To celebrate the recent premiere of My Hero Academia’s fourth season, we thought it’d be a good opportunity to bring back our Anime Vs. Manga series of articles. Based on the manga by Kouhei Horikoshi, My Hero Academia takes place in a world where 80% of the population has superpowers, or “quirks.” Upon the beginning of the series, All Might is considered one of his time’s greatest heroes and is looked up to by all, including the series’ main character, Izuku Midoriya. Unfortunately, Izuku is part of the 20% that doesn’t have a quirk despite both of his parents having one. After a chance encounter with All Might, and with All Might being touched by Izuku’s resolve to wanting to become a hero, he decides to pass on his quirk, One For All, to Izuku as it gives him the first step in becoming the hero he wishes to be. So beyond the synopsis, what are some notable differences between both versions?
Pop Culture References
In the original manga, My Hero Academia loosely portrays contemporary pop culture references. As the first chapter provides exposition that its world is full of heroes, it shows a silhouetted image of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Batman, and Ultraman. It’s only natural that due to rights issues, this particular scene is omitted in the anime. When the prospect students of UA take their practical exam in the manga, Present Mic explains that the test is exactly like Super Mario Bros. by even name dropping the iconic game! The explanation of the test conditions also uses silhouetted images of Mario, goombas, and koopas to represent the rules. As any of you readers can guess, the anime removes these explanations and keeps things simple and direct by replacing them with robots to explain the system of the exam.
Bakugo Doesn’t Like Smoking (?)
Another notable scene removed in the anime version that is brief but significant in the manga is when Bakugo sees his friends smoking, and they invite him for a puff. At this time, Bakugo (along with Izuku) is finishing his junior high years and is hoping to get into UA. Despite how on-edge the character always is, this scene from the manga shows he’s capable of restraining himself. He refuses to smoke because if they get caught, it can ruin his chance of getting into UA.
Considering that Japan’s modern TV standards censor Jotaro (from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure) smoking on a program that airs at 1 am (keep in mind they censor him smoking because he’s forgettably 17), the studio couldn’t adapt that respective scene for the anime as it portrays minors smoking (keep in mind that it’s still ok for Sanji to smoke on One Piece, which airs on Sunday mornings!). While this removal may not seem like a big deal, the significance of this scene demonstrates that Bakugo can show his better qualities and that he’s serious about getting into UA.
All Might Training Izuku
Another notable difference we’d like to point out is when All Might and Izuku start their relationship, and this relates to when All Might is training Izuku after their encounter. Of course, All Might wants to see not just what Izuku is made of physically, but spiritually and mentally as well. In the anime, he uses a lot of positive reinforcement to motivate Izuku and is more sympathetic to him when he struggles. In the manga, All Might isn’t exactly negative or hostile towards him, but he’s much stricter on him and pushes him even harder compared to the anime, like he’s Rocky Balboa’s coach.
The anime tends to extend certain scenes or arcs, and one of the most notable extensions are the interactions between Izuku and Uraraka, which aren’t as emphatic in the manga. A good portion of the dialog they share that’s exclusive to the anime is obviously meant to provide romantic tension. Another extended scene is the introduction of Tenya’s brother, Tensei. In the manga, he’s already crippled by Stain upon his introduction, but the anime offers more of Tensei as we get to see him engage in heroic duties. It makes the audience feel sorrier for him when he’s decommissioned and these extended scenes allow audiences to understand Tenya’s anger more internally.
One of the last extended scenes we want to share takes place during the provisional license exam and it relates to Shoto and Momo. In the manga, Shoto fights some unknown opponents off-panel but in the anime, he fights students from another school who have the gimmick of being ninjas. Another scene in this arc that is exclusive to the anime is Momo’s fight with the young ladies of the Seiai Academy. Lastly, there is Froppy’s episode in season 2, which happens to have been a filler, meaning it was never in the manga.
While certain things do play out differently between both versions, by no means do these differences affect the outcome or the direction of the story. However, some of the differences do offer a different sense of emotional impact and a fresher perspective. Other than that, about a good majority of the anime excellently adapts the manga, but the original series still has exclusive qualities fans can enjoy such as the pop-culture references which perfectly fit the tone. Either way, we feel that it’s best that audiences try both versions regardless of how trivial or significant some of the changes are.