Welcome to another OWLS post! This will be my eighth OWLS post, isn’t that insane? I still remember my excitement when I became a member and scheduled my very first OWLS post, back in June. I’ve also been able to contribute every month so far. There hasn’t been a topic too hard to completely block me, and for that I’m grateful and proud of myself.
If you aren’t aware of our group, we are a team of bloggers and vloggers, focused on bringing awareness to important topics in life represented in pop culture. We are accepting of everyone regardless of race, gender, sexuality, etc.
In honor of the 2018 Winter Olympics, this month topic will focus on the theme, “Competition” because the Olympics is where athletes from all countries join together to compete in sporting events. Through these events, we see how “competition” brings out the grit, the teamwork, and the competitive spirit within athletes. This month, we will be exploring anime and pop culture media that discusses the good and the bad when it comes to competition and what it can teach us about ourselves and the world around us.
Thank you Lyn for the wonderful topic as always!
I chose which anime I’d be focusing on almost immediately, though I think some people were figuring I’d choose a certain sports anime I’ve been obsessed with recently. Not like the thought didn’t cross my mind, but I didn’t think I could do it justice as well as my fellow bloggers who have been engaged in that fanbase much longer than me.
I also had a revelation of a cool twist to the theme in regards of Yuri!!! on Ice, but that was a few days ago, and it was far too late for me to change my mind. I may do that topic in a personal post anyway, since I think it’d be a fun post.
So I chose My Hero Academia again. I did this anime back in August, but I’m not particularly happy or proud with how that post turned out. I haven’t done a post I really felt proud of focusing on this anime, so I figured it would be perfect for this topic!
I won’t be giving any major specific details, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen all of this anime!
A Race to the Top
Even in the beginning of the series, the presence of urgency to climb to the top is evident. To be powerful, and to have a grasp on a chance to be in the top spot is a huge achievement. “Competition” is always thick in the air, no matter what our main class is doing. In Season Two, their sports festival and exams held rankings. The poor soul left in last place knew that they had to really pick up the pace if they want to have any chance of getting noticed by a pro.
Even getting into the school to begin that competition to the top was a competition. Only the kids who could prove their strength and worth of being a possible hero were able to go on to begin classes. And boy do these kids prove themselves throughout what we’ve seen of the anime so far.
Even though these kids would seem like they’d be viewing each other as enemies, many of them help each other out, even in the heat of the moment. Even when they’re so pumped about showing their true strength and skill. And that’s something I completely adore about this series. Everyone is on the same page, they know how hard it is to get noticed and give it their all at every moment. So, they lean on each other for help when they need it, and generally it’s given back to them.
My favorite examples of this generally involve our main protagonist, Midoriya Izuku, using both his caring nature and extensive knowledge of quirks, or powers, to help his classmates to understand their worth. I’ve always found it beyond strange that he would go out of his way to put himself at a disadvantage just to help a classmate out. He’s already at a disadvantage with only having a quirk for a short period of time, and how dangerous it is for him to use it still.
Yet he has an insane amount of drive to make it to the very top and show just how much he can help other people. He encourages others and doesn’t become upset that he could be considered a lower rank or power from them. Because his whole purpose of becoming a hero in the first place is to encourage, protect, and save other people.
Of course, he’s not the only example of the kids helping each other out. When they’re about to go into their final exams of the semester, the higher ranked students helped the lower ranked students study. They very well could have kept to themselves and let the others suffer and lose hope in having any chance of improving. They aren’t selfish, and they don’t let themselves become too wrapped up in the idea of beating everyone for their own gain.
For a show about becoming the best and standing out above all the rest, there’s an astonishing amount of emphasis on working together. Most activities that involve competing against other students also includes pairs or groups working together against everyone else. This is due to the reality that even pro heroes have to work together when there’s an emergency and it’s too much for one person to handle. There’s more strength and wit when there are more people; no one person can do absolutely everything, and that’s what these kids are learning going through their time at UA.
Even if they don’t think working with another person could help or they think they can do everything on their own, forcing them to work with other people provides them with the skill that is a vital part of their future.
In the End, it’s Not About “The Best”
Despite what I said in the beginning, the best powers and most strength don’t matter a whole lot in the long run, and let me explain why.
This is a show about heroes in training, learning about how to increase the power they have, strengthen themselves in both mind and body, and properly communicate with others. It’s not really important in the end about who is the very best, or who has the coolest quirk. It doesn’t matter.
What matters is if they can properly use their skills to protect people, the true duty of a hero. They only need to be the best of what they can do. Of course, that’s not saying the competitions they go through are bad, but none of them should take that ranking too seriously. When they do, it makes them either get too confident, or feel incompetent. Examples being: every time Bakugou Katsuki wins something, he tends to get a bit full of himself, whereas when Yaoyorozu Momo was beat in the one on one battles during the sports festival, she felt like she didn’t have anything to bring, and clammed up during the final exams.
And knowing they aren’t quite enough can really mess with someone. We see how damaging the thought of beating others is with Endeavor, deemed the “number two” hero. Forever being “beat” by All Might. It’s only a popularity contest, not really a measure of how good they are at being a hero. If they save people, if they inspire people, if they protect people, they’re a hero. That’s it. Bottom line. His jealousy actually harms others, abusing multiple members of his family just so he can prove something that doesn’t matter.
Let’s jump to my very favorite character for a second. Todoroki Shouto, who has grown up with the idea of his existence being the sole purpose of surpassing All Might for his father. The only reason he was born was to be a solid competitor for the number one hero. He had to hide his true power to rebel against that idea, and was overall unhappy with himself due to it. He had to practically be smacked in the face to realize that he could do more than just train and suppress himself.
Saving people and protecting shouldn’t be a race. There should be no “best,” because what matters is that the people the heroes are protecting are safe. The powers the kids have don’t mean nothing, and they should definitely be able to hone in on their skills to become better, but only in regards to themselves. Comparing themselves to other people can lead to the wrong mindset, I have personal experience in this.
How Does This Relate to Me?
If you’re reading this, you’re likely a blogger like myself. We’re a generally loving community, lifting other bloggers up by sending over kind words and reading their posts. But it’s hard to not compare ourselves to others. Things like follower count, likes, comments, and how much content is produced by others can trigger a thought of comparing them to yourself. I know I do this way too much. Same with when I write other things like my novel and fanfics. When I read other people’s work, I tend to focus on word choice, how much description they use, how many pages, how many words, how much dialogue, and character portrayal. And then I compare that to myself, which never leads to anything good. And this is exactly what happens when the kids compete against each other and see all of the others who do better than them.
We all can always use improvement, in any skill we have, but comparing ourselves to others in jealousy will get us nowhere. Working together to learn how to improve, but still viewing our own level as being something that can get better is what we need to aware of.
In the regard of sports, we should take our losses as a way to learn from what we’ve done wrong. If I was going to do this post on Haikyuu!! like I thought of, this was going to be the route I’d have taken.
This went in a total different direction than I thought. I was going to just recount the competitive scenes throughout the show, and use specific examples, but I kept it vague and actually brought more into this.
I hope you enjoyed what I did with this, and I’m pretty happy with how this turned out.
As I’m keeping with my Tuesday/Friday schedule, I’ll have a post up on Tuesday. It’ll be a little bit related to Valentine’s Day, so there’s a bit of a teaser for you.
Thank you for reading another OWLS post!