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Best Rivalries In My Hero Academia

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A collage of some iconic finishing moves in My Hero Academia: Endeavor's Prominence Burn, All Might's United States of Smash and Deku's Delaware Smash.

Highlights

  • Rivalries in
    My Hero Academia
    drive characters to improve, creating engaging dynamics for readers and viewers.
  • Friendship and admiration between classmates like Mirio and Tamaki add depth and endearing qualities to the story.
  • Intense rivalries, like those between Endeavor and All Might, contribute to character development and plot progression.

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A lot of the most common tropes in shōnen anime & manga are present within My Hero Academia, with one of the most prominent being rivalries: when a relationship between two characters forces them to get better and stronger in order to defeat the other. These are usually some of the most engaging dynamics in this series.

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Whether it’s a fierce rivalry between a hero and a villain, or a more amicable one between two classmates, there’s one thing for certain: These amazing rivalries are what made these characters, and therefore all of My Hero Academia, way more interesting in the eyes of readers and watchers.

10 Mirio Togata & Tamaki Amajiki

The “Sun” & the “Suneater”

A Young Mirio cheer ups a Young Tamaki.

These two members from U.A’s “Big Three” have been friends for a very long time and, therefore, have constantly supported each other. Their dynamic is quite endearing, with Mirio being a cheerful guy who can befriend everyone, while Tamaki is an introvert that is afraid to talk to other people.

Tamaki has always admired Mirio for his skill and personality, while Mirio always knew how to boost his friend’s morale whenever he thought he was not good enough for the Academy. In a way, the amicable rivalry between these two feels like a friendlier version of the more intense rivalry between Deku and Bakugo.

9 Momo Yaoyorozu & Itsuka Kendo

The Leaders From Class 1-A & Class 1-B

Momo accepts Kendo's challenge during the Joint Training Arc.

Momo and Itsuka are two similar girls who excel in different areas. Momo is book smart, while Itsuka is physically strong. But they do share one thing in common, as they are both reliable leaders who are greatly respected by the other members of their respective classes.

When both girls interned together under Uwabami, the public kept comparing them. This made Itsuka feel bad, because she saw Momo as the better student and hero. This rivalry was finally put to the test during the Joint Training Battle between both classes, where Itsuka finally faced Momo in hand-to-hand combat and won. Regardless of the outcome, both girls grew to admire each other, and they became closer as a result.

8 Eijiro Kirishima & Tetsutetsu Tetsutetsu

Hardening & Steel

Tetsutetsu and Kirishima greet each other at Fourth Kind's office.

The rivalry between Kirishima and Tetsutetsu is one of the funniest – yet most oddly inspiring – dynamics in all of My Hero Academia. These characters were intentionally written to be almost identical, with both of them having a quirk that lets them harden their skin, although Tetsutetsu’s specifically turns his body into steel.

At first, their relationship was quite rocky because of this similarity but, after some time and a few clashes, they grew to appreciate each other to a point that they feel like brothers, and now they’re constantly cheering each other up. After the Joint Training Battle, they both learned about the differences in their quirks, which only strengthened their bond.

7 Izuku Midoriya & Shoto Todoroki

All Might’s Protégé & Endeavor’s Protégé

Shoto Todoroki and Deku clash during the Sports Festival.

During earlier arcs of the series, Shoto was way more antagonistic and cold against everyone, especially Deku. This was caused by his connection with All Might, someone who his father, Endeavor, greatly despised.

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It wouldn’t be until their climactic match during the Sports Festival that these two boys would put their rivalry to the test, with Deku motivating Shoto to use the fire part of his quirk, and let go of his father’s resentment. This, of course, led to an impressive battle, but what’s even better, it helped Shoto get over his issues and spawned a great friendship between the two.

6 Hawks & Dabi

A Spy & An Assassin

Hawks and Dabi distrust each other.

When Keigo Takami, AKA Hawks, infiltrated the League of Villains, Dabi trusted him the least, which caused a lot of tension between the two. Even when the league evolved into the Paranormal Liberation Front and Hawks was accepted into the inner circle, Dabi showed nothing but distrust for him.

When Hawks eventually confessed to his role as a spy during the first war, it was Dabi himself who was there to confront him, and even showed that he always suspected him. This led to a violent fight between them, in which Hawks would come out extremely injured by Dabi’s flames. This was a brutal resolution to a very intense rivalry between a hero and a villain.

5 Ochaco Uraraka & Himiko Toga

A Kind Girl & A Feared Girl

A sketch of Himiko Toga and Ochaco Uraraka by Kohei Horikoshi,

Ochaco is a kindhearted girl who always wanted to use her quirk to help her parents out and improve hero society. On the other hand, Toga was always condemned by society because of her scary quirk, which led to her becoming an outcast and a villain. In a way, these girls are two sides of the same coin.

Because of this, Toga grew to be oddly attached to Ochaco. While she resented her for this at first, the young hero’s mind changed after learning about Toga’s unfortunate life. During a climactic final encounter, the two girls not only grew to be the most powerful versions of themselves, but Ochaco finally helped Toga accept herself, and Toga ultimately sacrificed her own life for her new friend.

4 Endeavor & All Might

The No. 2 Hero & The No. 1 Hero

Endeavor asks All Might for advice after becoming the No. 1 Pro Hero.

Toshinori Yagi, aka. All Might, was the No. 1 Hero of Japan for many years, and eventually became a Symbol of Peace for the entire country. This meant that there had to be a No. 2 Hero too, and this was Enji Todoroki, aka. Endeavor. For countless years, he would constantly push himself in order to one day surpass All Might, but he always failed to do so.

This would cause a lot of tension between the two heroes, which was made worse when All Might had to retire. Endeavor earned the title of No. 1 Hero because of a technicality, so he felt like he didn’t deserve it. Luckily for him, he could finally talk to his longtime rival, and he learned a lot about the challenges of being the No. 1 Hero from him.

3 Shoto Todoroki & Dabi

Endeavor’s Success vs. Endeavor’s Failure

Shoto confronts Dabi in the cover of Volume 36.

One of the most important moments in all of My Hero Academia is when Dabi reveals that he’s actually Toya Todoroki, Endeavor’s son, who was thought to have died several years ago. When Endeavor himself felt like he couldn’t face the child he had failed, it was up to Shoto to put an end to his brother’s cruelty.

While both kids were products of Endeavor’s abusive upbringing, Shoto could distance himself from his father and grow to be a better hero, mostly thanks to his friends and teachers. Whereas Toya was led to a dark path by All For One and the League of Villains. This intense dynamic between siblings was felt in their climactic final clash during the Final War Arc.

2 All Might & All For One

The Symbol Of Peace & The Symbol Of Evil

All For One and the villains vs. All Might and the heroes.

As one of the main antagonists of the series, All For One is a truly evil villain who has ruined the lives of many people, including countless heroes who tried to stop him. It wouldn’t be until the arrival of All Might that he found someone who could stand up to him, and the No. 1 Hero even managed to defeat him temporarily.

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From that point onward, everything that All For One did while hiding in the shadows was dedicated to bringing down All Might, from raising Shigaraki to creating the League of Villains. But when they faced each other one last time, All Might managed to defeat him once again. Even after his retirement, All Might’s teachings left such a big impact on his students that he’s still indirectly messing up All For One’s plans.

1 Izuku Midoriya & Katsuki Bakugo

A Quirkless Kid & A Quirk Prodigy

Deku and Bakugo's second battle.

Ever since they were kids, Izuku had admired his friend because of his powerful quirk, but Bakugo would constantly bully him because he was born without a quirk. Their relationship was rocky, which was unfortunate because both boys had the same goal in mind: To become the No. 1 Hero, just like All Might.

This tension would grow when Deku earned the One For All quirk and entered U.A. High School alongside Bakugo, who would grow to resent his rival even more. They inadvertently motivated each other to get stronger and stronger, until Deku told Bakugo the truth about his quirk. They became close friends after this event, and they still support each other in many ways. In a way, Deku and Bakugo’s rivalry is the heart & soul of My Hero Academia.

My Hero Academia

My Hero Academia

Release Date
April 3, 2016

Studio
Bones

Japanese Title
Boku no Hero Academia

Creator
Kōhei Horikoshi

Seasons
6

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