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Why Lemillion From My Hero Academia Looks So Familiar

My Hero Academia creator Kōhei Horikoshi makes no secret of his influences, and why should he? All superhero stories share some degree of similarity with one another. That's not to say they're all the same (compare The Boys to any Green Lantern comic, for example), but there's a sort of unspoken superhero mythology that's open to pull from. The hard part is turning a tale of capes and cowls into a compelling one, which Horikoshi arguably succeeds at with MHA.

In the world of MHA, 80% of the population is born with superpowers, known as quirks, but not everyone is built to be a hero — or a villain, for that matter. For some, that's because their quirk isn't particularly useful. Izuku Midoriya's (voiced by Daiki Yamashita) mother, Inko (Aya Kawakami), for instance, has the ability to pull small objects toward her with her mind — but only small objects. As for others, they'd rather just live their lives free of danger.

Mirio Togota (voiced by Tarusuke Shingaki) fits neither category. One of U.A. High School's "Big 3," he's a top candidate for hero work, and was at one point the top candidate to succeed the world's greatest hero, All Might (voiced by Kenta Miyake). Taking on the hero name Lemillion, his quirk permeation allows him to become intangible. After becoming solid again, he shoots out of whatever person or object he phased through, resulting in self-propulsion. Non-MHA heroes have had similar abilities, yes, but Lemillion's design is what may seem most familiar about him. Why does he look like someone you've seen before?

Luckily, over on Redditor, a user named Cavaner has pointed out where, most likely, Horikoshi's influence for the character came from.

The quirkless adventures of Tintin

Europe has long boasted a thriving comic book scene, many of its most enduring properties coming from Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées, which essentially translates to "drawn strips". The Smurfs and Asterix are examples well known outside of Europe, but perhaps the most popular is The Adventures of Tintin by Georges Remi, AKA Hergé. The franchise even caught the attention of Steven Spielberg himself, who directed 2011's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.

The titular series protagonist is a reporter and adventurer, traveling the world with his dog Snowy and companions like Captain Haddock. He may not be much like Lemillion personality-wise, but Hergé's artistic influence on Horikoshi is unmistakable. Both characters share blond hair upturned at the front and a simplistic but memorable facial design, their eyes small and friendly. Even their smiles share a particular brightness. There's a certain charm to the look, an instantaneous affableness, that makes them seem extremely approachable.

This is more a theory than anything, but on Reddit, user Cavaner also noted how the Tintin inspiration may not be a coincidence, in terms of Lemillion's relationship with his mentor Sir Nighteye (voiced by Shinichiro Miki). Considering his French-sounding name and connection to European character Tintin, it makes sense that, together with Midoriya, the apprentice of the American-inspired All Might, he's able to change Sir Nighteye's Japanese salary man mindset. 

Now, there's no solid proof Horikoshi intended that, but "death of the author," right?

Either way, solid proof isn't necessary to see the physical similarities between Lemillion and Tintin. Going through all MHA's characters would yield similar levels of comic book influence, but what's important is that Lemillion and the rest of the cast feel unique in the world they inhabit — which they most certainly do.