This is how superheroes should be. Superheroes don’t just save people. They make you believe that people are worth fighting for.
A Test Within A Test
It’s remarkable; I knew that Izuku was going to pass, but for the first few minutes I had serious doubts about how. It just goes to show what I said in a recent post, that even if you see it coming, it can still work. (Warning: Inside Out and Kanon spoilers in that link.) That is, until the big robot showed up, and I knew where this was going.
Of course the U.A. staff wouldn’t reject someone who saved others. The whole point of the test is to see if someone would make a good superhero, and as All Might has been showing us, personality is a huge part of that equation. This test reminds me of a project I did back in college, a market simulation during my final marketing course. Each group created a company, and we had to decide how to position our product in this simulated market. It would go for five or six rotations, and we would only be graded based on the last two. Can you guess what most groups did?
They took it slow. They conserved money, repositioned slowly, advertised moderately, and planned to turn on the afterburners when it came time to be graded. Whereas my group treated the simulation like it was real. We aggressively repositioned, gobbled up market share, and by the time the grading rotations came, we were so far ahead we coasted to an A.
I’m telling you this story mostly because it was my idea to treat the project like it was real, and when one of my crazy ideas actually works I’m gonna talk it up as much as I can, ’cause ego. But it also shows that there’s some reality to U.A.’s madness, and that this is relevant to real life. There will always be an excuse not to give it your all. It’s a test. I’m not invested in this job. It won’t work out anyway. Someone else will save them. But if you won’t take a test seriously, how can anyone trust you when the real thing happens? Because there will always be excuses.
Of course they wouldn’t reject someone like Izuku. He’s exactly the kind of hero they want.
I love Izuku’s mother. Parents in anime are rare enough, but even the ones who show up are seldom like this. From her weight gain to her worrying for her son to her Izuku-style tears—I guess we know where he got them from now, d’aaawww—she feels like more than an accessory to Izuku. She feels real, and…grounded, I suppose. She feels very much like a person, and a mom.
This Is How Superheroes Should Be
I think critically-drubbed (and rightfully so) superhero flicks like Batman vs Superman—yes, I’m going to keep beating up on that movie until everyone realizes how toxic it is, or until I get bored—miss one of the greatest elements about superhero stories. Superheroes are inherently ridiculous. Powerful people dress up in spandex and save the day on their own schedule and according to their own moral codes (or lack thereof)? Those are called vigilantes, they’re dangerous, and modern governments would have several decisive things to say about them. The point I’m getting at is that realism, even when a Christopher Nolan Batman series does a pretty good job of taking superheroes seriously, misses the point.
Superheroes are aspirational. Not because we want them to exist, but because we want to believe that if the world needed superheroes, they would exist. We want to believe that, if everyone started developing Quirks, an All Might would appear. We want to believe that if we had that power, we would stand with those heroes. Most of all, we want to believe that hard work is rewarded, that “no good deed goes unpunished” is never true, and that people are worth saving—including us.
Superheroes are idealistic. They’re idealism incarnate. Why are we trying to bring gritty “realism” to an inherently idealistic endeavor, when we can instead do what Boku no Hero Academia is doing and wield that idealism like a torch in the night? Once again, for three straight episodes in a row, this series has given me chills. It’s given me reason to believe. It’s rejected cynicism in favor of unabashed optimism. It’s not that I think Boku no Hero Academia is the best show out there, nor even the best superhero story, but it is wholly, unequivocally, and uncompromisingly a superhero story. I want more of these, and less gritty frownfests—realism, after all, is overrated. Why must we be so serious, when we could be having fun instead? This is fun!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Izuku takes the practical, & though he doesn’t get a single point, he saves a life. You better believe he’s rewarded for it #heroaca 04
- The other parts of U.A.’s practical were good too. Testing information gathering, speed, discernment/poise, and sheer power are all necessary ingredients. Plus, the announcer dude is right—there aren’t countdowns in a real fight. Go! (The healer helps too.)
- I’m glad that megane seems to have realized what happened with Izuku. He was being a pain in the ass, but realizing his mistake and Izuku’s worth means there’s more to him than there initially seemed.
- *pats back* Don’t mind, don’t mind
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Dying idols, Frictionless routines, Even if you see it coming, it can still work, and Batman does not kill. Superman does not kill.