Hey hey all you Heroes and Travelers out there today I’m bringing you all another super special awesome OWLS post!! If this is your first time here at Nice Job Breaking It Hero, you were probably linked here by the lovely Lita’s blog tour post… and I welcome you with open arms!!
Back in December I mentioned that I’d joined OWLS: Otaku Warriors of Liberty and Self-Respect, a group of bloggers and vloggers that hope to spread a message of acceptance and understanding through thoughtful community activism!
So, in order to spread our message of self acceptance and tolerance, we’ve decided to hold Monthly Blog Tours! During Blog Tours, we each write individual theme posts on our blogs that promote our group’s values, with a bit of an otaku twist. July’s Blog Tour topic is Mirrors!!
When I think of “Mirrors” I think of two things, Reflections from the Disney animated film Mulan and Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror, and I’m not gonna lie, I was tempted to write my post on those songs, since they perfectly capture this month’s blog tour topic. Both songs are about identity, and a person’s attempt to rectify their true selves with the expectations of other, or in the case of the Michael Jackson song, eliciting a change in the world through self reflection. So what does this have to do with this month’s “Mirror” theme? Well, mirrors are said to reflect one’s true self, worts and all, any insecurities you have are on full display, and you can either choose to live with those “imperfections” or attempt to change them for the better (or worse). I’m rambling, so on to the official OWLS July Blog Tour Prompt:
“Magic mirror, on the wall—who is the fairest one of all?”
When we look in the mirror, what do we see? Do we see ourselves or someone we don’t want to be? For this month’s theme, we will be exploring some of our favorite anime and other pop culture media that redefine individual beauty—inside and out. Some topics we may explore are physical appearances, social expectations on gender, and the importance of self-confidence.
– OWLS July Blog Tour Prompt
Okay, so for my OWLS post I decided to go with My Hero Academia, partially because I am currently obsessed with- *cough* I mean, because it fits well with the theme. I’m usually not a huge fan of series like MHA, but there is just something about Deku journey to become heroes worthy of protecting the city that had me hooked. I’m straying a bit from the topic, since I won’t be talking much about beauty, instead I want to focus on Deku’s self image and how that fits in with his society’s views on Quirkless individuals.
“Just trying to meet expectations! A smiling… dependable… cool hero… That’s what I wanna be! That’s why I’m giving it everything! For everyone!”
-Izuku Midoriya (Deku)
So, to avoid fangirling all over this post, I’m going to focus on my boy, Izuku Midoriya, aka Deku (I can’t promise that there won’t be some fangirling though #sorrynotsorry). As the series’s protagonist he gets his fair share of the limelight, but he more than deserves it, I mean who doesn’t love a good underdog story?
Deku is the ultimate underdog, in a world where super powers are common, he manages to be one of the chosen few to be born Quirkless, it’s hard enough trying to stand out when everyone is normal, but when you throw powers into the mix, the self esteem kinda takes a hit… But, not for Deku, despite not having a Quirk and everyone telling him that he’ll never be a hero, he never fully gives up on his dream. In traditional shounen hero fashion, Deku realizes his dreams through sheer force of will and a bit of help from a super-powered mentor. But, what sets Deku apart from other shounen protagonists, is that even after he (spoiler alert) obtains a Quirk, he doesn’t really change all that much. He’s still the same kid that would run head first into harms way if it meant saving someone, whereas you have characters like Katsuki Bakugo who are jerks whether they have powers or not. Powers or lack there of, don’t make a person a hero, it’s the stuff on the inside that does and Deku definitely has what it takes to be a hero!
The society in which the series takes place puts much more value on a person’s quirk and less on their actual character. Having a Quirk is a status symbol, the better the ability the higher your “standing” is in the community. Unique quirks are praised, while not having a Quirk is seen as the ultimate misfortune. When Deku and his mother find out that he’ll never develop a Quirk, they breakdown in tears, as if not having one somehow makes him less of a person.
While Deku isn’t outright shunned because of his “condition” he is ridiculed by his classmates, namely, Katsuki. At one point, Katsuki tells Deku he should just jump out a window and pray he’s reincarnated with a Quirk in the next life! Granted, Katsuki is an extreme case, but everyone else flat out tells the kid that he’ll never amount to much, even his idol, All Might tells him to give up on being a hero and settle for a job as a police office…. This breaks Deku and he finally decides to give up on his dream for good.
Not long after All Might shuts down his dreams, Deku witnesses Katsuki being attacked by a villain that proves to be too much for the heroes at the scene, everyone watches in horror as Katsuki is devoured by the monster, but not Deku! He rushes the villain armed only with a school bag, no powers, no plan, just a desire to help someone in need. At first his actions seem foolhardy, he’s up against a super powered foe that overwhelmed even the professional heroes without hesitating, his rashness even spurs popular hero, All Might into action! And what does he get for his trouble? A scolding from the “real” heroes for being reckless, while Katsuki, THE VICTIM, is praised for his amazing powers and strong will! The injustice of it all!
“I’m not gonna be your worthless punching bag Deku forever… Kacchan. I’m… I’m the Deku who always does his best!”
So tying this back to the theme (kind of), Deku isn’t the strongest character, heck he can’t even use the All For One without causing himself serious physical harm, but even that doesn’t stop him from doing his best. For him, being a hero isn’t about fame or fortune, it’s about instilling the people you protect with hope and a smile! Despite his fears and insecurities, Deku never lets those feelings hold him back from showing all of his haters how much of a mistake it is to underestimate him.
Sure he doesn’t have a handle on his new powers and sure he’s not the what society might deem a “hero”, Deku is a new kind of hero, one that knows what it’s like to be average. He works hard at everything he does and the results speak for themselves and for that reason, Deku is already the hero he always dreamed he would be. If his younger self could see the person he’d become, I know he’d be proud! In My Hero Academia, Deku has to rectify his vision of what a hero is with the expectations of the society he lives in and while it won’t be easy, he’ll definitely show the world that there is more to being a hero than having a badass Quirk.
I fully expected to hate this anime, it had all of the elements I disliked in other shounen series, but for some reason I could not stop watching and a lot of that had to do with Deku. He is a shounen protagonist through and through, but he has that special something that just makes you want to root for him, I want this kid to be a hero! It’s probably because I know what it’s like to have an impossible dream or maybe I love how he stays true to himself even after he obtains the All For One Quirk, Deku isn’t the hero, Izuku Midoriya is…
There is still a few more blog tour stop left in the July Tour, next up is Rai from Rai’s Anime Blog so definitely be on the look out for that posts on the 15th!! Also if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the Official OWLS Twitter account @OWLSbloggers and the Official OWLS Blog, to stay up to date on all OWLS news and announcements!
If you are interested in becoming a member of the OWLS team, please feel free to fill out the contact form, HERE! So don’t be afraid to reach out to any of us on our blogs, on twitter, or at the contact page to learn more about us!! You just need an open mind and a willingness to have fun!