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06/17/2019 09:23:29 •••

One of My favorites

As I've gotten older I've started to grow out of shounen, the plots are often overly simplistic, and the characters are too arch for me to appreciate compared to other shows. That said, My Hero Academia is without a doubt among my top 3 shounen.

Izuku is one of the best and most well-rounded shounen protagonists. He's kind-hearted and idealistic, but he's not a simpleton by any stretch, a refreshing break from the idiot hero archetype. He's also reasonably insecure as most teenagers are, but he copes with it and grows out of it as the manga continues. Most most importantly unlike some other popular protagonists (Kirito, and the Kirito clones) Izuku has a decernable and consistent personality.

Its no secret that the author is taking a few notes from Naruto, but the twists he adds are very welcome. If Izuku parallels Naruto, than Todoroki and Bakugou parallel Sasuke. I'll start with Bakugou, Bakugou inherits the dickish, elitist, and naturally gifted aspects of Sasuke. However instead of his behavior being justified by trauma, its rather because he was born lucky. Since he was born naturally intellegent, confidant, athletic, and with a powerful ability he cowed everyone around him. He has heard almost nothing but praise and almost never been told 'no'. This clearly screwed with his psyche and makes him think he's superior to everyone else. Its a surprisingly accurate depiction of how narcissism can develop. But what I like most about Bakugou is that no one really likes him. The thing that I never bought about Sasuke was that he was popular, even with girls. He was so personally unpleasant that it was hard to believe that anyone liked him. Bakugou doesn't have this problem, once he's no longer the world's most special snowflake, people don't actually want to be associated with him, and he has very few real friends.

Todoroki is also gifted, but he mostly inherits the abusive backstory and broken nature of Sasuke. The refreshing thing about Todoroki is that the narrative doesn't treat his past as an excuse to hurt people. Todoroki's behavior is more self-destructive, he refuses to use fire half of his ability even though its what protects him from the ice half. This is treated as foolish and dangerous in the narrative, and him ceasing to do it and not letting his trauma define him are major parts of his character arc.

Where the manga suffers though, unfortunately is firstly, with female characters who are rarely given the depth of development of their male counterparts. Secondly, the manga tends to jump straight from one major event to the next with almost no time to slow down. IE there aren't any training arcs. You get to see that some training is happening, but it always feels too fast, and progress is always an immediate epiphany. While this lets the manga go from major moment to major moment, it warps the feeling that Izuku is working for his abilities, which is a major detriment.

06/17/2019 00:00:00

I agree that there are some parallels with Naruto, but I\'d argue Todoroki has more in common with Neji. Rather than being motivated by revenge, he\'s bitter over what the head of the family did to him. By comparison, while Fugaku was emotionally distant and hard to please, partially the result of being preoccupied with leading the clan, he was a much better father to Sasuke than Endeavor was to Shoto.

Speaking of Sasuke, while Sakura and Ino had crushes on him, most of his classmates only admired him for his talent as a ninja, and didn\'t necessarily like him as a person(Shikamaru says as much when setting out to retrieve Sasuke). Of course, as rude as Sasuke was, he was never a bully like Bakugo, nor did he ever suggest that Naruto kill himself.

I agree about the female characters being underdeveloped, but only partially. While Uraraka has less development than Midoriya, Bakugo, Todoroki or Iida, I found the female supporting characters from Class 1A (especially Tsuyu and Yaoyorozu) more interesting than most of their male classmates, and definitely more likable than Mineta.

Incidentally, I don\'t think that Kirito\'s all that good of an example of a personality-less protagonist. His personality comes through more in the light novels, where he\'s the narrator for much of the story, and even in the anime, he\'s significantly more complex than people give him credit for.


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