Understanding My Hero Academia – Hopes, Dreams and Lies of a Mediocre Masterpiece
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Understanding My Hero Academia – Hopes, Dreams and Lies of a Mediocre Masterpiece

September 2, 2019


Ever since I was a child I’ve always been inexplicably
fascinated by lies. Perhaps because the line that separates telling
a story from telling a lie is so subtle to be almost non-existent. And I’ve always loved watching, reading and
writing stories. But this line exists although sometimes it
is difficult to see. After all, if stories are the manifestation
of our dreams, then lies are the impossibility of making such dreams a reality. On the other hand there are situations where
is right and also necessary to lie; saying that lying is always a morally wrong action
would be really too naive. In fact when we talk about the best way to
judge lies, we often don’t consider a very important as easily forgettable element that
can completely turn the judgment and the perspective of people: that is the intention with which
lies are said and thought. But can a good intention still attenuate,
or even excuse, the act of having distorted the truth? This problem seems completely alien to MHA,
but really the answer to this question is complementary to the quality of this great
story of little heroes. Because once this lie is unmasked, MHA becomes
only a shadow of a mediocre battle shounen. But tries to convey a simple, powerfull messagge
with such passion and intensity that for me it’s just impossible to not rispect it wholeheartedly,
even if I perfectly know that is, and will probably forever remain, nothing but a huge
and clumsy life. Lie that takes the name of Midorya Izuku. “People are not born equal” is a strange opening
for a battle shounen like MHA. I mean, it’s not funny at all, it’s not emotional
or blatantly scenic and two-dimensional. It’s a sentence that doesn’t want to make
you dream, but to make you think. It’s such a pessimistic and cynic but ironically
true comment that it seams written just to make fun of you. Or maybe of itself, since the premise is to
show you an academy full of hopeful and young heroes of justice. But is it really that dark? Because also all the other battle shounen
are not just “confetti, party trumpets and stupid cone hats everyone hates”. For example: last time I’ve watched One Piece,
Ceasar Clown kidnapped and drugged children to use them as lab rats and— my God, I really
can’t understand why Japan think Akame ga Kill is “kid friendly”. But I can understand why One Piece is kid friendly. No opponent of Luffy can be considered a real
villain because, despite their actions are more than evil, it’s difficult to take seriously
antagonists so smiley and cartoony that look like parodies than real, fearsome and despicable
pirates. Everyone has an aura of dangerous authority,
but they never conveyed to me a visceral feeling of being in front of someone who finds pure
pleasure in killing people despite many opponents of Luffy are just simple killers who find
pure pleasure in killing people. And they’ll never convey this feeling until
their motives will remain only an excuse to make them less clowny than they really are,
nor that’s the goal of One Piece. The clash between the ridiculous and the cruel,
between tears and laughts, between funny antagonists with no funny intentions and stupid protagonists
with absolutely stupid intentions, is the appeal of One Piece, and the reason why Oda
created his characters and the world in which they live in this way: not to comment on strong
themes even though they exist, but to make Luffy’s
adventure the most classic hero’s journey, a real fight between the Good and the Evil…
even if the protagonists are pirates and therefore the real villains, b-but I think you got it. For its first season and a half MHA is that
kind of experience. It channels the first carefree but turbulent
moments of One Piece with a dignified respect… until we are introduced to Stain, and that
already forgotten first sentence begins slyly to return relevant. Stain, and all his figure involves, marks
the true beginning of MHA, and the point where the story acquires a personality and a depth
of its own. The tone become gloomy and catastrophic. The villains are introduced as villains and
are showed like true villains, and the smiles of the first season become only distant memories. Until chapter 96 of the manga, MHA becomes a steep
and desperate descent to Hell, leaving in our protagonists’ hands a Heroes-with-a-capital-H
kind of situation, and in our heads the doubt about the uselessness of fighting for a concept
as nebulous as “peace”. Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but that sense
of real danger, that feeling of “foolish heroic desperation”, despite the mangaka publicly
apologized for the steep change of tone, is just what MHA needed most. Not only to distance itself from the ease
with which you can compare it with all the other famous battle shounen, but also because
emphasizing the horrendous details of some characters is what Kohei Horikoshi, the author,
does best. “People are not born equal” is not just a revengeful
cry for the cancellation of two series in a row, but the inconvenient open secret on
which stands the whole plot of MHA. After all, All Might is a lie, Deku is determined
to destroy his body for his hero, and together with his classmates, wants to protect a society
based on suppression which silently instigates people to use their quirks illicitly. So proclaiming not only on the first page
but already from the first sentence that you, generic reader or viewer, may not become the
Pirate King or Hokage as in your dreams, is a choice that feels almost out of place for
a story so cheerful and happy as MHA. It is a sentence that strikes and leaves its
mark; a sentence I would never have expected to read as opening of a story that constantly
reminds you how anyone can be a hero. It’s a warning you can only understand in
retrospect because, at the beginning, it’s difficult to notice it when you have such
cute characters in a world so colorful and flashy that splash energy and vitality even
on paper. And only in retrospect, only after you’ve
distanced yourself from the emotions of the first watch and its intelligent “trap”, you
can see how much MHA is an uncomfortable middle way, the unfortunately necessary step many
other battle shounen will use in the future to evolve and distance themselves from a redundant
and obsolete past. Because MHA managed to find its own identity
trying to not approach “shounen” as such, but at the same time, falls into trivial errors
his predecessors made their strengths, and in doing so, reminded me how much better are
its inspirations almost under every aspect. This is a very controversial topic to discuss,
but I think it would be useless and counterproductive not to consider it or pretend is not so easy
to compare a bunch of battle shounen that have much in common. Also because only by putting them shoulder
to shoulder you can understand how and why MHA is in a far more uneasy and complicated
position than its predecessors. In 1995 Dragon Ball was still vivid in everyone’s
mind, and its legacy was picked up and improved by three manga that will mark an era; three
manga today are considered synonyms of the word “shounen”: One Piece, Naruto and Bleach. And I don’t think I’m exaggerating by saying
that; literally ask any manga or anime fan what they think hearing the word “shounen”,
and I’m sure the answer will be at least one of these three names depending on their preferences
and experiences. And I think this is an overall good thing. Thanks to their worldwide success, more or
less everyone knows what manga are, even on a basic level. And you can find them more easily than before. It’s exactly this the world where MHA has
managed to carve out a big slice of public. A world in which One Piece is the best-selling
manga, and where Naruto and Bleach have ended but for many they’re still alive and remembered
with love and nostalgia as part of the famous “Pillars of Jump”. Talking about MHA means we have to consider
a world where there are more manga and anime for everyone, a world where you can become
who you want how you want. But also a saturated world where everything
is more complex and where everything is more disgusting because it’s complex. A world where everything is uncertain and
more stupid, but certainly more convenient and satisfying if you know how to play your
cards. A world where, if Dragon Ball had never existed,
MHA would have been the new thing to overcome. But we already have Dragon Ball. In fact we’ve watched it so many times we
remember every episode and cliches. And after watching a couple episodes of “Super”,
for me was too clear that we don’t need another Dragon Ball nowadays. But this is still the world where MHA has
managed to do something almost impossible for many authors, so it must have done something
right. How and why it has succeeded are far more
complicated questions than one can think, because despite MHA has the pacing of a modern
title that knows perfectly where is going and where wants to end, it completely lacks
the creativity, the skill, but above all, the smartness of a modern title. The smartness of an author who should have
learned something from thousands of other stories with thousands of other characters
with a problematic past who can use strange powers in interesting and innovative ways. Or thousands of fights where the protagonist
doesn’t win just because he’s the protagonist. Or thousands of worlds where society is modified
completely by the existence of superpowers. Or thousands of secondary characters that
are not only cute figures with super-powers with absolutely nothing super and absolutely
nothing interesting but an integral parts of the story. …or thousands of stories where the protagonist
is both the all time high and the all time low of the entire show. “People are not born equal” is MHA’s soul, body
and energy. The entire story and its powerfull message
are based on this sentence, and it’s also thanks to this sentence if we immediatly connect
with Deku. And precisely because of this, I can only
find sadly ironic that this sentence is turned upside down, and thus loses any kind of meaning,
in just one chapter thanks to the hands of his so beloved protagonist. Nowadays it almost seams like that every character
wants to be formidable fighter with a tragic past. In fact, when Deku thinks that Todoroki, his
classmate with the ability to create ice and fire, would be the perfect protagonist of
a comic, I couldn’t help but disagree with him, because that would be boring. Or rather, when writers think creating a character
full of problems and inner dramas immediately leads people to make a connection with him:
that’s boring. In fact it’s the way you show those problems
and how they affect the character what separates a Bakemonogatari from an Akame ga Kill. And just after seeing the protagonists of
Akame ga Kill trying desperately to attract my attention throwing to myself yet another
tragic past, I realized how much Deku is a precious protagonist and, probably, one of
the best in recent years. After all how many are like Deku? How many protagonists are the shivering child
with no powers who tries to save his friend from overpowered bullies? Few or very few, but for very considerable
reasons. The only example I can think of is Tsunayoshi
Sawada from Katekyo Hitman Reborn that… wow, it really doesn’t look good anymore. Tsuna is a good-for-nothing mess, the last
person you would think as the boss of the mafia itself, but even he is not a protagonist
without compromises. He doesn’t have to earn the title of boss,
even if he has to defeat a couple of enemies to be recognized as such, because he has Vongola’s
blood in his veins; he’s forced to become the boss. Moreover, his clumsiness doesn’t add anything
to the plot if not comic events in the first episodes that, in fact, are the worst of the
entire story. The golden rule to follow in these cases is
that every element of a plot must exist only to serve its message. If it doesn’t, then it’s wasting your time. It’s clutter, something to rethink or delete. And obviously, one of the most crucial element
is the choice of the protagonist, because a wrong point of view can make even the most
interesting story dull and boring. One of the most fascinating examples I’ve
ever read about the topic at hand is The Kubikiry Cycle, the mystery novel written by Nisio
Isin, writer of my beloved Monogatari Series. Ii-chan, in fact, was only a secondary character
Nisio Isin later made protagonist after noticing how important he had become in the plot, and
it’s easy to understand the reason behind this choice. Compared to Kunagisa (the original protagonist),
he’s him who actively investigates and puts together all the clues at their disposal. It’s also always him who has the most interesting
interactions with all the other guests of the mansion. Not to mention his problems with Kunagisa
herself, which makes their intimacy almost embarrassing after discovering it. If using Kunagisa would have flattered the
whole story, the same would apply to Todoroki, or any other
character other than Deku. I’m sure watching our beloved Shoto dealing
with his family problems in first person would be a very personal and enjoyable experience,
but at that point we will have a different MHA. Probably a MHA focused on how to be a hero
facing parental abuse…? And, at that point, what would distinguish
his story from Hanekawa’s one from the Monogatari Series if not having superheroes thematic
issues and being a bit generic? What makes Hanekawa’s conflict interesting is that we don’t live it through her
eyes, but mainly through Araragi’s. Only in Nekomonogatari White, that is the
last part of her narrative arc, she becomes the protagonist, and only at that point we
can understand the hole picture. Both stories serve the same theme but in a
different way, and with different results and consequences. Furthermore observing such a personal problem
through the understanding of others is intrinsically fascinating, especially if two characters
have grown in opposite ways. And this must be what Horikoshi thought when
choosing Deku as the protagonist. If the goal of the story is to convey that
“anyone can be a hero”, what is the most interesting point of view: that of a hero who wants to
become the greatest hero of all time, or that of a person without powers who wants to become
the greatest hero of all time? Obviously the second, because it’s a risky
choice. And everyone loves risky choices, because
they lead to interesting, dramatic, dangerous and exciting developments. Ironically, what makes Deku such a special
protagonist is precisely that he doesn’t have anything special in a world full with special
people. It’s precisely thanks to his “plainliness” if he
can bring something new to the story, a point of view Todoroki or any other superhero can’t
add if they remain as they are. This is also why their conflict is so engaging
to seem almost personal, because it’s a clash between two opposite but equally right lifestyles. Both deserve to win, but only one can claim
the first place, and I imagine anyone of us took a different side according to their personal
experiences and beliefs. Deku is a perfect protagonist for this type
of story because, like Ippo from Hajime no Ippo, he is nothing and has nothing! Well, except his naive dream of becoming a
hero, the ironic luck of not having any quirk, and the ability to lie to himself repeating
that he’ll succeed despite that being impossible. Deku is that kind of liar you cannot dislike
because all of us are, have been or know someone like Deku: a dreamer who from an early age
wanted to be an astronaut, a football player or an artist. Just… like… me… and just like hundreds
of thousands of other people, I guess, because it’s true that “people are not born equal”,
but we all struggle to make our dreams a reality; this is a theme everyone can relate to. So when not only society, but his mother and
his favorite hero say that no, he can’t become a hero despite his commitment, but you still
see him running against a villain to save his so called “friend”, the trap set by the
first sentence is already been triggered and you are completely involved in the narrative. Already from the first page, if not from the
first panel, you don’t need to know anything else about Deku because you know everything
you need to understand him and to put yourself in his shoes. In fact, when All Might tells him that he
was wrong and instead he can become a hero as he always dreamed, it’s very difficult
(if not nearly impossible) to hold back the tears and do not enthusiastically start jumping
around the room for Deku despite you know him since twenty minutes ago, because those
words are what we all dream: the proof our time spent in something a lot of people thought
trivial was indeed the right thing to do. Like us mere mortals, Deku must earn those
words. And the way he earns them is trying something
scary, risky and, most likely, stupid. It’s a more reasonable version of gambling:
if you start with nothing, from a rash act you can only earn something, be it something
material or an inner lesson. Obviously with that scene MHA is not trying
to push people to throw away their life at video poker or to risk it in an eternal search
of a heroic moment. The attempted rescue of Bakugo is more of
a symbolic act that can be interpreted in infinite variations depending on what you
want to see, whether it is to find the courage to asking a girl out, or to stand up
and face your inner demons. The message the first chapter of MHA tries
to convey is that anyone can make their dreams come true even if they seem impossible. That with commitment, determination and a
lot of discipline you can create the so-called “luck” with your hands. It’s the more “anime message” ever, a classic
wave of optimism only the ingenuity of Japanese entertainment can provide in such a powerful
and effective way. But in the second episode, MHA snatches all
that optimism from you and adds a small, tiny little sentence at the end, that says “anyone
can become a hero! …only if you are nearby an All Might ready to give you his superpowers”
. Deku should never have obtained One for All
because, at that point, he becomes like Todoroki: just another very powerful superhero— no,
rather he becomes worse than him, because Todoroki is a very powerful dramatic and unlucky
hero, with problems and traumas to overcome, while Deku has nothing but the most mundane
quirk of all! Getting All Might’s quirk can be considered
as the right reward for all his efforts, but this logic doesn’t hold up from a narrative
standpoint because now Deku not only supports the message of the story marginally, but moreover
the plot doesn’t takes new risks when it was literally sitting on a gold mine. It’s the same discussion on why Todoroky would
be a bad protagonist. It’s more appealing and original a story of
a superhero learning how to control his superpowers fighting fearsome super-enemies, or the story
of a nobody learning how to fight super-enemies without superpowers? On the other hand I can understand the reason
behind this choice. After all, it is the simplest and most effective
way to engage the audience in the short term, and this is also what thousands of other authors
did in the past; so there must be a reason. But let’s be honest: if we don’t take risks
on narrative, where should we take them? In real life? Hah, don’t make me laugh and depress more
than I already am. There were more appropriate ways to make Deku
stand up to Todoroki or Shigaraki Tomura even without One for All. For example, actually taking advantage of
the Support Team: students who design gadgets to help heroes. And this doesn’t seems to me an option so
absurd if you think about it, even if that would have made Deku something like the “Batman
of anime”. (I love doing this kind of shit.) And as silly as this nickname may sound this
development would have been perfect to reflect the message of the first chapter, would have
been appropriate for a character like Deku and, above all, would have made each fight
as exciting as the rescue of Bakugo, if not a thousand times better. Even the entrance exam to the Academy would
have been one of those scenes you will always end up remembering, given that Deku should
have stood up to those big ass robots concealing his total lack of quirks. And think about fighting a real super villan! Watching MHA, the “he’s good but can do a
lot better” professors constantly told to my parents during highschool was never more
clear. And if this feeling was conveyed to me by
its protagonist, the character who must be the absolute star of the show, then there’s
a much more serious problem underneat all of this. Because it’s not only Deku that “could do
a lot better”. The secondary characters, the quirks, the
narrative world and even the fights themselves seem to be written with enormous naivety,
and inserted only because Horikoshi thought they were cool, funny or interesting, but
without ever exploring any of these elements in their being cool, fun and interesting. It’s all plain, plainly plain, as if this
was the ground on which he should have built the real MHA. And if a superhero-based battle shounen limps
right on its foundations, like fights and superpowers… well, I would say that “this
is too much, man”. I think it’s pretty clear, but I just love
One Piece. It’s one of three stories that made me the
person I am now alongside Toradora and Bakemonogatari. And like Toradora and Bakemonogatari, I always
found myself returning to it, though my relationship with One Piece is… kinda complicated. I hate to be cliffhangered, especially when
you could stay on the edge of your seat for months and months. So, in One Piece’s case, I simply decide to
wait. And while waiting a week, ten weeks or, most
likely, a hundred weeks, I always find something new and interesting to watch. And all these new and interesting things to
watch make me slowly forget those hundred episodes out there ready to be watched comfortably
one after the other. But maybe it’s better this way. Every time I end up binging the wonderful
absurdities Oda manages to pull out of who knows where, I can only let out a huge sigh
full of dissatisfaction. Precisely, Japanese-mobile-games kind of dissatisfaction,
if you know what I mean. In those type of games you are overwhelmed
by a feeling of “pride and accomplishment” completing fast, fun missions full of flashy
prizes and easy “free” premium money… until the game takes the role of your mom and decides
you have to wait before you can be flooded again by that sweet, sweet shower of simple
and childish fun. And waiting is never fun. Maybe that’s why a lot of Bethesda’s games
never worked for me. The magic that triggers my addiction for One
Piece are the characters; precisely, I love their interactions. Goofy expressions, light-hearted talks combined
with some serious discussions are really pleasant and entertaining to watch, but obviously the
best interactions are when these characters get down to business in epic and high-sounding
fights, otherwise it wouldn’t be a battle shounen. In fact I think One Piece has the most enjoyable
fights I’ve ever seen in any anime and also what I consider the perfect archtype of a fight, although this one it’s neither
epic or high-sounding. Luffy vs Usopp is a personal, intimate fight. So personal and intimate the only correct
way to enjoy it is putting your hands over your eyes and simply don’t watch it. And also don’t hear. So you should mute the sound too, I guess,
because nobody wants to see or hear its consequences. After all, having a vague idea of who the
two challengers are, is all you need to understand that this is just unfair. We know Luffy. It’s pratically a living legend, a monument
impossible to break down without targeting his friends. In fact he cares so much about them he often
launches himself into stupidly desperate situations just to save them. At this point in the story he defeated Kuro,
Don Krieg, Arlong, Crocodile, Ener and, in the following saga, he will defeat the fearsome
Lucci. While, who even is Usopp? A liar with a slingshot, some silly gadgets
and two thousand subordinates. Too bad they exist only in his head. This fight doesn’t make sense; they’re on
two completely different leagues. There are many reasons why Usopp has nearly
zero chances of winning: he doesn’t have the power of a devil fruit, Zoro or Sanji type
of resistance or strenght and, moreover, at that precise plot point he’s also so badly
injured that a single punch would be enough to defeat him. But Usopp doesn’t want to lose the Going Marry,
and the only thing he can do is challenge Luffy despite knowing perfectly the desperation
behind this act. And because he’s so desperate that the hamsters
in his head start running, and he understands his chances aren’t completely zero. Let’s analyze the fight. Usopp will lose one hundred percent if Luffy
stays close to him and/or hits him first. So Usopp must obtain the first shot to dictate
the pacing of the combat, maintaining at the same time an optimal distance to use his slingshot
and avoid Luffy’s punches. But the slingshot isn’t the only weapon in
his possession. In fact Usopp has also some dials recovered
from Skypea in the previous narrative arc, among which stand out one able to generate
gas and the infamous impact dial, a weapon capable of absorbing the force of any blow
and to release it causing serious internal injuries to the enemy if the user can manage
its backlash. So the plan is really simple: the only way
Usopp can actually hope to defeat Luffy is to channel his strength into the impact dial
and use it against him. But to do so, he must first make Luffy angry,
and this is probably the most difficult part of the plan. After all they know each other literally from
the beginning of the story. Usopp is well aware Luffy would never fight
one of his friends with all his strenght, especially if wounded like that. So, in order to make Luffy fight, he has to
play dirty, using that love for his friends as a shield and a weapon. In fact Usopp gains not only the first shot
but also all the successive shots succeding on putting Luffy into some real dangers using
sharp and explosive weapons to harm his rubber body. Too bad Luffy cannot be defeated with so little;
it would have been to unrealistic seeing how many challenges he has overcomed. So, after barely resisting the dial’s backlash,
Usopp is defeated with just one punch, leaving everyone unsatisfied. After all, there was no scenario in which
everyone could have been happy. Whether he won or lost, Usopp would still
have left the Straw Hat crew, and losing was the only right choice both for the abysmal
difference in power and for exploring and evolving a character who really needed a change. All fights should be like this fight, where
the important thing is not so much who is the winner, because we already know who will
be the winner, but its development and the consequences the victory will have on the
other characters and the world around them. Fights where you can understand the thought
process made by both challengers, and with that, by the writer behind them. And fights where every action of such characters
is natural and dictated by their personality. All fights should be like that. And this is not how MHA’s fights are. In fact if we try to dissect them the same
way, it immediately jumps to the eye that something is wrong. But to do this, I have to go into specifics. And I want to do it, because a story so loved
as MHA deserves concrete evidences and affirmations. So, I hate to stop the flow of this video,
but .. DISCLAIMER! Now I’m going to explain why the fights suck,
why the superpowers suck and also why the society built around these super-powers also
sucks going into details. So, if you have not seen MHA or you do not
care about my criticism, then I really suggest to jump directly to the part where I literally
loose my mind as I try to understand why I consider it a masterpiece despite all of these
problems. So, without further ado, let’s get… That’s right, let’s get physical! Like All Might vs Nomu, and Deku vs Shishou,
Todoroki, Stain and All Might himself. Unfortunately, or luckly, there is not so
much to comment on. Once you see All Might defeating Nomu “exceeding
his limit” is like having seen all the most important fights MHA has to offer you, namely
those people usually remember, because they all end with the protagonist who win breaking
rules previously set by the story itself. I think the third season is the exemplification
of this sentence, but the key example is the fight against Shishou, in which Deku manages
to move, although he could not, simply because “he didn’t want to lose”. So what MHA is suggesting to you in that moment
is that all the other hypnotized students couldn’t move a finger because they were less
determined than Deku …? Now I understand why that scene reminded me so much the anime
ending of Soul Eater. I always try my best to choose the right words
to use because I don’t want to sound pretentious, but the fight between Deku and Shishou is
simply terrible. It’s one of the worst fight I’ve ever seen,
and I say this after finishing Akame ga Kill and Bungo Stray Dogs who, well, are excellent
contenders. Deku couldn’t have won, but he had to, otherwise
we would never have had the fight against Todoroki and, boy oh boy, if people love this
fight. And I both understand and don’t understand
it, because this time it’s Deku’s behavior that breaks the “rules”. I mean, the Deku we see in the first episode,
or the one that passes Eraser Head’s exam, or the one that wins the first race of the festival, thus the Deku that studies quirks as a hobby,
would have stayed still and simply destroy his own body without trying nothing new? This does also happen against Shishou, where
Deku literally falls into his “trap” despite knowing more or less his quirk. These are solutions at the limit of the acceptable
because, hell, everyone act without thinking and I personally know how much you can move
despite having broken bones (even if mine had not crumbled, but lets forget about this),
but if we compare these fights with those in which Deku thinks lateraly, moments which
Deku acts like Deku, the first seem written by a child. But I don’t mean it in a mean way. When you realize how awkwardly they have been
structured, the magic that surrounds them vanishes, and what remains under your eyes
are literally two action figures slamming against each other only with special effects
and high quality sounds. And this is adorable. It’s so adorably stupid that reminded me of
those nerve wracking moments when I couldn’t lower my arms or Goku wouldn’t be able to
defeat his enemy. And just like those childish actions it seems
almost unfair to criticize MHA’s fights because yes, they don’t follow any logic, but they
are written really with the best of intentions. Unlike classic battle shounen where fights
are nothing more than mere clashes between good and evil, here they tell the characters
more than the character themselves. After all when you put your life in danger
or you want to get something important, if you want to win or to survive you have to
give both your good 100% as well as your bad 100%. In fact, Nomu shows All Might in all his dramatic
heroic strength, Deku Shishou’s disillusionment, Todoroki’s family problems, the intimate relationship
between Ingenium and Ida, and Bakugo’s ideal of heroism. And to make these situations critical and
important you have to take dramatic choiches. Choices that emphasize the dangerousness of
the situation, and therefore, choices that create events seemingly impossible to overcome,
like making All Might weak, making Deku fall in Shishou’s trick and make him break all
his fingers against Todoroki. But impossible situations do not require impossible
solutions, but lateraly, creative solutions. Solutions that make you say “Wow, I didn’t
thought about it!” But creating that “I didn’t thought about
it” is not easy at all. It requires al lot of effort and skill. Skills I believe Horikoshi hasn’t mastered
yet. The ingenuity of MHA’s fighting is, basically,
why his two previous manga have been cancelled. Manga where magic is used magically only to
quickly end an interesting premise told in an uniteresting way, and where the so-called
“lance that will save the world” looks more like the “branch that will save
the world”. Except that, for MHA’s case, I wouldn’t talk
so much about “ingenuity” as “clumsyness”, because every fight has a better ending right
under their noses. Nomu was created to resist to only ONE All
Might, but two? If Deku had struck Nomu with all his strength
alongside All Might, Nomu’s defeat would have made much more sense. Moreover, that combined attack would have
given Todoroki more reasons to suspect their connection. As for their fight, well, ten fingers equals
ten opportunities. Instead of wasting them for no reason Deku
could have fought Todoroki aware of that limitation and therefore, for example, could have exploited
the airspace. Use a finger to fly in the sky, two or three
to dodge the opponent’s probable blows, and a last one to launch yourself straight over
him to hit him with your whole fist. Or he could have directly shot himself like
a cannonball, if we want something less “anime style”. While, regarding the fight against Shishou…
ugh. Deku must win, so the only solution is rewrite
Shishou’s power entirely. An example could be to specify that Shishou
can force people to do only what he tells them to do. So Deku would have been forced only to walk,
not to move his arms or speak… but also in this case, if a bump is really enough to
get out of his mind control, then Shishou would have acted accordingly, and therefore,
would have forced Deku to walk without moving his arms, without speaking and- AAAAAAAAAAA. The fight against Shishou is simply terrible. It’s just badly written, but not badly thought;
the intention was really good. The entire tournament, as stated by Horikoshi
himself, was more an excuse to tell Todoroki’s backstory than an opportunity for the characters
to show their quirks, but it’s still based on Deku’s determination to show the world
what he has. In fact, the tournament starts showing the
ability of all the participants and ends showing exactly the opposite. Choosing Shishous as his opponent was the
only right choice to remind Deku how, inside, he was still that unlucky kid who looked with
sparkling eyes his favorite superhero hoping for a miracle he knew would never have happened. Also, taking away the lack of superpower,
these are the same feelings at the base of his fight against Todoroki. After all “people are not born equal” because
your quirk, its usefulness and spectacularity, define who you are, who you will be, how you
will be seen by others and where you will go, exactly like social status in our world. In fact, Shishou is in the ordinary class
because the Academy’s tests reward most physical and practical skills (thus the most superhero
ones) rather than mental and psychological ones; and Todoroki didn’t have to do any kind
of examination simply because he was Endevor’s son, superhero second only to All Might. Everything revolves around quirks in MHA. So it’s obvious the root of its problems is
how Horikoshi decided to manage them in a world where 80% of the population has superpowers. In fact Deku loses all its uniqueness because
he acquires a uniqueness, society is unrealistic because everyone are unrealistic, and fights
are mediocre because quirks are mediocre. If the fight between Shishou and Deku tells
us something about their characters on a personal level, their two quirks don’t tell anything
because they don’t create anything new. They don’t synergize or anything else between
each others. So the only way Horikoshi had to continue
the story as he had planned was indeed to break the rules. The same problem occurs again in the fight
against Stain, but in a different form. In fact here no rule is broken, and the result
is a fight that, although not bad, is simple but flat. Stain’s quirk can paralyze opponents drinking
even a drop of their blood for a limited time depending on their blood group. It’s an ability perfect for assassinations,
that are indeed Stain’s specialty, but it doesn’t affect in any way the outcome of physical
fights against multiple enemy because narrative time is relative. If the author wants to spend five minutes
between two pages to increase the pacing, he can do so without almost any repercussion. In fact the fight is limited to a simple exchange
of punches and kicks, also thanks to how Horikoshi managed the three little heroes’ powers. I mean, Ida can only land fast or faster kicks,
while Deku only punches that don’t even break him anymore. The only one who could have tried something
new was Todoroki, but all he does is using his power exactly as he did during the festival. And the result of all this are characters
with great potential but with powers strangled by absurd limitations that make fighting interesting
only on paper. But “interesting” is a sly word to use; it
says a lot of things and nothing at the same time. So, let’s take a step back and try to understand
what it means to give superpowers to a character. Generally, it means increasing normal human
abilities to extreme, or choosing certain characteristics of objects, animals or natural
elements and making them an integral part of the character. In both cases, the character can manipulate
this power within the limits of his body, or outside his body. Luffy, for example, is made of rubber, and
as such, can stretch or shrink at will, and he’s resistant to blunt attacks and electricity. On the other hand, Luffy cannot control rubber
objects, cannot create it or make other objects of rubber. While, there are not many character that can only
manipulate the environment. The only one that comes to mind at the moment
is Esdeath from Akame ga Kill. In fact, his power allows her to create ice
from nothing and to manipulate it at will as far as to freeze space and time for a few
seconds that, hey, is cool as hell. And usually there are not many characters
like this because the ability to manipulate the environment is often combined with the
ability to manipulate your own body because the limits of these characters are only the
creativity of its author. In fact you can understand how MHA’s quirk
aren’t fun by confronting them with their counterparts from other stories. It’s probably stupid to compare Todoroki and
Aokiji, but I think this example can perfectly underline my point. Aokiji can freeze using his body or the ice
he creates, he can make his own body of ice, manipulate ice and, in the context of One
Piece, it’s impossible for him to drown. While Todoroki can only freeze on contact
and create ice. Of course Todoroki uses his quirk so brutally
and one-dimensionally because this is part of his character arc but, despite being an
interesting characterization, it’s not interesting to watch. Also, isn’t he curious to find out how far
can he push himself? Because hey, if I had any kind of superpower,
experimenting would be the first thing I would do, especially if it’s an obscure power. Strange and creative powers mean nothing if
they’re not used in a strange and creative way. At that point they become only uncomfortable
things that exist, and the only way to show them a little is to use them in a very circumscribed
situation. In fact Sero’s cellophane is actively used
only to help Bakugo in the second phase of the tournament and not to dodge Todoroki’s
ice. Koda defeats Present Mic only because he happens
to be afraid of insects, and Hagakure’s invisibility came handy only when she had to secretly handcuff
the professor. Although Horikoshi repeats every single time
how much he wants to show all characters’ quirk, he effectively discards every single
opportunity. The best exemple is the last part of the festival,
the so loved tournament arc that, well, I really struggle to think it as a real tournament
arc when the only important fights are those with the main characters we all know and love
while the others show up for 5 minutes total. And I think I know why: because their powers
cannot be interpreted creatively. They are two-dimensional and, therefore, only
huge gimmicks. Why limit Sero to launch cellophane only from
the elbows and not from his whole body, allowing him also to modify it at will? Or why Hagakure cannot become invisible on
command or make only parts of his body or what she touches invisible? And why Koda… why Koda is in class A, when
in class B there is a girl who can manipulate plants, a guy who can copy quirks and one
who can solidify the fucking air! Usually writers limit superpowers because
they don’t want to make them too powerful, and therefore unbalanced, but it’s not always
necessary. In fact if you make all characters overpowered,
nobody is more powerful than the other… as long as you don’t meet the wrong character
with the wrong power. For example, In the Skypea narrative Arc,
the Straw Hat crew meets Ener, a character who is considered God thanks to the Rombo
Rombo devil fruit’s power, that allows him to create, control and to be made of electricity
with all that comes with it. He’s such a strong character that Luffy manages
to defeat him just because he’s made of rubber. But that doesn’t mean the fight is one-sided,
and that Luffy wins without problems. In fact, Ener does everything to defeat him,
and almost succeeds. After all, electricity causes heat, and heat
melts rubber. As ironic as it may seem, you do not limit
a character to make it weaker, but to make it unique. This type of character becomes the star of
any story if used well, because to make it relevant, you will have to make it fight against
strong opponents and exploit its power limit laterally. And MHA has a character that follows this
philosophy to the letter and his name is… E-Endevor?! Yes, Endevor, a character who has a total
of ten minutes of showtime is the best example of how a superhero can only create fire. In episode 17 he increases his temperature,
throws a fireball, makes his boots so hot to melt concrete and climb a building, creates
a fire spear and uses flames as some kind of jetpack to land. It’s fucking great! And Endevor would really be my main example
if that scene was not anime original. It didn’t come out the mind of our poor Horikoshi
like the five minutes of “fights” between secondary characters during the festival and
the delightful filler episode on Tsuyu. Bakugo is the best character of MHA because
he takes full advantage of his power in a fun and interesting way despite its limitations. In fact I think the best fight in all MHA
is the exam against All Might because there’s everything in it: it carries on the relationship
between Deku and Bakugo, it tells us why Bakugo wanted to become a hero and what it means
to him to be one, while talking about the fight itself, there’s also the right dose
of strategy and heroism. The fight between bakugo and Todoroki is also
really great. After all it flashes out Todoroki’s insecurity,
and Bakugo perform a new spectacular move in all its foolishness. In all the fights that have been shown in
the two seasons, Bakugo is always in constant movement and always tries something new, and
this is exactly what every secondary character should do: don’t show all of their cards,
but suggest to you that they can do a lot of other things. I would expect everything from Bakugo, but
nothing from the others. I don’t want to complain for what we got,
but thinking about a Bakugo that can blow up sweat from any part of his body, or even
remotely, really gives me the chills. Bakugo also perfectly represents the other
side of the coin, thus how much superpowers can change a person. He went from an arrogant kid to an awful bully,
and when he loses to Deku for the first time and witnesses what others can do, he goes
nuts because he never found anyone able to stand up to him. So, if he really wants to become the best,
he has to radically change his approach. And that means evolution, and evolution leads
to character arc and depth. And all of this is good shit! But under this aspect Bakugo is not the only
one, fortunately. Todoroki’s trauma, and therefore his personality,
is linked to the power of his father, and in fact his evolution circle around him accepting
it. For Ida it’s a bond with his brother, for
Ochako a limitation she wants to overcome, and for Deku a way to belive more in himself. Too bad only main characters’ quirk tell a
story, while the others remain completely anonymous. But quirks do not only affect the people who
have them, but also everything that’s around them. And if 80% of the population owns them, then
it’s obvious those quirks will end up influencing and transforming the whole society, right? …right? Well, no, apparently. I knew rewatching Tiger and Bunny would have
ended up being a good idea. W-Well, I was hoping it would have ended up
being a good idea because rewatching Tiger and Bunny after the second season of MHA was
a pain in the ass. It was a pain in the ass adapting to the slow
pacing, to secondary characters without charisma, to fights without bite and personality, but
it wasn’t a pain in the ass looking at the city where those fights took place. Sternbild City took superheroes and turned
them into idols, models, real pop icons, and printed some nice stickers over their beautiful
costumes because, hey, saving people is important, but never as much as thanking the sponsors
who made those beautiful costumes available in the first place. Tiger and Bunny really knows how to make you
appreciate a reinterpretation of New York in a 1978 where superheroes are rarities among
rarities, because the charm is all in how it looks and in the way it tells itself. In fact, superheroes have not only shaped
society and its culture, but also the whole city. Sternbild City looks like the mechanism of
a complex golden machine, and at the center of this wonderful machine there’s the Justice
Tower, hub and gym for all heroes. And you live the city intimately through the
turbulent relationship of Tiger, an old-fashioned superhero who cannot keep up with the times,
and Barbaby, a newbie with a tragic past more interested in becoming the best hero instead
of saving people. Tiger and Bunny’s city is bright, attractive
but cynical to the bone. It’s a city where every action of the heroes
has a score, score that determines who is most loved by the people and who can continue
to work. Because in Sternbild City even being a hero
has become a precarious job if you do not give the public the adrenaline, the drama
and the action they want, or if you destroy public properties just to save a civilian. MHA and Tiger and Bunny are two profoundly different anime: one uses fights to tell stories,
while in the other they are more of a necessary non-so-good obligation. After all, superheroes should do “super things”,
otherwise why choosing a superhero theme in the first place. But if on one side Tiger and Bunny struggles
to keep you awake but recovers itself thanks to a great complicity between the protagonists
and a well written mystery in a world that looks like a small gold nugget, more MHA introduced
new heroes, more in my head I wondered why everything was so normally… normal. I mean, there’s Mt. Lady who can become giant,
Kamui Woods who controls his body made of wood, Backdraft that can generate and control
water and- wait a second. Backdraft … can generate water? But… but this can only mean one thing! BACKDRAFT SAVED THE FUCKING WORLD! Being able to generate water at will, no mouth
or field will remain dry! But, after quenching all those thirstys, and
making all those deserts flourish, these poor people will need a house, a bed, a bathroom,
furniture. But there is no problem because… CEMENTOSS AND YOZURU SAVED THE WORLD AGAIN! Being able to manipulate concrete at will,
building houses, apartments and entire skyscrapers will be a breeze. And Yozuru will create all the materials necessary
for the completion of those houses. The only problem would remain the electricity. But guess what: Kaminari, Endevor and Todoroki
saved the world. Again. For the third time. Yee. I think I made my point preatty clear. And it’s a point I think I made pretty clear
only because MHA stresses that quirks are transmitted from parents to children. So who knows how many Backdraft, Cementoss,
Yozuru and Endevor just exist in the world. Those who could save the world are superheroes,
while that 20% of people without power who knows what they do. And those that cannot save the world? What do they do? Or, what do they can even do? I’m really sorry to pick on Koda again, but
come on, his power is totally useless. The only place he could really be considered
a hero is inside a disinfestation company, and the only enemy he could ever hope to defeat
is a colony of cockroaches. The more I think about it, the more I find
absurd how Horikoshi didn’t think better about the implications of the powers. I mean, in this case the gags write themselves. Mineta can produce sticky balls from his head,
so putting him inside a glue company seems the most reasonable choice to me. Maybe a company where the owner chose him
to discover the secret behind his stickiness, so he ends up trapping him. But of course at the end Mineta not only manages
to escape, but also unmask the evil owner thanks to fortuitous randomness appearing
like a true hero. MHA needs these little stories. They would give depth to a world and characters
unfortunately really flat. In fact I really enjoyed the filler episode
on Tsuyu. It’s so well developed that I wanted one of
this for every Deku’s classmates, because not only it actually shows you how superpowers
are used in different situations giving the topic its space, but at the same time emphasizes
how you can still be a hero for someone else without All Might’s power. It also suggests that the only real obstacle
to become a hero is you. A message that, if you think about it, is
precisely the implication of that famous first sentence. That pessimistic “people are not born equal”
takes a different nuance when combined with that last “you can become a hero”. It implies a sweet and less brutal reality,
but no less it is reality if you think about it. Because of course we are all born different,
but nothing prevents anyone from find a way to make their dreams come true. Being born in a different place, with different
rules and different cultures involves making a different path compared to others, a path
more difficult and certainly more painful, but in the end the prize is always there,
even if you fail or throw the towel. Or at least I hope so, I genuinly don’t know,
and I think no one know that. Because the prize could be something different
from what you wanted. Perhaps even something unpleasant. But is not this the important thing anyway? Having a good intention, committing to it
and doing the best despite results, is not in itself a prize? I think no, because we always want everything. After all why take a slice when you can take
the whole cake, but I’m too young to say these made up sentences looking all cool and wise. Unfortunately, this good intention is also
the lie of MHA. I mean, how can you tell a story where anyone
can become a hero if you then give to the protagonist the world? It sure works for a chapter, because the first
it’s literally a short story with a proper ending, but for a long story like MHA this
doesn’t feel right. But there are ways. In fact there are so many ways and so many
solutions you can say there are infinite ways and infinite solutions, and that’s what I
love about narrative. Maybe it’s exactly giving One for All to Deku
that Horikoshi wanted to convey this message. Or it’s simply too early to judge. Manga, like TV series and anime, are a strange
and sly way to tell a story, because time passes from one chapter or episode to another. And time, along with the judgment and interest
of people, has the power to radically change the quality of the plot. In fact all my criticisms could disappear
already from chapter 96, and I couldn’t know it because I stopped at 95. And this will result in me looking like a
complete idiot criticizing something people think will be false and stupid when the inevitable
second half of the third season will air. Or the ending recontextualizes everything
giving magically depth to the whole story. And, unfortunately or fortunately, this isn’t
so unlikely. The ending is the most important and difficult
part of any story, because if you know where you want to go and how to do it, you will
leave viewers or readers a good last impression despite a horribly boring development. On the other hand we don’t have a magic crystal
ball that can look into the future, and talking using conditional is the most boring way to
end any review, analysis or writing thing. People who read these written contet are not
interested to know what will happen in the future, or how much that product will be worth
in one, ten or a thousand years, but if it makes sense to consume that product now in
its current imperfection. In fact I think that reviewing or generally
critcally writing about videogames has become more difficult today than ever before. The trend in recent years seems to be the
so-called “videogames as a service”, videogames that aim to be daily hobbies adding seasonally
new content, but also videogames the triple A industry interpreted as the best way to
“pluck a lot of chickens selling an early access at full price “. How do you review
a videogame that now has nothing but in a year will be full of things to do? How do you approach it, and with what ethics? I believe the only correct answer is to understand
how effective that content is in keeping you entertained and for how long it succeeds. If you have to wait a year before that content
actually becomes fun, and to get that fun you have to drop some nice big bucks, then
it makes no sense, because you can use that time and money to play something entertaining
now. So the question about MHA becomes: even if
it’s incomplete, even if the fights don’t follow any logic, even if the quirks are exploited
not so createviley, even if the secondary characters are huge gimmicks badly used, even
if society is unrealistic and under developed, even if MHA has all these imperfections…
is it worth watching? And my answer is a dry yes that brings with
it a sea of controversy. I mean, I spent seven pages explaining what
doesn’t work and then I go out with a simple “yes”? My fear in saying this is to look like one
of those reviews where the gameplay sucks, the story sucks, the graphics sucks and where
everything else sucks, but then the little number down there is great eight and a half
that doesn’t make sense. I hate those reviews; they are anything but
clear, they and their confused message. I often wonder if those reviewers are not
confused themselves, because here I was the confused one. I kept MHA as insurance if I would ended up
don’t liking Bungo Stray Dogs and Akame ga Kill; if they had disappointed me, at least
I would have had a delicious dessert to cheer me up. And MHA has been a terrific dessert until
a couple of days have passed, and that thrilling memory has turned into a vivid and disappointing
reality. Disappointing, yes, very disappointing, because
everything that did not make me appreciate Bungo Stray Dogs and Akame ga Kill was also
present in MHA. So I was ready to end this video saying “yes,
MHA tries to convey a powerful message failing”… BUT. In this discussion there’s a big butt, that
isn’t Midnight’s butt, but the butt of hundreds of thousands of people, including mine, apparently. Otherwise I wouldn’t have spent months and
much of my sanity to put this endless stream of consciousness together to answer a stupid
question that, hey, you had been warned would have been complex to answer. BUT, although MHA is full of flaws, people
love it; I love it, and I won’t be the only one who has seen so many problems in it. Probably I’m the last asshole. But saying that I love it seems a bit’ exagerate. Let’s say that when I saw the announcement
of the third season and the movie I was really happy. Not as I would be for the announcement of
another Nisio Isin’s light novel adaptation, but I was still very happy because I know
perfectly well how MHA doesn’t waste your time. And this sentence, in all its simplicity,
must mean something very important. I wouldn’t rewath the fights in Bungo Stray
Dogs and Akame ga Kill for any reason in the world, while MHA’s ones get me excited despite
being behind this stupid shit for two months. And I would lie if I say that Deku didn’t
conveyed me that message full of determined heroism despite being a living lie. I understood why of all this only reading
the first true page of the manga. Well, it would be more correct saying that
I remembered reading the first true page of the manga. When you want to talk critically about anything,
I think anyone spontaneously tries to detach emotionally from what they have in front of
them, but I believe this creates the most anonymous criticism. I could spend hours on end telling how much
the new Monster Hunter is what the series needed the most, or how weapons are easy and
fun to use but hard to learn, but that would be boring, and probably redundant seeing how
many people already talked about it. But if that speech would tie what the series
means to me, how Monster Hunter Tri made me meet some of the best people I’ve ever met,
and the thrill of meeting up with those same people to defeat the final boss and the recent
Kulve Taroth, I think it would come out something much more special and interesting, because
we often forget it, but we are people. And people empathize with other people, even
if they exist only on books, videogames or anime. And I am a person who, unfortunately, always
tends to empathize a lot, even if I don’t think I show it properly. So, yes, disclaimer: reading how much Horikoshi
just wanted to write a story he liked, especially after discovering his two canceled series
and the depression they caused him, biased me. If I hadn’t read those handful of words I
would have concluded this video saying that MHA is not worth a watch. And in doing this I would have been wrong;
I also would have been a fool, because that’s a simple answer that serves only to avoid answering
the real question. And, thinking about it in retrospect, I think
the motivation of that thought was essentially a misunderstanding. Let me explain: practically all my friends
have seen MHA, and when we discussed together they did not stop saying how exiting and spectacular
were the fights. But that’s not true. It isn’t the fighting what’s exiting and spectacular,
but it’s everything around the fighting that make it look as such. And it would be really stupid to keep talking
now without taking into consideration the huge elephant in the room. “You Say Run” but also “Jet Set Run”, “I Can
Become a Hero”, “Hero A”, “Trinity”, “Bombing King”, “Kimi no Chikara”, “Anguish of the
Quirkless”, ” My Hero “,”Just Another Hero”, and I could go on until the last track, are
MHA. Without this soundtrack, everything seems
wrong; fuck, reading the manga without music seemed wrong, as if I was missing a fundamental
piece of the experience. And the most absurd thing is that when Deku
runs to save Bakugo “You Say Run” started playing in my head by itself, just like “I
Can Become a Hero” at the end of the first chapter. The soundtrack is so representative of the
story, the characters, the drawings and the message that watching an episode without it
should be illegal. In fact this big elephant for many only takes
the name of “You Say Run” or their favorite track, but for me it’s called Yuki Hayashi. He loved dancing before realizing that, generally,
music is not composed to be danceable, so he started creating his own music trying to
channel in each of his soundtrack the very essence of movement, using instruments that
emulate this fluidity, instruments that “build” the sound, such as violins, trumpets or voices. While electric guitars, pianos or electronic
sounds are used as accompaniments to amplify the feeling the soundtrack wants to convey. In “Bombing King” the drums represents Bakugo’s
explosions because it stands out for its frenzy, instead the guitar has a rough sound to underline
his anger. Or in “Kimi no Chikara” the piano emphasizes
Todoroki’s sadness accompanying and accentuating a melancholy epic voice. But soundtracks that convey vitality and movement
have to be supported by drawings and a pacing that exalt and embody this delirious musical
quality. And exactly the lethargic pacing is what I
consider the weak point of One Piece. Because when the story introduces the enemies
and the main objective, in your head you already cannot wait to jump immediately to the next
new adventure. But in One Piece a narrative arc can last
even a hundred chapters and, very often, those hundred chapters seem to stretch out the story
a little to much. While in MHA chapters seem to end almost too
quickly. A fight generally last for a couple of episodes,
and this involves “narrative arcs” where you have to emphasize the quotes, because they
end in a dozen episodes. The story jumps from one new thing to another
as if it is afraid of becoming boring. Too bad the word “boring” doesn’t exist in
MHA’s dictionary. The pacing is so enthusiastically fluid it
seems natural to watch it all in one breath despite some episodes of pure quite time could
only do good things. But quiet time isn’t what Horikoshi draws
best. He’s able to convey a real sense of impact,
both physical and emotional, drawing perfectly positioned lines to enhance characters’ expression,
and therefore their feelings, in the most crucial fights and discussions as in the most
mundane situations. Depending on the character a smile can emphasizes
a frightened courage as a terrifying determination, while talking about fights, they give a sense
of urgency and expectation turning a simple fist into a blaze of pure exaltation because
those expectations are maintained and surpassed. This is why I consider the anime way better
than the manga under almost every aspect, because it’s natural to see those fists animated
and those dialogues dubbed, but I suggest everyone who’s interested to take a look at
the manga because seeing those moments on paper, thus as the author thought them, it’s
totally another experience. In this regard, my favorite scene is undoubtedly
when All Might tells Deku that he can become a hero at the end of the first chapter. Looking at that page you can feel the clutch
to Deku’s stomach; his relief in those tears is almost palpable, and the weight those words
so simple to say but so difficult to realize is visible under your eyes. In fact it’s so visible that the strength
of that sentence distorts all the drawings, making the last panel look like some sort
of strange avant-garde painting. The tight pacing, drawings that scream charisma
and beautiful characters impossibile not to relate to all combine in fights that tell
stories, and these stories are embraced and framed by soundtrack synonymous of movement,
action, sacrifice and hope. And in those moments, all problems disappear. You do not care that Deku throws away his
uniqueness in the second chapter, you do not care about how much the secondary characters
are worthless, about the flat world and those as exciting as insipid fights, no, you do
not give a fuck. Because in those moments, despite the hopes
and dreams of characters are colliding right under your eyes there’s nothing in the scene but a stunning silence. And in that silence there is only you, your
dreams, your hopes and the characters as a means to convey those hopes and those dreams. And when you realize it, it’s already too
late, and the music forcefully breaks that shell of silence and literally explodes in
a fanfare of…! A good soundtrack is always a silent protagonist
and, as such, it’s not intrusive. It follows the scenes and amplify their intensity. It’s you then that make them annoying when
you listen to a bunch of tracks until they become indigestible, because they are synonymous,
if not real substitutions, of all the good qualities the story can offer you, and in
addition, they summarize those best moments in a handful of minutes. If the soundtrack of the Monogatari Series
evokes dreamlike atmospheres, MHA’s soundtrack are heroic moments liquefied and modeled in
musical notes, and therefore, they are also perfect to represent the crucial moments of
a sport anime like Haikyuu or Welcome to the Ballroom. But before ending this enormous review, analysis
or what the fuck this thing is, we still need to talk about a last small argument. An argument that, although it may seems insignificant,
is what allows the manga to attract and fascinate so many people without needing soundtracks
or special effects. Because I have spent 15 pages talking about
heroes here and heroic actions there but, actually, what does that word mean? What makes a hero such, and how a hero should
be? Not like Okabe, apparently. In fact in my Steins;Gate video I say that
Okabe Rintarou, the protagonist, is the hero of the story, though he doesn’t look like
a one. And this sentence is very interesting in its
genuineness, if you think about it. When I think about the word “hero”, the first
thing that pops in my mind is Superman despite I’ve never read his comics or seen his movies. But I know he can fly, has superhuman strength,
can shoot laser beams from his eyes and… can also perform… surgery…? In short, reading his name and a couple of
his skills is enough to understand that Superman was created in this way to be the pinnacle
of the human being in mind and body. But having incredible strength or being the
most intelligent guy in the universe are not essential requirement to be a hero. Otherwise All Might and his ingenuity or Okabe
and his physic could not be considered true heroes despite being heroes. What these three different characters have
in common is the willingness to accept the pain of others and make it their own, called
spirit of sacrifice. After all pain, in whatever form it is, is
the worst thing that can happen to us and it’s something everyone is afraid of. And this spirit of sacrifice is everywhere
in MHA; it is at the same time its binder and foundation. In fact, it’s only by sacrificing himself
to save Bakugo in what seems a desperate act that All Might remembers what it means to
be a hero, and it’s thanks to that spirit of sacrifice that Deku succeeds in entering
the Academy and, probably, will be through sacrifice that Deku will become the new symbol
of Peace. These are the most successful moments of MHA,
those that will continue forever to excite people and why it will always be worth watching. Because seeing any flickering kid trying to
do the impossible, both with superpowers or without, brings out an innate adventurous
spirit in people that has always been an integral part of human beings. But even if Deku still manages to convey this
message acquiring superpowers, I really can’t bring myself to like it, because I hate the
word luck and what it means. I hate with all myself when someone is actually
doing something extraordinary and his response to your wonder is “it was just luck”, and
I hate even more when the hero of a story comes up with “I saved the world putting my
life and that of others at risk, but I’m not a hero”. Because it almost seems like we, as a society, are afflicted by such an inferiority complex
that no one wants to be responsible even for their own victories and to recognize their
abilities even with fictional characters and fake situations. And that’s nonsense. Saying that everything revolves around luck
makes anything unreachable and unattainable when in reality nothing is. Otherwise there would be only two people who
are astronauts, football players or artists. Obviously this is much more complex than that,
as it’s for everything, but what I want to say is that the message of MHA is really precious
in our society, because it shows how much the heroes we love and respect were, and still
are, nothing but simple people. And therefore, as such, many times they are
just huge lies. In fact All Might, the protector of the world,
is a lie, and even the second in charge Endevor is such a monstrous lie to frighten even the
monsters themselves. And despite peace itself is a lie, you’ll
never see any of the characters hesitate a second, stop training for a second or don’t
want to get better for a second because everyone wants to make those lies a reality. They prove more than any other character that
people are not born heroes, but they become such. That each of us, while not having anything
special, can do something special for others, and that there is always a prize for those
who never give up. Again: I don’t really know how true this is,
but even if this end up being a huge lie, I want to believe it. Because trivializing heroism, throwing it
down from its golden unattainable pedestal, means making it accessible to everyone, and
this would push more people to become heroes they, and others, need. It’s a virtuous circle in which I see absolutely
nothing wrong. I think this is the reason why I love anime,
manga or, in general, Japanese narrative, because it channels the desire to dream and
to do better than any other type of narrative. And this is very sad to say, because this
is probably caused by the extreme oppressiveness of Japanese society, but MHA for me is a masterpiece
precisely because it manages to convey this simple message. Because I’ve never read a story ready to destroy
their characters, their fights and even their own rules just to show to a generic reader
or viewer that doing their best and never giving up anyone can make their dreams a reality. And this genuine, positive naivety is the
most beautiful gift an author can make to his audience. Loving MHA for what it is means making lot
of compromises, means putting a lot of asterisks and a lot of “but” everywhere. But you know what? I genuinely cannot wait to immerse myself
and be deceived again by this mediocre but wonderful heroic lie. Oh, hey! If you’ve listened to this till the end,
or just a minute, or a second, well, I guess you ARE the real hero. By the way, I think I have to clarify something
because I’m not sure I was the most thorough in this. I tried, obviously. In fact I was on this script for, like, 2
month? 3 month? I wrote and rewrote it who knows how many
times because I really enjoyed MHA and I wanted to talk about it in depth. I wanted to celebrate MHA for what it is. And the first draft ended with a total of
22 pages. And that was too much. So I cut things. A lot of things. And maybe I cut important things, but now
I can’t judge it “objectively” because I just want to put it out. Maybe I will judge it differently one month,
or two, from now. But now, in this precise moment, I really
feel the need to clarify a bunch of things. So, here we go. The One Piece thing. I did not rewatched One Piece. I would have liked to but, you know, nine
houndred episodes are a lot of episodes to watch. So I said that One Piece has the most enjoyable
fights I have ever seen without thinking that One Piece itself has a lot of fights that
are just like MHA’s. The one between Usopp and Luffy is an excellent
exception. And I probably said that also becuase I’m
really fond of One Piece, being my first anime and stuff. So my criticism about the fights is also true
for One Piece. But my point is: One Piece started in 1995,
MHA in 2014 I think. And we know he took inspiration from One Piece. And Naruto too, but I have never watched a
lot of Naruto but I clearly remember fights like the one between Gaara and Lee. So, why didn’t Horikoshi tried something
new? He only took the spectacular parts of the
fights, and so we end up having really flat fights. Also thanks to the superpowers, but I’ve
already said that in the video. So I hope I’ve clarified this point. Moving on! MHA’s message. I think I’ve really hammered that point
to the ground. Maybe I repeat “people are not born equal”
a little too much. And that made me anxious of having read too
much into MHA. But here’s the thing. I’ve read both Oumagi Zoo and Barriage,
and both share he core of MHA in some way. The protagonist of Oumagi Zoo can’t do anything. She’s clumsy and causes a lot of trubles. But she loves animals, and the story ends
showing you how much doing something she loved helped her in believing more in herself. Just like Deku in the first chapter of MHA. And the same goes for Barriage. The protagonist helps orphans because he is
one of them. And then, when the king mistakes him for his
son and acquires a great power, he uses that influence to help those in need. He becomes literally the Symbol of Peace. So, yeah, I really think Horikoshi wants to
share that message. And, finally, the music. I listened to the whole MHA’s soundtrack again, and I want to underline how the best tracks are those that you never thought you
have listened. Like, “obstacle course” is an explosion
of energy. Or “Weeee are fucking super stars” looks
like it came out of Danganronpa. Or, “Sentou Kunren”, “Predecessor’s
Sworn Friend” and “Damn Cowardly School”, and… and…! Listen to all of them. Really. They are all incredible. So, yeah, thanks for listening and watching
this video that is probably incorrect about a bunch of other things. And we’ll see next time maybe with a script
about Bakemonogatari. Or Kizumonogatari. I really haven’t decided yet.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I was hoping you hadn’t disappeared after making two great videos, happy to be surprised. Can’t wait to sit down and watch all of this tonight

  2. Great analisis as always. I'm one of those people that cant get into MHA no matter how hard I try. All my friends love it and have matching key chains and it drives me crazy. Still, I can appreciate the enthusiasm the shows hype brings into our conversations.

  3. Why didn't I know sooner about your glorious return?!
    My friend, you've got an unique voice that simply begs to be heard

  4. Endeavor and froppy episode is cannon and that mean Hori gave them those moves bro. Stop it, Hori doesn't have the time to put everything in so he told the Anime team to do it.

  5. Complimenti per il tuo lavoro, indubbiamente uno dei più notevoli che abbia visto sulla piattaforma. Aspetto con trepidazione la tua prossima analisi! Dacci dentro, mio caro bugiardo di fiducia 😉

  6. Wow, this was an amazing well written essay with many good points. You claimed many things that would raise eyebrows among hardcore fans but were able to explain them extremely well through comparisons and valid points. Really enjoyed this and you've earned a sub!

  7. Still waiting on a new vid. I love ure content, so hopefully you’re working on something big lol

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