abiding citizen

When the “Symbol of Peace” is a Warrior

Remember that time Gandhi punched a man into the stratosphere? Or when Nelson Mandela dropped the atom bomb? While such events might make for a good game of Civilization VI, the societal and cultural implications would be rather bleak.

That’s the world of Boku no Hero Academia. A world where peace is assured, not by treaties and accords, but by the threat of overwhelming force. The threat of All Might bearing down upon you with all his might.

The surface level problem with this arrangement is not so much an issue for the majority of law-abiding citizens. At least, it wouldn’t be if not for the way this society pushes people toward villainy (which I wrote about here).

The deeper issue here, is the idolization of violence.

Pictured above are 4 of the top 10 ranked heroes in Japan. There are 2 others, but they don’t support my claim, and the remaining 4 are unknown.

All Might - OFA: punches so hard the sheer pressure changes the weather
Endeavour - Hell Flame: kills it with fire
Ryukyu - Dragon Form: claws, fangs, probably eats livestock whole
Edgeshot - Foldabody: makes body thin as a razor, punches at speed of sound

Ignore the Shigarakis and All For Ones of the world, they are few and far between. Consider the more innocuous criminal, like a shoplifter. What strategies would any of these heroes employ in that case? Step 1, offer chance to surrender. Step 2, murder? These heroes do not have a non-lethal option.

And that’s a real problem. Not just for these heroes, but for the society that elevated them to the top 10, rankings which account for popularity more than anything else. 

Every child dreams of being All Might. Everyone looks up to this incredible powerhouse. The term “Hero” was meant to mean “one who saves others,” but has twisted to mean only “one who fights villains.” This perverse understanding of what makes a hero pervades society at an institutional level.

Take it from Aizawa, the UA entrance exam is illogical and harmful, stemming from society’s fascination with brute strength. To get in to the UA Hero course, you need a combat-capable quirk. This system precludes people like Shinso or Aizawa from gaining admission, people who posses some of the greatest and most useful quirks any hero could ask for.

But the exam never asks, “What’s your true potential?” It begs but two simple questions, “How many villains can you beat up? How many people can you save (from villains)?” And the results end up looking like this:

That’s right, Lord Explosion Murder is the star of this year’s class. Bakugou’s quirk and personality are only useful for trying to kill things. Maybe he just needs a better role model. Who does he look up to? Oh, right, it’s All Might.

All Might is a defacto demi-god of this world. Outside of villainous circles, you won’t find anyone who doesn’t idolize him. But what good is that idolization? If someone like Bakugou genuinely believes himself to be following in All Might’s footsteps. 

Well, maybe this is an isolated problem. All Might is UA’s celebrity alumni, of course they’ll try to keep up that image. But the other hero schools can’t all be like that, and the hero licensing program is bound to be–

Oh, nope. It’s all violence, all the time. Neat.

Granted, the provisional license exam does have a rescue phase, but almost everyone passed that. The part intended to cull 95% of the applicants is combat-based. Are there even enough villains in the world to justify being this focused on combat?

As tragic as it is, the elevation of violent heroes is only half the problem,

Because this is a zero-sum scenario: if brutality rises to the top, then utility is pushed to the bottom. 

Non-violent heroes simply do not have a clear path to success. I’m using Shinso as an example again, because there are so few like him that manage to rise to the point of being mentioned in the story. The realm of heroism is all but institutionally sealed off for them. 

Society wants heroes who fight villains. That is what their purpose has become. And anyone who can’t conform to that mold gets pushed out. Maybe Stain was on to something; heroes have deviated from their original purpose, they now exist only for the spectacle of the fight.

All Might’s position as the Symbol of Peace does not extol heroism, but rather violence in heroism’s name.

Mcelroy LGBT+ icons

-Taako
-Kravitz
-Bone Dogg
-Carey and Killian
-Sloane and Hurley
-Magnus
-Merle
-The final Pam
-Susan Crushbone
-knife dads gay daughter
-Lucretia
-Magic Bryan
-boy detective Ango McDonald
-Klaarg
-Doug

Feel free to add on (in fact, please do)

i’m..convinced the mcelroys are incapable of creating a show without a gay character of some kind? 

like. taz has 3 canon gay relationships, monster factory’s mëlissa has a girlfriend, bone dogg from touch the skyrim has kissed and married (and killed) 2 men, busto 2.0 from car boys has had intercourse with both himself and iron man, doug from law abiding citizen is undeniably falling in love with russ, and at one point in things i bought at sheetz, dwight and justin just straightup get married

  • Russ in Episode One: FOUL SPIRIT! WHY DO YOU TORMENT ME SO?! YOU TWIST AND CONTORT MY BODY TO TURN ME INTO A VESSEL OF EVIL!
  • Russ in Episode Three: Oh, hey Doug. How am I going to be possessed today?

My very favorite thing about this series is that there is absolutely no limit to how far the cluster will go for one another.

Will is compromised? Fine. He takes heroin for a year just to make sure that he can keep the rest of the sensates safe. Think about it.

He’s a cop. He’s a law abiding citizen but he has no qualms about shooting himself up just to keep whispers away from them.

Sun is about to be murdered? Not on their watch she’s not. Nomi dropped everything to hack her out of prison without a second thought.

Sun’s brother is within reach? Let’s go! All 8 of them, even cinnamon rolls Capheus, Kala, and Lito are there for the fight.

Wolfie is captured? Sensates assemble! The whole cluster is on it. So what if the plans not 100% yet. They have Wolfgang and we’ll never allow that. 8 people (11 counting Amanita, Hernando, and Daniela) drop their entire lives and fly out to London just to get a bargaining chip in hopes of getting Wolfie back, safe and sound.

Their relationship with eachother is the legitimate highlight of the entire show. It’s amazing, beautiful, and painful all at the same time.

Man, what a gorgeous show the Wachowski’s and JMS have given us. What a beautiful gift we have received. I hope it never ends.