Quirks, what an incredibly unique name right? It loosely translates to individuality. My Hero Academia took a cliche power system and entangled it with a lot of mystery and awesomeness.
Kohei Horikoshi somehow made the notion of superpowers fascinating, to an extent. And as fascinating it is, as convoluted and puzzling it can be for the readers/watchers.
The complexities or even trivialities can be overwhelming at one point, it might just not makes sense at some point.
So, I took this task of presenting you all with a guide that talks about nothing but quirks.
1. What Are Quirks?
The very next stage of evolution for humanity in My Hero Academia is quirks. And it all began with the bioluminescent baby born in China.
The aftermath was quite contagious somehow and many people around the globe began to manifest superhuman/abnormal powers.
Although the phenomenon is still unknown; as to what triggered the inception of quirks, the meta abilities changed everything.
People and their collective beliefs were not the same, notions like justice and ethics just got redefined. In other words, things would never be the same again.
More than often, all of the quirks are unique to each user. Along with that, there are multiple categories to sort them too. But before all this generalization of quirks and their categories, there was an unprecedented history behind it all. It was an era of uncertainty.
Before getting to know more about quirks as a whole, it is important to know from where it all began.
The History Part 1:
It’s not like quirks were always there from the beginning of humanity in My Hero Academia. The first one to receive the meta-ability was a newborn in KeiKei city in China.
A bio-luminescent baby was born and no one had any idea how it happened. The phenomenon was unclear but slowly and steadily time passed and the exceptional became the norm.
In other words, fantasy became reality i.e. people were now able to do what was once only restricted to comics and cartoons. But with this sudden drastic change in society, some were drawn towards chaos and wrongdoings.
And as a coin has two sides to it, there were some others too who decided to be the guardians.
They took the matter into their own hands and fought against the injustice; this again marked the beginning of a new era. As a result, the Era of Vigilantes began.
The History Part 2:
Amidst all these, there was Chikara Yotsubashi constantly rebelling against the status quo and demanding quirks to be coined as a basic human right.
Chikara along with his mother were the victims of discrimination because he was born with a quirk. As a result, he swore to never let the same thing happen to anyone.
Thus, Meta Liberation Army and Destro (the one who would destroy the status quo) were born. But eventually, the MLA suffered defeat after years of opposing the idea of imposing laws for the superhumans.
The whole organization came to a halt as the majority of its members were put in jail.
During his time in jail, Chikara wrote a book explaining his ideals. And that book struck a chord with the unorthodox, outcasts, and evil people alike.
To this date, his ideologies influence a lot of people and that is one of the major reasons why the Meta Liberation Army was able to rise from the ashes.
2. How Quirks Shaped Up The MHA Society?
The advent of quirks brought a lot to the My Hero Academia society. Not to mention that All For One also began his journey due to the unrest and chaos in the society only.
But again, it was also thanks to the Vigilantes and heroes like AllMight who were able to mitigate the crime rates.
So, what does that say about people and their beliefs when something unimaginable happens?
Division of/and Hope; more than often when something indescribable such as a bio-luminescent baby happens, society is taken aback.
The same happened with the people in MHA, people were divided for the good, and people were divided for the worst.
The hope to bring a change in the world was the only commonality between these two tangents. And thus, the idea of heroes and villains were born in a morally gray yet gullible and fragile society.
3. How Do Quirks Work?
Let’s be honest here, Quirks are not a very original power system. It’s not like you or I haven’t heard anything similar to it because essentially it’s only superhuman abilities.
But the way Horikoshi structured it makes it stand out a bit, feels refreshing and simple yet complex.
In a way, quirks are nothing but superpowers that are usually inborn; the trick word here is usually. As we all know, Izuku Midoriya wasn’t born with any quirk but he got OFA through AllMight.
The same can be said for countless people who received their quirks from AFO.
This changes everything we thought we knew about quirks. And as a result, the discrepancy raises a very fundamental question – how do the quirks work then?
Answering The How:
Kohei Horikoshi has yet to answer how the quirks actually work but he has left small hints as a substitute.
One of those is Quirk Factors (QF) – the genetic and physical traits comprising a quirk. It also includes the parts of the body the quirk utilizes in order to activate itself.
Although the proper mechanism behind how the quirk factor works is still not known. But, it’s for sure that QF plays a major role in how the quirks work.
Another small hint is Quirk Singularity – the notion that quirk grows stronger with every passing generation. So, how does it go parallel with the question?
Well, it gives us the answer to why the quirks are becoming so strong. In addition to that, let’s not forget that evolution is a significant part of functioning too.
Thus, we can draw out some information on the working of quirks and how they evolved. Because they are in direct relation with each other.
Moreover, it is also one of the aspects of the question that has been put forth. And this brings me to the last crumb of the bread – the physicality.
If the person wielding the quirk isn’t fit enough, can they fight at their full potential? This question brings me to the last point that quirks act in accordance with how physically fit its user is.
Take the simple example of Deku, from using OFA at 5% to wielding it at 50%, he trained a lot. Again, this doesn’t answer the question directly but it for certain gives us a partial blueprint on how quirks work in general.
4. Can Quirks Be Transferred?
Quirks are independent entities capable of having a will and the consciousness of their past wielders if any. Even though they can act on their own, it doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone.
But people like Deku and Tomura are victims of that. The past comes to haunt them; the users who once had the quirk form a connection with them.
All of this adds a new dimension to how quirks such as One For All and All For One that come under ‘Transferable Quirks’ work.
In Chapter 287, when Deku and OFA along with Tomura and AFO were having a battle of ‘who’s gonna snatch the power’, something bizarre happened. The bizarre yet plausible thing being Deku saying that transferring of quirks is a very similar phenomenon to organ transplants.
There are stories of how after successful organ transplantation, the person’s personality and taste changes. In other words, just like the physical parts of a body can carry a part of its owner; the quirks can do the same too.
On a side note, I didn’t include the idea of quirks being independent entities in general as I don’t have enough evidence to support it. As of now, quirks are psychological as well as physiological in the cases of AFO and OFA only.
Although, this notion can be applicable to a certain extent with people who have two quirks, someone like Todoroki. He has Half Cold Half Hot, a perfect amalgamation of his father’s and mother’s quirk.
Even so, there is negligible evidence to support that his quirks have a conscience of their own.
But again, Jin Bubaigawara aka Twice had a quirk that allowed him to create a perfect replica of his own.
So, were those replicas nothing but the conscience of his quirk in a supposedly physical body? Are quirks a part of your personality? Do they define you in some way?
There are gaps in the knowledge adhering to this particular topic because of the unanswered question of how quirks work. Therefore, examples/exceptions like these will always be there until Horikoshi decides to answer the ever lingering question.
5. Do Quirks Define People?
Since ‘quirks’ loosely translates to individuality, it begs to ask a very pivotal question for any user. Do quirks define them?
To be honest, it’s a dicey question and even a dicier remark to make. Quirks have something to do with the personality, that’s a given but it wholly influencing it just doesn’t fit.
The meta abilities are genetically defined through Mendelian Inheritance and this happens before the personality is established. So, people being defined by quirks is a loose statement.
But again, one won’t always be a four-year-old with a superpower. There are a lot of contradictions going on here but My Hero Academia has a very subtle subtext in this context.
No, They Don’t:
Quirks make up a part of the personality but it’s not the sole reason why the person ends up finding themselves in a certain category.
To put this in another way, My Hero Academia largely defines its characters through circumstances. It takes into consideration of their past, how they were treated by society and who groomed them.
This gives meaning to the existence of the characters in action. Along with that, a whole lot of subtlety is also added to the quirks. On a side note, what can be argued here is whether Horikoshi thinks up the superpower first or the personality.
The split personality problem of Twice never came up on its own. It came from the fact that he had nobody around him to trust.
He never had the privilege to call someone a friend. Quirk is definitely a component of personality and personality is definitely a part of the quirk. But neither of them forms the complete answer.
You see, My Hero Academia is built around a very hyper semi-realistic society where flashier quirks get attention and villainous quirks don’t.
This discrimination combined with how society perceives you and in which way one’s quirk influences them forms up the crux of the answer.
It’s not one thing but a mixture of several other aspects which lets you see the bigger picture. In short, people are defined both by themselves, and the others around them. The influence happens both ways.
6. When Do The Quirks Start Manifesting:
Generally, people are born with the ability to use quirks and it manifests by the age of four. But, it’s not a hard and fast rule of the world as there are exceptions too.
The Bio-luminescent baby and Present Mic are the cases where they were born with a quirk. Not only them but there has to be a few other examples where babies were already born with a quirk.
Although, the general age where children manifest their quirk is four only.
So, is there a reason why people are born with quirks? Is it some kind of malfunction?
Answering questions like these would only be putting out theories as Horikoshi never expanded upon this idea. Or it might be that he’s saving it for later on; but for now, we don’t know much about how quirks work in general.
7. How Are Quirks Determined?
Well, there’s an easy three-part categorization for that; it distinctly distinguishes and establishes the different ways as to how quirks are determined.
Although Horikoshi never bluntly said it out loud, it has been quite obvious for a long time. The two possible ways to determine quirks are:
Heredity (The Mendelian Inheritance) :
Most of the time, the quirk that a child inherits is because of Mendelian Inheritance.
This means that the child will acquire either the father’s quirk, the mother’s quirk, or a fusion of the two. In the world of My Hero Academia, this is the general norm in how the quirks, as well as the type of quirks of children, are determined.
So, what about the siblings? The siblings tend to have a similar quirk as that of their parents.
Let’s take an example of the Todoroki family to understand in a better manner:
Enji Todoroki, the father has a fire quirk, and Rei Todoroki, the mother has an ice quirk. And their children namely Touya, Fuyumi, Natsu, and Shoto either have one of their quirks or an amalgamation of fire and ice (not necessarily a perfect mixture). Fuyumi and Natsuo, both inherited their mother’s quirk to create ice.
As for Touya, it was a bit different as he had flames with greater firepower but also low resistance to high heat, thanks to his mother’s quirk.
And then came the miracle child – Shoto who inherited the perfect mix of ice and fire.
The primary focus of Heredity is Mendelian Inheritance but not to mention there are secondary and tertiary aspects in play too. They are not as significant as the primary one but hey a clutter is what makes a cluster, right?
Manifesting a New Quirk:
Although it’s quite rare, there are some cases where a child will manifest a quirk that doesn’t resemble their parents’ or in better words – genetic lineage.
It’s a new quirk altogether which makes them feel like they’re adopted but in reality, they aren’t. This was the case with Tomura Shigaraki’s Decay.
When in possession of a mutant quirk, there can occur a permanent abnormality in the wielder’s body. And the abnormality is passed on to the next generation too.
In the case of Koji Koda, he has an unevenly shaped rock-like pointed head and square-shaped jaw with the quirk Anivoice. Also, the quirk and appearance aren’t necessarily meant to be co-related in some manner.
Quirk Marriages are the kind of marriage that is done with the singular purpose of enhancing a specific quirk to be inherited down the bloodline.
This is like tailoring or curating a custom-made child. However, it was deemed as an unethical taboo later on but that didn’t stop the people as there seems to be a big imbalance between wealth and power.
Again, taking the one and the only example of the Todoroki Family – Enji marries Rei so that he can create someone who surpasses AllMight. And through the hit and miss method, Shoto was born, the perfect mix of ice and fire.
In addition to all this, there’s an upside of Quirk Marriage too – one can control (to an extent) what quirk they want from the next generation.
It kind of becomes easy for them to determine that. Still, they are unethical and can cause some problems in the future. We all know about Endeavor’s Redemption, the guy is trying to right his wrongs.
8. What About The Quirkless People?
As I said earlier, quirks manifest by the age of 4 so if it doesn’t happen by then, there’s a chance that the child is quirkless. Or they don’t know how to activate it yet, like in the case of Tomura where he used his quirk for the first time when he was 5.
But this was not the case for the likes of Izuku Midoriya, Toshinari Yagi, or Melissa Shield. They never happened to have a quirk of their own or anything that would put them under the classification of being a superhuman.
So, what can be the possible reason(s) to have no quirks in a society where almost everyone has it?
- Dr. Kyudai Garaki, your go-to man if you want to see something that’s both dead and alive. But before the big reveal, he wore a facade of a normal doctor where he stated that Deku was quirkless. The reason being that there were two joints in his pinky toe. You see, people who have quirks only have one joint in their pinky toe. So, from here we arrive at a conclusion – there’s a genetic association between the extra joint and having no quirk.
Is Dr. Garaki Trustworthy?
However, can you trust the words of Garaki, the man who works for evil?
In my opinion, the answer is probably a yes.
Look, if there’s one good thing about this man then it is his curiosity for quirks and everything related to quirks. He was ostracized by society on the notion of Quirk Singularity and it doesn’t look like he was wrong.
The high-end Nomus he made is nothing short of a spectacle. In short, keeping all the unethical thinking and activities aside, he is a pretty good doctor cum scientist.
And I don’t think he will lie just for the sake of it.
Either there must be a reason behind his lie or all he said was completely true. And right now, I will prefer the latter one.
9. What is The Strongest Quirk in My Hero Academia?
It’s not a secret anymore at this point, everyone knows that AFO is the strongest quirk in the MHA verse. The reason being the ‘give-and-steal nature’ of the quirk; AFO can literally use any quirk if he stole it and even transfer it to others.
That being said, he is most probably the oldest individual in the series, surpassing OFA and its wielders. Let’s not forget that he remained undefeated until AllMight came into the picture.
Both of them were inflicted with blighting wounds in their first battle.
In addition to being the dark parallel of AllMight, AFO has 20 known quirks that he can make use of in a battle. With the range of quirks he has, AFO stands on a higher pedestal than any Emitter, Transformation, Heteromorphic type of quirk out there.
Other than this, he might have more quirks up in his sleeves and didn’t use it in his rematch against AllMight because of an ulterior motive.
I mean you can’t simply know what is going to happen when AFO is in the picture.
But again, it’s important to acknowledge the shortcomings of the quirk. When AFO steals a quirk, he needs to master it to be able to use the meta-ability properly.
Not to mention, the insurmountable strain it puts on his body when he acquires a foreign quirk. However, he has been cultivating that power for decades, or possibly more than that.
Also, it took OFA a long time to severely injure AFO, to be precise 7 generations.
At this moment, AFO is weaker than before, it’s not like he is in his prime but does that make him less dangerous or powerful?
No, the single reason being the numerous quirks he has that he can use for offense, defense, or a mishmash of both of them. Still, that doesn’t mean there are no contenders; there are ample heroes/quirks that can give a tough fight to AFO.
10. Are There Any Laws or Organisations Governing The Use of Quirks?
With the advent of meta abilities, there was a need to keep people from using it recklessly in check. And by recklessly, I mean the general use of it without any proper guidance that could have resulted in unintentional fatalities.
There’s this whole license thing in the MHA world to use quirks although one can use it when they are in danger, to defend themselves.
Now, you might ask or ponder upon a similar question/ideology – Why can’t a person use their quirk freely?
The answer to that lies in the fundamental nature of one of the human aspects – greed or pleasure, either of those terms will do.
Because when a citizen isn’t stranded by rules/laws, they become slaves to their passions/desires. And that only brings the worst out of a human being; after all, a society composed of hedonists isn’t very civil/orderly.
If still not convinced then in the MHA verse, Japan is the only country to impose rules and regulations against quirks in public.
The result of that is less crime rate that is 6% in comparison to the world’s 20%. In simple words, without order, chaos reigns. So, are there any laws/organizations to govern the use of quirks to preserve order in a superhuman society?
Yes, there are.
The Laws of MHA Verse:
I don’t know why but Horikoshi has a knack for not saying things directly but scattering them in small chunks. For your convenience, I compiled the laws that I could find and here they are:
- The use of quirks in public places is forbidden by law, self-defense is an exception. However, the minor use of quirks is informally legal, no one would bat an eye if Izuku’s mom uses her quirk to pick up the phone she dropped by accident. The line between minor and major use of quirks is drawn by one question – does it bring any harm to the bystanders? If yes, then it’s illegal, if no then it’s okay.
- The interns and can use their quirks under the approval of the heroes they are working under. Again, self-defense is an exception but using self-defense to inflict harm is illegal. In other words, the interns can’t act without the consent of the heroes they’re working under. Bakugo didn’t go all boom boom on the streets after he got a new hairstyle from Best Jeanist.
- This law deals with the operation of Support Companies – In order to get in the market, these companies must get a license from the governmentand the alterations are only to be done by the support companies and not the hero themselves. Although minor adjustments can be made by the hero’s side; the changes made are to be sent to the respective company.
- The use of quirks is legal on private properties like one’s home or the factories they are working in. Some employees might have the quirk that will help to complete a task faster and be efficient as well as effective. For them, it’s a green light; they are authorized to use the quirks. Quirks are also a part of the economy.
The Organizations Governing The Usage of Quirks:
Coming onto the organizations that supervise the use of quirks, essentially there are three of them. And these institutions help to regulate the usage of quirks so that the status quo and order are there in society.
- The Police Force:
But what will the police do to modulate the usage of quirks in society? Well, the work of police has been redefined since the inclusion of quirks among people.
Now, they are responsible for arresting villains subdued by the pro heroes. In addition to that, they provide general support to the heroes like rescuing civilians and look out for low-level crimes.
Not to mention, they maintain the status quo too.
- Hero Public Safety Commission:
In a way, HPSC is an extension of the Police Force. They are a law enforcement agency responsible for investigating the most dangerous cases of criminality.
As a matter of fact, they’d go very far to achieve their goals, even if it means twisting things to fit their agendas. Moreover, they also maintain the order in society (their work precedes that of the police force) and is an autonomous organization.
Apart from all of this, they are also in charge of the Provisional License Exams. This adds a whole new dimension to it because a person can only lawfully use their quirk if they have a license.
The license binds them and gives them the authority to use meta abilities to defeat evil.
- UA High School and Other Similar Schools:
The school literally educates the kids on how to use their quirks at their maximum potential. I mean, the entrance exam itself is there to test how well the students know their respective quirks.
Together with the help of teachers, peers, and other training activities, the students get to know more about their untapped power.
It’s Over, Take A Rest:
Okay, not gonna lie, that was long but hey your questions were answered, weren’t they? I mean the whole point of the guide was to depict every possible and major thing about quirks.
To be honest, I do hope you got some kind of understanding or more closure to the notion of quirks. It’s a fascinating power in the modern shonen, packs the punch that blows every fish out of the park.
But but but, if your fish wasn’t blown out of the park, then feel free to ask questions in the comment section. I will definitely answer that.
Till then, have a good day and read/watch My Hero Academia as usual.