Mobile Suit Gundam and My Hero Academia, two well-known anime series, both made their return this fall. These two have managed to stand out from the crowd in a fall lineup that is already jam-packed with other massive and returning shows, in part because they are both fairly well-established at this point in time, even though The Witch From Mercury is a brand-new entry to the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise.
Interesting similarities can be found between the two shows despite the fact that they are fundamentally different from one another. The Witch From Mercury has many elements that, especially in its early seasons, remind me a lot of My Hero Academia, including the setting, the characters, and even some of the story beats.
The Environments Are Extremely Similar
Even though My Hero Academia is not the only television series to be set in a school, it is currently the most well-known. It becomes very simple to assume that other shows using that setting are simply copying it as a result. It's difficult to deny that The Witch From Mercury exhibits some traits and similarities to My Hero Academia, even though it doesn't outright copy it.
The UA Academy in My Hero Academia is an organization that takes pride in producing the greatest heroes the world has ever known. The students are still required to attend regular classes, but if they are enrolled in the Hero Course, they are also required to complete special coursework that is intended to hone their fighting skills. Other students in other courses are given other options.
A very similar experience is provided by the Asticassia School of Technology from The Witch From Mercury, which also offers a wide range of academic options. But just like in My Hero Academia, the Piloting department is regarded as the most prestigious, similar to how the Hero Course is in the series, with those who study there appearing to be given special privileges.
Fighting among students is strongly discouraged at Asticassia while it is strongly encouraged at UA, which is the only significant difference between the two academies. The top duelist even has their engagement to Miorine Rembram, the school's chairman's daughter, automatically arranged. In fact, dueling is the primary method used by students to resolve conflicts. Even though UA may not use fighting in the same way, it is obvious that the more physically fit students tend to occupy higher positions in both Asticassia and UA's social hierarchies.
Most of the Protagonists Are the Same
Izuku Midoriya and Suletta Mercury share a lot in common with the lead characters of their respective series. Both of them are oddball, reserved, well-intentioned students who hope to realize their childhood ambitions and please and make their parents and other parental mentor figures proud. To be fair to The Witch From Mercury, many other series also have protagonists and characters who fit that description, but when those similarities are combined with the others, they stand out much more. Both Suletta and Midoriya appear to have the same tendency to ask for assistance from others, and occasionally they even receive preferential treatment, whether as a result of All Might saving Midoriya or Suletta and her mobile suit being rescued by her mother or Miorine. Both of them have the propensity to make a lot of friends, and even the most minor sociable students can be won over by their sincere good nature.
The two's roles and "powers" in their respective series are arguably the most similar. Midoriya has been bestowed with the one-of-a-kind Quirk known as One For All, which grants its users multiple supercharged powers and can be passed down to the next user, though their compatibility with the Quirk may be limited. Suletta's relationship with the Mobile Suit "Aerial" is similar in some ways.
Similar to One For All, Suletta received Aerial, a mobile suit from the past, as a gift. From what has been seen so far, it also appears that Aerial might be challenging to use because it is a Gundam, making Suletta one of the few people known to be compatible with it well enough to use it to its full capacity—something her mother couldn't even manage. Similar to how Midoriya was able to communicate directly with One For All as he grew stronger, it appeared in a recent episode that Suletta's bond with Aerial had deepened to the point where she was able to speak to the mobile suit. Aerial was intended to be the Mobile Suit that guides humanity—particularly those on Earth—towards a better future, much like One For All was intended to motivate people to lead morally upright and peaceful lives.
Ultimately, the way they each go about it is different, but both characters and their respective qualities and abilities are positioned to do and accomplish the same relative task. They are both seemingly the underdogs but are actually the ones that need to be watched out for the most.
The Same Yet Still Vastly Different
Although it is probably obvious how strikingly similar these two series are, they also do a good job of differentiating themselves from one another. Although Suletta and Midoriya share a lot of similarities and go to schools with names that sound remarkably alike, their differences allow them to remain distinct characters.
The Asticassia School of Technology plays a significant political role in The Witch From Mercury, a concept and theme that are completely absent from My Hero Academia. The Benerit Group, which houses all of the biggest and most significant tech companies, is vying for greater prestige and position. They appear to have a lot of power on Earth and are in charge of Asticassia, so they play a significant role in the plot. The most significant factor is that each member company is vying for greater authority and influence within the group, which spills over into the activities at the school, specifically the fights Suletta must engage in.
As previously mentioned, these are all concepts and ideas that have never been explored in any major way in My Hero Academia. Instead, that series explores the concepts of heroes and villains and good and evil, and it tries to examine what really defines each pair. While both series share certain features and ideas, those are just parts of a greater whole, and each series uses those shared similarities in different ways to tell different stories. In that way, they manage to still feel unique, making both series worth watching for any anime fan.