In anime, anything is possible! It’s the reason why they get so interesting sometimes, I feel like the fact that the possibilities are endless brings such an overwhelming opportunity for lore development. In this instance I would love to talk about the phenomenon of Quirks in the anime Boku No Hero Academia. There shouldn’t be any major spoilers in this post but be careful of the comments!
Quirks have started to manifest in the world of BNHA when the first baby was born with a body that emitted light from its body. The quirk allegedly was noticeable from birth, yet most quirks start to develop at the young age of three to four. Scientifically speaking, Quirks are a part of the new evolution of Humans.
Quirks are seen as a modification of the human body. In recent studies in the anime it has been revealed that people with a singular joint in their toe will develop a quirk, ones with two joints will be rendered Quirkless.
As Quirks continued to develop, it was soon more unusual to not have a Quirk at all, statistics say that only 20% percent of the population actually have no Quirk.
Having no Quirk became something shameful and stigma started to spark around people with no Quirks.
Isn’t that strange? Technically people with Quirks should be the anomaly, we see this in realistic superhero movies or esper stories where the outcasts get bullied for being “abnormal”. Yet in the BNHA universe roles were reversed.
Quirks seem to be a genetic trait such as hair colour or eye colour.
The easiest example for that would be Todoroki Shoto’s Quirk “Half-Hot Half-Cold”. His mother can conjure and control ice and his father is basically flameo-hotman, uh- I mean he can bend fire.
Meaning, the quirk one possesses is very much dependent on the hereditary input.
This brings us to the topic of Quirk marriage. People marrying into certain families with strong or interesting quirks only to get certain power or privilege. In my opinion a very bad thing to do, but considering how cruel the world can sometimes be, it’s a very realistic lore detail that was added. It makes sense that there are people who use their Quirk not just for good, but also for bad instances.
Oh- now comes the juicy stuff!
On a real note though, in the anime quirks are explained to be parts of the body just like a limb. If it isn’t used it can become weak and frail. It can also be trained and pushed to the limits, but what if the limit is broken?
Before I explain more about Quirk malfunction, I want to distinguish it from Quirk overuse.
We know through the anime that Quirks can be overused, just as you can strain or even tear your muscles if you workout too much.
Endeavor established that Todoroki needs to use his fire side, because using his ice side for too long freezes him. This shows that using your Quirk too much means it will have consequences for your body. Bakugo mentioned that his muscles spasm when he uses explosions too much.
What I want to talk about is Quirk malfunction. To explain it further, the concept of malfunctioning quirks has been mentioned in the anime as well!
The first thing that comes to mind is our protagonist Midorya. Gaining One For All only when he was fifteen, showed that he still had to learn how to cope with his power or how to control it.
When he first uses One For All, he breaks all of his bones in his arms and legs while using the Quirk. His body is not aligned with his power since it is all new to him and Midoriya is originally quirkless.
That’s a Quirk malfunction.
When your body suddenly isn’t suited for a superpower anymore.
Try to imagine it this way: The body born with a quirk is shielding the wielder of the power from it’s own damage. Todoroki probably doesn’t feel the burn of his flame when he uses it leisurely, for example when lighting a campfire.
Let’s keep Shoto as an example.
What happens when Todoroki is suddenly susceptible to his own flames and ice? Getting frostbites everywhere and burning himself? Maybe at one point he conjures a flame and screams in pain because it burned him. Everyone looks at him confused and then they realise. Todoroki’s Quirk malfunctioned. It is out of his control.
Let’s take it up a notch!
Bakugo literally makes explosions with his bare hands, but he seems to be unaffected? Now at some point he lets something explode and he’s not immune anymore! He would get serious damage or even blast away his arms. What if the malfunction happens just before a really big explosion in the heat of battle? What would be left of him?
You guys want more?
One of my favorite possible Quirk malfunctions is Uraraka’s. So she makes something, or worse, someone float. In a frenzy she tries to deactivate her quirk but to no avail. The person floats into the stratosphere and comes crashing down only when Aizawa-sensei erases her quirk. What’s even worse is that her Quirk could actually influence how gravity works on her.
At one point she is casually walking around and then suddenly, her Quirk goes haywire and presses her own body to the ground.
I believe that stories get a lot more interesting when supernatural powers get negative side effects. That’s why Deku’s version of One for All is so interesting. Isn’t it almost fair that he can’t use it properly from the get go? Overpowered characters can be fun, still I like when there are drawbacks to your power. That’s how life works, doesn’t it? There’s always a price to pay.
What do you guys think about the Quirks in BNHA? Is there another interesting theory you’re harboring your mind? Don’t mind sharing it! Please just be kind and put spoiler warnings if you talk about specific events in the anime/manga.
I hope to see you soon for the next tea time~