With the release of episode 7 of season 3 of My Hero Academia we’ve once again reached the end of a major battle in the show. And moving into episode 8 we’re teased that a “major incident” is about to occur. Having not read any of the manga for the show I can only presume this will mean yet another large fight, which is great and I’m sure it’ll be entertaining, but is it starting to show a problem with My Hero Academia?
When we first meet Izuku Midoriya (the show’s main protagonist) we are met with a strong willed but physically weak little boy with dreams of becoming a hero. The obvious, and really only reasonable character progression for Izuku is for him to get stronger; the show takes this in stride and immediately informs us, the audience, that Izuku will become the number 1 hero at some point in his career. As we work our way through the series we’ve seen Izuku’s power progress, and him gain more control of his quirk. My concern is that the show may run out of ways to show how Izuku’s getting more powerful without making his adversity larger and larger.
It’s the age old problem in action anime, power creep. If you’ve never heard of it, power creep in anime is when the characters continue to become more and more powerful without end. Soon enough we may find ourselves in battle with quirks that are capable of wiping out planets or even galaxies. I fear that the show will begin to bore its audience with this system, and it’s clear that the writers are trying to mitigate. The shows pace feels as though it is moving intentionally slowly in order to build up to the next large fight, trying to make every fight feel as though it has real consequence and will be a real struggle for the characters without having to make the villains ludicrously strong. Nonetheless we can see the change is happening in spite of this.
The first fight at USJ was one filled with goons, and maybe 3 major threats, a warp quirk, a decay quirk and Nomu. We’ve moved on from this to the most recent arc where there’s an elite force of strong villains attacking classes 1-A and 1-B. Our heroes are pushed to their limits in both cases despite the latter being a far leger threat. As I’ve already said, this isn’t a sustainable system. So what am I hoping the show will do about this?
Firstly, the show needs to plan its ending. If My Hero Academia runs for as long as something like Dragon-Ball has it’s never going to avoid the power creep problem forever. Luckily it seems as if the show does have an ending in mind; the story is about Izuku getting more powerful, and when he reaches his full potential as the number 1 hero, the story should be over. While it’s certainly upsetting to call for the end of one of your favourite shows this is ultimately a good thing. In the great words of Winnie the Pooh: “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Secondly, and I think more importantly, the show needs to show us its “final boss” soon. If we know how powerful Izuku’s final challenge is going to be, then he as a character will have something to work towards, and we as an audience will get a sense of when the aforementioned ending is going to happen. This is absolutely necessary, if an audience doesn’t know when something is going to end then they will lose interest because the show will begin to feel as though it’s fights have no real consequence. The next big fight isn’t big if we know they can always make the next one even bigger.
Creativity thrives when it’s within a constraint, ultimately that’s the message I want to get across. My Hero Academia is a fantastic world and benefits greatly from being so easily able to introduce new challenges and plot devices with new quirks. But if it doesn’t start to set limits on itself it will begin to spiral into the ridiculous, decline in quality and ultimately won’t be remembered as fondly as it otherwise should be.
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