My Hero Academia Creator Opens up About How He Makes Villains

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My Hero Academia has successfully merged the worlds of superheroes and anime in a way that no other series before it has, and it’s in large part thanks to the wonderfully geeky mind of creator Kohei Horikoshi. Horikoshi-sensei’s love of geek culture staples like Marvel, DC, and Star Wars has had a very direct influence on the world of My Hero Academia and its heroes – but what about the villain side of things?

In a new interview featured in Shonen Jump, Horikoshi provides inside to fans on how to become a mangaka, and one answer from the Q&A actually revealed the process Horikoshi uses to create My Hero Academia‘s signature villains:

According to Horikoshi:

“For Shigaraki, I wanted him to be a character that instills fear among readers, much like how he did to Deku and the other students when they first met him. I thought about how I wanted to create that tyep of impact upon first meeting this villain, and that helped mold his character. For All For One, I wanted him to be a character that readers could not understand, so I made him faceless. When creating most of my villain characters, I think about how I can bring out a sense of disgust for these characters among the reader’s psyche. I’ve always been a fan of horror and slasher films, and that aspect interests me a lot. On the other hand, Toga is a character that can mix into society and continue living, and even if she was on the Protagonist’s side, I wanted her to have a cuteness that wouldn’t be unsettling.”

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It’s all too timely for Horikoshi to be breaking down how he’s trying to upset readers’ psyches with his villain characters: The last few chapters of My Hero Academia have been exactly that, disturbing, as we’ve learned the truly horrible backstory of how the young boy Tenko Shimura become the psychotic leader of the League of Villains, Tomura Shigaraki. The arc about Shigaraki’s origin has truly felt like a horror movie more than a manga story, so… mission accomplished for Horikoshi?

My Hero Academia was created by Kohei Horikoshi and has been running in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump since July 2014. The story follows Izuku Midoriya, who lives in a world where everyone has powers, even though he was born without them. Dreaming to become a superhero anyway, he’s eventually scouted by the world’s best hero All Might and enrolls in a school for professional heroes. The series has been licensed by Viz Media for an English language release since 2015. My Hero Academia is gearing up for an even bigger end of 2019 with a new film in theaters later this year too.

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