MHA: Why does Shoji wear a mask?

My Hero Academia’s Shoji Mezo is known for more than just his six arms. He also keeps his mouth covered for a very sad and specific reason.

my hero academia is a popular superhero shonen anime where gifted students can attend elite schools like UA to one day become a professional hero, with their own costumes and names. The students of Class 1-A have designed all kinds of cool outfits for themselves, but Shoji Mezo’s one in particular has a quirk about it.

Whether or not he’s in costume, the six-armed tall Shoji still wears a mask covering his nose, mouth, and ears, and has yet to reveal what’s underneath. He has his personal reasons, and the decision to keep his face partially covered may also be down to unfortunate societal norms. Shoji lives in a world that hasn’t been as welcoming to his true nature.

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Shoji Mezo’s personal and societal reasons for hiding his face

mezo shoji mha

Shoji Mezo started wearing a face mask even before he joined UA and had to design his own hero costume. His personal experiences prompted him to do so, although he never explained why in the my hero academia anime – even to friendlier classmates like Asui Tsuyu or Uraraka Ochaco. Shoji’s peers accept his face mask as a fact of life, but they don’t realize that he is ashamed of his face and might even unfairly view himself as a freak or freak. Where he grew up, he was widely hated for his mutated appearance – a young girl even burst into tears at the sight of him. This made Shoji welcome others and cover his true face, to the detriment of his self-expression and authenticity.

Having worn face masks since, Shoji obviously thinks it’s a fair price to pay to ward off discrimination and alienation. So far, he hasn’t seen fit to remove his mask in any way, and he doesn’t even speak with his mouth at all. Instead, Shoji is well known for forming an auxiliary mouth with one of his six talking arms, and no one questions that.

His classmates are kind enough to keep their questions and comments to themselves, and deep down, they may have already realized the truth about Shoji’s face mask and his use of auxiliary mouths. Asui in particular knew this, as she once had a classmate with a terrifying snake head. Maybe she just needed one look at Shoji to realize what he was going through.

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Shoji Mezo and the Quest for Acceptance in My Hero Academia

Mezo Shoji

Supernatural whims are a part of most people’s lives my hero academia, but the tragic reality is that not all Quirks are created equal. Many quickly judge, fear, or even alienate others based on their Quirks, especially mutant types like Shoji’s. This is roughly similar to the stigma against being Quirkless, showing that as a society many people are still not ready to fully accept themselves for who they are. Even the villain My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission, Flect Turn, knows what Shoji is going through. Flect’s strange blue skin and reflection-based Quirk made him an outcast, which in turn inspired his villainous schemes.

From Midoriya Izuku struggling with his Quirk status, to Todoroki Shoto trying to figure out his relationship to his own power, and even Kirishima Eijiro’s struggle to accept his “boring” Quirk for who he is, the acceptance of self is a major theme in my hero academia. For now, Shoji Mezo has not accepted his true self and is hiding behind a partial mask. But if he aims to ever become a truly great hero, he must shed that mask and all of his painful emotional baggage. Shoji’s biggest breakthrough moment is still ahead of him.

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