Star And Stripe, the No. 1 American Hero from My Hero Academia

‘My Hero Academia’ Introduces America’s Number One Hero, And She’s So Deeply American

Compared to the last few weeks, the season six finale of My Hero Academia felt like an intake of breath before yet another assured storm. After all, Izuku is finally back at UA, taking cozy (but light) sleeps on his dorm couch. As he should be. My Hero has had an incredibly emotional and riveting season, which covered everything from Izuku/Deku’s Batman phase to a long-awaited apology.

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Running alongside these climactic character arcs has been an incredibly pointed critique of didactic justice, as well as the relationship between law enforcement / government and the populace. Hell, last week we got an absolutely brilliant exploration of anger’s divisive role in public discourse. And from one of the season finale’s final moments, it looks like My Hero‘s socio-political critiques aren’t stopping any time soon. Because we were finally introduced to the No. 1 American Hero: Star And Stripe.

Okay, but how American is Star And Stripe?

Star And Stripe, or just Star for short, is one of the most blindingly American things I’ve ever seen. And yesterday, I learned about active US soldiers in World War II doing drag in an army-fundraiser musical starring Ronald Reagan.

We are introduced to Star via the US’s ambassador to the UN. Countries are debating whether they can afford to immediately send their heroes to aid Japan, when the US ambassador sheepishly informs everyone that their hero already left. “She couldn’t take it anymore and flew off, leaving everything behind …” he says. Impulsive behavior and eschewing of civil responsibilities? Already very American!

But just wait. We then see a fleet of US fighter jets flying in formation, like something out of freaking Top Gun. Is Star in one of these fighter jets? No, silly! She’s on top of one! Standing in a goddamn Superman pose!

Her costume outdoes even Captain America in terms of unabashed patriotism. She has an exaggeratedly long cape with red and white stripes. She has a blue high collar with a row of stars crowning the outer rim. She’s got the Wonder Woman gauntlets and corset. Of course, the gauntlets have more stars on them.

Just looking at her screams “MURICA!!!” She is even more American than Ham Burger, the Abraham Lincoln lookalike among One Piece‘s world leaders. Her name is freaking Star And Stripe. I simultaneously love her and hate her. My Hero Academia nailed it.

She’s too good for us

Star And Stripe's side profile in My Hero Academia

First of all—whoa, Studio Bones thinks America deserves a hero voiced by the Romi Park? One of the best, most iconic voice actors in the biz? You definitely know Park’s work: she’s played Hange in Attack on Titan, Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist (Brotherhood and OG), and—fun fact!—Finn in the Japanese dub of Adventure Time. She rules. I’m honestly flattered.

I do have one unfortunate critique about Star, though. I think mangaka Kohei Horikoshi overestimated America here. Do you honestly think that, if the premise of My Hero Academia were real and the emergence of Quirks created a hero society, the No. 1 American hero would be a woman?

Former protégé of All Might or not, I have my doubts. Name me one woman in some kind of active duty role, or even one female athlete, beloved by the entire populace. Even 70% of them? I’m quite sure this figure does not exist in the present day.

But hey, maybe the emergence of Quirks helped us feel more united and understanding of each other! Then again, given how MHA has portrayed Japan—a relatively chill place, comparatively—as a country where anger is boiling just under the surface … America’s chances don’t look great. The only way I can see a female No. 1 happening is if the hero in question were, unfortunately, a Marjorie Taylor Green-type. You know, the kind of woman who for some reason gets a national spotlight for loudly being all “AMERICA!”

Which actually might be the case here. Those who have read ahead in the manga have opined that Star is a critique of American imperialism. It’s a spoiler, but I do want to talk about her Quirk real quick.

Star And Stripe’s Quirk is America in a nutshell

Spoilers ahead!

I want to show you the highlights of Star And Stripe’s Quirk description from the My Hero Academia wiki. Because oh boy, you immediately see what people mean when they say Star And Stripe is a critique of American imperialism. Star’s Quirk is called New Order. Please know I cackled when I read this.

If you follow the link below, be warmed there’s spoilers everywhere, immediately upon entry.

New Order allows the user to set a rule onto their surroundings by touching the target and calling out their name, allowing them to manipulate and bestow new properties onto themselves and the world around them … [Star can] even impose rules on New Order itself, allowing her to alter the Quirk’s very nature and its own effects.

MHA Wiki

If that’s not an incredibly on-point and cold as hell critique of US foreign policy, I don’t know what is. My respect for Horikoshi keeps ascending into even higher heights.

The next arc is straight-up called The Star And Stripe Arc. I cannot wait for season seven.

(Featured image: Bones)


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Author
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.