Analysis: What Made My Hero Academia So Successful?

My Hero Academia is easily one of the most successful animes of today and with so many options to choose from, the odds of any show being this popular are very slim.  Yet My Hero Academia managed to defy the odds and sore to legendary levels of popularity.  As I watched the series it was easy to see why it was so captivating and we will go over some of those reasons here.  Note: I will freely discuss evens up to the end of season three since those seasons have been out for a while; however, I’m avoiding mentioning anything specific in season four to avoid spoilers.

Unique Powers:

Every show that features abilities has a uniqueness to some degree; however, My Hero Academia has managed to take that uniqueness to a higher level than most in their powers, or as they call them quirks.  You have Bakugo who has explosive sweat, Stain who has the power to paralyze people by licking their blood (I still wonder how he realized he had this power), Rock Lock who has the power to immobilize something in space and Sato who powers up based on the amount of sugar he consumes.  When you repeatedly start to introduce unique abilities it adds a layer of unpredictability to the show that makes each new antagonist fun to learn about.  What kind of powers do they have? How do they intend to use them? These questions make it easy to get engrossed in the very abilities these characters have.

All Re-occurring Characters Play Some Significance: 

Often times in an anime that has so many characters, the show will pick a few to focus on and maybe a couple of others to loop into the story and just spend so much time on them that you start to wonder what purpose some of the other characters serve.  My Hero Academia does a great job with having the entire cast add value to the story.  For example, take a character like Mineta who has a quirk that allows him to produce purple sticky balls. It’s easy to think a person with a seemingly weak ability like this would be sidelined in battle; however, you have events like in season one where his quirk mixed with a whirlpool to trap all the bad guys swimming in a body of water.  Sometimes you will go several episodes without seeing a character play a big role; however, this show doesn’t spend all of its time on just the main character and it’s nice to see the rest of the cast have a part to play.

The Villains all have individual motives and stories:

You have a lot of shows that make villains that just don’t stand out from one another.  In My Hero Academia each villain has a unique reason that they want to do the things that the heroes are trying to stop. Going back to the Hero Killer Stain, he is killing heroes he believes are in the hero business more for their own self-interest rather than the interests of others.  Shigaraki has more interest in seeing the fall of hero society entirely and we still don’t even know what All For One’s endgame is. Season 4 introduces multiple unique villains that I don’t go into detail for spoilers but you should really pay close attention to them.

The Story Progression is Amazing

My Hero Academia is not afraid to play the long game when setting up amazing moments. In season three you have this amazing battle between Bakugo and Deku and while the fight itself was amazing it was all the emotion and story behind the fight itself that made it so memorable.  Bakugo dealing with his shame of being captured by the League of Villains and thinking All Might lost his powers saving him and was blaming himself for it.  Deku dealing with the fact that he always looked up to Bakugo but never really understood how he felt and both of these characters finding a role model in All Might but Deku was chosen as his successor.  Elements that play into this fight were established way back in episode one and came to a head in this epic brawl.  My Hero Academia sets up moments like this numerous times with different characters as the series continues and it’s amazing to see the final product of all the plot elements coming together for one unforgettable scene.

The Characters Grow

Character progression is a huge part of a story, but you rarely see so many characters go through so much.  For example, Deku started off bawling quite easily in season one and by the end of season three he rarely ever cried and instead chose a different way to express and deal with his emotions. By the end of season three multiple characters go through sizable changes.  Bakugo starts to mellow out a bit, Uraraka becomes much more self-reliant, Todoroki begins to come to terms with his horrific childhood and we see even more characters evolve in season four.

Overall My Hero Academia did a great job earning its popularity.  Everything about it was executed with the utmost care and detail such as the story, characters, abilities and how all these elements are combined together.  It is that level of detail and quality that makes this such an incredible story to experience and it only gets better after season three.


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