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My Hero Academia has taken over the manga space as one of the biggest shounen manga out there. With such a deep and rich My Hero Academia history and overview, there is so much to unpack with the story, world, and characters.
As one of the most popular manga series of the modern-day, My Hero Academia has a lot going for it. From the brilliant heroes to the dastardly villains to the impressive pool of unique quirks, here’s what you need to know about the world of Boku no Hero Academia.
What Is My Hero Academia?
My Hero Academia is a manga series that has dominated the medium for a few years now since its creation. It is quite popular in Japan, where it is from, but it has found immense success worldwide, too, in many different languages.
Seen by many as a modern-day counterpart to the manga greats of old, like Dragon Ball, Naruto, and One Piece, My Hero Academia became an instant classic soon after its initial release. The crux of this shounen, all-ages manga is that it follows the tale of a superhero world that is bombastic, intense, and chaotic, with literally millions of people running rampant with superpowers.
The series balances the light-hearted nature of being a high school student with the messed up and sometimes tragic moments that anime is known for, perhaps even more so than most other shounen out there.
Though My Hero Academia is fun for the whole family, it is worth noting that it has some seriously dark and twisted moments, especially in the later portions of the series. There are even scenes in the manga where it is questionable how this could be aimed at kids.
The ongoing manga is not the only medium for this series, either, as My Hero Academia’s success has spawned an also popular anime series, plus films, video games, and more.
My Hero Academia History: Manga
The start of My Hero Academia began with the very first issue of the manga that was released on July 7, 2014, in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, where other great manga have appeared in the past.
Created by Kohei Horikoshi, the series was his attempt to find success after the failure of his previous manga, Barrage. How he came up with the idea for the manga was by taking a previous one-shot idea that he had that was known as My Hero.
It was previously a single issue that was released, but he took that premise and turned it into an entire manga series that is still going strong more than seven years after its serialization began. Drawing inspiration from the Western superhero comics and movies like Spider-Man and X-Men, Horikoshi crafted his own take on the superpowered genre with some hints of Naruto thrown in as well.
Since its debut in 2014, there have been more than 330 chapters and counting that have been released almost every single week in Weekly Shonen Jump. In the United States, the series is licensed by Viz Media, which published it in the English version of the magazine.
The chapters are then compiled into groups and released in volumes of manga that include multiple chapters that make up a particular storyline. There are 32 volumes of manga that are available in Japan. However, only 29 of them are currently available officially in English.
In addition to the main series of My Hero Academia, there are spin-off manga titles that have begun as well to explore other sides of the universe. My Hero Academia: Smash is a spin-off that relives certain moments of the series but with a more comedic effect to balance out the sometimes serious nature of the main story.
Another spin-off is My Hero Academia: Vigilantes in which the title explores the quirk users who fight evil without the approval of society, therefore, being branded as vigilantes rather than pro heroes.
Beginning in 2016, it is still going today with more than 100 chapters and counting, making a considerably successful series in its own right. Finally, there is My Hero Academia: Team-Up Missions, which hones in on special team-ups between characters from across the anime and manga.
My Hero Academia History: Anime
Given the immense success of the My Hero Academia manga since its launch, it is no surprise that it did not take long at all for an anime series to begin. Just over a year after the manga began, an anime adaptation was announced in 2015.
Produced by Studio Bones, previously of Fullmetal Alchemist and Darker than Black fame, the series began on April 3, 2016. The first season of the anime ran for only 13 episodes, half of what later seasons would do.
Because of the nearly instant success of the first season, a second season was quickly announced and began airing on April 1, 2017. Since then, we have had new episodes and/or seasons of My Hero Academia every single year to date.
While the first season was only 13 episodes, every following season would contain 25 episodes, making for a total of five seasons and 113 episodes at this time. The most recent season concluded on September 25, 2021, after 25 episodes and encroaching further on the current state of the manga.
A sixth season has already been announced and will begin sometime in 2022, starting with the highly anticipated adaptation of the Paranormal Liberation War Arc.
Beyond the core five seasons of the My Hero anime that have aired, there are five spin-off episodes known as OVAs that have been released. Some shed a bit of light on events that happened between arcs while others give further insight into main characters like All Might.
There are also three animated movie adaptations of My Hero Academia that have been released at this time. The first of these was Two Heroes, which was released in 2018.
The following year, another movie was released, known as Heroes Rising, on December 20, 2019, in Japan. That was followed up by a third film known as World Heroes’ Mission that came out on August 6, 2021, in Japan.
The most defining part of the My Hero Academia world and storyline are quirks. This is the manga’s version of superpowers and it envisions them as hereditary, biological components of what makes a person. Though quirks first showed up randomly in a baby at birth, they would become a part of most human beings on the planet over time. Quirks can be passed down to children, including even the mix of quirks from the parents.
It is not impossible for a person to have multiple quirks, and this is seen in the case of a few characters in the My Hero Academia universe. While typically because of two parents having different abilities that are passed down to a child, it can occur through other means as well.
A quirk can vary from person to person, but these superpowers can pretty much include anything imaginable, from simple abilities like producing fire to more complex and intricate abilities like stealing someone else’s quirk.
For some people in the world of My Hero Academia, their quirks even come with downsides to them like having a weakness of only being able to use their powers while on a rush from eating sweets or a limit to how many items that they are able to create using their mind at one time.
There are plenty of quirks that lend themselves to fighting and more aggressive situations, while others are meant for healing and helping others. Then there are some people whose quirks are not exceedingly useful in everyday situations.
There are currently at least 80% of people in the world of My Hero Academia that have quirks, leaving only 20% as the unfortunate ones who are born without any abilities to call their own.
But, while the vast majority of the world’s population have abilities, not all of them are cut out to be heroes. Most people live fairly normal lives and work average jobs, with only the most powerful and skilled quirk users going on to become pro heroes in society.
Despite some people being born without quirks and, therefore, the ability to become a pro hero, there are known exceptions to this rule with characters who have been able to acquire a quirk through unique means, as seen in the hero of the story Deku.
The setting for My Hero Academia is Earth, but in a version that is quite different from the one that we know. While it is currently uncertain when or what universe this particular Earth takes place in, we know that it is one that is filled to the brim with quirks.
The first quirk appeared in China with a baby who was born with the ability to give off light. Soon after this occurred, much of the world began to show signs of their own unique abilities and it grew rapidly to encompass 80% of the population over time.
Parts of the My Hero Academia storyline take place in other regions and countries of the world, especially in the anime film adaptations, but the bulk of the storyline takes place in Japan.
The setting for the manga series follows many of the quirk users and people who live in Japan, showing the circumstances that occur there. These events are not insignificant, either, as many of them have impacts on the entire world at large.
U.A. High School
Much of the main setting for My Hero Academia is centered around U.A. High School. This special high school in Japan is dedicated to training up the next generation of pro heroes.
It is found in the fictional city of Musutafu, which itself is a reference to the also fictional planet Mustafar from the Star Wars universe. The city is found somewhere near the real-life Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan.
U.A. High School is the #1 hero school that is in Japan and among the most prestigious in the world for students wishing to become a pro hero someday. The students enrolled at the school eventually come to live and study there, going to class and training for six days of the week. While U.A. High School is dedicated to pro heroes, not all classes are built the same way.
Class designations are determined by the year of the students, of which there are three total years of studying there before they graduate and start their adult lives.
Furthermore, there is a letter assigned to each class that also notes the department that the student is studying in. For example, some classes are designed to be support departments for those looking to support heroes as creators of devices or as sidekicks.
Much of the story of U.A. High School centers around the 1-A class, a group of students who are primed to become the next pro heroes in society. This freshmen class includes 20 quirk users studying to pass the hero licensing exam.
The star of the manga is Izuku “Deku” Midoriya, a young boy who finds himself in an unfortunate situation where life has not handed him lemons, or quirks so to speak, that most everyone has.
His greatest desire in life is to become a pro hero. However, he is unable to due to being quirkless. Without going into too many details that might be considered spoilers, his chance encounter with the #1 hero of all time, All Might, changes his life forever.
Suddenly bestowed with his own quirk, Deku is then able to enter U.A. High School as part of Class 1-A. Poised to be among the best in the business, the manga follows the story from mainly his perspective. We are able to see the struggles and experiences of the journey that Deku is on as he heads towards a goal of becoming the new #1 hero in the world. That said, he is far from the only main character in the series.
Much of the story revolves around the members of Class 1-A, which is led by their teacher Shota Aizawa, or Eraser Head, as he is known. In addition, Deku’s generous benefactor, All Might, works at the high school and assists both Deku and the class as a mentor while juggling his work as the best hero in the world.
Within Class 1-A, Deku has his childhood bully turned pseudo-friend Katsuki Bakugo who has the ability to create his own personal explosives to blow up the enemies that match his intense and harsh personality.
There is also Shoto Todoroki, a friend of Deku who has the unique ability to wield two quirks at once. A direct hybrid between his two parents, he has the ability to use the flames that he inherited from his father, the #2 hero in the world, and the ice that comes from his mom.
With a complicated past and lineage, Todoroki is one of the more complex characters who deals with finding who he is supposed to be. This can clash with the ideals that others in his life have for him.
Another main character is Ochaco Uraraka, a girl who is friends with her classmate Deku and seemingly has an innate interest in the young protagonist. She has the ability to manipulate gravity, allowing herself, other people, and objects to float in the air.
Those are just a few members of the large Class 1-A that includes 20 members in total, with each of them having their own quirks that they use to help them achieve their goals in life.
Beyond Class 1-A, there are other heroes and main characters that the audience is introduced to, including from other classes and even high schools. There are plenty of existing pro heroes that appear in the manga as well, becoming mentors and role models for many of the impressionable students.
Of course, any good superhero story is going to have some supervillains to challenge the heroes, and My Hero Academia has its fair share of evildoers. The bulk of the villains come from the League of Villains, a sinister organization that pops up throughout the manga.
The League of Villains is led by Tomura Shigaraki, a mysterious and deadly villain who has the power of decay. When he touches a person or object, he has the ability to make it fall apart and die. Shigaraki is a powerful villain and one that makes his presence known early in the manga as a recurring archnemesis of sorts for the hero of the story, Deku.
There are other members of the League of Villains that Shigaraki leads, including Dabi. With the bright blue flames that he wields, his deadly quirk is able to incinerate most anything, and he does not stop to bring fiery destruction in his wake.
Another quite popular member of the League is Himiko Toga, a high school-age girl who has a penchant for knives and murder. Quite insane, she has become a fan favorite and has her own interests in Deku.
Beyond the League of Villains, there are other supervillains that the heroes have to contend with throughout the manga. One of the notable ones are the Nomu, strange creatures that are designed to be a nuisance against the heroes.
There is also the Hero Killer Stain whose goal is to rid the world of heroes and those who falsely claim to serve justice. If he believes that someone is really trying to save people for fame or money, he will target them for his deadly mission. He has no allegiance with the League of Villains, either.
Where to Read and Watch My Hero Academia
For those who are interested in picking up and reading the manga of My Hero Academia for yourself, there are a few different places where you are able to do so legally.
For starters, there is the simple task of heading to your local bookstore, and they will likely have some volumes of the manga in stock in English since it is one of the most popular manga series right now. Furthermore, there are even some public libraries that you could visit that might have some copies of the manga in stock for free rentals if you do not wish to spend any money at this time on it.
Should you not want to take a trip to a certain store or place in order to find the manga, there are digital places where you can purchase My Hero Academia and read it on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
This includes the Viz Media website, where you can join its service and read the chapters of the manga as they go live in English. This is especially great if you do not want to wait for the full volumes to come out, which can take some time. New chapters are released in English fairly soon after their original launch in Japan, and there are some free chapters available, too.
Should you find that you want to check out the anime adaptation of the series, there are a few places where you can check it out. The two main sites are Funimation and Crunchyroll, both of which have access to the My Hero Academia anime and all of its seasons.
However, what is important to note is that Funimation has access to the English dubbed version, so if you want to hear the characters’ voices in English rather than read subtitles, this is the place to go.
A few episodes of the anime might be available for free on some of those websites, but you will likely need a subscription to the services in order to watch the most recent episodes and without ads.
List of Current Manga Story Arcs
With well over 300 chapters in the manga to date, My Hero Academia is a long-running series and one that has a considerable amount of story in it so far. Like other major shounen manga, My Hero Academia is divided up into major story arcs that happen in the series to make it a bit more organized for readers. Much of the names of these arcs come from the community itself.
You can find the current full list of the My Hero Academia story arcs below, including the chapters in which they take place. It is worth keeping in mind, though, that the names could be considered slight spoilers for those who have not yet reached that part of the story, so tread lightly in this area.
- Entrance Exam Arc (Chapters 1-4)
- Quirk Apprehension Test Arc (5-7)
- Battle Trial Arc (8-11)
- U.S.J. Arc (12-21)
- Sports Festival Arc (22-44)
- Hero Killer Arc (45-59)
- Final Exams Arc (60-69)
- Forest Training Camp (70-83)
- Hideout Raid (84-97)
- Provisional Hero License Exam (98-121)
- Shie Hassaikai (122-162)
- Remedial Course (163-168)
- School Festival (169-183)
- Pro Hero (184-193)
- Joint Training (194-217)
- Meta Liberation Army (218-240)
- Endeavor Agency (241-252)
- Paranormal Liberation War (253-306)
- Tartarus Escape (307-328)
- Star and Stripe (329-Current)
That is where the manga is currently in My Hero Academia. It is actually in the final stretch and will be coming to an end at some point in the near future with only a few arcs likely left to go.
When it comes to the anime and where it is currently, season 6 of the show will dive into the Paranormal Liberation War Arc, which will most likely take up the bulk of that particular season. That said, it is quickly catching up to where the original manga is.
Question: Is Deku 17 years old?
Answer: The age for Izuku “Deku” Midoriya is currently presumed to be 16 years old in the current arc of the manga, so, no, he is not quite 17 years old yet. His original appearance in the manga was at the age of four years old, while the main story began with meeting All Might when he was 14 before his entry into U.A. High School at 15 years old. Deku’s birthday is July 15.
Question: What was Deku’s original quirk?
Answer: Originally, Deku was born with no quirk at all, making him “quirkless” in the world of My Hero Academia, of which only around 20% of people are.
Once he inherited the One for All quirk from All Might, this became his first quirk ability. There are two key parts of the One for All quirk: the first is the ability to power up different elements of a person to superhuman levels, such as strength, agility, and more.
The second part of this is the fact that One for All can willingly be given to someone else (not stolen), which has happened over the course of decades with multiple previous One for All users. This was seen in All Might’s imparting the quirk onto the previously quirkless Deku.
Question: What did Deku originally mean?
Answer: In Japanese, the word “Deku” has multiple meanings, but in the case of Izuku Midoriya, it is mainly referring to the insult that is used to note that someone is incapable of doing anything at all.
That said, the kanji that is used to write Izuku’s name in Japanese can be read as Deku, adding a double layer to it. Add in the fact that his name is similar to the Japanese verb “dekiru”, which means someone “can do” something, and you have a complicated but intriguing meaning for his hero name.
As for the origins of his hero name, Deku, it was originally an insult given by childhood “friend” Katsuki Bakugo. Midoriya then turned around and took the previous insult and turned it into a symbol of hope as his title as a professional hero.
Question: Is My Hero Academia based in the past?
Answer: There are no specific years given in My Hero Academia to indicate when exactly it takes place, but it is very unlikely that it is in the past. There are a couple of possible options, such as simply taking place in an alternative universe or in the future.
It could be an alternate version of the current real world in which heroes exist and most people have quirks. It is even possible that it takes place in the same universe as the Marvel comics, due to cameo appearances of characters like Spider-Man in the manga and the official crossover Avengers promotion in Japan to celebrate the release of Infinity War.
On the other hand, the other possibility is that it does take place in the real world, but in the future. The first quirk appeared in China when a baby was born illuminated with light. After that first appearance, many people in the world began exhibiting quirk abilities. It is possible that the first quirk appearance happens a few years or even decades from now.
Question: Are the My Hero Academia movies canon to the manga?
Answer: The My Hero Academia movies are mostly considered non-canon by the community, however, some of the movies are at least officially a canonized part of the manga.
The first film, Two Heroes, features a story that is considered part of the manga, shedding light on the past of All Might. There are other parts of the rest of the films that are referenced in the manga, lending some credence to their possible canon status.
Furthermore, manga creator Kohei Horikoshi was deeply involved in the creation of all three My Hero Academia movies. While there are some, no spoilers here, wild moments that happen in some of the movies (specifically Heroes Rising), they are handled in a way in which it does not necessarily go against what has happened in the manga.
For more thoughts on anime and manga, you might be interested in Naruto if you are a My Hero Academia fan. In that case, be sure to check out Animelisty’s recap and details of Naruto and Sasuke’s various clashes that have happened over the course of the manga and anime series.