Hey, You Got a Second?: A Series of Random Chats – Joel’s “Top Heroes” List: Izuku Midoriya, Deku, the 9th wielder of One For All

Welcome to the world of My Hero Academia

In a world where 80% of the population grows up to have some sort of power or quirk as it’s commonly called, one profession towers above the rest: being a hero. Approved by their respective nation’s governments to operate as licensed professionals, Heroes are revered by most of society and have statuses similar to our modern day celebrities and athletes. Schools around the world exist in order to develop the next generation of fledgling heroes who apply or are invited to work for hero agencies. You’d think that a world brimming with super powered beings dedicated and sanctioned would be safe and/or near perfect, right? Unfortunately no, the society seen at the beginning of the story of My Hero Academia came to be after many conflicts and societal upheaval. People slipped through the cracks for either being without a quirk or having one that’s minimal or even too abnormal. At the beginning when the world was first emerging with quirks, chaos set in as society began to collapse due to being unequipped to handle the massive change. One man known as All For One, who has the ability to steal quirks, seemed to rule within the chaos and went unchallenged. That is until one day his hubris came back, manifested in the form of an individual who smilingly had the power of multiple quirks too, came and defeated him. This man went on to be known as All Might, the 8th wielder of the quirk One For All. Where the story of My Hero begins is about 6 years years after with him searching for his successor. Who he found was unexpected, a quirkless 14 year old named Izuku Midoriya, who he saw embodied what it meant to be a hero. What was it he saw in him? Well, do you got a second? I’ll tell you about the story of how the world’s greatest hero came to be in this weeks entry to my “Top Heroes” list, Deku, the 9th wielder of One For All.

A brief history

My Hero Academia Vol.1

So there’s something unique to address before we start talking about the history of the character. Unlike those covered prior and after Deku here, he’s the only one who’s story will have a definite end. You won’t see that within the ever changing shared universes of Marvel and/or DC and because of that, the history of the character is not that expansive and very likely not to change. I’m going to gloss over certain details of the story to avoid recapping it in its entirety and general spoilers since it’s still ongoing. So now that has been said, let me tell you about Izuku Midoriya.

All Izuku ever wanted in life was to be a hero. Growing up he idealized their role in society and was an avid fan of them all. It appeared though that he wasn’t destined to become one himself. At the age of 4 he was officially diagnosed as a part of the 20% of people who would not develop of quirk of their own. This crushed him and brought a cold reality forward: that not everyone was created equal. He was bullied at school once his classmates discovered that he was quirkless, pushing him further down and really highlighting the class system present within the world. However brutal that reality was, he never let it stop him from wanting to achieve his dream. If he couldn’t have a quirk of his own to take part in heroics then he was going to learn everything he could about hero society. He filled several notebooks with information jotted down while observing heroes in the field or what he could find online, really studying their quirks and the way they were used. The one who was and is his all time favorite though is All Might.

Midoriya was the typical super fan owning merchandise and knowing numerous facts about their heroics. He was everything to him, everything he aspired to be, a true exemplar of a hero. At the age of 14 he was gearing up, like his classmates, to select a school to attend or to join the workforce, much like the real life Japanese education system encouraged. Izuku still had aspirations to become a hero and wanted to attended one of the most prestigious hero schools in Japan: U.A. High School, alma mater of All Might and many well known heroes. However after class one day in middle school he was bullied into abandoning his dream of attending U.A. by his childhood friend turned tormentor, Katsuki Bakugo, after he learned of his shared aspiration to attend the school. A defeated Midoriya starts to walk home thinking on his own efficacy and decides that he doesn’t want to give up.

Well, fate was ready to reinforce that decision through a chance encounter with a fleeing sludge villain. The villain takes Izuku hostage wanting to use him as a disguise to hide from his pursuer. Before he’s able to overtake him, the pursuer appears and defeats the villain and rescues Midoriya. Who is the hero? It’s All Might and man is Izuku beyond star struck. So much so that instead of letting him take off afterwards, he holds on for dear life to an unknowing All Might who’s already midair after leaping away. They land onto the roof of a nearby building and that’s when Midoriya asks him the burning question he’s been holding onto: can someone quirkless ever hope to be become a hero like him? Without much hesitation All Might responds stating that he could not become a hero and to instead look for work that is safer. If he insists in helping with villains then he should consider being an officer. Afterwards, he leaps away leaving him on top of the roof of the building, gesturing him to knock on the door to be let in so that he can get to the ground floor.

from chapter 1

Defeated once again, potentially for the last time, he continues his walk home. Noticing a crowd of people gathering, chatters of a rouge villain who’s taken someone hostage to arise. Izuku decides to stick around for the opportunity to see which hero(es) show so that he can take more notes. As he looks closer to see who the villain is he freezes seeing that not only is it the same one that almost got him earlier, but it also has Bakugo hostage. Seeing him fight and struggle for his life paired with the nearby heroes unable to assist effectively, without hesitation, Midoriya dashes towards the villain. He tries to rip free Bakugo and starts to quickly realize he’s in over his head. Before he’s stricken down by the villain, All Might appears. He was nearby observing within the crowd and once he saw Izuku rush in without hesitation, he was inspired to act. In a punch strong enough to change the weather, he defeats the villain once gain and rescues both Bakugo and Midoriya. After being reprimanded by local heroes for putting himself in harms way, Izuku returns to walking home again. Just before he arrives back however, once last interruption occurs.

All Might appears from around the corner, in search of Midoriya. He shares that seeing him act in the face of danger, despite being quirkless, communicated to him that he was wrong about what he said earlier. The truth of the matter is that even he could become a hero too. Seeing his selfless act allowed him to decide that he was worthy of inheriting his power, to become his successor. An unsure Izuku accepts under the guise that he will be trained by All Might to prepare himself for the responsibility. Over the next 10 months he would do just that in addition to preparing for the U. A. entrance exams. The story continues onward as Izuku takes on the hero name Deku, reclaiming it from his bullies to stand as a name for someone who can vs. cannot, facing many obstacles and a growing evil that’s been building behind the scenes waiting for its time to act on its master plan.

from chapter 1

Usually this would be where I’d defer you towards some supplemental material, like a video, to give you the rundown on more of the history. Instead of doing that let me just level with you here: if you have even the faintest interest in the story and/or character(s), please consider either the manga or the very faithful anime adaption by Studio Bones. Either are great options for getting the narrative. Am I asking you to spend money? No, not directly, but I’m sure that most people have a way to experience the story and just haven’t been made aware yet. For instance, if you have a subscription for Hulu, the first 5 seasons are available there to watch which cover about the first 25 volumes. Currently, there’s 29 collected in English as of now, with the 30th coming out this March. Anyway, no one here is forcing anything, just merely making suggestions. Moving on now!

Powers, Abilities, Skillsets

As of the 9th wielder for One For All, he has access to the quirks stored within from the past users. They range from having black tendrils extended from his body that can be used to increase reach and mobility, to a danger sense, a smokescreen, the ability to float, store and release energy, to two unknown quirks. More commonly he uses OFA as a general powerup to increase his agility and strength, much like the past user, All Might. At first though, he had no control over the output and would very often would tear up his own muscle fibers and shatter his bones, incapacitating himself as a result. It really was as bad as I’m making it out to be, homie was breaking his arms and legs. Through many uses, he created permeant damage to his limbs. Realizing that something needed to change he sought out support gear to help with the recoil and when he eventually developed his own fighting style, OFA Full Cowl: Shoot Style, he was given his signature iron soles.

What’s really impressive to me about Deku’s ongoing mastery of OFA is how he’s adapts away from a brawling type to something more akin to a striker. What do I mean by that? All Might used his overwhelming agility and strength, paired with his stature, to overtake his opponents which largely involved using signature moves with his upper body. Deku at the beginning tried to mimic that, even learning to evenly disperse his power through his body in the form of a technique he named “Full Cowl.” Overtime though he realized that it wasn’t too natural for him to continue this way. What he ends up developing though is a combination of the stylings of two of his classmates, Bakugo and Tenya Ida. Both of them use their quirks to make themselves very mobile, taking advantage of openings due to positioning on their part. Shoot Style is what came of that merger for Deku, a hybrid of mobility and power that utilizes both the upper and lower body.

from chapter 101

Now let me tell you what else he’s capable of aside from the powers granted by OFA. Remember all those notebooks filled with information he jotted down? Well, all of that is stored still within Deku’s mind allowing to devise counters for almost any opponent. He isn’t one to charge at an enemy without first analyzing the situation. This makes him a very dangerous opponent since it’s unknown what counter measures he may develop, but you can rest assured he’ll have a plan. Pair this knowledge with his ongoing mastery of OFA and you have very talented individual worthy of the title ‘hero’.

from chapter 283

You too can be a hero

Such a simple statement, to be told that you too can be that thing you want to become, like a hero. Whether it be true or not, just the possibility is enough. It’s important to find ways to reinforce your dreams because too easily we and others find things to tear them down. The story of Deku’s journey, from quirkless kid who was bullied into thinking he wasn’t capable, into someone who people count on is very inspiring. All it really took was someone to believe in him, once that was there, everything else became easier including more people placing their belief in him.

I’ll share an anecdote: growing up I didn’t have much of a high level of self efficacy. I knew I could accomplish basic things for myself, but I struggled to believe that I could rise to certain heights to be at par with my peers or even to surpass them. This was exemplified during my early years as a percussionist, especially during 9th grade. During my first year of high school I struggled to really feel like I could keep up with all the new students I was meeting both academically and musically. Marching band created this testing ground for me that I just couldn’t excel at. What didn’t help was how well I saw my peers adjust. Some would even continue and/or start taking private lessons. I couldn’t afford to take any myself, so I just felt like I was being left behind. By the end of the spring semester, after failing my audition for a section in the drumline for the upcoming marching season and my geometry class, I debated not continuing in the fall and to revert to a basic student. I was so embarrassed and fed up with the skill deficit that I didn’t understand how I was supposed to keep up.

Well, someone took notice and pulled me aside to talk to me about it. I explained my frustration and my lack of efficacy towards my own development. They took genuine care hearing this and decided to offer me lessons for a reduced rate and gave me the attention I had been desiring. In the short year that I had the private instruction, I learned how to further my own growth and understood that there were going to be times where I had to work harder than my peers just to get the same end results and they would have to do the same. No one is created equal and because of it we all have to try our best.

For the sake of anonymity, I will not name this individual, but what they gave me is very similar to what Deku was given. A simple reminder that we too can be more, to become the thing or person we desire to be. I to this day, a near decade later, still hold those experiences close and can honestly say because of it was given chance I don’t think I would of had otherwise and I know Deku feels the same.

from chapter 256

The end of the post

I hope you enjoyed what I wrote down on this webpage for you. This was honestly the most difficult post I’ve made so far due to my connection with the character and the time in my life when I discovered the series. Back in 2016, I stumbled across it by complete accident after finishing an anime I had been watching during the fall. It’s really no surprise that I fell for this series and its cast. I can honestly attribute my love for super heroes as an adult to My Hero Academia. Back then, I had been feeling fatigue with the genre mostly because of the growing popularity of the MCU. It became odder and odder that the characters I grew up adoring where becoming household names and a part of me just began falling out of it. It’s weird to think that a younger me thought they weren’t cool anymore because they were becoming mainstream. In classic fashion though, when I thought I was out, something pulls me back in haha. Thank you to the manga creator, Kohei Horikoshi, for creating one of my all time favorite series and by association one of my top heroes.

Next week, we’ll be talking about the man that everyone has surely heard of around the world, the character who was the star and driving force for the MCU, Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man. Until then, be well and be safe, and please remember to help others where you can. Take care!

lovely sketch by Kohei Horikoshi

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