Endeavor is a lot of things, he’s a shitty father, a terrible husband and a miserable human being in general. But he is a great hero, he didn’t reach where he is today by being an idiot or just plain lucky. That’s why it came as quite a shock when he failed to assimilate to the role as the number one hero and the symbol of peace position that comes along with it. Sifting through various pages of the manga and re-watching episodes I have found the underlying cause for this failure, he has become a person, a character and is no longer a brand.
Business and brands go hand in hand together, one makes money the other keeps it flowing, but what is a brand and how does one become it. According to Chris Kocek of the entrepreneur “The moment when branding takes place is when a business or person transcends it’s category of origin and takes an existing core equity, or a particular philosophy, and infuses that idea into everything it does, furthering its reputation.” An early relation of this comes into view is when Tenya recounts his lineage. Instantly Deku recognises the Iida hero office, due to their longevity within the hero community as they have been around for many generations. They have a solid structure as a business with a ready influx of work due there reputation which attributes to there brand status. There permanency within the community tells us how well they manage there company as it is noted that they have 65 sidekicks in their ranks.
Hero offices can be translated into a business due to the fact the hero’s work on a commission basis and are ranked by coperating on arrests, rescuing innocents and other heroic deeds, then they go through inspections by specialized agencies and get their salaries based on that but that isn’t the only income they get. They are allowed to take side jobs such as star in commercials, take interviews and all the manner of other merchandising deals. These actions cause them to rise in popularity, notoriety and worth with there image assaulting you at everyone turn edging them into your minds, that these people are amazing whether there is proof of it or not.
The Snake Hero Uwabami spends her days doing photoshoots and interviews, her patrol is merely a facade for exposure rather than capturing villains and the clean up after the fight between One For All and All Might was merely good press. She is in it for the attention and the admiration that comes along with the prestige of being a hero rather than doing what is required to be one. When I think of this hero I cannot help but compare her to Paris Hilton who is famous for the sake of being famous rather than her actual accomplishments but yet is still notably recognized as a star far above regular people.
Much like the celebrities of our world, the hero’s in the series are meant to transcend the regular people around them becoming a living ideal of what means to be a hero, shinning beacons that are meant to pass on the knowledge of what dictates the role of a hero, while having the young impressionable children emulate them as well as some adults. The many similarities between how the hero’s of this world and how the pop stars, athletes, idols and models of our world present themselves as brands. To name a few Beyoncé, Michael Jordan and Ned Kelly. Each giving a message of beauty, strength and defiance whenever their name is mentioned on a product or in general when discussed, there names have taken on a life of their own to the point that they have become a brand and the person behind the image can no longer be seen. Which can be considered both a good and bad thing. There is a reason they say image is everything, it is the impression that is given from a view far away which results in a general voyeuristic perspective of these up on high creatures and in the end you make assumptions on who they are when showing very little information, which is why the name is so important and even more so for the hero’s in the series. The populace’s first interaction with any new hero is seeing them fight, saving the day in the way only a hero can in their special unique way, then when the villain is all trussed up, they introduce themselves.
The hero’s names, which they give themselves are not just code names but a rebranding of who they are, making them marketable to the general populace while also explaining who they are in the fewest words possible. The name is also a way to create an emotional connect with consumers and something they’d like to be associated with for times to come.
All Might is not a person, he is a brand that promotes a strong symbol of peace unwavering and solid, defeating enemy’s as easy as buttering toast, that’s what he promises to the public with his name. Deku’s reaction when seeing a deflated All Might is a real shock for him asking where All Might went off to. He at first couldn’t believe this person was the man he looked up to because he was not what the brand promised, he even calls him a liar when All Might explains that the wimpy form he bears is who he is and that goes against everything he has led to believe about the brand but he still respect him. Coming to terms with who All Might is and man behind him, as with either identity his beliefs, ideals and morals holds him steady and even in retirement he still lives up to them preaching the longevity of his brand because of this factor.
While another brand such as Endeavor’s will crumble. “A business built only on aesthetics has no where to turn and no foundational beliefs to hold to once public opinion turns against it.”-Wisecrack. This statement reflects perfectly on Endeavor’s hero office, strong and fiery but has little with morals, if you asked me what they were I would not be able to answer because it appears that the only belief that is holding up his hero office is that he must beat All Might at any cost. Focusing on a singular goal, which can help business, but without setting up a new goal when the original target cannot be accomplished will have a tendency to fail miserably as both a business and a brand.
All Might wanted to become the symbol of peace that was his hero’s journey and it happened to coincide with him becoming the number one hero, While he did reach his main goal he had to keep up the image he had built of himself from crumbling, maintaining his brand going out to fight crime even when injured to keep up appearance’s and that his promise to the public was not destroyed nor were his morals and integrity were questioned.
Endeavors vision may have been at one point was to be the number one hero but that dream has twisted and evolved into defeating All Might to the point he waited an entire generation to do so and now he is directionless with his retirement and has no other ideals than to beat him. It was solely his identity and because of this neither his business or brand is viable anymore. To put it in a simple way, he’s got all the sizzle, yet no stake.