In the massively popular anime My Hero Academia, superpowers are called ‘quirks.’ Now fans might have an answer why as a translator for the manga shed some light on the reasons behind the terminology.
My Hero Academia has become one of the most popular anime properties in the world. The show’s story about a school that teaches the next generation of superheroes has connected with millions and become a cultural phenomena.
However the series uses the term ‘quirk’ instead of superpowers, which has left some fans wondering why. Now, a translator for the manga has spoken out, and has given some insight to the reasons behind the name.
My Hero Academia ‘quirks’ explained
The story takes place in a world where humans have genetically developed to have super powers called quirks. However the main protagonist of the show, Izuku Midoriya, is born quirkless, but that changes when he meets the number one hero in the world, All Might, who passes on his power to him.
Despite the show explosion in popularity, some fans have questioned why powers were called quirks. Especially since in the Japanese version the word used is ‘Kosei’ which roughly translates to ‘individuality.’
An official translator for the manga Caleb Cook spoke out on the issue by replying to a fan’s tweet on the subject. “Individuality is SEVEN syllables. Long words are death for English manga lettering (splicing everywhere), and this is a term being used over and over.”
Not dunking on this person, but:
-It's punchy! "Uniqueness" is snoozeville, "idiosyncrasy" is a mouthful (six syllables) "individuality" is SEVEN syllables. Long words are death for English manga lettering (splicing everywhere), and this is a term being used over and over. pic.twitter.com/wBZJsy1CTK
— Caleb Cook (@CDCubed) March 8, 2020
While the fan argued that quirk isn’t a common word, the translator pushed back.”Go ahead and Google “quirk”. You get an MHA-related hit in the top 5 results. I respectfully disagree.”
Cook also did a deep dive into the story, and argued that series’ creator Kohei Horikoshi didn’t want to put emphasis on powers being “other-worldly,” but something that many had. “It was a deliberate, creative choice on his party to play it down with the more low-key ‘kosei.'”
The manga translator then put his work into perspective for fans of the series. “There’s so much consideration that has to go into the seemingly smallest choices. A translated work is the sum product of thousands upon thousands of these decisions.”
So it seems that while the word quirk is often seen as a “peculiar habit,” in the context of My Hero Academia it’s meant to be an extension of human behavior. Which makes sense, given most of the world has powers in the story.
In fact, not having a power is seen as being out of the ordinary. If nothing else, the translator has given fans a peek into the insane depth that goes into words used in fiction.