Friday, November 26, 2021

Green Phoenix - 8 Incredible Quirks in My Hero Academia

 Boku no Hero Academia Volume 1.png

I have spoken on the world of My Hero Academia in previous articles before, both with what I find enjoyable and frustrating about this superhero franchise. Of all the elements that I enjoy from it, I think the sheer variety and uniqueness of the superpowers presented in universe, known as Quirks, is definitely the highlight.

Superpowers have long been a staple of media, as the thought of possessing an ability which would allow you to have a greater degree of influence or power over the world is exceptionally enticing to most people. Ever since Superman first arrived on comic pages in 1938, debates have raged about the best superpowers and why.

Super strength, flight, super intelligence, laser vision, telepathy, etc.

The debates have raged and the reasonings that have accompanied those debates have ranged from the asinine to the scientific, and everything in-between. I've always personally found the superheroes without superpowers to be far more interesting, though the inherent connections between white privilege, super wealth, and non-powered superheroes has made me more thematically aware of the impacts of such heroes on society as a whole. Despite this position on superpowers, I have decided to throw my hat into the ring by exploring my favorite superpowers in the world of My Hero Academia.

Why My Hero Academia I here you ask? Why not select Marvel or DC? The reason is two-fold. First, My Hero Academia is a widely popular manga and anime and I want to utilize that popularity for more views of this article (Bwahahaha!); and secondly, I think that the sheer variety and number of Quirks presented in universe is utterly fascinating and much more unique than the usual suspects seen in most Western superhero comics.

Some of the Quirks seen in this franchise are just insane when one takes the time to look closely. I will not be taking the character who possesses the Quirk into account, so hero, villain, popular or not; only the power will matter. Starting next week, I will be going on my December Holiday Break so I can prepare for TrotCon 2021 and the Christmas season, so I hope you all enjoy this light-hearted and easy-going countdown.

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COUNTDOWN RULES

  1. Only Quirks presented in any licensed My Hero Academia material will be considered for this list, no fan content or fan created Quirks will be allowed; as awesome as some are.
  2. Quirks can be from the anime or manga, and therefore there will be spoilers for those individuals who are not caught up with the manga.
  3. My personal opinion on the owner of the Quirk will not go into the judgement of the Quirk itself.
  4. For those individuals with multiple Quirks, only a single or their primary Quirk will be allowed for consideration.
  5. This list is purely based on my personal opinions of the Quirk and its potential given the world in which it exists. It is not intended to be exhaustive or a determination of best or worst Quirks in universe.
 
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COUNTDOWN

1. Pop Off (Minoru Mineta)

I can already see the comments from Mineta haters.

"Why did you include the pervert!?"

"His Quirk is so stupid and useless and weak!"

I know that this is what Mineta haters will say because I have seen it mentioned several hundred times in various My Hero Academia fanfictions and fan comments, most of whom have some variation of insulting or even removing Mineta from the universe entirely for this very reason. I actually go into further detail in an editorial I wrote about Mineta and my problem with his portrayal by the fandom, but that isn't really the point of this countdown.
 
Mineta's Quirk Pop Off allows him to create sticky hairballs from his scalp that he can throw and trap enemies with. He is immune to the stickiness of his own hairballs, instead being able to bounce on them with surprisingly effective conservation of momentum.

As stated in the rules, the personal opinions or quality of the character that possesses the Quirk doesn't matter, only how awesome the Quirk actually is, and in this regard, I think most My Hero Academia fans miss the point and power of a Quirk like Mineta's. And the fault lies in Western medias reliance on super strength as the go-to superpower and the ability to beat up people effectively.

In Western superhero comics, the pages and panels are filled with superheroes and vigilantes beating the crap out of villains, from petty criminals to universe-threatening supervillains; the solution for all issues of crime is apparently violence. However, I have long held a passion for legal and prison reform and the issues of crime are inextricably linked with issues of prejudice, and poverty; rather than an inherent quality of a person's existence.

This means that most criminals tend to be desperate people, rather than mustachioed TV villains. And desperate people being beaten up by the "heroic" protagonist, especially in an age where police brutality is an all too familiar sight has made me much more cynical of traditional Western superheroes.

This focus on crime as a consequence of societal inequities is a viewpoint shared by My Hero Academia, if the backstories of Toga, Shigaraki, and Twice are any indication. In such a thematic viewpoint, the nonviolent nature of Mineta's Quirk is, ironically, the best Quirk in his class for the purposes of actually capturing criminals and potentially reforming them, which should be the goal of any criminal justice system.

The Quirk is capable of restraining literally anyone, as we actually see it hold down All Might in one of the OVA's, who is canonically the strongest hero in the universe of My Hero Academia. However, because of societal focuses on "powerful" Quirks, a philosophy shared by Western fans as well, Mineta's Quirk is seen as useless or weak, and thus he gets no attention.

I also think that this lack of attention is the reason that Horikoshi never designed Mineta's hero costume to actually optimize his Quirk abilities. Because the best thing for Mineta to get is a gun which can fire his hairballs at an opponent far faster and more accurately than he can by hand.

Mineta's Quirk, regardless of people's opinions of the kid himself, is an overpowered Quirk that could've theoretically put an end to Shigaraki at the very beginning of the USJ (literally just stick the back of his hands together and his "powerful" Quirk is completely useless.

With a bit of change to his costume and some maturity training, Mineta ironically has the potential to be the best hero in his class in terms of villains captured. Even better than Midoriya.

That's right, I said it. And I'd say it again.

2. Creation (Momo Yaoyorozu)

If Mineta's Quirk is perfectly suited for hero work, then Creation, the Quirk utilized by Momo Yaoyorozu is quite possibly the most powerful Quirk in terms of sheer raw potential. It allows her to create any non-living substance or material from her own lipids (or fat cells). The only limitation is the number of lipids she has available and a perfect understanding of the chemical makeup of the object in question.

This Quirk and superpower is, quite frankly, absurd. Leaving aside the possibilities in heroics, Creation is the kind of ability which could fundamentally transform our scientific understanding of reality. What I mean is that it is theoretically possible for Yaoyorozu to create compounds and substances which only exist in theory, but have not yet had the capacity to be created with modern technologies.

Undiscovered elements, chemical compositions and metallic alloys that are either too expensive to manufacture or experimental technologies which can be designed but not produced, are all within her wheelhouse. It's actually so insane that if I had the ability to have any superpower from the show for myself, I would take Yaoyorozu's in a heartbeat.
 
It's potential is practically limitless and it could revolutionize all of society or completely upend the world economy; completely nuts. I've seen a few fanfictions touch upon this aspect of her Quirk, but never really seen anyone take it to its logical conclusion. She is the ultimate armorer. Team her up with Mei Hatsume and the duo might very well change the world of My Hero Academia forever.

I love it so goddamn much!

3. Erasure (Shota Aizawa)

From the overpowered society transforming Quirk of Momo Yaoyorozu to the great Equalizer that is Erasure, utilized by the teacher of Class 1-A, Shota Aizawa, aka Eraserhead. I selected this Quirk because it is quite simply so powerful that Horikoshi has actually had to nerf Aizawa on multiple occasions just to make sure that this hero's overpowered ability didn't destroy the overall narrative of My Hero Academia.

The Quirk is deceptively simple. It allows its user to remove the Quirk of anyone who the user can see. However, it doesn't effect people who are permanently affected by their Quirk, like someone who is born with an additional limb. It also depends upon maintaining constant visual on a subject, so blinking and damage to the eyes can impede Aizawa's ability to use it.

Despite these limitations and the numerous occasions where Aizawa is clearly nerfed to make sure he can't simply eliminate a villain's Quirk for easy capture, the sheer potential of this Quirk makes me seriously wonder if anyone in My Hero Academia's world has ever tried to replicate a Quirk ability with technology. I've seen it explored in fanfiction and its something that would seem logical for people to try in such a world.

Obviously if people have tried, then Aizawa's Quirk is almost certainly the most powerful Quirk in the world, as it is seemingly capable of eliminating almost all others. It turns Aizawa into basically a living Kryptonite, with even All Might and Midoriya brought low under his sight.

Just a shame that Aizawa's eyes keep getting damaged. Over and over again.

4. New Order (Cathleen Bate)

If you haven't caught up with the manga, this character and her Quirk will very likely be completely unknown to you. Cathleen Bate is the name for the #1 American Pro-Hero Star and Stripe, who recently appeared in the manga attempting to bring down Shigaraki in the wake of the Paranormal Liberation War arc. As the Number #1 Hero in America, basically the USA's version of All Might, you'd imagine that she'd have an incredibly powerful Quirk.

And you'd be absolutely right, as New Order, is a strange and frankly ridiculous Quirk in terms of raw potential. As written on the My Hero Academia Wiki page for New Order, it [New Order] allowed the user to set a rule onto their surroundings, allowing them to manipulate and bestow new properties onto themselves and the world around them.

You follow that? This Quirk basically allowed Cathleen to completely alter the rules and properties of the universe around her at her discretion. She could alter not only her own natural abilities but the abilities of others as well. There are of course limitations, since she can only change a single rule at any one time and she has to identify the person in question, a difficulty that ultimately leads to her demise when facing Shigaraki; but still. A Quirk that can enable the user to basically make up the rules of the universe on the spot is so incredible, it had to be on this list.

This Quirk was only seen for a short time, but its sheer raw potential is quite frankly stupid in terms of raw power. The Quirk had to disappear, it was just too damn powerful.

5. Fa Jin (The Third User)

I knew that I had to include one of the Quirks that is a part of One for All on this list, but the issue was determining which one best fit the criteria.We don't yet know all the Quirks that are now a part of One for All, with the Quirk of the Second User still a mystery (and likely will remain one until sometime during the final battle). Despite this, I feel pretty confident in declaring the Quirk of the Third User, called Fa Jin, to be pretty damn ridiculous from a physics standpoint.

Fa Jin is, in essence, a Quirk which collects kinetic energy from movement and harnesses it for incredible feats of strength and speed. It is, in essence, My Hero Academia's version of Flash's Infinite Mass Punch, where the Flash generates so much speed in his fists that the force of his punch is seemingly infinite. On its own, this Quirk would be absurd and I know for a fact that when it finally shows up in the anime, it will utterly astound audiences.
 
However, in terms of the Quirks presented on this list, I think its probably the most standard heroic Quirk out there and exists predominantly to transform Izuku Midoriya into an amalgamation of every major superhero out there.

6. Zero Gravity (Ochako Uraraka)

Let's be honest, on the face of it, the Quirk of Ochako Uraraka, Midoriya's best friend and (sort-of) love interest makes no damn sense from a physics standpoint. By description, Zero Gravity allows her to remove the gravity of any object that she touches with all five fingers, though over-using the Quirk can give her motion sickness by somehow messing with the fluids in her inner ear.

However, the Quirk doesn't behave the way an object unaffected by gravity does, which makes me think that Horikoshi might've had a misconception as to the character's actual ability. You see, the objects that Uraraka touches actually shift in their momentum and lose energy completely, not something which occurs in zero gravity as objects in motion will always stay in motion; yet objects also don't continue to rise forever under her Quirk, which is what would actually happen if something were unaffected by gravity.
 
I've seen fanfictions that explain this inconsistency by exploring the idea that Uraraka was misdiagnosed with her Quirk and actually affects either the buoyancy or density of an object, which would explain the weird ways objects move and suddenly stop at her command, as if she controls the inherent buoyant force of an object.

Either way, this ability is astounding to think of the possibilities; regardless of its actual real world functions would actually operate. Gravity is a force that effects every aspect of our lives and the ability to essentially say "fuck it" is so absurd as to warrant immediate inclusion on this list. If nothing else, it sends my scientifically focused mind a whirl with the possibilities.

7. Rewind (Eri)

We now arrive at the Quirk so stupidly overpowered that even the characters in universe were astonished by it. Possessed by the adorable child Eri, Rewind allows her to manipulate the flow of time around an object or person; sending them back to an earlier point in time. She is, in essence, a living time machine, with the capacity to do everything from heal people from grievous injuries, or even set them back to before they were even born.

It was these abilities that saw this poor kid abused by a criminal mastermind and frightened of her own abilities to the point of crippling any capacity of control over such abilities. And when you command such a ridiculous power, I can't imagine a more terrifying situation for a child to be exposed to.

However, the ability to send people and objects back to an earlier point in time is truly astonishing if it could mastered and controlled. In universe, Eri could use her abilities to heal nearly any injury by reversing a person's personal time stream to before they even received the injury. I even think that in universe, Eri could be used to reverse All Might's timeline to a point before his injuries, allowing him to essentially return to full strength, though with the loss of One for All, I'm not sure how that would work in universe.

Just a thought for the fanfiction authors as they explore this frankly absurd Quirk.

8. Attraction of Small Objects (Inko Midoriya)

And now for the final Quirk on our list. We've had Quirks that manipulate gravity, time, and the very laws of the universe itself; so what could compare. Well, how about a Quirk that despite its comparative innocuousness might be the most practically useful Quirk ever presented in the show.

Inko Midoriya's Quirk isn't seen very often and its implied that its not very powerful, its referred to only as Attraction of Small Objects, and it works as a minor form of telekinesis. She's seen moving around silverware and glasses of water, and even the occasional action figure, so it seems like her abilities might be limited to small household objects on the surface of it. So how, you must be wondering, can such a Quirk stand up in sheer potential to the likes of Quirks like Creation or Rewind.

Simple. Because basic telekenesis is an ability I'm certain almost every human on Earth has wanted at one point or another. Whether watching X-Men or Star Wars, I know nearly everybody has wanted to grab their keys from across the room, or grabbing the remote for the TV without getting up, or even lifting up dog shit (all of which seems withing the weight limit of such a Quirk).

Attraction of Small Objects is a Quirk which I think almost anyone could have use for in their day-to-day life. It would make so many minor issues and frustrations melt away, leaving aside the actual combat capacities of such a Quirk if Inko Midoriya ever felt like stretching it out.

After all, the capillaries in your eyeballs could also constitute a "small object".

Eek!
 
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CONCLUSION

As stated earlier, this will be my last article of the year, not including my holiday editorial that I release near Christmas. It has been an absolute blast to write for all of you this past year and I already have so many plans to continue next year with the same degree of fervor.

So be prepared in the first Friday in January when I release my 2021 in Review article.

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season! And you can check information from TrotCon 2021 on my Patreon account, if you subscribe that is! If you can, I'd greatly appreciate your support.
 
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