My Hero Academia’s Izuku Could Make a Better Naruto Than Naruto

Naruto's title character was born carrying the Nine-Tailed fox, making him an outcast and pariah in the Hidden Leaf Village. Naruto Uzumaki wasn't born with any special powers or talents, so he worked hard from the ground up to prove himself to the world and become a great leader, the next Hokage. His arc parallels that of another shonen hero: Izuku Midoriya.

Izuku was born Quirkless in the world of My Hero Academia, and he trained hard under All Might's tutelage to become a worthy inheritor of the One For All Quirk. If Izuku had been born into the Naruto world, he could easily have filled Naruto's shoes and then some.

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The Quest For The Top, Shonen Style

Naruto Uzumaki Shippuuden Sage Mode Battle

Naruto and Izuku match each other step for step in many regards, from their combat styles to their personal backstory and their quest to prove themselves as a great hero in an age of strife and villainy. They both fit the classic shonen mold, though Izuku is a bit more meta about this than most shonen heroes. Author Kohei Horikoshi designed My Hero Academia as a love letter to both classic shonen titles and American superhero comics, so in a way, Izuku "had" to be fit the stock archetype, inspired by the likes of Naruto Uzumaki, Son Goku, Yusuke Urameshi and others.

Izuku, like Naruto, was born on the fringes of society and had everything to prove. Izuku once had Katsuki Bakugo as a childhood friend, but Bakugo later scorned Izuku for being Quirkless, and Izuku had nowhere else to turn to except his loving mother's arms. Still, Izuku dreamed big, longing to be a symbol of peace and hope like his personal idol All Might. Izuku tirelessly studied the Quirks, strategies and habits of other heroes and villains, and his sharp tactical mind served him well both before and after obtaining One For All. Once he had it, Izuku sought out mentors and teachers who could provide additional stepping stones toward his goals. Izuku is still aiming to reach new heights.

All this is just like Naruto Uzumaki's personal arc, from being born a pariah to training hard at school (despite lacking expected talents) and learning from mentors. Naruto aimed to become Hokage to gain recognition and be a hero, and he and Izuku both understand that a shonen hero needs more than "the power of friendship" to reach the top. They need a clear goal and a clear plan of action to achieve it. And Izuku might have the edge on his ninja counterpart!

Could Izuku Become Hokage?

Deku in the middle of a fight

Is Izuku a better and more appealing shonen hero than Naruto Uzumaki overall? That's a matter of preference, but at the very least, Izuku could be slotted comfortably into the Naruto world and become the lead character. Izuku is, from a storytelling perspective, a beat-by-beat replacement for Naruto, so the fundamental story would hardly change at all. Like Naruto, Izuku sees the best in everyone and has boundless optimism and courage in the face of extreme odds. Izuku may not rival Naruto's meme-worthy "talk no jutsu," but all the same, Izuku has a way with words and can inspire people around him to greater heights. After all, he inspired Ochaco Uraraka to be just like him, and Izuku totally transformed the bitter Kota's view on pro heroes as a whole.

On top of that, Izuku's more mature, calculating personality and sharp tactical mind might appeal to some viewers more than Naruto's bratty, prank-oriented personality. Again, this is a matter of taste, but one might wonder how the early arcs of Naruto might have panned out if the story swapped out "the hyperactive knuckle-headed ninja" for a boy who is wise and mature beyond his years. Naruto's early adventures involved him getting into pratfalls and making crude jokes half the time, and he often lucked his way out of some situations (though to his credit, he also earned many victories). Meanwhile, Izuku started off with the mental fortitude and focus of a hero, and he only needed One For All and a few teachers to unlock his potential.

Early on, Naruto Uzumaki stumbled and pranked his way to becoming a great ninja and Hokage. What if, instead, the story starred a boy who had the heart of a true hero from the very start? Izuku Midoriya, with his focus, brains and maturity, could score the Hokage's office even quicker than Naruto could if given the chance.

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