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My Hero Academia Hints Deku Won’t Become the Number One Hero

Warning: contains spoilers for My Hero Academia chapter 324!

While My Hero Academia has seemingly made it abundantly clear since the very beginning of the series that Deku will become the Number One hero, recent comments suggest this may not actually be the case. Quotes from the manga and anime have suggested that My Hero Academia is specifically the story of Deku's journey to the top, but the young hero may not have been speaking literally.

In the manga's opening chapter, Deku says, "I forgot to mention this, but this is the story of how I became a great hero." His anime counterpart makes one subtle but very distinct change in the show's first episode that takes the concept of "great" to the next level: "This is how I became the greatest hero." There's quite a difference between being a great hero and the greatest hero in My Hero Academia, where professional heroes are literally ranked against each other. But in chapter 324 of the manga, Deku revisits what he uttered in the opening episode of My Hero Academia, making a crucial addition.

Related: My Hero Academia Confirms Class 1-A Didn't Actually Save Deku

The majority of My Hero Academia focuses on Deku's growth as a hero, beginning with his quirkless days as a normal boy before following his struggles as he attempts to harness the power of One For All he acquired from All Might. But in chapter 291, the series adopts a darker theme that explores the citizens' distrust in their protectors after the villain Dabi reveals the damning truth of many heroes. This negativity has continued to steadily rise since then, and recently reached a dramatic climax when an angry mob refused to allow Deku into U.A. High for protection. Many of the citizens began hiding at the school when All For One escaped from prison and, after learning that he's currently targeting Deku, aren't willing to put their lives in further jeopardy by letting Deku shelter with them.

Class 1-A and some of Japan's mightiest heroes try to convince the angry mob to allow Deku to stay there, but all of their efforts fail in epic fashion before Ochako Uraraka makes an emotional plea that seems to sway at least a few of the frustrated citizens in chapter 324. As Deku falls on all fours and begins to cry as a result of Ochako's moving speech, two people he saved come rushing from the crowd to comfort his huddled figure. It's during this heartfelt moment when Deku revisits his earlier words, first saying, "This is the story of how I became the greatest hero," before continuing with, "And also the story of how we all became the greatest heroes."

It's interesting that the My Hero Academia manga adopts the language from the debut episode of the anime to create the allusion that Deku might become more than just a great hero. By staying true to the anime adaptation, mangaka Kohei Horikoshi makes Deku's opening words from episode one only a portion of the complete statement. Without the latest chapter's addition, it's implied that Deku is telling a story about how he became the Number One hero. But in full, it's clear the story is about how everyone, including citizens and actual heroes, rose to the challenges of evil and division.

It's also telling Deku didn't use the official wording that's used to denote hero rankings at the very beginning. The best hero, for example, is referred to as the Number One hero. Deku didn't say "This is how I became the Number One hero." He said "greatest hero." While becoming the next All Might was a clear goal from the start of the manga, Deku has since moved past only thinking of his own ranking. It's likely this shift is building to the idea that Deku doesn't actually become Number One - indeed, with the way society has reacted to heroes lately, that may no longer be a position that exists when My Hero Academia comes to a close.

Next: Sonny Strait & Eric Vale Interview: My Hero Academia

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