One simple thing that is truly fascinating about My Hero Academia is how it manages to keep the enjoyment and intensity from its generic superhero formula where the protagonist brings out all his best to become the greatest hero. It sounds plain, but a lot of people appreciate not just how the young characters significantly develop but more on the emotional core of the series. It is rather an action drama that explores different perspectives on heroism from protecting their loved ones to fighting tough villains. While other superhero fictions focus on the well-executed action scenes, My Hero Academia does a unique job in making such well-rounded characters that are definitely relatable with great emotional impact. One such character is the adorable Izuku Midoriya who has brought the fandom to the most fantastic world of superheroes.
Izuku Midoriya, or better known as “Deku”, is an accurate representation of a hero wannabe. He looks bland and boring, and he does seem to have the same route as other famous shounen heroes like Naruto, Luffy and Natsu which in fact makes his overall impact a complete lackluster and eventually disappoints many shounen fans. However, another thing I realize as I go through the story is the fact that his strong emotions have great impact to many fans, and this is what makes him so special compared to other superhero protagonists in anime shows, Marvel and DC comic books, and other popular superhero TV series.
Deku has an inspiring introduction. Since I started watching the first season, I have always rooted for his development in the story especially that he was characterized as weakling, crybaby and bullied by his childhood friend and rival at the same time, Katsuki Bakugou, and yet, he didn’t give up on his dream to become a hero. I know this is just a simple approach from a shounen anime, and it isn’t a horrible thing to get hooked up with this typical formula. The existence of such simple protagonist as Deku is the sole reason why My Hero Academia is easily approachable and friendly in nature. Of course, this heroic concept is also true to Naruto or any main characters you could think of, but what makes Deku’s introduction a widely global phenomenon is his wholesome character who is simple and goes on what life has meant to him despite his flaws and the internal conflicts he faces with. He mirrors the character of someone who is not just struggling to become the best version of himself but rather a character who shows compassion and selfless action though risking his life to save someone is the only choice. These traits can already be seen in the early episodes, but it doesn’t mean he had already reached the peak of his development because there are a lot more to explore in him especially that Katsuki Bakugo is a big foil to his character.
Deku is a relatable nerdy character. Being a fanboy of the number one superhero All Might, Deku is surely a delight if you share the same experience when nerding your heart out with someone you look up to. His nerdy character is fun to watch, and Hirokoshi does a great job in depicting a perfect image of a simple, well-rounded character who is into nerd culture. This trait allows him to flesh out his admiration to All Might which is portrayed realistically. This might be non-existent to other protagonists because Deku, despite being bullied as a nerd, he doesn’t let this character be a downfall in making his actions out from his dream to become as good as All Might. It does not mean he wants to be the exact image of his idol, but he gets his motivation from the goodwill and heartfelt moments that All Might has done to humanity. Although he acquired a powerful quirk from All Might, Deku still wants to have his own unique strength. He has been working on it while learning from his weaknesses and failures in the middle of various challenges and obstacles in the hero course.
He doesn’t always win but spreads positivity. I know a lot of shounen protagonists who are actually predictable during a battle scene as those who start as weaklings and eventually defeat those strong villains in just a blink of an eye. In early episodes, Deku already faces tough opponents but ends up hurting himself after he uses his strong quirk, One For All. He ends up being confined in the clinic, ill and full of bruises. Despite these negative consequences, what is amazing is how he easily copes up with such stress. He doesn’t think of being the number one at all, but what is important to him is saving people with his selfless action though risking his arm from a tremendous shock brought by his powerful quirk. He defines a wide aspect of human nature, learning from his mistakes and getting lessons from a lot of experience. I think this is what All Might sees in him. Deku shows such a positive energy amidst of perils he ought to overcome. His emotions are filled with intense pain, fear and anxiety that resonate with the heart of the audience.
Assuming he doesn’t have any quirk at all, he is still the most admirable shounen hero. What makes Deku the best shounen hero is not the fact he has a powerful quirk but his willpower and self-sacrifice to save those in need. He is much aware he still has a lot of things to work on, but it doesn’t allow him to restrain himself from saving his loved ones, for example, when Bakugo is caught by a big monster in the early episode, and Deku saves him without any second thought. This event shows how his character manages to keep closer to the real world instead getting to the fictional element with exaggerated heroic strength. He is not perfect nor did he try to become the best one, but at least, he is a pure-hearted young boy who values his family, friends and mentors.
Deku needs the most decent spotlight he deserves as those superheroes you love to geek out over. He doesn’t possess an unbelievable strength but is definitely a realistic character whom you can relate with. He might not be the best hero to begin with but a hero who inspires everyone by his passion, hardship and perseverance. He is a unique character, and everything about him is delightfully wholesome.
I couldn’t just hate you, nerd!