My Hero Academia’s Biggest Mistake Was Listening To The Fans

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

Today, any form of media, from books to video games, television shows, and movies, is picked apart by fans and torn asunder on social media over the smallest perceived plot holes. Sometimes, creators ignore this noise, but other times, fans’ demands can cause creators to abandon their long-term plans. In my opinion, Kohei Horikoshi, creator of My Hero Academia, tarnished the series when he chose the latter and abandoned the story he intended to tell because of the fans.

Altering Story Arcs

I found Season 3, in particular, to be rather forgettable and a slog to get through, but originally, the Forest Training Camp arc would include a much later My Hero Academia story arc, and this one change would have made it far more interesting. Fans noticed that during the villain attack, the heroes were speculating about how the villains found them, deducing there was a traitor in their ranks. The arc ends with the traitor’s identity still a mystery, but originally, this would be the moment of the big reveal, and the U.A. Traitor arc would be part of the Forest Training Camp arc.

Tossing Aside Planned Plotlines

Instead, because fans hated the assembled villains, manga sales dropped dramatically after the second volume of the arc. Horikoshi, not wanting to alienate the fans, ended the arc early and moved on to the crowd-pleasing Hideout Raid arc. This started a chain of dominos that stunted the growth of Class 1-A and left the mystery of the traitor, who, as a result, doesn’t do anything else to hang in the air for so long fans thought it was a forgotten plot thread. My Hero Academia, which took years to have real stakes, would have been much darker and much better-paced if Horikoshi had stuck to his guns.

Character Popularity Polls

I can see falling sales as a reason to pivot and try to give the fans what they want, so that is understandable, but My Hero Academia character popularity polls should not be dictating the story, and that’s what ended up happening after the Forest Training Camp arc incident. Before that arc, Ida and Ocahaco were positioned as major supporting characters, with Ida starring in the Vs. Hero Killer arc and Ocahaco is positioned as Midoriya’s love interest. That was until a popularity poll came out, and it revealed that Bakugo and Shoto were the two most popular Class 1-A students, and amazingly, those two became Midoryia’s best friends.

Sidelining Once Important Characters

My Hero Academia has such a large cast that screen time is precious. Once the popularity polls were coming out regularly, it became obvious that Horikoshi was sticking the poll winners front and center as much as possible. All development for Ocahaco and Ida was then sidelined until Season 6 of the anime when Ida gets to show why he’s the Cyclops of Class 1-A, and Ocahaco has her shining moment in front of the citizens of Japan.

Fans Don’t Know What They Want

None of this was, according to Horikoshi in various interviews, part of the original plan for My Hero Academia. A dark turn of events and a significant chunk of Season 1 and 2 development were cast aside as that was what the fans wanted. I often browse social media and various forums for media I love, and it’s clear that what fans say they want is often not what’s best for the story.

My Hero Academia Will Never Be A Top-Tier Anime

Compared to other anime that are written and developed with a clear story and a cohesive vision, for example, Attack on Titan, My Hero Academia falls woefully short. It’s a popular Shonen, and Season 7 starts off with a bang, but by not keeping with his original story, Horikoshi has short-changed his creation and made it less than what it should be. He’s a gifted artist and writer, which My Hero Academia: Vigilantes makes especially clear, but the main series will forever be considered second-rate because that’s what the fans wanted.