"It's fine now. Why? Because I am here!". Who would have thought that this tagline for the character All Might from the anime My Hero Academia would fills me with as much a sense of excitement and inspiration as when I hear John William’s Superman theme song, and this is as a long time Superman fan.
To backtrack a bit, when I first watched the first episode of My Hero Academia, I thought the year belonged to another anime, One Punch Man. This is because the first episode of My Hero Academia felt like a standard shonen anime about superpowered teenagers saving the world and I did not even intend to continue the series.
It was only a fortuitous situation that found me without anything else to watch during lunch one afternoon that made me click on the 2nd episode. A click that would find me a superhero whose morals would inspire me as much as Superman’s.
Excluding examples like the travesty that is the DC movie 'Man of Steel'. Superman is usually admired not for his superpowers but for his character, unlike the Hulk (Usually popular among bodybuilders for just his muscles and strength). In fact, even in the early years, comic writers for Superman found his limitless powers pretty hard and boring to write for. Thus, other than the invention of Kryptonite and his weakness to magic, Superman stories tended to be about moral decisions he would have to make rather than how many times he needed to punch a villain to submission.
In this, All Might is the same. The ultimate symbol of peace and the number 1 hero in the land. His screen time hardly has him fighting in the series but rather he is usually narrating to the the main character Midoriya on what it is to be a Hero and how to be a fitting vessel for his power ‘All for One’. A power that imbues the bearer with fantastic strength and resilience.
All Might wanting to find a successor to this power altruistically as his own body is too injured to carry on and risk such a great power for peace disappearing forever. Beneath the almost silly parody look of an A-typical American superhero, All Might’s dedication to his moral values regardless of how it hurts him or valid a reason it would be for him to walk away is awe inspiring not unlike Superman in many situations like in the Death of Superman.
On top of that, both characters share the values of being able to learn from their mistakes and themselves be inspired by those around them. For example, Superman near the end of the series called Kingdom Come realizing that he made a mistake in his decision to imprison those who disagreed with him and All Might in his 2nd fight against the Sludge Villain by Midoriya risking his life to save a friend even though Midoriya himself had no superpowers.
All in all, a character’s superpowers is a gimmick that usually wears out like any internet meme but a well developed relatable character whose adventures are driven by his choices rather than the other way around keeps things interesting.
Let’s us all hope they continue the character of All Might as well as they did in the first season or rather end him in a similar fashion. The second season of My Hero Academia was released on March 25th 2017.