and began imitating him, leading to their joining the League of Villains, who want to simply destroy society rather than rebuild it as he does. Among these cases are Dabi, Toga, and Spinner, the three of them all contributing to Bakugo's kidnapping which in turn led to the fight between All for One and All Might, causing All Might's retirement and nearly destabilizing society. Dabi, in particular, has amassed a large body count as a member, including the hero Snatch, and did even more so as his releasing High-End to attack Endeavor almost lead to a repeat of Kamino. All of their actions however they justify under following the ideals of Stain.
Arcs and Plot Points
- The Internship Arc has become one of the most controversial parts of the story, with many people calling it either the best or worst arc in the entire series. Those who love it often praise the darker tone and greater focus on the villains and their relationship with others, as well as the intense and emotional battles throughout the arc, and the fact that it has the series' first Character Death. Detractors of the arc often bring up how the main cast is almost entirely sidelined in favor of characters who have just been introduced, taking away some of the impacts of higher stakes, the awkward pacing and Arc Fatigue, and the entirety of the heroines' role in the story being relegated to half a chapter. Additionally, despite his amazing introduction, Overhaul's entire organization is destroyed in the span of a single operation, making him look completely incompetent, and immediately after has his arms removed by the League of Villains, who were able to win their short-lived "rivalry" by leaving all the work to the heroes. However, the base is less broken in regards to the ending of the arc, which both fans and detractors agree to be rushed.
- The reveal that Midoriya will eventually receive the Quirks of all the previous One For All users has practically fractured the fandom. Some fans fear that Midoriya will become the overly powerful protagonist that will leave the other characters behind and make them irrelevant, a problem thats plagued other shonen series like Dragon Ball and Naruto. Other fans are excited about this twist, saying that it could introduce an interesting new conflict for Midoriya and make his fights more varied and exciting. Theres also a third subset of fans who, while concerned about this turn of events, want to wait and see how Horikoshi will incorporate the twist into the story before judging. This was compounded with Shigaraki getting more powerful and The Doctor trying to give him a stronger version of All For One. While some think that this is a clear problem of Power Creep rearing its head on a manga that managed to avoid it, others are excited at the awesome final fight that is clearly coming along soon.
- Horikoshi's handling of the female characters. One party believes Horikoshi to be doing amazing in showing the female cast, giving them equal focus as the male characters while also allowing them each awesome moment on a regular basis, considering it a rarity for most shonen, and even having female characters that aren't necessarily waifish, with different body types being among the cast. Another party believes Horikoshi is wasting the female cast's potential, and that the male characters take up the spotlight while the females stay in the background- in the Sports Festival, only two of the girls make it past the first round of the tournament. A third party believes that while Horikoshi is doing better than most, the girls are still outshined by the guys. The anime alleviates some of this by giving Tsuyu some focus in the OVAs and the anime-original all-female school Seiai Academy, whose members engage in a fierce battle with several U.A. girls (Shoji is the only male in the fight) where Yaoyorozu regains a huge bout of confidence.
- The questionably mature art of the main Class 1-A girls. Some fans don't like the art because they feel that it "sexualizes teenagers". Others, however, appreciate the fanservice and are quick to call out these people for "stirring up trouble", or "witchhunting". Not helping matters concerning this is when Horikoshi was criticized for tweeting a drawing in April 2018 that consisted of the female cast in bathing suits to celebrate the start of Season 3.