Quirk-law is the leading cause of Villainy
At first glance, the world of BnHA seems like it might be a fun place to live, but that’s because we’re viewing it from the perspective of the top 1%. For most people, the only difference between their world and the real one is that they are in constant danger.
Let’s review what we know about quirk law. Only licensed heroes are authorized to use quirks in public. You may use quirks privately, but they must be registered and there are myriad restrictions. You must obtain a license to use quirks for your job, also with various limitations.
On the surface, pretty commonsense. In practice, these laws target the lowest common denominator and thus punish everyone else. If you ever had a teacher who demanded silence from the class because one person misbehaved, it’s like that on a societal scale.
(excerpt from the spin off “BnHA Illegals”) This guy can move slightly faster than a brisk walking pace by holding 3 points of contact with the ground. He’s not allowed to do that. He becomes a vigilante hero, which is a crime.
The “Illegals” manga features several people who turned to the “crime” of vigilante heroism because of the draconian regulation of quirks. It’s on the level of thought-crime, guilty until proven innocent.
While licenses make sense in the real world with regards to vehicles and guns, it doesn’t make sense for quirks because A) nearly everyone has them, and B) it’s not a choice to obtain it.
(excerpt from chapter 85) Let’s talk about a case where these laws don’t just inconvenience an individual, but harm all of society. Momo has the quirk “creation” which is very tightly regulated for the sake of the economy. With a hero license she can create anything she needs for heroing, but anything else is (officially) off limits.
This is legislating to the worst case scenario, which, I contend, is a poor strategy in this world. It works from the assumption that she would use her quirk selfishly and excessively. If she created billions of dollars, she would ruin the economy and we would all suffer.
But what if she used her quirk selfishly and in moderation? She could make anything she needs for a modest life, or the money appropriate for a modest living, and it would have no impact on the economy. A good outcome for her and a neutral result for the rest of us. There’s no reason to prohibit this.
And, of course, the law doesn’t consider the best case scenario. What if she uses her quirk selflessly? What if, for example, every couple years she set aside a month to create smart phones for everyone in the world? Would that wreck the economy? One particular industry, sure. Would it benefit literally everyone but electronics CEOs? Would it save thousands of child laborers in sweatshops? YES! That’s a brilliant trade off! But, even if she applied for a business quirk license, I think she’d be denied for the potential disruption of the economy.
(Side note: It has been a topic of many forums whether Momo can make things as complex as a smartphone. I say yes. Recall in the School Trip Arc, she made a tracking device and matching GPS unit. It’s absolutely within her ability.)
Rapid fire round: what should these people do if society was more lenient? Shinso: suicide hotline operator. Todoroki: work inside a nuclear cooling tower, heat up water at the bottom, cool down steam at the top, infinite energy. Uraraka:
construction worker work at NASA.
As civilians these quirks would be restricted. Even as heroes these quirks are going to waste from a utilitarian perspective. No one benefits from this arrangement. There is so much potential in the world, and its governments seem dedicated to squandering it.
This is a society that is oppressive to the majority. Quirks could fuel the next stage of human evolution, but laws keep society grounded in the stone age. How can anyone in that world (aside from the 1%ers in their ignorant bubble) not resent that? This is the philosophy that breeds villains, and I can’t help but agree with it.