How My Hero Academia’s Gran Torino Connects Directly to Star Wars

My Hero Academia has several references to Star Wars throughout its narrative. Sometimes, it's simple place names like Kamino Ward and Hosu City (Hoth). There are also characters who seem to be directly based on Star Wars figures, including All For One (Darth Vader/Darth Sidious) and Agpar (Admiral Akbar). To better illustrate just how much MHA derives from Star Wars, here's a look at the connections between Pro Hero Gran Torino and Jedi Master Yoda.

Both Gran Torino and Yoda are wise old men and experts of their craft. The main characters of their respective works go to train with them, though neither of them seems like what they were made out to be. The list of similarities goes on, but it will require a more in-depth look at these old masters.

First of all, here's what there is to know about Master Yoda. In Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker was told by Obi-Wan Kenobi's Force ghost to go to the Dagobah System. There, he was to train in the ways of the Force with Ben's former mentor. Luke followed his late mentor's instructions, but when he reached the swampy planet, all he could find was a crazy hermit, who was subsequently revealed to be the Jedi Master the boywas looking for. Yoda was reluctant to train Luke at first, but after some persuasion from Obi-Wan's ghost, he agreed to help.

Looking at Gran Torino's initial role in MHA is also important for understanding his connection to Yoda. In MHA Season 2, Episode 13, "Time to Pick Some Names," Deku's teacher Toshinori "All Might" Yagi informed Deku that his own former teacher had offered him an internship. When Deku got to the address, he found a small, run-down building. Stranger still was how Gran Torino presented himself a hard-of-hearing old man. In Episode 14, "Bizarre! Gran Torino Appears," he immediately changed his tune and attacked Deku to test his abilities; he proved to be too much for the Hero-in-Training to handle, and had him contemplate on how he could improve.

For anyone who's seen both, there are a lot of similarities to draw. Starting with the superficial, both are really short, elderly men who generally walk around with a cane. They present themselves as weak and even a little crazy, but when they get serious about training, they turn out to be wise and powerful. In a fight, they like to bounce around to confuse their opponents.

Gran Torino scolds Deku after the battle with Stain

By looking at the stories of MHA and Star Wars, more connections can be drawn between Gran Torino and Yoda. Both of them previously taught the main character's mentors and are, thus, introduced by them. Both of them live in unappealing places that most people would call a dump. Both of them act like feeble old men around the main characters to either screw with them or to test their patience. They start off unimpressed by the main characters, but they train them anyway. They have a lot to teach their students as long as they're willing to learn. As skilled as they are in their fields, however, they've both faded into obscurity over time. All these things and possibly more make it apparent that Kohei Horikoshi drew a lot of influence from Star Wars' Master Yoda when conceiving Gran Torino. That and Clint Eastwood.

As similar as he is to Yoda, Gran Torino still does enough to separate himself and come off as his own character. While Yoda becomes a complete recluse in his later years, Gran Torino remains an active member of the Hero Community. As such, he also has much more involvement in the plot of MHA than as a simple mentor. Yoda was like this in the prequel movies before his exile, but it's difficult to say whether that was part of the plan during the production of Empire. Furthermore, Gran Torino, while doubtful of Deku's abilities, is still willing to train him without coaxing and is even the one who requested him. Each of these masters are well-crafted characters of well-written stories and should each be respected as such.

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