The Naruto franchise is a classic in the anime community. People from all walks of life know of the boy with blonde hair eating ramen, and screaming about being hokage.
Some were even able to grow with Naruto into adulthood: getting married and having children right along with him. But, as one era ends, a new one begins—and I’m not referring Boruto: The Next Generation.
I’m talking about the newest anime sensation: My Hero Academia. Since the rise of this anime the question “Is My Hero Academia this generation’s Naruto?” has popped up in countless conversations. In this article I’m going to crack this question open.
Naruto and Izuku Midoriya (Deku) are very similar in a lot of ways. Besides the typical Shonen traits like being brave and wanting to protect those they love, both protagonists suffer from issues. However, I think they handle their weaknesses differently.
While Naruto grew up in a simplistic village and had to deal with his issues head on, Deku grew up in a world where technology is present. Though constantly looking forward to being like his idol All Might, Deku was unfortunately presented with the fate that he is quirkless (as in, he possesses no superpowers).
Feeling powerless, Deku is forced to continue to watch on to a future he could never achieve. In today’s generation, phones and social media are extensions of ourselves. Whether it’s our hero or a celebrity we can relate to, we constantly compare our lives with someone else’s. Even if that’s not the healthiest thing for us.
Both boys understand the value of friendship. Naruto practically died to bring his friend home, and Deku has seen the insides of hospitals more then he should for protecting his friends.
But My Hero Academia has a variety of students you can relate to. All different shapes and sizes, with different quirks that today’s generation can identify with. No quirk is stupid or meaningless.
As more social issues become more visible, you can identify what your quirk is, meet people with similar quirks and fight to make sure your quirk isn’t ignored. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman or gender neutral (like Thirteen). You have all rights to stand in your truth like the students of U.A. High.
If you ask a Naruto fan who grew back in the day how they watched the anime, it would probably be a list of steps today’s My Hero fans couldn’t even fathom. My Hero Academia won 7 out of the 17 awards at the Crunchyroll Awards last year. The movie, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes made over a million in the box office opening weekend.
Because it’s conveniently available to stream on a majority of streaming sites. My Hero Academia gives fans old and young, inexperienced and full blown otakus, a chance to watch the show all together at ease. No more waiting up a certain time to watch a episode on Toonami or Disney XD. Not to mention social media has brought the fandom closer than ever before with live tweeting when the latest episode drops and sharing fan art.
For a lot of us, My Hero Academia reignites feelings that Naruto once gave and we appreciate that. But for the new generation who didn’t get a chance to grow up with Naruto, this is a completely new experience. They see themselves as Deku and the other U.A. students. They eagerly await for a new episode to come out just like we all once did for Naruto.
My Hero Academia brings a freshness and should be viewed not as a copycat, but as an entirely new story that would make our favorite Shinobi proud.