My Hero Academia: Itsuka Kendo’s Inspiration May Be More He-Man Than Marvel

With a world full of people who possess superpowers, My Hero Academia has presented quite the range of interesting Quirks. Still, not every Quirk is entirely unique – in fact, many appear to be inspired by western comics (Himiko Toga and Mystique, for example.) After witnessing 1-B’s “big sister” class rep Itsuka Kendo use her Big Fist Quirk in action, theories started to fly about who her comic counterpart might be.

While Itsuka has frequently been compared to Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic and Kamala Khan, few have made the connection to He-Man’s warrior Fisto, despite obvious parallels. Which comic character most closely resembles Itsuka? Who could’ve been the real inspiration behind her Quirk?

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Which Superpower Is Most Similar?

Beyond her superb leadership skills, Itsuka Kendo draws power from her Big Fist Quirk, which enlarges her hands. They can grow into a gigantic weapon that gives her impressive striking power and gripping action. With the great size comes great strength, which she has demonstrated by smashing through Momo Yaoyorozu’s strong shields as well as lifting and carrying people.

The first hero identified as a possible Itsuka inspiration was Kamala Khan (aka Ms. Marvel), the Marvel Comics superhero with polymorph abilities. Kamala’s power is called “morphogenetics,” which means she can manifest cells and mutate them to stretch and deform her body in any shape imaginable. Itsuka’s Quirk may be limited to her fists, but Kamala does frequently enlarge her hands in combat as a preferred fighting style.

While the resemblance seems pretty convincing, it’s worth noting the two characters made their debuts around the same time, with Kamala appearing in mid-2014 and Itsuka in January 2015. Due to this close timing, some believe it’s more likely Itsuka's inspiration was drawn from a more classic Marvel hero like Mr. Fantastic. The Fantastic Four leader also has the ability to convert the mass in his body, meaning he too can whop enemies with his enlarged fists.

However, Marvel isn’t the only universe packed with those possessing peculiar superhuman abilities. Fisto, the aptly-named hand-to-hand warrior from the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe franchise, has a power that may be the most akin to Itsuka’s Big Fist Quirk. With a giant fist covered in a metal gauntlet, Fisto can smash through hard surfaces and knock out enemies with a big punch. Though he relies on metal and is unable to morph in size like Itsuka, the fact that his hands are the focal point of his power aligns well with the My Hero Academia character, unlike Kamala and Mr. Fantastic. Itsuka and Fisto are so fist-centric, they even share the alias “Battle Fist.” Could these hero names be a coincidence, or an intentional reference?

What Inspired Her Look?

Being a hero isn’t all about out-of-this-world abilities – it’s also about becoming a symbol people can look to. As she fights with her big bare fists, Itsuka’s hero costume spices up her look with a turquoise qipao dress, a black domino mask, and navy blue boots. Kamala Khan’s getup echoes this style with an identical black mask, a short blue dress and boots. Both looks add a dash of femininity, yet their suits seem tailored to their movability as well.

Itsuka’s look is a little edgier than Kamala’s though, with her signature side ponytail and ginger hair that sticks up in tufts. Fisto is also a red-head sporting navy boots but shows off more of his brawn, making his fist the focal point with metal gauntlets and a matching metal breastplate and headpiece. Perhaps Itsuka should add something metal to her getup to appear more threatening like the He-Man warrior. Considering other My Hero Academia students are advancing their gear as well, some additional gadgets or armor might be a beneficial costume upgrade for the Class 1-B rep.

Who Does Itsuka Match In Personality?

Itsuka ranked 13th in the first My Hero Academia popularity poll, which makes her the most popular Class 1-B student. A large part of what makes Itsuka such a beloved character is her stand-out personality. The tomboy certainly has the smarts and spunk of Kamala Khan, but also has a measure of special thoughtfulness that makes her a fan favorite. Even her classmates in 1-B recognize her spark, seeing as they voted her class rep.

Not unlike Mr. Fantastic, Itsuka also has a special knack for leadership. She’s considerably thoughtful of others, especially her classmates who rely on her guidance -- even if that means shutting up Neito Monoma, Class 1-A’s constant naysayer. She excels in bringing her fellow students together as a team to make use of their Quirks in tandem. This is how she came to be known as the “big sister” of Class 1-B.

Itsuka’s “Battle Fist” buddy Fisto, on the other hand, appears very minimally throughout the episodes and chapters of He-Man’s adventures, so he doesn’t get much character development. However, he’s originally a villain-turned-good-guy and is depicted as the gruff masculine outdoor type. Itsuka has been referred to as masculine, but overall Fisto is unremarkable – a trait she definitely doesn’t share.

To set My Hero Academia's Itsuka Kendo next to these characters doesn’t truly do her justice, because she’s fantastically distinct as a sharp and cheerful up-and-coming hero who fancies black coffee and motorcycles. A character like Itsuka could just as likely be entirely authentic in both her Quirk and personality, disconnected from Marvel and He-Man heroes alike.

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