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A Bird-Man’s Strength: Recognizing Potential in My Hero Academia} ?> I was always one of the last kids picked for a team when my friends and I played sports. I wasn’t athletic by any stretch, and my straight A’s and creative awards didn’t help me score goals for my team.
While watching the Sport’s Festival in season two of My Hero Academia, I was once again confronted by memories of being overlooked. Hero-in-training Izuku is tasked with putting together the ideal team that will allow him to pass the Calvary Battle challenge. His friend Ochaco joins because of their established bond, overly-ambitious Mei joins because of Izuku’s high marks, but his close friend Iida joins another team for self-improvement, leaving one open slot in their four-person squad. At this point, most of the students have already joined other teams. As Izuku scans the field, considering the strengths of those remaining, he realizes immediately who their team needs.
My reaction: “That guy?”
Don’t get the wrong idea. I have nothing against bird-men (after all, I’ve been crushing on Hawk King Tibarn from Fire Emblem since I was fourteen). I just knew nothing about Fumikage. However, since Izuku’s strategic prowess had not let me down so far, I trusted that this obscure character would be just right for their team.
As the Calvary Battle unfolds, it is clear that Izuku has made a wise choice in Fumikage because of the bird-man’s unique defense capabilities. With his expectations more than exceeded, Izuku praises Fumikage’s quirk: “Your shadow is just what we needed . . . you’re amazing!”
He responds: “You are the one who chose me.”
Outside of the immediate feels it gave me, this line stuck with me.
At first glance, Fumikage is simply emphasizing the fact that Izuku has considerable talent and discernment as a tactician. After all, Izuku’s ability to shepherd three people’s unique goals all towards one victory proves he is more than capable as a leader, but Fumikage’s words go much deeper: He is expressing that his talent is reinforced by Izuku’s own.
Izuku could have chosen any of the available students for the Calvary Battle, but instead of choosing the flashiest, he picks the one overlooked by all—the one who will complement his team as a member rather than as a prodigy. On his own, Fumikage’s strength is unique from but no greater than Izuku’s; it simply takes Izuku’s discernment to bring it to its full potential.
Ever since I started a new job last January, I’ve come to realize the importance of recognizing the unique value of each person’s abilities. Oftentimes, the most gifted individuals are either overlooked or they don’t realize their own untapped potential until that quirk makes a difference in another person’s life. For instance, I’ll never forget the day my boss told me that her own abilities did not measure up to mine; she might as well have been comparing fire to ice. My thought, in that moment—though I did not say it out loud—was, “You are the one who chose me.” Her years as a talented professional were crucial to recognizing that I had the skillsets she knew would benefit the team.
If Izuku had not chosen Fumikage, his team probably would not have placed in the Calvary Battle, since Fumikage was the one who earned the winning points. I can’t say the same for my neighbourhood sports team, though at my job last year, I helped my team break our highest record to date.
Although I am the youngest and “least experienced” of my team, I have always been treated as a peer by the other members. Their own talents have encouraged me, not only to work harder, but to cherish what makes my own style unique. I don’t always acknowledge my own strengths, not until I am complimented on them. But when someone else encourages me on a job well done, I’m given the confidence to tackle any obstacle. Even better yet, I now have the confidence to empower others. I can make a difference in someone else’s self-esteem by repeating her words to me, similar to Izuku’s attitude towards Fumikage: “You’re just what we needed. You’re amazing!”
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