Welcome to the new series for the Thursday slot! A new series I like to call ‘The Mind of a Character’!
Generally, on this blog, I talk about different stories as a whole. Rarely do I get to go into the finer details of them for as long as I’d like. With this new slot, I aim to remedy that. Which is why, every Thursday, I will now be writing a full character analysis. And with this Saturday being the last ‘My Review Academia’ I’ll get to write until season four comes out in October, I figured the best way to open this series up would be to discuss My Hero’s main character: Midoriya Izuku, AKA: Deku.
For these articles, I’ll be judging characters using the lessons told in K.M. Weiland’s book: ‘Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development’. Primarily, I’ll be breaking down the following four aspects of a character:
- The lie they believe: the false truth that the character follows, which they’ll have to overcome over the course of the story; this is the primary thing that stands between the character and their goal
- The thing they want: what the character is aiming for
- The thing they need: what that character needs to achieve that goal; this is often hidden to the character by the lie they believe
- The wound: something in the character’s past that haunts them, often something shocking and traumatic; this is often the primary building block for the lie
Understanding and applying these four building blocks is essential to building a great character. They are not one hundred percent necessary, persay, such as with Flat Characters, but they are highly important. With all that in mind, let’s get started with the first aspect:
The Wound: The Boy With No Quirk
Yes, I know the wound was at the bottom of the list. But this is often the first event in the character’s life that brings them to where they are now, so it seems an appropriate place to start. It was in the first episode, after all.
Midoriya Izuku’s wound is established almost immediately. In a world where almost everyone has some kind of a superpower, Izuku was born without one. Even still, he never gave up his dream of becoming a hero and following in the footsteps of his idol, All Might. Unfortunately, this determination made him the target of constant bullying from his peers, especially his childhood friend/bully: Katsuki Bakugo.
This one is so crystal clear that it may as well be a glass of water. Not only that, but it directly affects all of the other three aspects. This childhood pain helps drive him further towards his goal, as he uses it as a motivator. He even takes the name Bakugo used to pick on him, Deku, and turns it into his hero name. It also plays into what Deku needs, as he has to put the past behind, work with others, and become strong enough to live up to his mentor’s legacy. And finally, it plays directly into the lie Deku belives.
Speaking of which!
The Want, The Need and The Lie: To Save Everyone
Deku grew up not being able to save anyone. But now he has the power of the man he looks up to the most. Why wouldn’t he use it to save everyone?
In Deku’s case, the want and the lie are intrinsically linked together. He’s always wanted to be able to save everyone and to be a Symbol of Peace. This desire motivates him at every turn. Deku’s every choice in the whole series is in favor of saving someone.
This also plays directly into the lie the character believes. Deku believes that to be the best hero, he needs only to save others. He dedicates his every move to saving someone else. Whenever he fights, he only ever does so to save others. He believes that, with his wits and new power, he is strong enough to save everyone, just as he’s always wanted.
However, as he learns throughout the final arc of season three, the will to do good isn’t enough. Without the drive to win, help from others, experience, and numerous other things, one cannot be a true hero. This is the lie that Deku must conquer in order to achieve his want. He is not ready; he must train to become so.
Deku’s want, need and lie are all so basic that they border on uninteresting. He isn’t especially complex, like several other characters in the story. But as the main character, he serves his job phenomenally. Which leads us nicely into:
Deku’s mind is easy to understand. He wants to be the best hero around, and he has the tools and drive to do it. But he is inexperienced, and he believes that he’s ready. In order to achieve his goal, he must accept that he needs more time.
As the first character in our new series, Deku is a strong pick. While understanding him is about as easy as breathing, that doesn’t mean he isn’t lovable and relatable. Sure, he isn’t especially wounded, nor is he completely swallowed by his lie. But he is a perfect protagonist for a series like My Hero Academia.
This makes me even more upset that, after this Saturday, I won’t have a good excuse to ramble about this series anymore until October.