Unless you happen to be a real pop culture guru, you might not notice that the creators of My Hero Academia littered the series with references to a plethora of Japanese and American franchises. If you're an MHA fan who also loves Star Wars, prepare to get a kick out of the series's locale names and the visage of the main baddie.
Marvel fans might take note of the plentiful Marvel references in My Hero Academia, including a scene from Iron Man 2. The series even nods to anime like Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto, and Dragon Ball Z. Plenty of Western cartoons reference anime in clever ways, so it stands to reason many anime and manga series will return the favor.
These My Hero Academia Easter eggs feel all the more awesome when you learn Kohei Horikoshi, the manga creator behind the series, has a deep love for Western superheroes, anime, and other pop culture that influenced his work. He throws this stuff in for more than just the hell of it - he includes it because it's his passion.
These cultural references in My Hero Academia only make the viewing and, in the manga's case, reading experience a lot more fun.
At the beginning of the My Hero Academia manga, one panel features the silhouettes of a ton of Japanese and American fictional superheroes. This collective includes Spider-Man, Superman, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Moonlight Mask, and more. This callback to the classics is a great way to get new readers pumped for what's to come.
Plus, it implies to the reader that the heroes of My Hero Academia rank among these famous heroes in their own ways.
When Present Mic explains the UA High School entrance exam requirements, he does so with images from the popular Nintendo franchise, Mario. Mario represents the prospective students, while the villains appear as Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and the Piranha Plant. How many points each enemy is worth is even based on how difficult they are to defeat in the Mario games.
Because of copyright issues, these images don't appear in the anime - this Easter egg is manga-only, but no less remarkable.
Himiko Toga, a particularly unhinged member of the League of Villains, appears wearing a face mask that helps her avoid breathing in the toxic gas released by her comrade, Mustard. Her mask doesn't look like a standard gas mask - instead, it closely resembles the mask worn by Bane, a supervillain from the Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.
Both characters live outside of regular society and have disturbed ways of relating to the world. They're different characters in many ways, but the mask serves as a pretty visual indicator for how Toga is meant to be perceived.
Izuku Midoriya is a huge fan of the real superheroes who populate his world, so it comes as no surprise that he's also into superheroes who are fictional. When thinking about how to train, he considers modeling his kicks after those of Mega Man, a robotic superhero from a Capcom video game franchise that started in the late '80s.
Not only does this show that certain fictional franchises exist in My Hero, it also means the anime medium exists in this world as well.