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My Hero Academia May Have Sneaked in a Sly Reference to Shovel Knight

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for My Hero Academia #271, by Kohei Horikoshi, Caleb Cook and John Hunt, available now from Viz Media.

Kohei Horikoshi slips a lot of references to other franchises into My Hero Academia, including My Neighbor TotoroChainsaw Man and Dragon Quest, to name a few. My Hero Academia Chapter 271 may be the latest installment of the series to feature a reference to another franchise, in this case Treasure Knight from Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight.

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Caleb Cook, who translates the manga for Viz Media, noted a character appearing in the background of Chapter 271 bore some similarity to Treasure Knight on Twitter. The incident in question occurs when Dabi is facing off against Hawks and Fumikage Tokoyami/Tsukuyomi, attempting to buy himself time to save up a powerful fire blast. It’s not totally clear from the panel in question just who the Treasure Knight-looking character is fighting. Still, as his seeming visual inspiration is an antagonist, there’s a good chance he’s not working with the manga’s good guys.

Treasure Knight is one of the eight bosses in Shovel Knight, which released in 2014 to rave review from critics. One of the Knights of the Order of No Quarter, Treasure Knight is fought on the Iron Whale, where he uses his anchor and various water- and money-based powers to try and take the player down. The character has gone on to appear in several Shovel Knight campaigns and spin-offs. He has also — on occasion — been a playable character.

While there are certainly differences, the old-fashioned diving suit and anchor weapon do mean this character bears some resemblance to Treasure Knight. It’s entirely possible this reference is accidental, but Horikoshi has made nods to a lot of other franchises in the past, so it’s very possible this is intentional. Changes might be the result of copyright issues or other such considerations.

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It’s unlikely this Treasure Knight-esque character will play a role in the future of My Hero Academia, as these visual references have generally just served as Easter eggs without any real bearing on the plot. Still, there really is a striking resemblance here, and it’s hard to believe this isn’t meant to be a reference to Shovel Knight.

My Hero Academia #272 will release May 24 from Viz Media.

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My Hero Academia Chapter 271 seemingly features a reference to one of the main villains of 2014's Shovel Knight.

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