Fight Me With All of Your Strength!

Anime is a worldwide medium. Rising far beyond it’s miso-soaked roots in Japan, anime and otaku culture have attracted thousands of fans internationally. Old and young, rich and poor, of all genders and body shapes. Diversity doesn’t even begin to describe the community, and with that comes a variety of different tastes and opinions towards the medium. Yet despite all of this, one fact holds true: shounen anime have some dope action sequences.

It’s no secret that anime is home to some of the most action-heavy shows out there. What with epics like Naruto and One Piece out there achieving fame comparable to that of Spider-Man and Batman, it’s no wonder that most people associate anime with fighting. A battle to be won, a home to be saved, a people to reunite: all of these motivations inspire us. We love these fights and these characters because of what they represent: their struggle gives us hope for our struggles.

Shounen is a genre especially known for this. Wearing its’ target audience of pre-teen boys on its’ sleeve, shounen anime tend to feature large-scale conflicts, interpersonal drama, and a large amount of intricately animated fight sequences. The initial clash of Amuro and Char Anable, the first time Goku used the Spirit Bomb, the futile-yet-motivating speech of Mumen Rider: each of these moments serves a purpose: to showcase the inner struggle as displayed by the outer struggle.

This is a theme heavily explored in the third act of My Hero Academia S2. By the final battle between Midoriya and Todoroki, we’ve seen Midoriya grow from a scared do-gooder into a true hero. While he still has a lot to work on, he’s not afraid to give it his all in order to live up to the expectations placed on him. His love for his mentor, All Might, and the inspiration of all of his friends working hard drives him to succeed, despite the struggle. In contrast, Todoroki is a character motivated only by a desire to prove himself to an abusive father. Endeavor raised him to be an antithesis to All Might, at the price of Todoroki’s mother and home life. He refuses to accept his inherited power, choosing only to rely on his icy right side. Still strong, yet holding onto the very ideas he hopes to reject. A faulty foundation for a worldview, and Midoriya knows this.

Where others would take advantage of Todoroki’s weakness, Midoriya questions it. Where others might write Todoroki off as a lost cause, Midoriya steps in to help, even risking his own future. In his eyes, Todoroki’s refusal to use all of his power is less of a personal choice, but a self-imposed limit. By denying himself all of his abilities, Todoroki refused to accept all of himself for who he was. Not the puppet of a domineering father, but an individual with hopes, dreams, and goals. In an arena where everyone was giving their 110% to win, to give any less would be dishonorable, both to those who worked and to himself.

So Midoriya screams.

Forced into a crossroads, Todoroki has to choose. Will he continue in his anger, holding himself back? Or will he accept himself, and be freed? It’s this type of choice that Christ Himself asks those who would call themselves His followers. We all sin, we all have fallen short of the glory of God. No one is pefect, and no one can be perfet. Yet our imperfection doesn’t need to define us any more than Endeavor’s abuse needs to define Todoroki. Once we accept that we’re weak, we open the door for Him to lift us up. Laying down the burdens of the past, finding that “rest for [our] souls” (Matt 11:29), He gives us new strength and courage. His strength becomes our strength, and our potential is unlocked. And like Todoroki, we can stand and say:

Sam

I'm a student who loves God and manages to balance school, games, books, anime, and Asian culture while staying slightly sane.

  • It’s interesting because fear is something that tends to be my motivator and stop me from being the 110% Christ-following Hero that I want to be. My battles against sin have turned into victories, but when God asks me to do something out of my comfort zone, I freeze. So in regards to fear, I see that as the thing I am dishonorably doing when Jesus Himself faced death on the cross. Although I didn’t pull exactly what you intended me to, I really do appreciate what you wrote, Sam! Great job as usual and keep on writing!

    • You bring out a good point: fear does stifle us in our walk with God. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of people, etc. While fear can be healthy, we also have to keep in mind that God’s plans are way bigger than we can see. A little anxiety now won’t stop God’s intentions, but it can help push the cogs of bigger gears down the line. Overcoming ourselves isn’t easy, but God does make it possible. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    • Fear keeps us all back. In every area of our lives, fear shows up and wants to stop us from doing what we were supposed to do in the first place!

      My advice (I say this because I tell myself this all the time!), what’s the worst that could happen? Next time you get scared, just say “ok, so if I fail/mess up/lose etc, what is going to happen?” Face the consequence, and if it’s not that big of a deal (most of the time it’s not) then just do it. You fail? Who cares, at least you tried, you learned from it, and life goes on.

      Most people don’t even try, so your ahead of the majority just by attempting.

  • Great post Sam, this anime has been great so far! Loved that fight between Todoriki and Midoriya. Glad it wasn’t a long, played out one either (cough, DBZ).

    When we are weak, He is strong. This also goes with humility. I have found myself in situations where I can feel like the “better man” because I had more resources, wisdom, or whatever at the moment. Instead, I remind myself to be a servant and just be there to help and not show off. I fail sometimes, but I am giving it a shot when I can!