My Hero Academia is an anime (and manga) so deeply rooted in both western and Japanese pop culture that it’d be nearly impossible to create it without filling it to the brim with Easter Eggs and references to the heroes and artists that inspired it. Artist Kohei Horikoshi and filled his manga, and therefore the anime, with all sorts of references to western comic book characters. From Deadpool to Hellboy, Horikoshi can’t seem to help but throw in homages to the western comics he so clearly loves. With that in mind, we’ll breakdown the anime (and the manga) to reveal some of the Easter eggs you may have missed. Some minor spoilers for manga and anime ahead.

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7 Heroic Beginnings

In case any readers had any illusion that My Hero Academia was anything other than a love letter to the comics and heroes of the east and west, creator Kohei Horikoshi made sure to shout out some of his favorite heroes at the very beginning of the manga. In the anime, as Izuku explains how quirks came to be and the subsequent wave of would-be heroes, viewers watch as some of My Hero’s pro heroes handle a rampaging villain and control the crowd. In the manga, however, readers are met with silhouettes of what appears to Spider-Man (one of Horikoshi’s favorite western heroes) and several other Marvel and DC superheroes.

6 Star Wars References

Kohei Horikoshi’s ode to all things western pop culture wouldn’t be complete without a few gleaming references to Star Wars, one of the most iconic properties in the world. There are so many Star Wars references thrown into My Hero Academia that it’s hard to know where to begin. From the black mask and breathing apparatus attached to All For One to the micro mentor parallels between Yoda and Gran Torino, Star Wars is so ingrained in the world of My Hero Academia that even entire planets are referenced. Places like Tatooine station, where we watch as Izuku marvels at the professional heroes for the first time in the series, and Hosu city, a reference to Hoth, and Dagobah Municipal Beach litter the world of My Hero Academia. Some heroes even name their super moves after the films. But we’ll get to that.

5 Toga’s Bane Mask

It’s hard to overstate the influence that Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy has had on comics, superheroes, manga, and film. One prime example of the extent of The Dark Knight Trilogy’s reach can be found in the familiar mask worn by Himiko Toga.

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While the mask may look very similar to Bane’s mask, we can assume (although it hasn’t been explained yet in the series) that Toga’s mask operates very differently than Bane’s, which was designed to handle his chronic pain. It seems much more likely that Toga’s mask, which is attached to the backpack and needles that she carries, is meant to deliver blood for her to ingest so that she can use her quirk.

4 Denki Of Saitama

Fans of My Hero Academia mostly know Denki as the shockingly powerful, but equally prone to airheadedness, electric hero. While some of the references found in his character are a bit more obvious, like the short-circuited faces he makes that clearly reference Saitama from the popular One Punch Man, some require a little more digging. Places like the Tatooine station and Hosu city may be fiction additions to My Hero Academia’s version of Japan, but Denki’s birthplace of the Saitama prefecture is a real place. His birthplace may not be a direct reference to the protagonist of One Punch Man, but it’s definitely worth noting just how intertwined and similar these two characters are.

3 Mirio’s Power Move

While Hosu city and Tatooine Station are references that could easily be overlooked by anyone unfamiliar with Star Wars and its many planets, Horikoshi would go on to make much more blatant references through characters like Mirio. Fans of the anime may currently only know Mirio as one of UA’s top three, anyone following along with the manga has had the opportunity to get to know Mirio a little more intimately. During the finale of the third season of MHA, fans got a little peek at Mirio’s devastating power and his ultimate move “Blinder Touch Eyeball Crush!” But sometime in the near future fans will be treated to another of Mirio’s super moves, “Phantom Menace”. An awful prequel, but a great name for an intangible hero’s super move. POWER!

2 The Zuko Connection

Okay, so let’s start this one out by saying it’s hard to call this one an Easter Egg as Horikoshi denies any connection, but come on. There are simply way too many parallels between these two characters. Abusive father? Check. The ability to control fire? Check. Big ol’ burn scar covering the left eye? Can somebody get a doctor to come and “Check” this? There are just far too many coincidences to leave this one out. 

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We haven’t even gotten into how incredibly similar they are as characters, merely some basic facts about their backgrounds. We could also talk about how they’re both introverted, angry, endlessly focused on a singular goal that, like most heroes on a journey of self-discovery, isn’t necessarily the goal the universe has for them. But at this point, it’s probably just easier to accept that Todoroki is definitely working some of the same archetypal structures that Zuko had established back in the Avatar: The Last Airbender days.

1 Spider-Man References

Who would’ve thought that an anime that was inspired so much by the work of western comic book artists would have so many nods to Spider-Man in it? Horikoshi seems to believe, much like every other sane comic book fan in the universe, that Spider-Man is the epitome of the superhero. And his work definitely showcases that fact. For instance, the cover of My Hero Academia Vol. 9 mirrors the art on the hardcover of Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 6: Venom. In the anime, however, you can see Horikoshi’s love for Spider-Man manifested more visibly in Hanta Sero’s character as he swings around cracking jokes. In that way, he’s very much like the hero that inspidered him. I say again, “inSPIDERed him.”… Is this thing on?

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