My Hero Academia should be more than just an anime about a superhero high school. It should be more than just about the superb supernatural abilities (known as ‘quirks’) or the fantastic fight scenes.
Anime commentaries usually cover character abilities, strength comparisons, and power-scaling. However, they seldom touch on the emotional and social lessons they teach us. As an avid anime fan, I realized that My Hero Academia could teach us a few life lessons.
The characters are from different backgrounds and all walks of life. As a result, they display a vast difference in how they think, behave, operate and work individually. However, their differences and individualities solidify their teamwork. For example, Class 1-A’s class rep, Tenya Ida, has a straightforward and disciplined personality.
This sometimes comes in handy when they face morally-dubious decisions, as he can be their moral anchor. As such, not only do they accept his character, but they also strongly encourage it and depend on this trait.
Another character is Katsuki Bakugo, the childhood friend and rival of the protagonist, Izuku Midoriya. Bakugo is “crude, arrogant, short-tempered, and aggressive.” Despite this, his fierceness and competitive nature have proven very inspirational to his classmates.
They haven’t tried to correct his “socially-unacceptable” traits. They have come to be fond of him regardless.
One of the less-explored themes in My Hero Academia – and in other anime series – is accountability. Indeed, it seems to be a common factor in anime. The anime has instances where the characters shamelessly display responsibility for their actions.
On two occasions, the protagonist was willing to bend the school’s rules to save someone. He also solicited the help of his classmates on both occasions. They took accountability for the consequences of their actions and accepted their punishment. The class also collectively takes the fall and never offers one person as a scapegoat when things go wrong.
It may be a stretch to compare anime to other forms of animation. It’s nevertheless necessary to point out the importance of reflecting on actions and their consequences I’ve observed in My Hero Academia.
The hero-hopefuls of MHA do just that. On many occasions, they gather together and reflect on their training, their failures, and their successes. They even reflect in the heat of battle. This has greatly enhanced their skills and strengthened the bonds between them.
“Plus-Ultra” is more than just a phrase the characters shout to spur them into action. The characters use “Plus-Ultra” to overcome personal failures, grudges, and emotional traumas. As a result, they become not only better heroes but also better people.
The superhero Endeavour overcomes his doubts of being the new number-one hero. He taps into the power of “Plus-Ultra”. His efforts prove he rose to the number one spot.
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