My Hero Academia is set in the far future where superpowered Quirks have changed the face of society forever. Quirk-enhanced violence and crime are a fact of life in this world, and the children of pro heroes don’t always like it. Izumi Kota, for example, hates the superhero world because it cost him his mother and father.
During the “Training Camp” story arc, Midoriya tried in vain to befriend the bitter Kota until he saved the boy’s life against the powerful villain Muscular, after which he learned to believe again. This makes Kota strikingly similar to the young Inari, a minor character who appeared early in Naruto during the “Land of Waves” arc.
When MHA’s Kota & Naruto’s Inari Lost Their Faith In Heroes
Inari and Kota have similar roles in their respective series — in fact, it is possible that Inari’s design inspired Kota’s, given MHA author Kohei Horikoshi’s habit of paying tribute to his favorite manga and comic book characters. Either way the parallels are clear, and Kota established himself as the new generation’s Inari. Both characters are hat-wearing young boys who, when they first appeared, deeply resent the presence of shonen-style heroes and projected their misery onto those heroes.
Kota and Inari gave Midoriya and Naruto, respectively, a cold welcome and doubted the validity of pro heroes and ninjas. These boys had lost everything and predicted disaster for the heroes. In their eyes, fighting for good was an act of futility and would only lead to more pain. Kota had lost his pro hero parents to Muscular, and Naruto‘s Inari lost his foster father Kaiza to Gato’s men.
These young characters posed a thematic challenge to Midoriya and Naruto, doubting both shonen heroes’ values as brave, selfless heroes and questioning their intentions. Both protagonists likewise had their own insecurities about their capabilities as heroes and hadn’t yet earned the respect and admiration of the people around them. Midoriya and Naruto both took this badly and the younger boys’ words haunted them. At the time, Naruto was in no shape to defeat Zabuza and Haku and Midoriya was still learning to control One For All, so they were at risk of proving their young detractors right. Fortunately, they proved all the doubters wrong with their next actions.
When Kota & Inari Are Inspired To Believe Again
Midoriya and Naruto were both shaken by the young boys’ doubts but soon proved their worth, and Inari and Kota were there to witness it. Naruto and the rest of Team 7 found a way to defeat Zabuza and Haku before Zabuza took down Gato and his men from him, which freed the Land of Waves from Gato’s cruel grip and allowed it to flourish. Inari’s homeland was saved, and unlike the deceased Kaiza, Naruto lived up to his word from him to survive and become a great hero, which renewed Inari’s faith in heroic ninjas.
Similarly, My Hero Academia‘s Kota was inspired when he saw Midoriya risk his life to defeat Muscular, which allowed him to finally move on from his parents’ deaths. Kota couldn’t get his loved ones back but he could get a new hero — and that hero, known as Deku, wouldn’t let him down. Inari later met up with Naruto on friendly terms in Shippuden after the battle with Pain while Kota rushed to Midoriya’s side during the rise of villainy in Japan.
These storylines also prove how MHA and Naruto‘s leads both live up to one of shonen’s best values: the ability to uplift the people around them and be uplifted in return. A hero does more than slay monsters or villains; they also inspire hope and courage in the people around them as symbols of peace, hope and justice. That is the case for legendary heroes such as Captain America or Superman, and it’s the same today with Deku and Naruto. These shonen heroes scored early victories and validated themselves by inspiring Kota and Inari to believe in them. Sure enough, Naruto and Midoriya went on to inspire many more people while never forgetting the importance of the young boys who once doubted them.
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