Heroes can have flaws too
My Hero Academia’s world has every type of hero you could think of, from classic heroes like All Might to disaster specialists like Space Hero 13. In a world filled to the brim with great heroes, one thing stands out: they’re still human beings. Being a hero is hard work and My Hero Academia’s heroes aren’t always perfect. They make mistakes like anyone else, and they don’t always come out on top. And yet, that’s also what makes them so heroic.
Let’s take All Might, for example. There’s no question he’s a great hero after everything he’s done. He’s saved countless people, defeated all sorts of villains, and stood for years as a symbol to assure everyone that they’re safe. But he’s also made mistakes. He isn’t always the greatest teacher (Midoriya improved more with Gran Torino than with All Might), and he was often held back by his injury even before his retirement.
He’s a flawed person, but that only makes him more heroic. What’s more inspiring? A perfect icon? Or a flawed person who does great deeds in spite of those flaws? Part of what makes All Might so great is the effort behind everything he does. When he’s out being a hero, you know he’s giving it his all to do better, to be the symbol the world needs. That makes him even more of a hero. When his emaciated body is revealed to the public during his fight with All for One, people continue to cheer for him precisely because they know All Might will still use everything he has to protect them. And he does! All Might, weak and withered, still defeats All for One and proves what kind of a hero he is. Not an infallible god, just someone who decided to be a hero and devoted everything to that goal.
The same holds true for everyone in class 1-A. They all have their flaws ― Todoroki’s awkwardness, Bakugo’s temper, Midoriya’s nervousness ― but still prove themselves over and over again. Even when they fail, like when Bakugo was captured by the League of Villains, they keep pushing themselves to improve, to be worthy of the name “hero.”
It was this determination that got Midoriya his quirk in the first place. Seeing Midoriya throw himself into danger to save someone else, despite not having any Quirk of his own, reminded All Might of what drove him to be a hero in the first place. Even though it was ultimately All Might who saved the day, Midoriya’s actions were undoubtedly heroic.
It’s that willingness to stand up when victory is far from assured that defines heroes. My Hero Academia has always emphasized how heroes act as symbols, giving regular people hope and inspiring others to do the same, which comes from their own imperfections. When Midoriya stood his ground against Muscular to protect Kota, the risk to himself was what made it so meaningful to Kota. Seeing someone risk his life to save another rekindled Kota’s faith in heroes.
Even Endeavor became a symbol of inspiration to onlookers by putting his life on the line against an opponent he had no guarantee of defeating. Because being a hero is about continually trying to do better, whether as a hero or as a person. Gentle Criminal gave up on being a hero because of his mistakes, but his story still ends with the hope that he can someday be a hero himself. All it takes is the will to push yourself and be better.
Which is the core of My Hero Academia’s heroism: it isn’t about being perfect, it’s about giving it your all in pursuit of what’s right. Its heroes all have their personal flaws and failures, but the one thing tying them together is a willingness to keep moving forward and push their limits.
In short, being a hero is about going beyond plus ultra.
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