My Hero Academia Is Primed for Its Biggest Shout-Out to a Fan Animator

My Hero Academia is really kicking into overdrive. The Heroes have engaged All For One and his legion of villains in what feels like the final battle of the series, and many of the Round One match-ups have been set: Endeavor vs AFO; Bakugō vs Shigaraki; Todoroki vs Dabi. Deku has been sidetracked, but he's heading off to face Shigaraki, too. Meanwhile, Ochako Uraraka and Tsuyu Asui have been left to deal with Himiko Toga. Narratively, the latter fight is already an interesting match-up, but looking at it with the additional context of the MHA fandom makes it even more intriguing.

In a way, this fight with Toga has already been shown and even animated. A few years ago, a certain fan animator created their own interpretation of how a fight between Tsuyu and Toga would play out. Nothing definitively lines up between the animation and the manga. However, for where the manga is right now and where it seems to be headed, it very well could. At this point, the potential similarities between the MHA fan animation and the official manga are too big to be ignored and almost too many to be called mere coincidence. Here's an idea of how the fan animation and the manga might be connected and, if they are, where that could lead.

The story begins with one promising French animator. In April 2018, Chansard "Sparkleredpanda" Vincent put out his fan animation on Tumblr. It featured the Rainy Season Hero engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the League of Villains resident yandere. The fight is short, less than 20 seconds, but it's fluid and nicely choreographed. The animation was well-received by MHA fans and quickly spread across the internet.

The potential for a reference starts with Chapter 345 of the official manga, "Division." In this chapter, the villains are separated by the Heroes and warped to different battlefields with more Heroes ready and waiting to fight them. In an unforeseen turn of events, however, Toga snags Deku and pulls him to her designated battlefield, where she and several Nomus are slated to fight Uravity and Froppy. Having Froppy confront Toga could be taken as a sign of things to come.

Of course, simply pitting Toga against Froppy isn't enough to draw parallels. In fact, for how things play out in Season 3 (which started around the same time Sparkleredpanda's animation was posted), it's almost to be expected. In order for these two instances of Froppy and Toga fighting to truly be connected, more evidence needs to be presented.

There are plenty of noteworthy things that could potentially tie these two fights together. For one thing, while the fan animation came out in 2018, Horikoshi's version of this fight wouldn't begin until late February 2022. That four-year gap would be plenty of time for the MHA mangaka to catch wind of the fan animation and, potentially, draw inspiration from it.

Another important thing that connects the two fights is the setting. Both the fan animation and the manga stage this confrontation on sunny days over calm, shallow water. If the manga fight had been set anywhere else, this whole comparison might have fallen apart.

To be fair, there are some key differences between the two works. For one thing, the characters in the fan animation are wearing older outfits. Both of their costumes, especially Toga's, have undergone some notable changes and upgrades over the last four years.

There are also a lot more characters involved in this fight. Excluding Deku, who even narratively should never have been there, to begin with, some Nomus, Ochako, and Gang Orca are also present on the scene. In truth, this fight is more about Ochako and Toga while Tsuyu is only there for backup.

Finally, the fight as it's laid out in the fan animation hasn't technically happened in the manga. Only the potential for the fight exists right now. Froppy's biggest contribution to the battle has been kicking Toga away from Ochako. This isn't exactly anything as intimate as the drawn-out, close-quarters combat seen in the Sparkleredpanda's animation.

Despite the differences, however, the similarities are what should really be taken into account. Vincent's animation was never meant to be anything prophetic; according to him, it was intended as a test to practice certain animation techniques. Furthermore, the fan animation was only meant to focus on the fight between the two combatants. Thus, variations caused by changes in the actual story should be considered within the margin of error. With that, said, there are still a few avenues to consider if the two fights are in fact connected.

The first thing that comes to mind is how the anime would go about adapting such a fight scene. Even if Horikoshi doesn't include a direct fight sequence, Bones might include one like it to fill the runtime of an anime episode. Regardless of its significance to the overarching plot, it would still be cool to see this shout-out to such a passionate fan; the same could be said for the manga.

Bones could even invite Vincent on as a key animator if they really wanted to. He's had four years to refine his craft and has done work for the anime industry in the past. He's even gotten himself involved in big-name series like Boruto and One Piece. He actually was supposed to do some animation for Episode 109, "Revival Party," but his work was tragically left on the cutting room floor. Even if his envisioned fight never quite makes it into MHA canon, having him work on this scene would really bring things full circle.

As for whether the similarities between the fan animation and the manga are intentional, that remains to be said. Unless an actual fight scene happens and it's unequivocally similar to the fan animation, only word from Horikoshi himself will confirm any inspiration. If MHA does, in fact, end up referencing this fan animation, it would be a cool way for Horikoshi to show acknowledgment and appreciation for the efforts of his fans.

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