My Hero Academia is a name that not many people knew at the beginning of its release in 2014 but it slowly began to gather the attention of manga readers in time and fan of my hero academia merch. While its general premise was not anything unheard of, the fact its protagonist starts off as someone who is a normal human but wanted to be a part of the big superheroes was something any kid could relate to.
Before we knew it, the manga grew exponentially in popularity and everyone around the world knew its name. This was further boosted by the anime adaption’s release, which attracted people of all ages to the franchise and it gained overwhelmingly positive reviews and sales. As of 2021, the manga has sold over 30 million copies and the anime is one of the highest-rated and most-watched series in the past few years.
Naturally, with so much popularity, it was only a matter of time before it started getting compared to the long-running Naruto series. Are these comparisons any fair? Let’s dig into that.
My Hero Academia and Naruto Similarities
My Hero Academia and Naruto share a very long list of similarities. The beginning of the similarities can be tracked down to the center of it all – which is the protagonist Deku. Just like Naruto, Deku starts off as a loser but always gets through most of the challenges due to their strong will and sense of justice. Both of the characters have a power that is passed down a generation and they have such a will that they wouldn’t back down from life-or-death situations even without the said power.
Deku and Naruto are both very caring people and are willing to give up anything for their friends. They want to be number one and often talk about how much it means to them if they did it, but people don’t take them seriously most of the time. They have powers related to fire and motivate their friends very often while respecting their opponents.
They have a cocky rival who seems naturally more talented than the main protagonist and sees the hero as someone who would get in their way. In Naruto, that role is played by Sasuke, while in My Hero Academia, it’s Katsuki Bakugo. While their personalities have some differences, their early interactions with the protagonist are quite similar – as they even call them by a nickname that is meant to degrade them.
There are other similarities as well, such as the main teacher who has a nearly unbeatable ability that is reliant on endurance and has an eccentric personality – and eventually, they get impressed by the protagonist. Then there are some similarities in the three-part competition section of the story, where all the nobodies get eliminated in the first round, the second one gets the hero targeted, and in the third one the hard-working character nearly breaks their body trying to fight an overwhelming opponent – gaining respect irrespective of whether they win or lose.
There is also a secondary rival introduced later on like Gaara, a girl who is at first somewhat weak but learns to ignore their crush and becomes stronger, a fight where students have to beat their teachers, and so on. It’s truly evident that My Hero Academia shares many similarities with the school-based arcs of Naruto, and people are not wrong to compare the two.
Is My Hero Academia a copy of Naruto ?
When the topic of similarities comes up and people notice that they do exist, the next question to come up is always whether the newer story is a copy of the older one. When it comes to copying something, one should always keep two things in mind. Seeing something as an inspiration and following tropes of a genre are not the same as copying something.
The answer to this question is no. My Hero Academia’s similarities to Naruto are more of the story following the tropes of the shonen genre rather than copying other stories. That is because Naruto itself followed tropes similar to other stories, such as One Piece and Hunter x Hunter in its time. So, it doesn’t matter what shonen story you’re reading or watching – chances are that these things will always be present. A naïve but strong hero, a silent or arrogant rival, a good teacher whose powers get surpassed, a girl who tries her best to keep up, and so on.
It does not make My Hero Academia a copy of Naruto, just in the same way that it did not make Naruto a copy of other stories in the past.
Is My Hero Academia the next Naruto ?
This is a difficult question to answer because you can never predict how well something goes in the future. While My Hero Academia managed to become very popular, there have been similar series in the past that gained a lot of attention and failed to go any farther due to inconsistencies in quality and hiatuses that broke immersion
But if you want to say that in literal terms due to how similar they are, then yes it can be said that My Hero Academia is Naruto for the new generation of the audience.
Is My Hero Academia more popular than Naruto ?
In a way, Naruto today is what Dragon Ball was in the years between 2000 and 2010. Where as My Hero Academia right now is the most popular manga and anime series in the shonen genre – which is a major achievement to have considering how many famous series are currently on-going, such as Attack on Titan and Re:Zero to name a few.
But Naruto is something that has gained the status of legendary and even after it ended, it’s getting tons of video games, spin-offs, and even has a sequel story called Baruto that takes the generation forward. So, My Hero Academia is far from the status of Naruto at the moment.
Is My Hero Academia better than Naruto ?
The answer at the moment is no for various reasons. The first one is that it ultimately comes down to preference, so some people would prefer Naruto, while others would prefer My Hero Academia. The second reason is that My Hero Academia is not yet finished and is not even halfway done with the storyline, so it’s hard to say how excellent the future arcs are going to be.
It eventually depends on what the future of the franchise will be like and how impactful its ending is in a positive way. Only then can one decide if it’s better or worse than Naruto.
However, one thing is certain – My Hero Academia has the potential to be one of the best shonen series of all time and will undoubtedly make its mark in history as one of the most popular and influential stories that inspired millions of fans all over the world.