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Fanfic / Thieves Can Be Heroes!

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"I guess thieves can be heroes, too."note 

"If they are the heroes of the seen, we can be the heroes of the unseen."
Morgana to Izuku about their roles as Phantom Thieves

Izuku Midoriya thought he was doing the right thing when he ran down that alleyway to save a woman who was being molested by a drunken man. After all, what kind of Hero could ignore a cry for help? But that man had connections, and the would-be hero soon found himself charged with assault and sentenced to probation in Tokyo for his "violent" act.

It's one thing to become a Hero when you're Quirkless, it's another thing entirely when you also have a criminal record.

With his hopes of achieving his lifelong dream dashed, Izuku gets shipped off to live with a family friend while attending Shujin Academy and serving out his probation, seemingly destined to be forever branded a thug for what he thought would be an act of heroism.

But the gears of fate turn in strange ways. After getting lost on his way to his new high school, the Quirkless teen is soon sucked into the Metaverse, where he would have been killed if not for the awakening of a strange power within him called a "Persona". Now dealing with forces far beyond the world of Heroes and Villains, the once powerless boy soon finds that even Phantom Thieves can be heroes in their own right.

Thieves Can Be Heroes! is a My Hero Academia and Persona 5 Fusion Fic written by Mugiwara N0 Luffy. With a Quirkless Izuku taking the place of Persona 5's protagonist, it follows his journey towards becoming a Phantom Thief and using his newfound abilities to unravel the mysteries and conspiracies in Tokyo while doing as much good as he can along the way.

It can be read on here or on here; the first 22 chapters are also available on Archive of Our Own here.

Beware of unmarked spoilers.

Thieves Can Be Heroes provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 
    Tropes A-K 
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • As Izuku's Childhood Friend, Makoto is considerably more involved in the Kamoshida chapter than she is in canon, funneling Izuku as much information as she can even as he refuses to tell her what he's been up to out of fear of dragging her down with him if things go awry. She also learns about the Metaverse immediately after Kamoshida confesses, rather than after the end of the following arc.
    • Futaba looks on longingly at Izuku and Inko through one of her monitors in Chapter 17, rewatching the clip of them hugging over and over. All the while, she mutters about how it "must be nice" to have a loving mom and to be able to hug her.
    • While not technically a character, the Phantom Thieves encounter Cognitions capable of fighting them long before they enter Futaba's Palace and encounter Cognitive Wakaba.
    • Similar to the bullet point up above, this doesn't pertain to a character per say, but it nonetheless applies. Overhaul's Treasure is none other than Eri's Shadow — the idea of somebody's Shadow appearing in another person's Palace isn't touched on until Shido's Palace, though Eri is a much more extreme case in that the Shadow's of those in Shido's inner circle were somehow fused with his cognitions of them while hers is his Palace's Treasure.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The story often covers the Thieves' escape from a Palace between infiltrations that would only earn a fade out in the original game.
    • The story also has numerous segments that focus on the other Thieves when Izuku isn't around, such as when Ryuji and Ann go shopping for rations for their heist.
  • Adults Are Useless: Unlike U.A.'s staff, the vast majority of the adults Izuku encounters at Shujin are either indifferent to, unaware of, or wholly complicit in the students' suffering. Because of this, he can't divulge anything to the adults or rely on them for help. He also has to lie to the shop owners like Tae Takemi and Munehisa Iwai to assure them that he isn't doing anything shady.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Makoto calls Izuku "Midori" for short while he calls her the more formal but still friendly "Koto-san", having met in the past. Makoto also refers to Bakugou as "Baka-chan" as both a sign of affection and an insult.
    • Carter affectionately refers to Izuku as "kid" and "my boy", much like All Might does in canon.
    • Sae also calls Izuku "Little Izu" due to their past history, while he calls her "Sae-oneechan" (literally Big Sister Sae) out of respect.
  • Age Lift: Izuku was initially depicted as a second-year student to match the age of the other protagonists in the first draft of the story, but this was later changed so that he was a first-year student after complications arose in the storytelling.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Kaneshiro is described as someone with great ambitions for his own advancement. As this conflicts with his boss Overhaul's plans, Overhaul kills him.
  • American Accents: Carter speaks with a slight Southern drawl due to his past as a Confederate soldier. Ryuji's speech patterns are written similarly to get across his delinquent appearance, using plenty of "ain'ts" and cutting off the "g" sound in words like "getting" to form "gettin'".
  • An Arm and a Leg: Although they don't go through with it, when Bakugo leads the other Thieves save Izuku (who is watching over Eri's Shadow), in threatening Overhaul's defeated Shadow in order to force him to fully give up, it's suggested that they destroy his hands in order to render him functionally Quirkless.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Downplayed. Izuku and others couldn't believe that such power and the world of Persona exists at all, calling it crazy even by the standards of the Quirk world. But they handled it well.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • After she recovers, Shiho asks Mishima if she can help with the Phan-Site. She is later promoted to the Moon Confidant, sharing the role with Mishima.
    • In comparison to Joker's unnamed parents, who are victims of The Law of Conservation of Detail at best and outright neglectful at worst, Inko Midoriya is clearly still active in her son's life during his probation.
  • Base-Breaking Character: In-Universe, the Phantom Thieves become this after entering the public consciousness with their change of heart of Madarame. Among the native My Hero Academia characters, Kirishima, Uraraka, Tokoyami, Ashido, Hagakure, and possibly Todoroki support the Thieves' actions while Asui and Tsukauchi question them and Bakugou is indifferent. Ren Amamiya, who has joined Class 1-A in Izuku's place, also supports them.
  • Book Dumb: Ryuji and Ann are poor students and need Izuku's tutoring to get them through their exams. They are skilled in other areas that Izuku isn't. For instance, Ryuji is far more familiar with Tokyo than Izuku.
  • Broad Strokes: The Quirk-cancelling bullet seemed to be in its prototype stage as that would take a while in My Hero Academia canon. Given Overhaul is now a Target...
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Izuku is on the receiving end of much of the story's verbal and physical slapstick, whether it's getting a chop on the head from Makoto after worrying her, getting teased for his Hero obsession by Morgana, or knocking himself out with the horrid potion cooked up by Tae.
    • Ryuji isn't much better off, frequently getting ridiculed by Morgana and Ann. Even Izuku is reluctant to step in and help him at times.
    • Monoma and the Gentle Criminal. Both modeled themselves as a Phantom Thief in the main series but considering the fame of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, they would be seen as mooching off the fame, honoring them, or proclaim himself as a direct inspiration. Monoma's Hero Name is literally The Phantom Thief, which opened himself up to snide remarks or other responses. It's hilarious because Izuku and the rest of the team don't even know Monoma and Gentle exists yet.
  • Call-Forward: In Chapter 39, while fighting Cognitive Rappa, Makoto engages in Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs while incorporating her Nuclear element into her punches. The rapid punches are from her Showtime with Ryuji in Royal, and her adding Nuclear to her attacks is from her gameplay in Strikers.
  • The Cameo:
    • Class 1-A shows up in a non-canon omake at the end of chapter 23, with Ren Amamiya having taken Izuku's place within their ranks.
    • Kasumi Yoshizawa from the Royal Updated Re-release makes an unnamed cameo in chapter 30, expressing disapproval towards the Phantom Thieves' actions.
  • Continuity Nod: In the possibly non-canon omake, Futaba brought up Yukari's role as Feather Pink to Tsuyu and Ochako.
  • Childhood Friend:
    • Although she's two years older than Izuku, Makoto was Izuku's neighbor and a good friend of his when they were younger, having defended him from bullies "like a lioness would her cubs". Because of this, she is the only girl in his age group he can comfortably talk to until he gets to know Ann. This is what made her rejection of the Thieves' activities especially painful for Izuku. She is also implied to have been a Morality Chain for Bakugou, whose behavior worsened after she moved away.
    • Ryuji also mentions being friends with Ann in middle school, but they had grown distant in the years between. They make up again after they both become Phantom Thieves.
  • Cruel Mercy: Ann admits the reason she didn't outright kill Kamoshida's shadow was because she thought having him beg for forgiveness would be a better revenge.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Mara is one of these, being resistant to pretty much every kind of magic the Thieves can throw at it, forcing them to resort to physical attacks. It takes clever use of Izuku's new Quantico Smash to deal with it without taking too much damage or using too much stamina.
  • Death by Adaptation: Junya Kaneshiro is killed by Overhaul in his first appearance.
  • Deconstruction Crossover: Even with the overall brighter tone of the world of My Hero Academia when compared to the world of Persona 5, the story is happy to deconstruct concepts covered in both series.
    • In Persona 5, the morality of stealing the hearts of others to force them to change was frequently challenged. In the world of My Hero Academia, where Brainwashing Quirks are a very real and very dangerous threat, the heists are treated in an even worse light, with Izuku and Ryuji hesitating to steal Kamoshida's heart until Shiho attempted suicide. Even when things turn out for the better, the rest of the student body is quick to pin the sudden change on Izuku, vilifying him and believing that he had hidden a Brainwashing Quirk to make things go his way. He justifies this to himself by saying that it was the only way to stop the perverted teacher from doing any more harm, but Makoto calls him out on this and says that he's no better than a Vigilante, or in other words a Villain, for not following the code of the law and worries for his safety after he tells her everything.
    • Thoughtless heroism (as much as All Might would like to praise it) is frequently frowned upon and has serious consequences, as shown by Izuku missing the U.A. Entrance Exam, being branded a criminal, and being forced to move out to Tokyo to serve out his probation after rushing in to save a woman without thinking. Izuku and Ryuji's rash decision to confront Kamoshida in his office and promise to take him down does nothing but give the teacher an excuse to expel both of them to cover his tracks.
    • Izuku has serious misgivings about the Social Link/Confidant System, wondering if his relationships with his friends are actually real or artificially constructed just to boost the power of his Personas. Morgana is quick to assure him that these relationships are just as real as any other, but he still feels bad about the system.
    • Just because superheroes have become a reality, it doesn't mean society's ills have been magically cured. As shown with Kamoshida, many crimes that are not committed by Villains in broad daylight and are common in the real world still occur. Society even helps to cover up these crimes and forces the victims to keep quiet to save face, and heroes can do very little about that. It turns out that superheroes who respond to very public and bombastic crimes tend to overlook or not even notice smaller, quieter, and arguably worse injustices. Kamoshida gleefully lampshades this while confronting Izuku and Ryuji in his office.
      Kamoshida: Do you see any heroes here? Anyone coming by to "save the day"? [swings his arms out dramatically] No one's going to swoop in and save the day. Not even Heroes care about scum like you.
    • With Shiho, when Izuku finds her he attempts to talk her out of attempting suicide by appealing to her that she is not the only one suffering. But when Shiho reveals how Kamoshida sexually assaulted her, Izuku is completely stunned and disgusted while being unable to say anything. Turns out that despite being a Shonen protagonist where motivational and uplifting speeches are the norm and work, Izuku is a teenager who would have no idea how to properly talk down a suicidal girl or how to respond to the fact someone was raped. Because of this, Shiho jumps, thinking Izuku is disgusted with her.
    • While police officers are shown to be competent and reasonable cops in My Hero Academia, it does not mean that there aren't bad cops in the mix. Two cops that patrol around the school knew about Kamoshida's true nature, but said nothing due to being paid off by Principal Kobayakawa. Just because you see some competent cops, it does not mean all of them are good.
    • The very setting of My Hero Academia and attitudes towards authority are tackled really hard. The world of My Hero Academia can be described as a place where the public is used to trusting authority and heroes. A typical Vigilante is an amusing side-attraction that authorities don't see much care of bringing in because their actions don't cause much trouble and there's no real message to them; for example, the Illegals have been at it for a while in the story and have not been punished other than shooed off. While Stain's message did cause some upheaval in the main series, the Phantom Thieves' actions are tackling crimes that the Heroes and Police did little to try and solve. The Phantom Thieves showed that society really hasn't changed despite the Heroes' presence. By pointing out what's wrong with society and actively helping improve society, the Phantom Thieves of Hearts have the potential to be the most impactful Vigilantes in the history of the world.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Virtually all of the My Hero Academia characters aside from Izuku, Hatsume, and Pop Step get reduced to passing mentions or one-chapter cameos at best. This is fully justified by the fact that the story takes place in Tokyo and not Musutafu or U.A.
    • Mei Hatsume is the new Wheel of Fortune Confidant, replacing Chihaya Mifune. Likewise, Pop Step is the new Devil Confidant, replacing Ichiko Ohya.
    • Junya Kaneshiro is brutally killed by Overhaul in his first appearance.
    • The author's notes for Chapter 30 mention that Kasumi Yoshizawa will be spending her introduction on the sidelines and probably won't become more important until after Persona 5 Royal releases.
  • Depending on the Artist: The officially commissioned artwork often takes liberties from the descriptions made in the original text. For instance, the original cover art gives Carter golden hair even though it's described as crimson in the story. Another piece of official art gives Izuku's Thief gear gold detailing and a gold mask when they're described as red and white respectively. The same art also replaces Izuku's Badass Longcoat with a flowing golden Badass Cape.
  • Double Agent: Chapter 30 heavily implies that Goro Akechi is a triple agent working within the SIU, Shido's Conspiracy, and the League of Villains, with his true loyalty to the League.
  • Double Entendre: While fighting Mara in Kamoshida's Palace, almost everything that comes out of the Thieves' mouths becomes one of these unintentionally.
    Morgana: Watch out, it's coming!
    Ryuji: Dude, phrasing!
  • Fate Worse than Death: After Kamoshida's confession in Chapter 16, Ann has no regrets about letting him live as Cruel Mercy, outright namedropping this trope, unnerving her fellow Thieves.
    Ann: Well, I don't know if I would say it was out of kindness. I just thought revenge would best be served if he lived to see it all through. Now that he's fully aware of how terrible he is and what he's done, he'll be groveling on his knees for forgiveness for the rest of his life. I think, in a way, that's a fate worse than death.
    Ryuji: Holy shit...
    Izuku: I didn't realize Ann-senpai could be that scary...
    Morgana: I can't say I disagree with her sentiment, but... wow.
  • First-Name Basis: Izuku struggles to address people by their first name even when asked to because of how informal it is in Japanese culture. Even when he settles down and becomes more comfortable with referring to his friends by their given names, he's still sure to add on a respectful "-san" or "-senpai" at the end.
    Izuku: A-alright then. I'll see you later, Saka-a-I mean-uh R-Ryuji-senpa-er-
    Ryuji: Dude, seriously. Take your time with it.
  • Foil: Carter to Arsène. Carter is a porcelain-white Boisterous Bruiser with a Heroic Build, golden hair and a heart to match. He's based on the pulp fiction Action Hero of an American science fiction novel and comic series from the early 1900s. His abilities are based around using brute force, a sword, and the Kouha line of spells to deal Bless-damage. He promises to throw off Izuku's chains and let him become the Hero he always wanted to be and speaks with a slight drawl. Though Carter encourages Izuku to more or less save people by force even if they don't want it. By contrast, Arsène is an Anti-Hero Picaresque Gentleman Thief from France dressed almost entirely in black and red with a permanent Cheshire Cat Grin and an unusually slim figure. He promises to grant Ren power even if it means chaining him down to Hell and empowers the thief to perform sacrilegious acts in the name of Ren's own sense of justice. He also speaks in refined, Victorian-era diction.
  • Food Porn: The food in Chapter 18 gets especially detailed compared to previous chapters.
    "One bite of the brisket, made from perfectly aged A-5 Wagyu beef, was all it took for him to realize the allure of such an exotic restaurant. It was unbelievably juicy and tender. He didn't even need to chew it to get it to slowly dissolve onto his tongue. The sweet, well-marbled fat melded with the unending savoriness of the meat. Then he tasted the gentle seasonings, black peppercorns, Himalayan salt, cayenne pepper, and other spices he didn't recognize. Each added even more body and complexity to the already astoundingly delicious dish. It was unlike anything he'd ever eaten."
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • Izuku is never attacked by the Sludge Villain. So he never meets All Might or gains One for All. He also completely missed the U.A. Entrance Exam because of his trial for "assaulting" a drunken man who was molesting a woman, putting Izuku on probation, and forcing him to go to Tokyo. His criminal record also means that he will probably never be able to enroll in Hero school or even get employment at a Hero office while making it extremely difficult for him to become a police officer. In short, his dreams are virtually impossible to achieve now.
    • Makoto is also Izuku's Childhood Friend and one of his closest confidants at Shujin Academy. Because of this she learns about the Metaverse much earlier than she does in canon when he promises to tell her everything after Kamoshida was brought to justice.
    • The fact that the story takes place in the world of My Hero Academia means that there are regulations against the use of Quirks similar to how the Thieves are stealing the hearts of others, doubling the legal ramifications of the gang's actions and making it more likely for them to get caught if they aren't careful. Makoto brings this fact up to Izuku while trying to convince him to give up being a Phantom Thief.
    • Thanks to Recovery Girl, Shiho is able to regain consciousness faster, allowing her to speak with Ann and hear the entirety of Kamoshida's confession through Ann's phone.
    • Readers have pointed out that Izuku's inability to go to U.A. would change a ton of things from canon, namely things like helping All Might regain his drive to risk his life and push the limits of One for All as a hero, saving Uraraka from the zero-point robot, allowing Todoroki to terms with his own powers, rescuing Iida from Hero Killer Stain would have never happened without Izuku's presence. The author is aware of this and says that this is assuming that the events back in Musutafu would play out exactly as they would in canon. So far this seems to be true, as without having meet Izuku and giving him One For All, All Might had no real reason to teach at U.A., which meant that the League of Villains didn't attack the USJ.
    • Izuku's status as a first-year means that he and Morgana don't go on the trip to the TV station. And as it turns out, Akechi doesn't attend either, having canceled at the last minute, thus preventing him from hearing Morgana talking about pancakes and comment on it, the fatal mistake that outed them as the traitor in Persona 5.
  • Fusion Fic: The story combines the world of My Hero Academia with the world of Persona 5, taking place in the setting of the former but with most of the latter's concepts intact.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Although he's described as having "crimson hair" in the story, the officially commissioned art used for the cover depicts Carter with golden flames for hair. He's also an unambiguously good Persona who wields Bless-attribute abilities. Ryuji (even if he's a "faux blond") and Ann also count.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Following the Phantom Thieves' exploits, the Heroes and Police are under heavy scrutiny for why didn't they do anything. People question authority and thinking for themselves rather than let society, let alone Hero society dictate what they do. While it wasn't the Thieves' intention, the status quo was jeopardized, especially when a so-called 'villainous' quirk was used to force the criminals into the open.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Makoto is shocked when she learns that the principal would let Kamoshida get away with everything even after Shiho attempts suicide. Izuku is the opposite, quickly making friends with the other outcasts at school who are frequently looked down upon, including the Japanese Delinquent Ryuji and the slut-shamed and fiery Ann, but instinctively avoids getting into the same car as Kamoshida even while running late for school in the rain.
  • Humble Hero: Izuku still doesn't think of himself as anything special even as his friends shower him with compliments whenever he has a moment of brilliance or does something awesome.
    Ryuji: [after Izuku solves a drawbridge puzzle] Holy crap, that was amazin'! You're pretty damn smart, man!
    Izuku: [flustered and rubbing the back of his head] N-no, it was nothing, really...
  • Immune to Fate: Like in Persona 5, Chihaya's otherwise-accurate predictions can't predict the actions of the Phantom Thieves. This blindness extends to Sir Nighteye, as Overhaul's Change of Heart completely alters his vision of the future.
  • Innocently Insensitive:
    • Ryuji learns about Izuku's criminal record shortly after they escape the Metaverse for the first time. The older teen first tries to spin it as making Izuku sound cooler, but he quickly backpedals when he realizes that he's only making things worse.
      Ryuji: I just thought it was funny. She's such a prim and proper kinda chick, and you're the kid with the criminal record, right?
      Izuku: [internally] I shouldn't be surprised he knows, too... everyone seems to know. [grips his hand in frustration, out loud] S-so the whole school knows now, huh?
      Ryuji: I'm sorry, man. I didn't mean to get you down like that. I-If it helps, I kinda thought it makes you look cooler? [chuckles weakly before sighing] Sorry about that...
    • Izuku initially refuses to tell Makoto about the Cognitive World or his actions as a Phantom Thief in order to keep her out of danger, telling her that she's done enough and that he was going to make Kamoshida pay after Shiho jumps off the roof in despair. While he means this with the best of intentions, Makoto, who's Locked Out of the Loop, takes this as saying that he doesn't want her help and feels worthless because of it, even though he really does want her support.
    • Shiho mistakes the look of horror on Izuku's face when she confesses that Kamoshida had been sexually abusing her for disgust, which proves to be the last straw as she leaps from the top of the school to kill herself.
    • Kawakami, after seeing all of Izuku's All Might stuff, comments that she's surprised that he didn't try to go to U.A. It isn't until Izuku says that he was planning to try that she realizes that she just inadvertently rubbed his face in how his dream was crushed.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Despite Izuku refusing to go along with Ryuji and Mishima's maid scheme, he still finds out about Kawakami's second job and kicks off the Temperance Confidant.
    • In Chapter 42, Chisaki and the Shie Hassaikai surrender to the police. Despite various factors, Eri still ends up being adopted by Aizawa due to the danger her Quirk poses.
  • It's All My Fault: Chapter 30 reveals that All Might blames himself for being unable to inspire hope in people and forcing the Phantom Thieves to turn to changes of heart to enforce justice.
  • Kidnapped While Sleeping: Izuku initially believes he's been kidnapped when he wakes up in a prisoner's garb and chains after tucking himself into bed a while earlier. In fact, he'd only been transported to the Velvet Room.

    Tropes L-Z 
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Izuku refuses to drag Makoto into his mess, leaving her in the dark about his activities as a Phantom Thief. Unbeknownst to him, this causes Makoto to feel useless and that Izuku doesn't want her help, even though he desperately does but wants to keep her safe at the same time. He finally spills the beans to her in Chapter 17. While it initially goes well, the conversation ends on a sour note due to the Protagonist-Centered Morality aspect of the Thieves' Brainwashing for the Greater Good and their mutual admiration of Heroes in comparison to the reckless Vigilantism of the Thieves.
  • The Multiverse: While it isn't shown in this story, the world Izuku and the Phantom Thieves is mentioned by Melissa Shield in Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku! and given the in-universe designation of Earth 2014.21 alongside the world of Amazing Fantasy.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Carter tells Izuku that he can be a hero, much like All Might would have in another time and another place.
    • When the gang begins losing against Kamoshida's Shadow, Izuku begins losing hope and considers a Heroic Sacrifice to buy time for the others to escape. Carter quickly calls him out on this, telling Izuku that the other Thieves are just as willing to die for him as he is for them and that being a hero was never about whether he could do it or not, which were the words All Might said to Izuku and he, in turn, said to Muscular in canon.
    • Chapter 36 has Bakugo encounter his Shadow in Mementos during his fight with Makoto, and it wastes no time in delivering its "The Reason You Suck" Speech. This is similar to Persona 4's Shadows, though much like Futaba in the game proper, Shadow Bakugo is trying to help Bakugo realizes his own shortcomings.
    • After beating Overhaul's Shadow, the Thieves threaten to remove his hands, rendering him functionally Quirkless, in order to make him finally surrender. This is exactly what the League of Villains did to him after he was captured in canon.
  • Never Split the Party: Nitro suggests the gang split up to cover more ground in Overhaul's Palace but gets vetoed by Izuku, who points out that they don't have enough manpower to safely divide up the party. Unfortunately, it gets taken out of their hands when Chisaki's Cognition of Mimic takes matters into its own hands and forcibly manipulates the structure of the Palace to divide them.
  • Omake: Chapter 23 ends with a non-canon extra short where the Phantom Thieves hang out with Class 1-A after rescuing Bakugou from the League of Villains during the Hideout Raid arc. Intriguingly, Ren Amamiya is also present as a member of 1-A, having apparently swapped places with Izuku.
  • Outside-Context Problem: It doesn't look like the Heroes and the police are aware of the Metaverse. Izuku initially attributes Persona-related issues to a Quirk before Morgana and the Velvet Room residents make it clear that their powers are something else entirely.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Sae Niijima, Makoto's stern older sister, is cordial with the Midoriyas, having been their neighbor for years until they moved away when her father died. She refers to Izuku affectionately as "Little Izu" and shows legitimate concern for his well-being, which stands in stark contrast to her reputation as a ruthless prosecutor and her icy relationship with her sister.
    • The first time Bakugou encounters Izuku after his arrest, he expresses something akin to concern for him and notes how odd it is that Izuku was hit with a criminal record for a relatively minor incident.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: While the reader can easily cheer for the Thieves' heists to take down corrupt and evil people, the characters in the story bring up the question of whether it's truly moral to force people to repent for their crimes against their will.
  • Pummel Duel: Queen is able to temporarily trade blows with a Cognition of Rappa throwing his punches at full speed thanks to her Absorption Quirk.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Much like the source material, the Phantom Thieves are all people who are ostracized in a society that has wronged them and turns a blind eye to their pain and suffering.
    • Izuku was subjected to a Trauma Conga Line for being Quirkless and left with a criminal record for trying to save a woman from being raped.
    • Ryuji was the star of the track team until his abusive coach spurred him into fighting back, leaving him with a broken leg and the dissolution of the track team that now hates him for destroying their chance to go to the nationals.
    • Ann is slut-shamed solely because of her Caucasian features and is forced to do sexual favors for Kamoshida in order to preserve her friend Shiho's well-being and chances on the volleyball team.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Played completely straight for Bakugou, who is still Izuku's tormentor in this story up to the point that our hero was put on trial. Completely inverted for Makoto, who is Izuku's Childhood Friend and one of his closest confidants. Her red eyes are one of the first things he notices after seeing her for the first time in four years. Then it's played straight when she's revealed to be a brutal hand-to-hand combatant who can beat up Shadows with her Quirk.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: The student body accurately pins the blame for Kamoshida's confession on Izuku, but they believe he did so through a hidden brainwashing Quirk rather than through the Metaverse, the former of which is the far more logical option given the world of My Hero Academia.
  • Secret-Keeper:
    • Izuku feels bad about keeping Makoto Locked Out of the Loop and ends up telling her everything. While she's understanding at first, she balks when he explains that he's considering doing it again to help more people, reluctantly agreeing to keep his secret when she realizes that she won't be able to stop him. Later on, he invites her to join the Phantom Thieves after she tells him that Kobayakawa has been bribing the police into keeping quiet about Kamoshida's actions.
    • Inko Midoriya is aware of Sojiro's personal problems regarding Futaba, and he outright trusts her to take care of things in his stead should something happen to him.
  • Shout-Out: This fic has received a couple from other fics.
    • There's a meta-reference in Ch. 3 of a crossover called Persona Vein, where the characters mentioned a fanfic about the Phantom Thieves meeting Deku.
    • In the first chapter of the fanfic The Times They Are A-Changin', a Dr. Manhattan-esque Melissa Shield refers to Thieves when mentioning an Izuku that 'steals the hearts' of criminals.
  • Title Drop: As quoted above, Morgana does this in Chapter 9 while discussing Izuku's Code Name.
    Morgana: I guess thieves can be heroes, too.
  • Un-Sorcerer: Apart from Izuku as usual, Chapter 30 heavily implies Goro Akechi is Quirkless.
  • Vigilante Man: Of course, the Naruhata Vigilantes and Phantom Thieves of Heart. Because of the latter, new and current vigilantes became more open and brazen with the intent to express their own idea of justice.
  • Wham Line: Chapter 35 ends with the Phantom Thieves entering Overhaul's Palace, and they brought someone along with them. Unintentionally.
    Katsuki: What the shit?
    Izuku: K-Kacchan...?
    Standing there in his U.A. uniform, confusion and seething anger plastered on his face, was none other than Katsuki Bakugou.
    Katsuki: What the hell is this, Deku?! Where the fuck are we?!
  • Wham Shot: Chapter 40 finally gives readers a clear glimpse of Overhaul's Treasure. Its none other than Eri's own Shadow.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Zigzagged regarding the characters' Quirks.
    • Ryuji, Makoto, and Bakugou completely avert this, as their Quirks (brief bursts of Super-Speed, the ability to take on the properties of whatever you touch, and explosions respectively) are very helpful in combat, and Makoto and Bakugou in particular can fight Shadows on an even footing even before getting their Personas. Also technically averted by Izuku, but only because he's the Un-Sorcerer.
    • Downplayed by Yusuke. His Quirk allows him to secrete ink from his fingertips; not very useful in battle, but a very valuable ability in his civilian life as a painter.
    • Played straight by Ann, who never shows any real applications of her Quirk (super-strong teeth able to chew through anything) in battle or in life.
    • Deconstructed by Kamoshida and Madarame, whose Quirks (a long stretchy tongue and the ability to sprout eyes all over your body respectively) are so lame that their bearers resent the Quirk-based society as a whole because of it, and use this to fuel their motivations for their truly reprehensible behavior.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Authorities and citizens believe the Phantom Thieves use Quirks to 'change hearts'. It's reasonable, given the world they live in, and obviously not many know that supernatural powers like Personas existed for much longer than Quirks. Because of this and what entails in the world of Persona, the world of Heroes had no idea how the Phantom Thieves manage to change the 'hearts' of their targets and would react with fear that these vigilantes can change 'hearts' without being nearby.