My Hero Academia's shonen protagonist is Izuku Midoriya, who aspires to become just like his idol, All Might. The road to glory is going to be long and hard for Izuku, but he's not the only one who walks it. Many of his classmates in Class 1-A are in a similar position, and that includes Ochaco Uraraka. This makes her deeply sympathetic and compelling to viewers.
It's true that Ochaco was born with a Quirk while Izuku wasn't, but having a decent Quirk isn't what makes Ochaco so endearing to My Hero Academia fans. Instead, it's her upbeat personality and shonen hero paradigm that put her on the map.
Ochaco's Mediocre Career As A Hero
Ochaco's performance as a trainee hero has been mediocre so far, and while that's not so great in the lore itself, this fact works to her advantage in a narrative sense. Even Momo Yaoyorozu, who was born with the incredible Creation Quirk, has her work cut out for her. How has Ochaco performed so far? She is skilled enough to stay afloat at the competitive U.A. School and take part in all its major events, which gives readers some confidence in her, but she is definitely an underdog -- which puts her in a similar position as Izuku. In addition to her zero-gravity Quirk, it's her grit and personality that keeps her in the game.
Ochaco passed the entrance exams with a little help from Izuku, and she's returned the favor once or twice. Then she competed in the U.A. sports festival and made the cut to the top 16, and she performed well against Katsuki Bakugo before going down. She may remind viewers of other secondary shonen characters who give it their all and take early defeats in stride (and there are plenty of them). Ochaco then took part in the Forest Training Arc and demonstrated her new close-quarters combat (CQC) skills against the terrifying villain Himiko Toga, showing how far she's come. She later interned with Ryukyu along with Tsuyu Asui and Nejire Hado, performing fairly well with Tsuyu.
All this is modestly impressive, but Ochaco's skills and accomplishments only make up half of her character arc. The rest comes from who she is, not what she's done.
Ochaco Uraraka, Shining Bright
Ochaco's accomplishments alone only make her mildly compelling, and she's in the middle of the pack where Class 1-A is concerned. What sets her apart is her personality: her grit, her enthusiasm, her humility, her optimism, all of it. Ochaco is a parallel to Izuku himself, starting from very little and using sheer tenacity to climb the ranks and strive for greatness. Being born with a Quirk barely put her ahead of Izuku, and by now, Ochaco sees herself as Izuku's disciple in a sense. Inspired by Izuku's example, she is pushing herself to new heights with courage, fortitude and a little trepidation along the way, all so she can be more like her model and classmate, Deku. This makes her a "light side" version of the villainous Himiko Toga, who strives to emulate her idols in cruel and destructive ways.
The core elements of an underdog shonen hero will go a long way toward making Ochaco compelling, but that's not all. She is also noted for her cheerful and cooperative personality, contrasting well with the self-absorbed and high-strung Shoto Todoroki, Kyoka Jiro's insecurities, and the obnoxious behavior of Minoru Mineta. Ochaco's secret is that she has no secret. She is a genuinely positive and optimistic person, no tricks or gimmicks necessary. This makes her feel like a home-grown hero, having a radiant and authentic identity to become a noble hero in the future.
Ochaco's warm personality easily endears her to My Hero Academia viewers and fellow characters, and this optimism allows her to take defeats and setbacks without breaking stride. That is an essential and admirable trait for any trainee hero, especially one like Ochaco, who began the series with a mediocre Quirk and physical combat skills. That strength of spirit will take her further than any genius-level Quirk.