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Hitoshi Shinso, from My Hero Academia Season Two, is a character who’s been told his whole life, “Your quirk would make you a great villain.” But his will to prove people wrong is far more interesting than the ego of Katsuki Bakugō or even the self-righteous goals of Izuku Midoriya.
Izuku’s first round opponent in the U.A. High School Sports Festival Tournament Fight, Hitoshi Shinso, has a superpower or “quirk” that most villains would love to have: The ability to control other people. Izuku fought through Hitoshi’s mind control to beat him, but we learn the reasons why Hitoshi wants to become a hero: to throw off the stigma that he would make a great villain.
One aspect of My Hero Academia that’s thoroughly enjoyable is hearing what drives and motivates the characters to become heroes. The reasons are as varied as the quirks of the characters, but they run the gamut of personal ego, family, money, righteousness, and, in Hitoshi’s case, to shed stigmas about a character quirk. It’s a very different take on the character’s drive, but is far more interesting than just, “I want to become a hero.”
Consider, Hitoshi has been labeled as a person who could use his quirk to do villainy from a young age—even being told by his classmates in junior high school he could become a great villain. This is a mindset that could easily wear on a person’s psyche and we see this in the short flashback scene of Hitoshi’s past. But he tries to push past this.
Yet, what makes Hitoshi’s drive more interesting than the main characters is he is eschewing the label people put on him. For instance, if he had fallen to villainy later in life people around him would have said, “Of course he did,” making his transformation a self-fulfilling prophecy. But, by showing his powers can be used for something other than his own personal gain, Hitoshi is defying a stereotype of mind controllers. Just think, a hero who could apprehend a villain by subverting their will and even keep the casualties to a minimum.
Here’s the kicker, though, My Hero Academia characters like Bakugo want to become heroes to essentially satisfy their ego. Even Izuku’s drive to become a hero, while filled with good intentions, is self-righteous. However, Hitoshi isn’t trying to become a hero to satisfy himself. Rather, he’s pursuing his dream to show that he, and other people, shouldn’t be placed into the hero or villain category because of their quirk; that even the most heroic or despicable of quirks can be used for either cause depending on the mindset of the person. This makes Hitoshi’s mission far more engrossing than Izuku’s story.
Hitoshi Shinso is a character who quite possibly has greatest potential to become a hero in My Hero Academia. Not because of his quirk, but because of what drives him: shaking off a horrible stigma attached to his abilities. I really hope we see more of Hitoshi in the series, let alone the franchise, because he is a character anyone who has even been pigeonholed can easily connect with.