4th season announced, so I thought of going back to one of my old posts about My Hero Academia. With the context of the 3rd season now to back up my claims, I’m ready to re tackle this article.
As usual, Future Lumi in bold.
I’m only a scrubby anime watcher, so forgive me if some of these points are challenged in the manga. Note: I’ve actually read the manga now, and yes, they DO challenge these points. Not gonna say much more than that.
We all know the one. The mentor. The ace. The guy that’s probably going to die, be retired soon, or just up and leave, without so much as a goodbye.
But what MHA does right more than any before it is how it manages to convey the two sides of the hero very well. The myth-
-and the man.
All Might is everything you expect him to be, and yet he’s also more than just that. A podcaster I listen to once said that he’s basically a realistic Superman that was done right, and I have to agree.
Lumi has since then read a lot of good Superman comics. All Might is basically nerfed Superman done right. Even if you aren’t a comicbook nerd, I highly recommend All-Star Superman and Kingdom Come.
Here, you have the strongest man in the world, larger than life, and yet he’s also an awkward goof from time to time. The strongest man in the world, after all, is still just a man.
He’s insanely strong, yes, and everybody believes him to be unbeatable. However, unlike Superman, All Might is much more humanized because he CAN be beat without using an asspull, it’s just that it’s very hard to do so. This makes him more empathetic. This makes him an idol worth aspiring to. This is what makes him such a good role model for Deku. All Might seems insurmountable, but then we get the reveal of his true nature in the 3rd season. This only makes him more relatable to the average man.
You see him at his best moment, not while punching down a monster or leveling city blocks, but as he climbs out of a wreckage bleeding and with several injured people on his back with a SMILE on his face. A failure that a lot of superhero movies had before the MCU was the focus on fighting bad guys and explosions. Being a superhero is a lot more than just knowing how to punch a guy (though that does help). Being a superhero has always been about saving lives first, beating up bad guys second.
Never at any point does he feel doubt that what he’s doing is the right and just thing to do. As a matter of fact, he revels in being a good person. However, that doesn’t mean he’s always sure. He might not doubt that his goals and morals are right, he does have doubts about his own ability to uphold them. He can’t save everyone, and he hasn’t fully come to terms with that yet. He is almost never selfish, and is a pure paragon of good without being a two-dimensional character.
The 3rd season, especially the fight with All-For-One, contextualizes all of my points here.
All Might’s weakened form is revealed to the world at large. The image of the perfect protector has fallen. Despite this, he still continues to fight for what is right. He takes on insurmountable odds because he is still the symbol of peace for a few more hours.
The best part? From the get-go, it is established that the one who follows him (Deku) will be just as virtuous, if not even moreso. Usually, we see the ace hero character being a stone-cold badass, while our protagonist is the loud and brash inferior one who lashes out against them once they meet (at first).
Deku literally meets his idol on the first episode, and he becomes his mentor and guide after only two episodes.
All Might is not an unobtainable goal, but someone who is almost immediately established as someone meant to be surpassed. Unlike most mentor characters, this is a lesson he wishes to impart much more clearly to his students. Whereas most mentors, before being surpassed are treated as impossible or unattainable, All Might waves away that notion from the start. This shows just how humble he is, and also how much he believes in his students.
Again, with the 3rd season, this has become truer than ever. All Might as we knew him is gone. Now, it’s just the man, Toshinori. He will continue to mentor the new generation of heroes, but it’s now a completely different world. Part of keeping the peace is letting people know that All Might alone isn’t going to save them forever.
A flaw, however, that is also established early on is that he’s not a very good teacher, as enthusiastic as he is. It’s comparable to the best basketball player not being the best coach. Being the best hero is an altogether different skill from teaching the next generation of best heroes. This makes him a lot more human and attainable than a lot of the OP or mysterious shounen idols in anime like Minato and Isshin. He keeps a lot of secrets from Deku because he feels he isn’t ready. In addition, he is very reckless and while it is a hero’s mantra to get into trouble to stop trouble, it clashes with the necessity of being a Symbol of Peace for a long time.
My definite favorite part about him though, was seeing the silhouette of him laughing heartily in the face of imminent danger. This isn’t arrogance, this is confidence. You hear that laugh, and you just know in your heart that you are saved. No other character in anime has made me feel that so quickly than All Might.
That is exactly why All Might is my favorite “hero of the hero” character.
I hope you guys liked this short little character analysis, and comment down below if you would like me to do more posts like these! Heck, throw a few suggestions my way, I’ll give it a try!
I enjoy making character analyses like this. I wish I had more time to make them.