Warning: spoilers for My Hero Academia Episode 87, “Japanese Hero Billboard Chart,” now available for streaming on Funimation, Crunchyroll, Hulu and VRV.
With All Might gone and the year almost up, a new ranking of society’s top heroes — or the Japanese Hero Billboard Chart — has been established. These are the heroes who have been ranked among the top based on heroes defeated, civilian popularity and by civilians saved. However, among the Top 10, you’ll find very few characters who have been previously featured in prominent roles.
The question remains: why are so few of the Top 10 heroes characters we know? What about the heroes established in the series makes them less likely to rank up on the Top 10, and what about those heroes who stand above the rest makes them more accomplished or better suited for the greater population of heroes?
The rankings are as follows: At number 10 is Ryukyu. Nine is Yoroi Musha, eight is Wash, seven is Kamui Woods, six is Crust, five is Mirko, four is Edgeshot, three is Best Jeanist, two is Hawks, and one is Endeavor. Of those names, only a few are established characters in the anime thus far.
Ryukyu was Uraraka and Asui’s mentors in the work-study program. Kamui Woods, alongside Mt. Lady, has appeared since the start of the series. Edgeshot fought against All For One back in Season 3. Best Jeanist was the hero who Bakugo worked for during his internship following the Sports Festival. However, of all of them, the only character we as audiences have grown to know and understand in any meaningful way is Endeavor.
Yoroi Musha, Wash, Crust and Mirko have never appeared in the anime before in any meaningful fashion. Sure, Mirko had her silhouette teased previously a few episodes prior, but for the rest, this is their first appearance. Yoroi Musha is clearly an old, honor-bound hero who believes any rank below the Top 3 is barely worth mentioning. Crust is a shield hero and clear warrior. Mirko is a powerful melee fighter with rabbit-themed abilities. Wash is a washing machine with arms.
In terms of the chronology of the series, we’ve only just met Hawks. For those who saw My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, Hawks is the hero who primarily investigates Nine and his crew while Class 1-A are off on their island, never expecting a supervillain with multiple quirks to attack. However, it’s clear from the get-go that Hawks is an elite hero, one of the youngest to ever make it to the Top 10 Ranked Heroes around, forming his own Hero Agency at the age of 18. He’s already making a place for himself among heroes a few minutes into the series.
For many fans of shonen anime accustomed to seeing familiar faces rank among the top-ranked characters, the lack of familiar faces will come as a huge shock. Mt. Lady even laments being ranked only 23rd, far behind her partner, Kamui Woods. However, we don’t know where any of the teachers at U.A. rank. This seems like a massive oversight, considering Eraserhead proved instrumental when fighting both the League of Villains and Overhaul’s Shie Hassaikai.
However, it makes sense that not a single U.A. Teacher broke the top 10 list. They are at a disadvantage in every category. The ranking is dependent on civilians saved, villains stopped and popularity. The teachers have jobs that prevent them from going out to save the world, with them only helping in emergency situations. This means that other heroes have far more time on their hands to stop crime and protect the innocent.
However, where they all really fail is when you take into account how unpopular these heroes are in the society they live in. While U.A. did survive All For One’s public war against their credibility, faith in them was shaken. It’s hard to forget how Midoriya’s mom almost refused to let her son return to them because she had little to no faith that they’d be able to protect the next generation of heroes. Even more so, as proven in this episode, with the republication and popularity of the villain Destro’s autobiography, that faith in the society U.A. represents is shaken and unstable. There’s no way the U.A. teachers are popular enough to rank high at all.
All of this is perfectly illustrated in the Wild, Wild Pussycats, who rank collectively at 411 due to them being unable to fight crime while recovering — and considering one of them had their Quirk permanently stolen by All For One. They ranked in the three-digits only due to their popularity. The teachers of U.A. had just as few opportunities to use their skills to fight crime since the defeat of All For One, and worst of all, lack the Wild, Wild Pussycats’ popularity.
So the U.A. Teachers stood little chance of ranking, but there are many others who are missing from the top ranks that had far more opportunities to rank than others. Heroes like Fat Gum, Gang Orca, and Rock Lock were all-powerful and important enough for Sir Nighteye to recruit them into the Task Force to take down Overhaul. None of them made the Top 10, however. In fact, other than Ryukyu, none of the Top 10 Heroes stopped Overhaul and his quirk-erasing drug. Why is that?
The answer is, simply, that it’s hard to calculate how many potential people were saved when Overhaul was defeated. While Fat Gum and his Hero Agency are responsible for defeating five of Overhaul’s Eight Bullets, Ryukyu captured far more individual yakuza members. Even though Fat Gum helped take down the strongest members of Overhaul’s forces, Ryukyu captured more in number.
On top of that, we just don’t know what the other heroes have done before this. After all, perhaps Wash with his Laundry-centric quirk saved so many people from disasters that he had to rank above Fat Gum. Even though the heroes who have been introduced on the series thus far matter to the audience, they don’t necessarily matter all that much to the people living in the show’s world. This key distinction is what keeps My Hero Academia from ever feeling too predictable.
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