Being a rather realistic take on a society where Everyone is a Super, My Hero Academia loves to deconstruct shonen tropes as much as showing how would a society like that would realistically work.
- Bakugo's explosive, arrogant, and violent personality is the opposite of what a hero is supposed to be, hampering his progress to becoming a hero and ostracizing him from his classmates who have no interest in dealing with a bully. Bakugo was considered exceptional and was constantly praised in his previous school for his raw talent, leading him to believe he was better than everyone else; but once he arrived at U.A., he is now surrounded by other exceptional and talented people, leaving him no longer at the top and he is quickly called out for his reckless behavior and attitude.
- Similarly, Bakugo was popular in school growing up because he had a powerful Quirk that made it clear he had talent. By contrast, Midoriya, who was Quirkless, was bullied because he was seen as weak. When they get into UA, Midoriya ends up being a natural hit among his class because of his Humble Hero attitude, which makes it easy for people to talk to him. Meanwhile, Bakugo is disliked for a good while, and it isn't until people adjust and learn of his empty threats that they even remotely accept him.
- Nana Shimura gave an insight into the personal lives of heroes. Because of her dangerous lifestyle, she had to give up her own child for adoption so they would be safe from villains, not that it did much good. Similarly, Kouta is another example. His hero parents died and he was raised by his aunt who was also a hero and who trained others to be heroes. As a result, he is constantly reminded of his loss and despised heroes. He overcomes this when Izuku ends up saving him and he gains a better appreciation for heroes.
- While she is happy that he can finally live his dream, Izuku's mother Inko is constantly worried for his well being: watching her son physically injure himself using his powers and be attacked by villains while out with his friends makes her ask Izuku to quit the summer course due to his injuries and eventually declining his continued attendance at U.A. out of a legitimate fear for his safety and a lack of confidence in the staff. At one point, she even wished Izuku never got his quirk in the first place.
- It wasn't just her, as many parents and the public share the same sentiments. This ended up putting security for U.A on high alert as the staff knows they can't afford any more slip-ups lest the school ends up being shut down. This hasn't gone over with some of the students of the school who start blaming Class-1A since the attacks always seemed to involve them in some form.
- Even after his Training from Hell, it's repeatedly shown that the pressure One For All puts on Midoriya's body causes his bones to shatter when he pushes himself to use it. This is presented as a mere limitation until it's revealed that continued careless use of his powers will eventually destroy the ligaments in his arms, leaving them permanently paralyzed. Because of this, he requested modifications to his hero costume that support his arms to help minimize damage to them. From this point on, he is also seen wearing a compression sleeve on his right arm (the one that sustained the most damage in each of his fights) in his daily life to manage what seems to be chronic pain in that arm specifically.
- Being a public superhero with your life on the limelight requires certain sacrifices, there's a reason Nana Shimura had to abandon her only son and the same reason applies for Endeavor and Rock Lock being the only known heroes with any sort of wife and children.
- Even though the vast majority of the world has superpowers, called "quirks", most people either have powers that aren't useful in combat (such as the power to glow or make your nose longer) or lack the training to effectively use their powers to stop the many powerful supervillains. Also, not everybody who has a quirk wants to become a crimefighter in the first place.
- On that note, even disregarding Midoriya's situation with One For All, many quirks have major drawbacks that range from the mundane (Bakugou needs to be in constant motion in order to work up a sweat to produce enough nitroglycerin, Iida can end up needing to "recharge" if he overdoes it with his engines, Momo requires an encyclopedic knowledge of various objects in order to produce them from her skin, etc.) to the painful and physically damaging (Kaminari's Shock and Awe powers often end up frying his brain if he uses too much of them, Mineta runs the risk of scalping himself when he pulls out too many sticky balls from his head, Mina's acids can burn her skin and damage her clothing, Aoyama's navel laser can cause damage to his internal organs if he overuses it, etc.)
- As it turns out, most wielders of One for All were chosen at random as the previous user died. Being part of a line of people fighting against the strongest villain in history doesn't give many chances to carefully search for or groom a successor. Most had to give it to surviving allies after All for One grievously wounded them.
Entrance Exam Arc
- The first thing All Might does after nominating Midoriya as his potential successor is put him through 10 months of Training from Hell. Eager and willing as he may be, he is in absolutely no shape to accept One For All and must be whipped into shape if he wants to have any hope of being able to accept its power in time for the U.A. entrance exam.
- During said Training from Hell, Midoriya decides to attempt to speed up his progress by doing extra training; this backfires, as All Might had fine-tuned the training plan for maximum efficiency, and that includes rest periods to allow Midoriya's body to recover from the exertion. As a result, he collapses during one of the training periods because he'd overworked himself; this prompts a talking-to from All Might about the importance of getting the necessary rest.
- During the entrance exams to get into U.A, the candidates are pitted against robots to showcase their powers. While Midoriya did train to get a hold of One For All, he only went through the training to be able to wield its power, not to hone his usage of it. Thus when he goes into the exam, he has only had One For All for a few hours, and so he ends up being nervous and unprepared for it. He also ends up breaking his arm for the first time, he didn't know how to control the power of One For All.
Quirk Aptitude Test Arc
- Subverted with Aizawa's threat to expel the lowest ranking member of the class. After the tests, he admits he was lying, with some more levelheaded students pointing out that obviously, the school wouldn't expel them on their first day. Except, as a conversation with All Might reveals shortly after, Aizawa can and has done exactly that in the past and only didn't this time because the lowest-ranked student, Midoriya, impressed him and showed he had potential. If Izuku had not been as clever as he was or had attempted to use his quirk in a less creative fashion (and crippled himself again in the process), he would have been guaranteed expulsion.
Battle Trial Arc
- Invoked after the mock battle exercise, where Momo points out that in a real fight against villains, Iida would have easily taken back the bomb from Uraraka and that her and Midoriya's 'victory' only came about from them using the rules of the exercise in their favor instead of actually triumphing over the other team. She also criticizes Bakugo for fighting so recklessly, since he's supposed to be protecting his hideout but instead charged ahead and attacked Midoriya for personal reasons.
- The League of Villains catch the students and teachers off guard and manage to cause trouble; however, the students are able to fight back and actually push back many of the villains. Why? Because the League of Villains didn't research what Quirks the students would have, and thus randomly had Kurogiri teleport away from the ones he felt were worth doing it to. This results in the students being put into fights where their Quirks are actually better suited to fighting than the villains thought, such as dropping Tsuyu into an area filled with water, Tokoyami being put into an area without much light, and Bakugou being dropped into an area without any cold weather to affect his Quirk.
Sports Festival Arc
- So, you're being a Warrior Therapist to The Ace of your class, who's Willfully Weak to spite his father for his inherited powers, while you yourself haven't mastered your own Quirk and are in fact beating yourself up just to have a fighting chance? You're going to lose. This is, however, reconstructed after the fight, saying that while Midoriya lost, he's still a true hero for actually giving a damn about Todoroki's fate. This leads into another case: one single pep talk isn't going to erase years of trauma. Todoroki is ultimately unable to conjure his flames again during the tournament, and he loses his final match with Bakugo as a result.
- Midoriya manages to impress the audience by winning the first challenge in lead place, and then managing to stay in during the second challenge. However, after his fight with Todoroki, a lot of the audience ends up feeling confused about why he was hurting himself so much during the fight. This ends up extending to the start of the next arc, as Midoriya only gets sponsorship invites from Gran Torino, as many of the pro heroes saw his fight as him being too reckless, making it difficult to justify inviting him since he could injure himself on the job.
- Midoriya manages to win his first match because his opponent's Quirk was only used as brainwashing not physical ability. So he could overpower him without using One For All (save for on himself to undo said brainwashing). But his match against Todoroki was nothing of the sort and he seriously injures himself through the match to stay on par against Todoroki ice (and eventually fire) power. He ultimately loses but it was a good thing as Cementoss noted, even if he had won, his injuries wouldn't have let him progress further. What's more, since he continues to use his Quirk long after he made a mess of both his finger and arms, when Recovery Girl heals him, his hand is permanently scarred as a result. Recovery Girl ends up putting her foot down here and tells both Deku and All Might she won't heal any more injuries caused from One For All and that they need to start finding workarounds for the power.
- Indeed later in the series, Deku starts going to the Support Class to get special clothing to help cushion the blows from One For All while trying to focus his power at certain point and outputs.
- Bakugo flips his shit at the end of the nationally televised U.A. Sports Festival due to how he won and has to be physically restrained during the medal presentation ceremony. This unheroic behavior does not escape notice. Best Jeanist extends a sponsor offer to Bakugo specifically to try to iron his temper out of him and the League of Villains starts headhunting him as a potential new recruit.
- Uraraka tries to end her fight with Bakugou by touching him to make him float, but he literally blows her away every time. This ends up creating enough debris for her to float in the sky and drop onto Bakugou, with the intent to touch him and float him away if that fails. Uraraka not doing this right away is the reason she loses, as Bakugou blows away the debris and Uraraka collapses from exhaustion soon after.
- It doesn't matter how much of a Determinator you are, there's only so much your body can take in a fight: Todoroki nearly freezes himself until he decides to use his fire powers, Midoriya messes up his body trying to help Todoroki so bad that, even if he won, he wouldn't be able to continue, and still having the will to fight doesn't stop Uraraka from collapsing after exhausting herself.
Hero Killer Arc
- The story that Izuku, Iida and Todoroki had stopped Stain and saved Mr. Native must not be made public because they acted without a hero license; if word got out, even though the public would praise the deed, they would still say they'd need to be punished.
- The training Midoriya goes through with Gran Torino puts this trope into effect for why Midoriya couldn't control One For All right. Midoriya was given an extremely powerful Quirk because he was born without one. This fact means that Midoriya never had to grow up with the Quirk as a part of his being, meaning that once he did gain a Quirk, he saw it as an 11th-Hour Superpower instead of a natural part of his being. This leads to him treating it as a power to call on, resulting in him focusing on using its raw power as a last-ditch attack. Once he realizes how bad this perspective is, he changes to fighting using Full Cowl, allowing him to increase his power at a smaller but easier to control rate instead of an explosive but impractical usage of power.
- Because All Might took to learning One For All so easily, he becomes a poor teacher for Midoriya since his explanations make sense to him, but not his pupil. As the series goes on, Midoriya has to seek help outside of All Might because others like Gran Torino have an easier time explaining the Quirk to him in ways that he can comprehend.
Final Exams Arc
- The series begins in a world where superpowers are accepted and considered normal. So there's a bit of a contrast when it's revealed that when superpowers first appeared, society unraveled, leading to a time of chaos and disorder. Also, a villain who won the Superpower Lottery took over Japan and it's implied he ruled from the shadows until fairly recently.
- Passing the battle test does not automatically mean everyone is in the clear. Despite their success, several students in Class 1-A will still have to do make up work to cover for their lower grades else where.
School Trip Arc
- The pressures of using One For All constantly causes Izuku's bones to shatter: at first, it's treated as a minor inconvenience but it's later revealed that continued usage of this would eventually cause the muscles in his arms to go numb and at best, his arms could only tolerate 2-3 more times that kind of strain or else he wouldn't be able to use his arms at all. After his fight with Muscular, Izuku also begins to wear a compression sleeve on his right arm during his daily life to help manage the chronic pain in his arm.
Hideout Raid Arc
- Nana Shimura gives a look on the heroes' personal life: she gives up her own son, so he will be safe of villains who may be after her. Similarly, Kouta is another example of this: he lost his parents to a villain's attack, and ever since then, he hated heroes, since it's a job that constantly puts people who have families in front of danger. Add this to the fact that hardly any heroes shown so far seem to actually have a family or even a romantic relationship, being a hero basically seems to consume the rest of your life.
- While Midoriya's mother is overjoyed that her son can finally pursue his dream, being the mother of a shōnen hero is far from enjoyable for her. Between watching her son being attacked by villains, and injure himself using his powers, she is constantly worrying about his safety. Asking him to quit the summer course when he injures his arm, and later seriously threatens to pull him out of U.A. out of legitimate concern for his safety and a lack of confidence in the staff.
- If one of your classmates has been kidnapped by villains, it's only natural to assume that he's a goner unless you and your friends mount a covert rescue operation, right? Actually, the professionals are already planning a rescue, and ultimately they're the ones who are going to do most of the rescuing, while you and your friends spend most of the mission hiding from enemies who greatly outclass you. At the same time, a rescue mission becomes much more difficult when the boss inevitably gets involved in affairs, especially if he as capable as the strongest member of the rescuing force. Especially if he is willing to use a hostage. All Might even mention he was not able to go full out up until Izuku and the others rescue Bakugou since, by that point, All For One had decimated virtually every other hero not working on rescuing civilians.
Hero License Exam Arc
- In the aftermath of the Hideout Raid Arc and All Might's retirement, the fact that Japan's low crime rate was solely because of one man and now that he is retired, they are expecting a crisis to form as they have grown to rely on how his presence kept it low.
- In the aftermath of the Hideout Raid Arc Aizawa informs Class 1-A that he knew that Izuku and the others had gone to rescue Bakugou and the rest of the class (except three others) knew of their plans and didn't tell the teachers; he would have expelled them all because they had no legal authority as heroes and they had explicitly gone against his orders not to: he flat out told them the only thing that saved them from expulsion was All Might's retirement and they couldn't afford to lose any more heroes.
- While the examinees are competing against each other for licenses, they also have to be able to work together in the rescue portion. Todoroki and Yoarashi started fighting each other midway through the competition while the enemy was in front of them. While they were able to work together in the end, by this point, they'd lost too many points to be able to pass.
- During the second phase of the exam, the hot-tempered Bakugo aggressively refused to rescue people with light injury, while his refusal isn't unreasonable because they are low-priority rescues, his aggressive attitude led him to lost points and failed in the end.
- As All Might points out at the end of the arc, each character improves at their own rate, and this is based on where they started from and how hard they work. Bakugo, who had a strong quirk from birth, naturally started off with more potential and thus has been improving gradually his whole life. Meanwhile, Midoriya, who only recently got a quirk, is improving quickly because he is making up for time lost. Bakugo comparing himself to Midoriya thus is not smart on his part because its only natural the two improve differently. All Might even states that comparing the two is like comparing a level 100 character in a game to a level 1 character; the level 1 character will improve drastically because of their lower level, while the level 100 will seem slow by comparison since they already reached their strength gradually.
- Overhaul has a powerful Quirk... And no body conditioning or fight training. When forced to fight Mirio, someone who is already being hailed as the one most likely to become Japan's top hero while still a student, he only wins because he can regenerate from the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown he suffers at his hands until Mirio gets Depowered and becomes vulnerable, and is still psychologically destroyed by what he went through.
- Later he goes against Deku, and creatively uses his Quirk to turn himself into a Kaijuu that can match his full power... But not his speed, and he still doesn't have any fighting skill. Overhaul's defeat is swift and absolute.
- Overhaul manages to land one of the Quirk Destroying Bullets on Mirio, destroying his Quirk. Overhaul proceeds to gloat about his seeming victory, only for Mirio to continue fighting anyway and push Overhaul into a corner, because while Mirio lost his Quirk, he still has been physically training most of his life to use his Quirk properly.
- In the aftermath of the battle against Overhaul, Eri, who can't control her Quirk after figuring out how to use it is placed in quarantine: it's not just because shes injured, but because her ability allows her to "reverse time" for someone she's touched; naturally, until she's both healed and able to move again, Eri can't be allowed to go near anyone else.
- After the fight, a hero notes that very few civilians got injured because the majority of the damage took place in a residential area, and almost everyone was at work downtown, with most of the fight happening in the air specifically limiting the property damage. Several characters are noted to have survived with injuries that hurt, but will ultimately heal with time; however, one character didn't get off so lucky: Sir Night Eye, the team's resident Mission Control, was impaled through the abdomen during the battle. Despite getting to the hospital as quick as possible, the doctors note that the character has, at best, until the next morning to live, since such an injury is absolutely fatal: indeed, they only have time for a couple of goodbyes and a Dare to Be Badass speech to their comrades before dying in their hospital bed; it was proof positive that yes, heroes can and do die in the line of duty.
Culture Festival Arc
- Gentle makes a habit of filming his crimes to make a name for himself and uploading them online. Naturally being a glory hound and a villain doesn't get him points with the public with an extreme dislike ratio on his videos at zero likes. What's more, when he set to pull a caper at U.A. (who're already cautious after two major consecutive villain attacks on their school), he gets found out instantly by Deku when passing by him as he recognizes Gentle's voice.
- The Gentleman Thief Gentle provides on in that his notoriety will pale in comparison to other villains' since he doesn't perform the same level of violent crimes and destruction as they do. On a more tragic note, it also shows another potential failure: despite his best efforts, he could not become a hero and when he tried to help, he doomed his family to debt from lawsuits and was kicked out. The despair of it all broke him and in desperation, turned to crime to make his mark on the world. It is a heartbreaking show of good intentions leading to bad consequences and showcasing some of the failures of society to address this. In a further irony, Gentle has become much more skilled with his Quirk, to where he beat five heroes at once with it. Imagine if he used those powers for good. Then you realize he wanted to, but couldn't.
Pro Hero Arc
- Endeavor is the second most powerful and effective hero after All Might. However, since he's also a stern and intimidating man in a perpetual bad mood, he doesn't have anywhere near as many fans. There's also not much he can do about it, as the few fans he does have like him because he's such a hardass and are put off by his attempt to lighten up his image and the general public isn't swayed by said attempts. Even his dramatic and impressive battle with a powerful villain threatening a city mainly earns acclaim for a fan of his for encouraging people not to give up on him rather than Endeavor himself. The people are more willing to embrace a new figure than someone they already weren't fond of. His attempts to begin healing his relationship with his family after his Heel Realization also result in little success. While he genuinely wants to become a good husband and father, nobody is about to forget the years of abuse he subjected them to. Only one of his children is willing to give him a chance, and while his wife likes the idea, she is still too traumatized to even see or be in the same room as him.
Joint Training Arc
- From the Joint Training Arc, Aizawa and Vlad King both point out that Class 1-A is suffering from the Always in Class One trope— Class 1-B has better grades and better overall cohesion, while Class 1-A is lagging behind from being at the center of the plot.
- Class 1-A's greater real world experience makes them more adaptable and able to handle high stress situations and shows that simply because you have information about someone's capabilities, that information can be useless if that information is months out of date.
Meta Liberation Army Arc
- Chapter 218 pointed out that the rise of Quirks caused changes in the manufacturing industry as making mass items like clothes became obsolete, since there would be people with very varying body types including multiple limbs, anthropomorphic animals and people made of different matter than just flesh, giving rise to industries that cashed in by making individually tailored clothes and items for whoever needed them.
- While it was hinted before, Chapter 220 shows that discrimination against certain Quirks is still prominent in more conservative societies, with hate groups like the Creature Rejection Clan (who are KKK expies) also exist. People with Mutation-type Quirks like Tsu, Shouji, and Spinner didn't have very easy lives due to the prejudice they experienced. Spinner's experiences with bigotry due to his reptilian appearance is part of the reason why he joined the League of Villains.
- The series has stated several times that Quirks are parts of the body, but the true extent of this is shown with Himiko's backstory. Her Quirk is all about ingesting blood, so when she was young, she developed an urge to consume blood because it was a part of who she was, the same way someone with a Mutation Quirk was born with a physical mutation to their body. Since society operated the way it does, it didn't matter if it was something she couldn't resist, she was labeled a problem regardless of any therapy.
- Zigzagged in Chapter 227. Shigaraki is clearly disorientated and suffering from hallucinations after spending the last month and a half fighting Gigantomachia nonstop with only a few hours of rest. The reason this is zigzagged is that he can still fight and even kill several MLA soldiers easily despite this.
- Twice's trauma is subjected to this: he seemingly recovers in a moment of crisis, after Skeptic injures him badly enough to prove that, no, he's definitely not another clone of the real Twice, and unleashes his Quirk's full potential; but, as Chapter 240 shows, not only would such a blunt "remedy" not truly cure his trauma, after his inevitable relapse, he actually seems to have gotten worse as a result.
Winter Internship Arc
- The arc opens with Bakugo and Todoroki doing a TV interview for a criminal they managed to catch prior. While Todoroki acts civil and composed, Bakugo naturally is his brash, foul-mouthed self. So not surprisingly when the interview makes it to air, his sections are completely edited out since no sane networks will allow that behavior on a news program, especially involving a minor.
- During a discussion with Shigaraki, the Doctor reveals his theory about quirk superpower genetics: quirks continuing to mix and combine with each other will, eventually, lead to what he calls the "quirk singularity point". Once this point is hit, quirks will become too complicated and powerful for the average human body to handle, and will cause mass destruction on a widespread scale. This is a rather insightful look into how quirks function, and provides a ominous look into the future of this world.
- The incident happening in chapter 250-251 makes Endeavor aware that differently from All Might, he has no secret civilian identity and he doesn't possess the aura of invincibility the former Number One had, thus making his family an easy target. Therefore, he resolves to have a new house built for his children and his wife (who's close to being released from psych ward), whose location he'll likely not disclose. His decision has, however, a more intimate and personal reason too: he's increasingly aware that, while his family acknowledge his efforts to be better, a few months of being nicer cannot make up for years of abuse and neglect; it will take a long time for them to truly forgive him, if ever. So, he decides they will be better off living afar from him and a place so full of sad memories, as only he will keep staying in the current house.
- In the Illegals spin-off, Captain Celebrity is an arrogant, fame-obsessed American superhero who only does his job when there are cameras around and has no regard for collateral damage. This attitude got him kicked out of the American hero system, leaving Japan as the only place he can find work. Furthermore, he's an unrepentant womanizer—and has amassed a long list of sexual harassment lawsuits because of it.
- At one point Kouichi meets Tensei Iida (a.k.a. Ingenium) and the two hit it off with Tensei offering advice on how to use his Quirk more effectively, even giving him a card and a job offer at his hero office. Kouchi is more than ecstatic for it...until he reveals he's a vigilante when he helps stop a speed-based villain. While Tensei is more than happy for the help and doesn't report him, he ends up asking for the card back since he can't endorse what is essentially a lawbreaker, much to Kouichi's dismay.
- Once Knuckleduster is able to rescue his daughter, one of the goals he set out to accomplish in becoming a vigilante, he immediately leaves into the Hong Kong underground to find leads into the Villain Factory, so he leaves his old allies and his daughter without giving much explanation. Not only was he called out for leaving his traumatized daughter in the hospital, but his protege Kouichi also has very little combat ability in trying to continue on his own, ending up in a lot of trouble that Knuckleduster would normally help him with.
- In the Two Heroes movie, David's Quirk enhancing device is quickly shut down by the governments of the world after he reveals it to them. Such a device would create more risk than good, and if it fell into the hands of villains, it would be a disaster.
- Related to that, David's plan to get that device for All Might has a big flaw. Mainly that no group of small-time criminals or actors are going to accept a job pretending to be villains breaking into the second most heavily secured installation in the entire world even with the help of someone who can control the security system. They quite predictably turn out to be a group of immoral mercenaries looking to turn the job into a much bigger score, which ends up turning the situation even worst.
- A positive example for the heroes. Bakugo's Quirk means his sweat his highly flammable, which means that when one of the Elite Mooks gets some of his sweat on him, Todoroki is able to defeat him by using his fireside to nearly blow him up.