Comics/Graphic Novels

Your Go-To Guide to MY HERO ACADEMIA Characters

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Reading manga has helped me regain my reading groove. I can’t quite put my finger on the determining factor; I only know comics have been my go-to for the last 12 months and manga is filling out my Top 10. Currently, I’m working my way through My Hero Academia — one of the most popular and most accessible in manga. If you haven’t already picked it up, add it to your list right now. But before you do, you may want a little guidance on who your new best buds are. Because this is the kind of series where you will become very heavily invested in the welfare of the characters. Welcome to your go-to guide to My Hero Academia characters. Where every character has their quirk.

Choose your faves…wisely.

Wait, What is My Hero Academia?

It’s a super-popular Japanese manga about people with superpowers. Only thing is, superpowers are pretty much everywhere. About 80% of the population have superpowers, or quirks. Except our main character, Izuku Midoriya. He has no quirks. And in a world that caters to those with quirks, being ‘normal’ is anything but. 

Naturally, there are some with quirks who have become Heroes…and some who have become villains. The extra special Heroes can often attract the interest and support from governments, becoming professional heroes (with full employment benefits). It helps if you have attended the best school to hone your quirks; which brings us to U.A. High School. 

If you are looking for where to start, stick with the basics and go straight to My Hero Academia Volume 1 by Kōhei Horikoshi (first released in November 2014). As of January 2021, there have been 29 volumes released (the last was an absolute cliffhanger). There are currently three spin-off series as well: 

  1. My Hero Academia Smash!! by Hirofumi Neda (2015–2017)
  2. My Hero Academia: Vigilantes by Kōhei Horikoshi
  3. My Hero Academia: Team-Up Missions by Yōkō Akiyama

The Core My Hero Academia Characters are the Students

There are many students at UA High School, however, we are going to limit ourselves to the main character and a few key members of his class. 

Name: Izuku Midoriya

Alias: “Deku”, a wooden doll who can’t do anything.

Age: 14 (Volume 1)

Manga Origin: Chapter 1

Appearance:  Green hair with matching green eyes (when you can see them through the teary waterworks he can present on-demand). Izuku’s not tall (about 166cm/5’5.25”) and he always wears his school tie in a loose semi-mess. I think it is a statement on his life, really.

Quirk: Izuku is one of the few born without a ‘quirk’. It makes him an easy target for bullying from other kids and he soon understands “People are not born equal”. 

Story: What Izuku lacks in quirks, he makes up for with determination. More than anything, he wants to be a superhero. His ‘origin story’ (or Chapter 1) lies deep in his determination to do the right thing and be a hero, even when no-one else will. It is this determination which catches the attention of the Hero All Might, who subsequently shares his quirk with Izuku and helps him to pass the entrance exam for UA High School.

Name: Katsuki Bakugo

Alias: Kacchan (friends) / Dynamite (hero)

Manga Origin: Chapter 1

Age: 14 (Volume 1)

Appearance: Fair hair and features, with bright red eyes. Bakugo doesn’t even bother with the school tie and wears his pants so loosely, they sag around his ankles. He is a bit taller at 172cm. This guy has absolutely no foxes for his appearance.  

Quirk: Explosion. Technically, Bakugo sweats nitroglycerin and can ignite it on command, creating strong explosions. The more he sweats, the stronger his explosions. 

Story: Some refer to Bakugo as Izuku’s ‘childhood friend’. Absolutely wrong! Bakugo was a childhood bully who tormented Izuku for not having a quirk. However, Bakugo is also one of the most popular My Hero Academia characters; partly because we all wish we could just go berserk once in a while but mostly because he is allowed to grow so much as a character. Bakugo has a steady evolution in hero status. I’m hanging around mostly for this.

Name: Ochaco Uraraka

Alias:  Uravity

Manga Origin: Chapter 3 (UA Entrance Exam)

Age: 15

Appearance: Yeah, I wish I could style my hair into a cute bob like Ochaco. She’s sweet and laid-back. It’s in part due to her empathy and strong sense of fairness that Izuku’s heroic nature is noticed (as well as her fault). Horikoshi said in his notes, Ochaco needed to be cheery enough to drive the conversation with Izuku. Thank you, Horikoshi-san!

Quirk: Controlled Zero Gravity. Ochaco touches it and it floats until she touches her fingertips and then it…doesn’t. 

Story: Ochaco simply wants to do right by everyone. We first meet her helping Izuku when he trips over (and she saves him from a face-plant). Ochaco wants to be a hero and make money so her parents can live easier lives. It’s a pretty simple outlook on life and one of her key attributes throughout the series: empathy.

Name: Tenya Iida

Alias: Ingenium

Manga Origin: Chapter 3 (UA Entrance Exam)

Age: 15

Appearance: Horikoshi enjoys drawing Tenya the most; I think he is like a dark brooding Clark Kent. Tall, muscular, and oh-so serious. 

Quirk: Engine. Tenya manifests car-like engines in each of his calves. He subsequently has incredible kicking power and running speed. And the secret ingredient is: Orange Juice. 

Story: Tenya initially comes across as a snobby elitist from a family with a strong hero reputation. As the story progresses, we learn he is definitely a control-freak but he has a heart of gold and is determined to do what is right. Even if he doesn’t initially know how to communicate this. 

Name: Yuga Aoyama

Alias: Shining Hero: Can’t Stop Twinkling

Manga Origin: Chapter 3 (UA Entrance Exam)

Age: 15

Appearance: Yuga is young, slim, fair, and kind of Prince Charming-like. Even his indigo eyes sparkle. 

Quirk: Navel Laser. Yuga can shoot a sparkling laser cannon from his navel, powerful enough to blast through 2-metres of solid concrete. However, if he fires the laser for longer than one second at a time, he suffers intestinal distress. Minor spoiler: Yuga eventually learns to control it enough to create a Navel Saber. I kid you not. 

Story: Yuga is still finding his way at UA. Everything appears sparkly on the outside but inside, he is a very insecure little boy. I love how he is learning to fit in and manage his social awkwardness. So relatable. 

Name: Toru Hagakure

Alias: Invisible Girl

Manga Origin: Chapter 5

Age: 15

Appearance: Invisible. Totally invisible. I got nothing. Oh, but she’s also bubbly and easy going. 

Quirk: Invisibility. Hang around for a few more volumes and you’ll see her develop the skill to refract light through her body to blind people nearby. 

Story: Initially, it felt like Toru was here for comic relief as The Invisible Girl. Her name translates to “hidden in the leaves”, similar to a quote by GK Chesterton: “Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest.” This means a lot to Toru’s character who is more than she appears (no pun intended). Horikoshi said in the very beginning he was waiting for the right moment to formally introduce Toru’s quirk. So far, we have only had a few teases.

Name Eijiro Kirishima

Alias: Red Riot

Manga Origin: Chapter 5

Age: 15

Appearance: Keep an eye out for the small scar above his right eye. Horikoshi admits to frequently forgetting to draw it in! Eijiro’s more noticeable features include his dyed bright red hair, short and spiky at every angle. 

Quirk: Hardening. Eijiro can harden and sharpen any or all parts of his body, making his body rock-like with jagged edges. When under attack, Eijiro must use his stamina to keep his quirk active. 

Story: Okay, this guy is focused on ‘manliness’. He is boisterous and outgoing, with almost everything defined by its level of “manly” or “unmanly”. In most circumstances, this would be dangerous toxic culture but with Eijiro it is something else — I can’t quite put my figure on it. Possibly because “manly” includes being brave, noble, respectful, and even emotionally moved to tears. I am also a crew member of the good ‘ship Bakugo/Kirishima. While nothing has been confirmed, I positively live for the strong relationship bond between these two guys!!

Name: Tsuyu Asui

Alias: Froppy

Manga Origin: Chapter 5

Age: 15

Appearance: Tsuyu is short and petite but with big hands and big eyes. She is essentially frog-like in appearance, including her dark-green hair. There are plenty of extra details in her movement and mannerism, all indicative of her frog-like quirk. 

Quirk: Frog. Anything frogs can do, Tsu can do better. Swim, hop, tongue extensions, stick to walls. All of it. My favourite is when Tsu teams up with Ochaco for Meteor Fafrotskies; they float debris and throw it at their enemies!

Story: Tsuyu is the big sister of the team, despite her little size. She is also far more powerful than most realise. Keep an eye out for any fight scene where she partners up with another! Tsuyu is one of those My Hero Academia characters who deserves all of the attention.

Name: Shoto Todoroki

Alias: Shoto

Manga Origin: Chapter 6

Age: 15

Appearance: Shoto’s distinguishing feature is his dual colouring: his hair is half-white/half-red; one eye is turquoise and one is brownish dark-grey. This relates to his quirk. He also has a large burn scar on the left side of his face, reaching from the hairline to halfway down his cheek.

Quirk: Half-Cold Half-Hot. Shoto can generate ice from the right side of his body and fire from his left side. He tends to favour the icy side but using one more than the other affects his own body temperature. 

Story: This guy has a huge family-size chip on his shoulder but he is learning how to deal with it. Shoto is the youngest son of Endeavor, the top Hero in the series. Shoto was offered a place in the school through official recommendations and NOT the tough exam. He subsequently is aloof to others but since the Sports Games, he is starting to relax (so long as you don’t talk about the family).

Are There Any Teachers in My Hero Academia?

Name: Toshinori Yagi

Alias: All Might

Manga Origin: Chapter One

Age: Unknown

Teacher: Foundational Hero Studies

Appearance: All Might is the ultimate of My Hero Academia characters. All Might is known for his amazing physique, his large muscular body and is distinctive blonde hair with two tufts sticking up like horns from his head. His smile and his eyebrows are so strong as to cast shadows over the rest of his face. Until his powers are ‘turned off’. All Might actually has two forms: muscle form and skinny form. After battling All for One five years ago, All Might’s stomach was removed and his respiratory system was mostly destroyed. Now he can only ‘hero’ for three hours a day and otherwise looks like a skinny short guy.

Quirk: All Might’s secret is he is actually quirkless. Instead, he has inherited One for All from Nana Shimura, allowing him to contain an enormous amount of raw power and enhance many of his physical abilities to superhero levels. Following his injuries from All for One, All Might has been looking for a new hero to transfer his quirk to. 

Story: All Might has always been the epitome of superheroes. He is charming and charismatic. Totally driven to being the hero and doing the right thing. Except his body is now injured. And slowly, his spirit was breaking too. In the first two chapters, we see a superhero who needs the reminder of what a hero is. All Might sees this in a quirkless teenage boy trying to rescue someone, knowing he is quirkless and in danger. All Might is ridiculous and larger-than-life (both physically and mentally) but watching him regain his faith in heroes is beautiful.

Name: Shota Aizawa

Alias: Eraser Head (and Dadzawa amongst the fans)

Manga Origin: Chapter 5

Age: 30

Teacher: Homeroom teacher

Appearance: He is essentially a ninja with a scarf (which is handy because he uses this in his fighting style). Aizawa has this cool goth look going with a constant look of exhaustion on his face. It’s no wonder he is often called “Dadzawa” amongst the fans. I would be more than exhausted looking after this motley crew of students. 

Quirk: Erasure. So long as he continues looking at you, Aizawa can erase your quirk. Downside is the serious dry-eye from staring for so long. 

Story: Aizawa has faced failure in the past and he knows the cost. While many see him as one of the hardest teachers at UA, he is also one of the most dedicated. Aizawa is committed to protecting his kids for as long as possible. To do so, he has trained his mind and body more than anyone else. Aizawa is more than a superhero. He is the favourite of all My Hero Academia characters. He is Dadzawa.

And the Most Villainous My Hero Academia Characters

Name: Tenko Shimura

Alias: Tomura Shigaraki

Manga Origin: Chapter 11

Age: 20

Affiliation: League of Villains (Former Leader)

Appearance: The very first picture in Volume 1 is a drawing of a hand within a hand. It’s weird. But then the first page of Volume 2 has a similar weird drawing with Horikoshi saying, “I like drawing hands.” This was a warning for the weird and absolutely messed up appearance of Tomura. His costume includes 14 embalmed hands, all placed to hold onto him at different places on his body. Each pair of hands belongs to an individual he killed, the first five pairs being family members. Other than the gross hands, Tomura has a relatively normal appearance. Pale skin, chapped lips, white hair, red eyes. If you can look past the mummy hands, you might even say Tomura looked okay. 

Quirk: Decay. 

Story: I can’t give too much away for risk of spoilers. It is enough to say his history is compelling.

Name: Shigaraki

Alias: All For One

Manga Origin: Chapter 59

Age: Unknown

Affiliation: League of Villains (Former Leader)

Appearance: It looks like the battle between All Might and All For One hurt both of them. All For One has been left with mostly scar tissue covering most of his head and neck. Subsequently, he wears a signature face mask with pipes at the top and a wide collar-like life-support system.

Quirk: All For One (Copy). He can steal quirks from other people.

Story: As stories go, Shigaraki doesn’t really come across as that evil but he is a master manipulator who is playing the long game. He is a character who makes the greatest impression when he is NOT on the page.

Is There Anyone Else You Should Know About?

To be honest, if you have made it this far then you really should read the manga. Start with the original and the best: My Hero Academia Vol. 1. There are extra details from the creator and the books are better than the anime series (which is really good but, seriously? Choose books!).

For more Book Riot news on the series, fellow Rioter Shiri Sondheimer has shared her tips on How to Handle Fictional Character Deaths with Kids — thanks to My Hero Academia characters.

I told you to choose your faves wisely.