My Hero Academia is not only the biggest shonen anime around right now but arguably the biggest anime in the world in 2018. With its third season having recently wrapped, as well as a feature film and a video game out this year, it’s time to look at the powers that make these characters so memorable and unique.
Disclaimer 1: These lists have no bearing on the characters as people. Their personalities, behaviors, and appearances are irrelevant here; we’re just looking at how cool (or ridiculous) their quirks are.
Disclaimer 2: Characters you might expect to be on these lists (such as our protagonists Deku and All Might) may be absent, and that may frustrate you. This omission might be because their powers have been seen in comics, anime, and films before, and, as a result, are not unique enough. Or it might be because they’re simply too boring and not quite creative, strange, or cool enough to make the cut.
10. The Coolest: Shoto Todoroki, Half-Cold Half-Hot
With a hot-headed father and an ice-cold mother, fan favorite Todoroki is an interesting and nigh-unbeatable mix. As explained in the show’s second season, Shoto was part of a trend wherein successful heroes would attempt to partner with other people of noteworthy strength in order to produce a perfect child. As dark as this might be, it cannot be denied that Todoroki, a blend of Articuno and Moltres, is one awesome mix. His quirk makes him peerless and makes every fight he’s in a real adrenaline rush, and a very gorgeous spectacle as his two sides clash and blend seamlessly.
9. The Coolest: Tsuyu Asui/Froppy - Frog-Form
Best girl Froppy is a frog. There really isn’t much else to her quirk. Every behavior that makes a frog a frog (powerful legs; a long tongue; sticky hands and feet) is present in her skill set. Amongst a roster of tough boys and characters who can control the elements and change their form, Froppy stands out as someone whose skills are on display for all to see; they embody her powers so charmingly. She has nothing to summon, needs nothing to absorb or siphon from. She simply is a frog, and a very cool one who wears her heart and her quirk on her sleeve.
8. The Coolest: Fumikage Tokoyami/Tsukuyomi - Dark Shadow
Creative use of shadows is something rarely seen in super-powered books and shows, so Tokoyami breathes fresh life into something that should really be explored far more often. Tsukuyomi has the power to summon his own shadow as an ally warrior to fight with and protect him. Not only that, but this shadow also has a full consciousness of its own, making it a true ally for him to banter and share tactics with (this dynamic is not dissimilar to that of the humans and daemons in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books). Dark Shadow is, undeniably, one of the coolest and most unique quirks in the Hero Aca. roster.
7. The Coolest: Katsuki Bakugo/Kacchan - Explosion
The playground-bully-turned-dark-rogue-with-a-heart-of-gold has a quirk that perfectly reflects his personality; more so than that of any other character. This is impressive, but not as impressive as the quirk itself: Bakugo secretes a flammable fluid from his skin (not something that is ever explored in detail, thankfully) which he then ignites into explosions that can harm his enemies and project him like a kind of rocket booster. So often when a character in comics and anime could be described as explosive, they have hard skin, super strength, or some fire-related power, but Kacchan is quite literally explosive in every sense of the word.
6. The Coolest: Mirio Togata/Lemillion - Permeation
Introduced in season three of the anime as the most powerful student at UA, Lemillion has the power to phase through anything at all, including the ground beneath his feet. When first revealed, this quirk seemed a little underwhelming. However, it is the cleverness with which he uses his quirk (which, in true anime form, requires him to be naked since he phases through his own clothes) that keeps things so interesting. A character who is incapable of being attacked by his enemies is a powerful foe, and a hero who can pass through anything at all to rescue innocent civilians is one with, pardon the pun, very little blocking his path.
5. Ridiculous: Minoru Mineta/Grape Juice - Pop Off
Anime is not anime without fan service. This is a sad truth of the industry. But in a wonderful turn of this trope, Hero Academia’s token pervert character is also a tiny boy with blobs for hair who wears a diaper. Beyond that, his quirk allows him to remove these hair blobs and throw them; whatever they hit, they stick to. While he does use them in some clever ways, that is about the extent of his abilities. This list has a focus on quirks that are strange and unique, and this is certainly one of the strangest and most unique. It is also, easily, the most ridiculous.
4. Ridiculous: Yuga Aoyama/Can’t Stop Twinkling - Navel Laser
The delightfully flamboyant comic relief boy of Class 1-A has, like Bakugo, a quirk perfectly matching his personality. While his character and quirk might be looked upon questionably by some people, he certainly brings some color and humor to this shonen show. But this funny quirk is also, frankly, absurd. After firing a sparkly laser from his navel—which can hit his enemies or project him backward—he must pause for a short while to avoid a stomach ache. How he has survived as a member of the top class in UA is rather befuddling for all of us.
3. Ridiculous: Tsunagu Hakamata/Best Jeanist - Fiber Master
The campy comedy of this show, as it often reflects its dark and stoic American influence—Marvel’s X-Men—is always appreciated. Putting a wide roster of crazy characters in the hands of an anime studio is proven to be a dream week after week. And the campiest, most ludicrous professional hero of all is, of course, Best Jeanist; a man wearing a Canadian tuxedo that covers half his face, and with the power to control fibers. His power is funny; his outfit is silly; his whole persona is hilarious; but is it really a quirk worthy of one of the top heroes of the Hero Association? No.
2. Ridiculous: Shota Aizawa/Eraserhead - Erasure
Eraserhead is an outstanding character, that goes without saying. But his quirk is undeniably boring. He has the power to stop other heroes’ and villains’ quirks from working and having any effect. Of course, this is useful, but it has been done before and in cooler ways by cooler heroes. A character of this type, naturally, must also have other non-quirk-related strengths up his sleeve. For Aizawa, these strengths come in the form of ninja skills which he executes with style and grace. But these skills have nothing to do with his quirk. He is cool — his quirk is not. And said quirk also stops working the moment he blinks, which is stupid.
1. Ridiculous: Hanta Sero/Cellophane - Tape
Sero is a lovely member of class 1-A, and his quirk does have some clever Spider-Man-esque style to it, but it is also executed so absurdly: Cellophane has the power to project very strong tape from his elbows. Said elbows look like those of an action figure, with a strange hoop under his skin, which is needlessly creepy. His quirk is not meant to be taken seriously, though. Few of them are. It’s a fun show about strange people with wild and whacky powers, after all. But that doesn’t mean that shooting reels of tape out of one’s elbows aren’t flat-out ridiculous. It very much is.