My Hero Academia, one of the most popular manga and anime series in the world, has faced a lot of criticism for its controversial depiction of a teenage girl in a nude pose. The cover page for Chapter 368, which was released in October 2022, featured Toru Hagakure, also known as Invisible Girl, with nothing but some caution tape covering her private parts. The image sparked an intense backlash from fans and media outlets, who accused the creator of sexualizing a minor and violating the character’s personality. How did this cover page come to be, and what does it mean for the future of the franchise?
The Controversy Surrounding the Uncensored Cover Page
The creator of My Hero Academia, Kohei Horikoshi, has officially addressed the controversy in a statement that appeared in the Japanese version of the manga’s latest volume. According to Horikoshi, he never intended to use the image, but it was hastily and unwisely chosen in an attempt to meet a publishing deadline. He explained that the image was actually a years old “reference sheet” he intended to use for in-house color testing purposes and that it had no connection to the chapter it appeared in. He also expressed his surprise by the use of the image in the chapter as that was not his intention to publish it at all.
The media coverage of the cover page was mostly negative, as many outlets criticized Horikoshi for his inappropriate portrayal of Hagakure. For example, Screen Rant called the image “grossly inappropriate” and “jarring”, while Comicbook.com described it as “highly sexualized” and “hard to overlook”. Some media outlets also pointed out that this was not the first time Horikoshi faced controversy for his depiction of female characters, such as Momo Yaoyorozu and her revealing costume.
The fan reactions to the cover page were mixed, but mostly negative. Many fans expressed disappointment, anger, and disgust at Horikoshi for ruining Hagakure’s character and violating her age. Some fans also felt betrayed by Horikoshi, who they thought was a progressive and respectful mangaka. Some fans defended Horikoshi, saying that he made a mistake and that he apologized for it. Others argued that the image was not sexualized but artistic and humorous.
The Significance of Invisible Girl in My Hero Academia
Her Invisibility Power
Hagakure is one of the students of Class 1-A at U.A. High School, where aspiring heroes train to become professional heroes. Her Quirk, or superpower, is Invisibility, which allows her to bend light around her body and become invisible at will. She can also manipulate light to create flashes or illusions. Her Quirk is useful for stealth missions and reconnaissance but also has its drawbacks, such as being unable to see herself or wear clothes without revealing her location.
Hagakure has been a minor character in the series, with little focus or development. She is usually portrayed as a cheerful and friendly girl who likes to joke around with her classmates. She is also shown to be confident and comfortable with her invisibility, as she does not mind being naked or showing her face when illuminated by light. She had never been depicted in a sexualized or suggestive manner before the cover page incident.
Was the Cover Page Intentional or a Mistake?
The Creator’s Artistic Freedom
Horikoshi has claimed that the cover page was a mistake and that he did not mean to publish it. However, some fans have questioned his sincerity and his motives. They have wondered why he would create such an image in the first place, even if it was for internal use only. They also doubted his explanation that it was a reference sheet, as it did not match the style or tone of his other artworks. They have suggested that he might have intentionally used the image to generate controversy or appeal to certain audiences.
Potential Impact on the Franchise
The cover page incident has damaged Horikoshi’s reputation and credibility among some fans and media outlets. It has also tarnished Hagakure’s character and image among some readers and viewers. It has raised concerns about Horikoshi’s treatment of female characters and his sensitivity towards social issues. It has also cast a shadow over the future of the franchise, which is currently in its final act and preparing for its climax.
The cover page incident is one of the most controversial events in My Hero Academia’s history. It has exposed Horikoshi’s mistake and provoked strong reactions from fans and media outlets. It has also highlighted Hagakure’s significance and invisibility in the series. It remains to be seen how Horikoshi will handle this situation and how it will affect the outcome of the story.