The My Hero Academia Dilemma

May 11, 2021

With an estimated 20-40 million viewers worldwide, the newer anime show “My Hero Academia” is in the midst of its fifth season and its last few chapters of the manga. The popular manga is soon coming to an end, while the show is still gaining traction. The story follows a boy, Izuku Midoyia on his quest to become a hero in a modern world full of superpowers and villains. Born without a power of his own, he has to overcome obstacles and opponents before him. 

The fifth season, premiering on March 27th only has a few episodes out, updating every week on Saturday, showing live in Japan, and then being released on anime viewing platforms like “Funimation”, a producing company of the show. “Funimation” has a contract with “Hulu” for a few shows, including “My Hero Academia”.

A large problem a lot of the viewers have with the show is one of the more important side characters, Shoto Todoroki, his father, Endeavor, and their relationship. From a young age, Todoroki was subjected to abuse from his father, as was his mother and older brother, resulting in his oldest brother dying in a fire, and his mother ending up in a mental institution because she harmed Todoroki. In the newest seasons, Endeavor has made it clear he wants to mend his relationships with his wife and children. Todoroki’s two other siblings had been neglected by their father, meaning the entire family hates their father. Fuyumi, Todorki’s older sister, is trying to connect with her dad and convince her brothers to give him a chance.

Many fans have hated Endeavor from the beginning, and some have gone as far as to protest the redemption arc, saying that trying to fix years of abuse and neglect is “unreasonable” and “toxic”. Some are not as reluctant to accept his change, explaining that if he is sorry and wants to make things better, why not give him a chance. These people are commonly berated with other fans about how abuse works and how it isn’t as easy to forgive someone for years of trauma. Sophomore Angelia Borski says, “While I think Endeavor is a flaming pile of trash, I also think it’s good that he’s trying his best not to be horrible to his family anymore.”

Another large topic of debate is the ship of Bakugo and Kirishima, two close male friends who are fairly important characters. Bakugo, the childhood bully of Izuku has a strong power and is very aggressive towards everyone, turning everything into a competition and yelling “DIE!” when facing his opponents. His seemingly only friend in the show who is not a lackey of his is another powerful character Kirishima. Kirishima is a kind and determined person who encourages the best in people and is a peacekeeper-type character who tries to calm Bakugo down a lot.

Many fans have noted that the two are extremely close and have started a trend of shipping the characters together or imagining the two in a relationship. This gained traction very quickly in the fandom, becoming one of the most popular ships of the show that is not actually said to be a legitimate relationship. Sophomore Sarah Al Imami comments, “It has to be canon at this point. Bakugo is also friends with Denki but doesn’t do half the things he does with Kirishima. Not to mention any friendships we saw in MHA were never as close as Kiribaku. Bakugo doesn’t even like anyone besides Kirishima.” Some fans have argued this, saying that just because two characters are close does not mean they have to be in a relationship, and that shipping everyone together is just irrational, but most can’t deny the chemistry between the two. 

The manga has recently released chapter 309 of My Hero Academia, and many speculate that it will soon come to an end after the manga was announced to have “entered the final act” by the creator, Kohei Horikoshi. The series is likely to end this year. In short, My Hero Academia is a well-received anime that has a growing audience and an interesting story. The show includes lots of themes of friendship, heroes, greed, and abuse, and does a great job showing how corrupt society is no matter the power you have. When asked about MHA’s message, Borski says, “Those with power aren’t necessarily good.” Sophomore Athena Munsterman adds, “Even heroes can be corrupt.”

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