Having caught up with the My Hero Academia manga by Kohei Horikoshi, and with season four of the anime right around the corner, I thought it fitting to list off my top ten favourite characters in the series.
Ranking these characters was very difficult because My Hero Academia has an incredibly large cast of heroes and villains.
Characters like Endeavor, Dabi, Toga, Twice, Iida, Uraraka, Tsuyu, and Overhaul were all considered for this list but, at the end of the day, they just missed out.
So, now let’s get into the list.
10. Chizome Akaguro AKA Hero Killer Stain.
Despite his brief time on screen, Stain is one of the most important villains in My Hero Academia’s story.
He is the first antagonist we meet with an ideology, and one that inspires numerous other villains like Dabi, Toga and Spinner to rise against the heroes.
With his extreme conviction, it is easy to see why he inspired so many to become villains.
His disdain for the corrupt hero society led him to kill any hero he thought of as unworthy of the title, using All Might as a basis for the standard.
His quirk, Bloodcurdle, allows him to paralyze anyone whose blood he consumes, making him a very lethal opponent with his swords.
This results in a great fight between him, Deku, Todoroki and Iida in which he is defeated and imprisoned.
As stated, though, even though he is locked up, he still influences the world of My Hero Academia by inspiring many villains.
Along with the impact he has on the story because of his ideology, another thing that makes Stain a compelling villain is his morality.
If he encounters someone he views as a legitimate hero he will spare them, which is shown when he saves Deku from a Nomu.
This makes Stain one of the most interesting villains in the series, with his complex ideology and morality.
I hope he will appear in the story again at some point.
Protect. This. Innocent. Child. At. All. Costs.
Seriously, Eri is one of the most adorable children in fiction, in my opinion, and every time she shows up it puts a smile on my face.
Eri is essentially going to be the centerpiece of My Hero Academia’s fourth season because she will have important roles and meaning in both the Overhaul and Cultural Festival arcs, making her the emotional core of the season.
And, boy, will she bring the emotion when that season arrives.
The reason for this is that Eri has an incredibly hard life before meeting Deku, basically being killed and resurrected time and time again by Overhaul to experiment on her dangerous quirk.
After being rescued by Deku and Mirio, she gets the chance to experience true happiness for the first time, resulting in a few happy cry moments for me.
I distinctly remember crying when she smiled during Deku’s performance at the Culture Festival because of how heart warming it was.
Along with this, Eri often brings quite a bit of adorableness to the series but also sadness, often at the same time.
A clear example of this is in one of the more recent chapters where she got Christmas, Halloween, and Easter mixed up.
This was adorable because of how cute is was for her to mix them all up, but sad because it reminded us of how much of a cruel, sheltered life she had before.
Eri is a character who brings a lot of emotion to the story of My Hero Academia and I cannot wait to finally see her in season four of the anime.
8. Mirio Togata AKA Lemillion.
Mirio is a very odd looking character to say the least.
He stands out visually from all the others because of his unique eyes, which are different from any other character and often make him look quite cartoonish.
There is nothing cartoonish about Mirio’s personality, though, because he is one of the most interesting character of the series.
I swear, the only reason he is not higher on the list is because of his limited screen time, only really being important to the Overhaul and Cultural Festival Arc.
That said, the role he does play in those arcs, especially the Overhaul arc, is enough to put him on this list so that should tell you how good his story is in them.
Appearing at the end of season three, Mirio immediately establishes himself as a great hero with a lot of skill, turning a quirk that many thought to be useless into an enhanced technique.
However, his confidence in his abilities is impacted greatly upon leaving Eri in the hands of Overhaul.
Upon learning of what she is going through, Mirio vows to save her.
He succeeds in this but it comes at the cost of his quirk, being shot with a quirk removing bullet.
Despite this extreme setback, and inspired by the words of his dying mentor, Sir Nighteye, Mirio resolves to still be a hero.
He has often been seen looking after Eri in the aftermath of this but has not appeared in the manga for a while.
I hope to see him play a major role again some time soon.
7. Eijirou Kirishima AKA Red Riot.
Honestly, Kirishima was not a character I took that much notice of in season one.
He had a pretty cool quirk but, other than that, he was just a regular side character.
I grew to like him quite a bit more in season two through his antics in the Sports Festival and then came to love his character when he showed his duty to his friends in the Hideout Raid arc.
It was his storyline in the Overhaul arc, though, that put him at this point on the list (and, with so many characters popping onto this list because of the Overhaul arc, that should tell you how good it is).
It is in this arc that we get to see Kirishima’s backstory and how he failed to anything when a villain was threatening some of his fellow students.
Rather, it was his future classmate Mina Ashido who stepped in to be the hero and, realizing what he need to do, Kirishima began to move forward in his strive for heroism and manliness.
This ties significantly into his storyline during the Overhaul Arc where he fights alongside the hero Fat Gum and develops his new unbreakable technique, using it to defend the hero during their battle with Overhaul’s men.
This takes quite a toll on him but thankfully thankfully recovers, and even gets the villain they were fighting’s respect.
Kirishima is a great hero in the making and a loyal friend to characters like Mina (who I ship him with), and Bakugo.
6. Toshinori Yagi AKA All Might
The number one hero, All Might stands as the pillar of justice with his role as the symbol of peace.
Serving as the main character Deku’s mentor, we first see All Might as a confident figure who always wears a smile.
However, this perception is quickly shattered when Deku inadvertently uncovers his secret; that his true form is a much weaker, starved looking body who can only be a hero for a shortening span of time.
But, upon recognizing Deku’s potential as a hero, All Might resolves to have him inherit his quirk One For All and become the next symbol of peace.
This kick starts the entire story of My Hero Academia with All Might serving as a guiding force for, not just Deku, but other characters like Bakugo as well.
With plenty of inspiring and awesome moments in combat, All Might also manages to be pretty funny at times with his constant “I am here!” jokes.
When All Might gets serious, though, the story takes a turn for the dramatic, especially in his final fight with his arch enemy, All For One, which is one of the best fights of the series.
With All Might’s true form exposed, and now being unable to transform again, he has to retire, but still remains a trusted and inspirational mentor for the other characters.
Unfortunately, since All Might’s retirement in the Hideout Raid Arc he has not had as much screen time as he did before.
He is still prominent but to a far lesser degree, which put him lower on the list.
Still, All Might is a great character and I am interested to see where his story goes in his journey to help Deku become the next number one hero.
5. Shota Aizawa AKA Eraserhead.
Upon first meeting Class 1-A’s homeroom teacher, Shota Aizawa, he looks to be a minor antagonistic force with his threats to expel students.
However, this is quickly proven to be false during the USJ arc where he puts his life on the line, battling multiple villains to protect his students.
Through this, it quickly becomes apparent that Aizawa is stern with good reason, hoping to push his students into becoming the best heroes they can be.
From here, he emerges as one of the most prominent pro heroes in the series, although one that likes to understate his presence.
He is extremely good in a fight, due to his useful quirk of being able to shut down someone else’s just by looking at them.
Along with this, Aizawa can be diplomatic as can be seen when he stood up for Bakugo against the media when he was kidnapped by the League of Villans.
Because of Aizawa’s skills, he also proved to be a great help in the Overhaul Arc where he joined Deku and Mirio to save Eri, which lead to him looking after her because he is the only one that can shut off her quirk when it becomes dangerous.
With Aizawa now looking after Eri, this has resulted in a few cute scenes between the two, like how he recently corrected her when she mistook Christmas for Halloween.
Aizawa meeting up with other characters also results in some of the best interactions of the series, like with Ms Joke in the Licensing Exam arc (again, I ship).
Overall, Aizawa is a great character and it will be fun to see him in the Overhaul arc in season four.
4. Tenko Shimura AKA Tomura Shigaraki.
After the first battle with Shigaraki in season one, he is described as a “man child” and this is particularly true due to his almost bratty nature during the fight.
But, how could a “man child” be one of My Hero Academia‘s best characters?
Well, this is because I think Shigaraki’s character arc is a lot similar to Eren Jeager’s from Attack on Titan.
Both start out as fairly generic, naive characters but this is so they can grow from this point and mature into the multifaceted characters they are now.
The big difference between the two is that Shigaraki’s arc directly mirrors his opponent Deku’s.
While Deku is slowly moving towards becoming the new symbol of peace, Shigaraki is slowly moving towards becoming the new symbol of terror, as All For One put it.
This is epitomized by Shigaraki’s confrontation with Deku at the end of season two, where Deku unintentionally helps him find purpose and reasoning behind his desire to destroy.
From here Shigaraki continues to grow until the recent My Villain Academia arc and it is here that Shigraki becomes one of the manga’s best characters.
The reveal of his tragic backstory, in how he wanted to be a hero when he was a kid only to be corrupted by his quirk and the actions of All For One, is both sad and frightening.
This mixture of emotions is fully apparent in the chapter where Shigaraki kills his father, giving him his most nightmarish look so far, and at such a young age.
Now, Shigaraki looks to be almost unstoppable with the new army he gained from defeating Re-Destro in this arc.
I have no idea how Deku will go about beating him but if one thing is for sure it is that the two will meet again as the symbol of peace and the symbol of terror.
And, on that day, only one will emerge victorious.
3. Katsuki Bakugo.
After finishing season one of My Hero Academia, I was very surprised to learn that Bakugo is a lot of people’s favourite character.
I could not understand this because in that first season he is a massive bully, causing him to be completely unlikable.
Then, he finally began to grow at the end of season two and I started to get what people were talking about.
Bakugo is a character who realizes his faults and attempts to grow from them.
Now, while this did warm me up to his character a little more, I still did not consider him one of my favourites.
What changed this was season three.
Bakugo has by far the best development in this season, proving his desire to become a hero after he fights back when he is kidnapped by the League of Villains.
His best moment in season three, though, is definitely his second fight with Deku.
It is here that we learn the guilt that is weighing on Bakugo because he believes he is the reason All Might was forced to retire.
This moment shocked me when I first watched it because I had no idea Bakugo was going through this self punishment, and it is in this moment that Bakugo finally becomes Deku’s rival as opposed to his bully.
He has continued to grow in the manga, and now actively helps Deku in his pursuit of becoming a hero, albeit aggressively.
Bakugo is a very flawed character but he himself realise this and is making an effort to be better, even if I don’t think he will ever let go of his extreme anger management issues.
After watching him go through this character growth, I can see why he is considered a favourite character by many, and I can now say he is one of my favourites as well.
2. Shoto Todoroki.
Much like Kirishima, Todoroki was a character that did not do that much in season one.
Sure, he did make an impression through being the one with the strongest quirk in Class 1-A but as a character he did not stand out very well.
This changed in season two where he became my favourite character during the Sports Festival Arc because of his backstory and growth.
Todoroki comes from an abusive household, as his father forcefully married his wife to produce children with powerful quirks.
When Todorki was born, he was quickly subjected to intense physical training.
Not only this but because of the abusive situation she was trapped in, Todoroki’s mother suffered a mental breakdown and poured boiling water on her son’s face, scarring him for life.
At the time of the Sports Festival, Todoroki is trying to prove he can be the strongest without using his father’s fire power, only his mother’s ice.
This results in an enthralling character study in his battle with Deku who challenges Todoroki’s perceptions and makes him accept both sides of his power.
It is for this and many other reasons that I consider Todoroki’s fight with Deku to be the best of the anime so far.
From here, Todoroki has continued to grow, still struggling with the effect his father has on him.
In the manga their relationship has become even more interesting as Endeavour attempts to change like Bakugo, accepting responsibility and attempting to make amends for what he did to his family.
Because of this, I am honestly interested to see not just where Todoroki will go but his entire family as well.
Todoroki is a great character with amazing development (who may or may not be inspired by Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender).
1. Izuku Midorya – AKA Deku.
I sympathized with Deku right from the beginning of My Hero Academia.
A quirkless boy, living in a life where no one believes in him, Izuku Midorya is a character who strives to be the best hero he can, wanting to help people no matter the cost.
This admirable quality is inspired by his hero All Might who he encounters by chance in the first episode.
Upon seeing Deku’s heroism, All Might recognizes his potential and decides to make him his successor as the new symbol of peace by giving him his quirk, One For All.
Izuku’s story then unfolds, with him joining U.A High and finding a way to work around any situation that threatens him.
He even adopts Bakugo’s mocking nickname for him, Deku, as his hero name and a sign of strength (although this is first motivated by his crush Uraraka liking the name).
As the series has gone on, we have got many powerful moments from Deku as he strives to become a hero, from him helping Todoroki, to saving Kota and Eri, to learning he will get all the quirks from the previous One For All users.
All of these moments are great but they were not enough to put him above Todorki as my favourite character in My Hero Academia.
What did do that was the role Deku played in the Gentle arc.
This arc is not many people’s favourite but I loved what it did for Deku as a character.
The fight Deku is having here is not life or death.
If he fails to defeat Gentle and La Brava then no one will die.
However, if they ruin the Cultural Festival then Eri’s chance of smiling will be ruined.
This will teach her that the world is unfair and cruel just like when she was a captive of Overhaul.
So, essentially, Deku is fighting his hardest all to save a little girl’s smile and show her for the first time that there is good in the world and that is incredibly powerful.
It was this act that made Deku my favourite character of My Hero Academia.
He is strong, resilient, and the true definition of a hero, even if he does not have the full qualifications yet.