Why TV's Best Anime Needs To Get Rid Of Its Worst Character

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I am not what you would call a huge anime guy. Honestly, I'm barely a CASUAL anime guy - I've seen Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, some Sword Art Online (NOT FOR ME), and Attack on Titan. That's really about it - I've heard wonderful things about JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Yuri! On Ice, Megalo Box, etc., but haven't really gotten around to them because I keep rewatching The Sopranos over and over (The Sopranos is BASICALLY anime for 30-something guys with a thing for sickening anti-hero protagonists). But there HAS been one anime that caught my eye - and has quickly become one of the most broadly popular anime series in recent memory, My Hero Academia.

I love My Hero Academia. I love its sincerity, its heart, its kinetic energy, its characterizations, its creativity, and (mostly) its humor. But the show has one deep, powerfully fatal flaw - Mineta, the grape-themed tiny pervert.

Mineta sucks. Mineta sucks so goddamn much.

Why TV's Best Anime Needs To Get Rid Of Its Worst Character

I should add this - one of the issues I've had with some of the anime I've seen is the over-the-top goddamn cheesecake horniness pervading EVERYTHING. That's one of the (many) reasons I loved Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood so much - for the most part, it avoided this issue entirely and didn't turn all of its women characters into weird sexy babies all the time or anything. And mostly, MHA approaches this kind of thing with cleverness and maturity - there's a nod to the hypersexualization of anime women in 18+ Only Hero Midnight, a pro hero whose whole deal is how hypersexualized she is, to the point that she dresses like a dominatrix. The nice thing is that - while sexualized - she's in the dominant position, not a meekly submissive sex toy for men to ogle - which is supported by her quirk (releasing an aroma that puts people to sleep). It's smart, savvy, and a good enough case of the show wanting to have its cake and eat it too.

Until we get to Mineta. See, Mineta's deal is that he's extremely small, freaks out constantly, has a basically useless quirk (so he's no fun to really watch in fights), and is EXTRAORDINARILY horny. Actually, that's a NICE way of putting it - realistically, he's more of a "I will do anything to invade women's privacy against their wishes to ogle them" type. Women are literally nothing but sex objects to Mineta. It's gross and embarrassing enough by itself, but add that to coming from a character with all of the composure and subtlety of Jar Jar Binks, and you wind up with one of the most excruciating anime characters in recent memory.

Other than Mineta, one of my favorite things about MHA is how supportive the schoolmates are of one another. Beyond Bakugo (who - as the Ambitious Rival archetype - can't really be), all the classmates at UA are there to encourage and help one another. They all are striving to be the best, but never at the expense of their friends. There's a genuine sense of camaraderie and empathy for one another there that's really refreshing - which makes sense for a class of people who aim to be "heroes." It's a nice enough thing that I even kinda liked the clip show that opened the most recent season, just because the little bits of original material that was used was MOSTLY Midoriya 'n friends all talking about how much they all mean to one another and how they never could have gotten this far without being able to rely on their fellow heroes in training.

Mineta is different though - he wants to be a hero, sure, but he doesn't actually empathize or connect with his fellow students. His core drive at ALL TIMES is just to perv out on women at any opportunity. That's it. He wants to sneak into their rooms, spy on them, trick them into getting naked, grope them - basically ANYTHING he can do to get his rocks off. He's not just an incorrigably hormonal teen - he's a goddamn over-the-top creep / sex predator. And, Christ, it sucks.

Why TV's Best Anime Needs To Get Rid Of Its Worst Character - he's a sex predator

Why TV's Best Anime Needs To Get Rid Of Its Worst Character - he's a sex predator

Maybe this would be SLIGHTLY TOLERABLE if any other aspect of him was interesting or cool in any way (it probably wouldn't be, but for the sake of argument...). His power sucks (he rips off weird sticky balls from his hair that don't really do anything) and he has zero depth as a character (and after 50 or so episodes where virtually EVERY OTHER SIDE CHARACTER AND GUEST CHARACTER have found themselves fleshed out at least a little, Mineta really is starting to stand out as an embarrassing oversight). Seriously, Midoriya's mom has become one of the most interesting, three-dimensional characters on the show - and she's had probably somewhere around 8 minutes of actual screentime TOTAL. Meanwhile, has Mineta had any big moments of redemption or selflessness? Or is he just a wimpy screaming loser creeper 100% of the time?

Beyond him, MHA is darn near perfect - and is really the perfect show to use to introduce people to anime. You tell someone it's "Marvel meets Harry Potter", that's a real easy summary for most people to wrap their heads around and get excited about. And given how unbelievably great everything else is (much like Midoriya, I too have cried A WHOLE LOT during this show), it'd be hard to imagine many people not getting REAL into it.

Why TV's Best Anime Needs To Get Rid Of Its Worst Character - tone deaf character

Except Mineta. It's shocking what a tone-deaf character choice he is. If you're someone (usually a woman, let's imagine) who has had to deal with creepy dudes groping you, perving on you, harassing you, etc., seeing that kind of behavior treated as a source of humor might be a tough pill to swallow. And rightfully so! Does anyone find his antics endearing or his one-note gags of trying to look up women's skirts funny? DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY LIKE THIS WHINY COWARDLY CREEPY PERV?

While trying to dig into why ANYONE would like this guy, I came across an excellent summary by redditor Barrimyr_Adin that basically summed it all up perfectly:

Besides the fact that he's a disgusting pervert, he honestly makes every scene he's in worse. He drags down not only the plot but the other characters. Instead of getting to see Midoriya and Asui be badasses together we had to listen to Mineta scream and cry, Yaoyorozu was dragged down to like 17th place in the Obstacle Course just so we could get a shitty pervert gag from him, and we missed the chance to get some development for Sero just to have to listen to Mineta spew some bullshit about wanting to be cool. Besides that, he acts like a dick to everyone in the class and it makes it hard to believe that such a tight-knit class would tolerate an arrogant, rude, pervert who is constantly sexually harassing the girls. Especially since most of the students are altruistic individuals aiming to be heroes.

People say that with development we'd like him more. But he's gotten development and he's still shitty. His backstory is crap and his character is crap which really sucks because almost every other character in the manga manages to be compelling and likable.

Besides that, he has no character outside of being a pervert. Almost no thoughts outside of harassing his classmates. He can't just have fun with his peers without making them uncomfortable. There's nothing to his personality besides that.

It also sucks because he's taking a spot in Class 1-A that could easily go to Shinso, a much more compelling character.

It's not impossible to make a character who is overtly hormonal and kinda pervy but still compelling and three-dimensional (as shown by Kaminari) - it's just that they've dropped the ball SO HARD with Mineta. Please - get rid of this weird, whiny, grape-themed, grotesque, unfunny perv, and replace him with Shinso....or, uh, LITERALLY PRETTY MUCH ANYONE ELSE.

Why TV's Best Anime Needs To Get Rid Of Its Worst Character - guy checking out girl meme

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