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    Neito Monoma
    "Your class is too small-minded, think bigger."
    Gender: Male
    Type: Complex & Scheming if Unhinged Rival
    Age: 16
    Species: Human
    Portrayed by: Kohei Amasaki (Japanese)
    Austin Tindle (English)
    Status: Alive
    Media of origin: My Hero Academia


    "The side character gets the last laugh!"

    Neito Monoma in the manga.

    Neito Monoma, also known as Phantom Thief, is a recurring character in the anime/manga series My Hero Academia.

    He is a Class 1-B student with the ability to copy other Quirks by simply touching his opponent to use it against others, and he is also the egotistical rival of Class 1-A, who constantly wants to prove that Class 1-B is superior to them by getting competitive while concocting strategies to one-up them, was the brunt of the rivalry and continually obsesses over any of Class 1-A's mistakes to make them look inferior to him and his class and to fullfill his own superiority complex, and despite this, there are many aspects of himself as a person (and to some extent his efforts and creativity as a hero) that goes beyond being him being some "smug attention-seeking rival".

    He is voiced by Kohei Amasaki in the Japanese dub, and Austin Tindle in the American dub.

    Why He Thinks Bigger

    1. He was first introduced as a genuinely clever student who knew how to plan ahead, get the bigger picture of things, and was able to get into people's heads with his mind games while carrying a nonchalant attitude before his competitive behavior and his obsession with Class 1-A became his most defining trait as a "two-faced egotistical rival who likes humilating a whole class of heroes". Where he still shows to be a smart student despite being a insigator of conflict, as he was very smooth and astute to show off how he could take Katsuki and his allies Quirks to make a fool out of them with counterattacks in the moment he is first introduced in the U.A. Sports Festival Arc.
    2. What makes Neito a very fascinating character is how he is shown to be the literal opposite of Katsuki Bakugo in terms of lacking the character development the latter had despite sharing very similar qualities as arrogant blond-haired rivals. Where Katsuki develops, becomes more heroic, and grows from his weaknesses and conflicts, he literally outshines Neito as a student and resulting in Neito is living on the sideline, being the literal personification for what it would have looked like if Katsuki didn't grow into a mature person ever since he was introduced, which shows how Neito had to take a different path to grow as a person.
    3. His design both as a student and hero, is overall decent.
    4. His obsessing hatred towards Class 1-A, is always done in a entertaining fashion, especially by how unhinged, psychotic and deranged Neito became over time (especially the Forest Training Camp Arc and the U.A. School Festival Arc), as well as how hammy and over-the-top he tends to be throughout these arcs (despite having good intentions towards Class 1-B), which makes for some fun and enjoyable scenes to see. It's not helping that he serves as a perfect foil to Katsuki as mentioned earlier, this allows Neito to show how larger-than-life, sassy and eccentric he can be.
      • The comeuppances he recieves for instigating conflict a lot, are always incredibly hilarious and satisfying to see. Since he always gets a taste of his own medicine whenever he acts rude and sadistic towards Class 1-A (for example, Kendo chopping him in the neck, getting whacked on the neck by a bat and Shota Aizawa strangling him with his capture weapon), especially when it's warranted since Neito is often condescending with a nonchalant expression and a self-satisifed look on his face, as well as always liking to be in the spotlight with his class, and the ways he also gets butthurt towards Class 1-A if they get any of the attention at all despite that class being a group of equals, is always a delight to see him get some form of karma for his overly hysterical approach in his rivalry and for his overinflated ego.
      • This quality (alongside Neito's obsessive rants), could make him seem like a "love-to-hate" type of character by some, which is unusual and uniquely a funny trait applied to a anti-hero like Neito since this trait is typically used on comedic villains despite the fact that Neito isn't a villain at all.
      • One example was when he was going after Midoriya to copy One For All as soon as Black Whip was brought under control (which backfires thanks to Ochaco using her martial arts to stop him and Neito's quirk backfired for drawing a blank).
    5. He also provided some silly mischievous antics when he pulls off pranks at times to bring comic light to a serious environment. One example includes during the Shie Hassaikai Arc, where he tricked a foreign exchange student (named Pony Tsunotori) into unintentionally mocking and insulting two members of Class 1-A by whispering her to tell them a dumb joke about them "touching someone until their mama doesn't know you" (which was aimed at their expense), just for Neito to laugh at them, and Neito cackling at the students' humiliated reactions resulted in Neito getting karate chopped by Kendo and telling him to "not fill your mind with crazy" as a punishment.
    6. Much like The Red Guy from Cow and Chicken, Bertram Winkle from Jessie and Quint from Timon & Pumbaa, whenever Neito appears in any episode of the anime (as well as the manga), his presence immediately makes scenes much more interesting and entertaining to see than any other character in the series, thus making him stand out in the best way possible.
    7. While very boastful, sarcastic, vocal and loud, he's still capable of admitting when he's beaten, failed at something, or when people have changed, such as seeing Bakugo's cooperation with his team during the Joint Training Arc.
    8. He is always very supportive and understanding to Class 1-B plenty of times at it's ups and downs, like when Monoma gives both Kendo and his team a pep talk to encourage them to strive for the best, and he even empathized with Shinso over their similar situations, something that surprised Shinso (this shows that while Monoma can be a colassal jerk, he is still trying to become a hero and do some genuinely good things for his class).
    9. He sees the world differently and divides society into two parts in a small dose of "fourth wall breaking", by believing that people who have Quirks fit for heroism are "main characters", and people who don't have these kinds of Quirks are "side characters."
    10. He has shown to have a very chilled personality (in and outside the rivalry he started), and there are times where he can come across as pleasant to talk, even more than Bakugo (that is whenever he isn't taunting people or obsessing over toppling Class 1-A). Where he can drop his usually scornful attitude and can come off as pretty amiable, even cordially discussing his bizarre quirk with Midoriya, one of his many rivals from Class 1-A he has amniosity with!
    11. He is also quite talented, intelligent and a bit sly, even more than people give him credit for.
      • Even while his massive ego blinds everyone of Neito's good sides because of his antagonistic behavior, he is also capable in many things outside the hero field, such as his acting skills with improvising as Romeo (which managed to move Kendo and Reiko while his class felt unnerved that Monoma can play a role so differently and shows to have good acting skills) and even has good cooking skills, which some people he knows find to be amazing.
      • Despite being often a hypocrite with a bad reputation, he was sometimes right about calling out Class 1-A for having moments of causing trouble even though the class itself always have good intentions and still do good for people regardless of any mistake they made.
      • He was even able to take awareness that he is unable to copy Accumulation-type Quirks that required a stored power and can't replicate said power. As seen when he failed to use Izuku Midoriya's One For All and Eri's Rewind. It's not helping that he is limited to his own physical body and cannot handle Quirks that strain the user's body.
      • Even though his Copy Quirk was considered useless on its own (and still has a weakness that goes against him biologically), he was intelligent enough to find a creative way to turn it into a powerful quirk on certain occasions to makes himself a more versatile and unpredictable opponent to battle against in group battles that creates more opportunities for him to copy various Quirks from anyone like cloning Bakugo's Fire Quirk in battle, or the time he revealed that he deliberately had his costume designed as a disguise to fool all observers into thinking that he can only copy a maximum of three Quirks when there are four Quirks he can clone with the clocks on his outfit and can use multiple Quirks but one at a time (for about 5 minutes in fact). Which helps showing how Neito is shown to be capable at being crafty when he needs to be and is an excellent strategist when the time calls for it.
      • He is opportunistic as well as strategic since he likes to take advantage of any scenario in order to get what he wants, such as provoking Katsuki to the point where the latter switched targets from Midoriya's team to his, he was also able to see and understand Uraraka’s strategy of using the stadium debris against Bakugo while she kept the latter focused on her, he revealed to Uraraka that his costume is merely a disguise to fool people into thinking he can clone three quirks when that's not true, and he took Shinso's Quirk during the Joint Training Arc in an attempt to provoke Midoriya into revealing the location of his allies.
    12. He also shows dexterity and a ton of impressive powers within action-packed combat sequences, as he was able to dodge Izuku's Blackwhip and how he uses Poltergeist to attack Izuku looks cool on it's own.
    13. As much of a envious nutcase with a big ego as he seems, there is a fully developed reason for why he antagonized Class 1-A repeatedly, as he wanted to be a hero and use "unheroic" qualites of a Quirk to become a actually benevolent person despite being underestimated for his Quirk alone being useless compared to other Quirks ever since he was a kid, and always worked hard to earn the quality of a hero and do good things despite resorting to devious deeds in order to do so and being widely misjudged as "evil" or a "bad guy", this pointer can make him earn some sympathy points from the audience.
    14. His redemption arc just adds another layer to his character during the final arc, where he willingly wanted to help the Pro-Heroes by using the teleportation Quirk to help the Pro-Heroes in combat while playing the role of "The Puppet Master", he managed to put up a fight against Shigaraki (as well as foiling Shigaraki's plan without Neito even knowing that would happen), and has shown sympathy when he cried for seeing that Bakugou nearly died from a heart explosion, which makes him appear as having a heart of gold on the inside.
    15. He has provided many fun lines to quote such as:
      • "So you're just gonna ignore me? Talk about rude! I heard Class A is doing a concert or something for us, that's so cute!! But to put it bluntly Class B's stellar performance is gonna make you wish you hadn't even shown up!!! You should make sure you come prepared, bring a hanky to wipe the tears from your eyes when you realize HOW SUPERIOR WE ARE!! AAAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAEH!"
      • "You're kinda famous aren't you? For being attacked by that Sludge villain, you'll have to tell me about it sometime. It must be strange to always find yourself in the role of the victim."
      • "Guess he was right! That match really was over in just two seconds!! I wonder if his real Quirk is the ability to tell the future! Hey wasn't Class 1-A supposed to be SO much better than us? AHAHAHEHEHEHEHEH- Oh!"
      • "Very good! So, even a idiot can figure it out."
      • "Oh sorry, your head is so BIG it's hard to miss."
      • "Here's food for thought, some day the rest of us might get caught up in your mess, and then we will all become unwitting victims as well, what kind of horrible villains will you bring down upon us? What demon- Doh!"
      • "What kind of idiot are you Kendo?? You just gave away our whole strategic advantage, this was our chance to FINALLY pull ahead of that CLASS full of idiots- Dah!"
      • "Whew, how SAD we won't be able to face either DIRECTLY! (Throws a fit of maniacal laughter)"
      • "Yeah I guess you're right, it's not very heroic of me, besides you know how these things work. Heroes are always being hounded by moronic villains desperate for some kind of revenge."
      • "I had a lengthy conversation with Shinso earlier, about how those blessed powers destroy society. You're frenemies with Bakugo right? Then maybe you can explain: how can you smile like he doesn't have a thing to worry about? When he let himself get abucted! And because he wasn't able to take care of himself, the civil of peace IS GONE!!!"
      • "I heard a little rumor about Class 1-A. Two people! You had TWO people fail the licensing exam you LOSERS!"
      • "Heh. Actually... Everyone of us passed! We've pulled ahead of you big shots!"
      • "Hypno activate! ... Ughgh man no fair! I drew a blank?"
      • "AAAAAHHHH!!! ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT HIS PERSONALITY, CHANGED!?! AAAHH!! AAAAAHHH!!!!"
      • "Everyone is a side character in other people's stories... but we are each the protagonist of our own lives..."

    Second-Rate Qualities

    1. Hypocrisy: He condemns Class 1-A for being "troublemakers" and "being immature", when he himself constantly behaves like a vindictive manchild who (shamelessly) keeps finding ways to stir up trouble in his rivalry, is always uncontrollably laughing at them while trash talking them for any mistake they make while excessively talking down to them like a spiteful middle-school bully does, and tends to act like a immature jerk himself towards the class he keeps antagonizing and belittling.
      • During a theatre play of his, while he was improsiving as Romeo, he claims everyone in any story should get all the attention and praise for overcoming their conflicts in their story such as his classroom, Class 1-B, but contradicted himself when he also says that Class 1-A does not deserve any attention for being "disasters" without any valid reason in stating this, which is very ironic since Neito is essentially the walking disaster of his own classroom, Class 1-B.
      • It's not helping that he also mocked Todoroki and Bakugo for failing the Provisional Hero License Exams (to which he even had the nerve to call Hanta, Eijiro and Denki "losers" over this rumor despite Eijiro confirming him to fail an exam also, but Neito claims that he passed to hide the fact he also failed exams too such as the summer exams and he almost failed the fall exams, which shows how he seems to be academically incompetent and performs rather poorly in actual tests but hides his incompetence with rumors and lies).
    2. There are times when some of his actions can be rather rephrensible or shown in a bit of a bad light.
      • His obsessing hatred and spite towards Class 1-A can come off as mean-spirited or rather excessive, especially since he actively makes fun of and baits everyone in Class 1-A for failing at something or even mock anyone by using any opportunity to taunt them and harass them relentlessly, often for extremely petty reasons to screw with Class 1-A and making them look bad for seemingly no particular reason other than his demented enjoyment in getting rises out of them and wanting to be superior than them while laughing and cackling at them in a sadistic and/or overdramatic manner despite the fact Neito did have good intentions for his class.
      • In fact, he once admitted that he wants to be "manipulative" since he believes he is simply not powerful on his own as his excuse for not being able to do things like a typical hero does and feels like he must instead resort to underhanded tactics and needing to deceive people as a habit in order to keep his status as a student and as a classroom rival, which showcases an pathetically insecure side to how much of a opportunist he is.
      • He was also a bully since he harassed Midoryia by elbowing his head as "target practice" during lunch hours and he had thrown stones at Class 1-A for the fun of getting rises out of them.
      • He can be a sore loser at times, which is shown when Class 1-B was ultimately beaten by 1-A in the Joint Training Arc, he tried to keep up his bravado and thinks Midoriya's power was a dud because of it being convenient, but he does not take the loss well at all, gets whiny and just barely contains himself.
      • He did not respect Shinso's personal space since Neito often gets way too close to Shinso several times during the Joint Training Arc due to him being excited to fight alongside him against Class 1-A, and he looks very simpy when he does it while acting flamboyant and sassy towards Shinso telling him to stop and give him some space.
      • He forced Itsuka Kendo (someone who regularly disciplines Neito for his excessive rants and targeting Class 1-A by karate-chopping him on the neck to give him a proper consequence for his petty actions), to take part in a beauty pageant so that Class 1-B could come out on top (which ends up making Itsuka humiliated overall), which shows how Neito would stoop to any low to provide his superiority to Class 1-A.
      • During his light novel act, he plays a punishment game (created by Mei Hatsune) with some of the class A and B students. However, when he was the last one left to go, Monoma tries to avoid the punishment by backing out, which equally annoyed everyone since it was his idea to make them keep playing and it shows how he was deliberately provoking everyone the entire time.
      • Even though he's just a rival who is very melodramatic about his ambitions with him and very impudent due to how much he enjoys heckling Class 1-A to claim superiority over them, he also demonstrates several forms of prejudice or discriminating Class 1-A for their high position/occupation as superheroes compared to his class of "superheroes in training" located in Musutafu of Japan, which are acts of class discrimination.
      • Despite him causing his very own class, Class 1-B, to look weak in the Cue the Forest Training Camp Arc because of Neito claiming his superiority over Class 1-A's skills when the class was praised for surviving a villain attack, and him saying Class 1-B can do way better than Class 1-A in that regard, without Class 1-B preparing themselves for this event; they were basically thrown into a situation unprepared, and Neito still ended up not being part of the fight that the class was involved in due to Neito taking remedial classes to avoid the punishment he knew was coming to him, thus making him a dirty coward who weaseled his way out of trouble and avoiding himself from getting what was coming to him.
    3. Similar to Katsuki, Neito provided some genuinely creepy "mugging for the camera" close-up shots (especially when the visuals change into an intensely ominous aesthetic, with some shots creating some unsettling psychedelic-looking illusions in the background that is clearly shown to highlight how insanely toxic Neito's obsession over Class 1-A is), such examples of these moments include:
      • When he was teasing Midoryia about what villains will he face and mocking Izuku about his encounter with the Hero Killer with a spitefully sarcastic tone of voice, it shows his eyes in a dark position with some distorted wavy blue-red lines of colors in the background to show how scarily obsessive he can act (as well as telling Kendo how her disclipling Neito "got in the way" with his strategic schemes of toppling Class 1-A; all while saying this in a demented fashion before getting karate-chopped for calling Class 1-A "being full of idiots"),
      • When he said how "moronic" many villains tend to be with getting desperate with wanting something out of their revenge plans (all while having a smug expression with a somewhat unnerving angle shot that gives a shade on his eyes and sudden music change when that hints Neito is plotting for sabotage of some sort. This just makes Neito appear as someone who is "psychopathic on the inside and plotting a crime" underneath his smug smile, "suave" tone of voice and nonchalant eyes),
      • When he made fun of Hanta, Denki and Eijiro Kirishima for having two people in Class 1-A failing the licensing exam and calling them "losers" by yelling at them with a extremely deranged smile with a scary looking blue-white-red color scheme that makes Neito look and act just like a sadistic psychopath does, which unsettles Hanta and Denki (all while giving off a deranged sounding laugh to Eijiro confirming how Neito might have failed the last exam like Neito did one time, this also unsettles Hanta, Denki and Eijiro Kirishima all at once).
    4. He can come off as a little annoying at times even though he is meant to be unlikable (a bit similar to Katsuki), mainly for being conceited, two-faced, a jerk and a pretentious smart aleck who often tries way too hard to be cool by putting on a seemingly smug, entitled, pompous and narcissistic front to hide his feelings (especially in moments where he goes self-aware and break the fourth wall to say things that sounded cool to him like "the supporting character has a ace up his sleeve", which he said towards Uraraka while explaining how his cloning superpowers works when he was floating to escape from Uraraka and close a door on her with a smug smirk on his face), but still got a bad reputation for being a spoilsport towards a class and ending up a persistent loser with a shoddy reputation as a Class 1-B student who doesn't know when to stay out of trouble despite wanting to help his class be seen in a good light.
      • Even when he was percieved as a potential villain by some characters outside of Class 1-A, one solid example includes Eri (one of Izuku's friends), who thought Neito was a "bad guy" for his antagonistic behavior towards Class 1-A once Mirio Togata told Eri how "Neito" became a representation of the downsides of the U.A academy, and instead of realizing how he might have took things a little too far with targeting Class 1-A, Neito just laughs at Eri, jeering at her by calling her a "foolish child" for assuming him to be a bad guy, and gets defensive by saying that anything he did towards Class 1-A was for "representing peace and justice" and was just maligned by Mirio.
    5. He didn't have a good start in his debut. In fact, this has caused so many people to despise Monoma in the manga, Kōhei Horikoshi (the Manga author for My Hero Academia) had to make him a little more comedic and light-hearted (and a lot more likable, complex and redeemable throughout) because he was getting so much hate for the time the Manga was first out when Neito was originally very brash and deranged in terms of antagonizing Class 1-A with tons of petty-minded behavior before he was given more depth into his character.

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    Trivia

    • His surname contains the kanji for "object" (物 mono) and "gap" (間 ma), and his first name contains "repose, serenity, preferable" (寧 nei) and "person" (人 to). When written together, the kanji in his last name means "among things" (物間 monoma).
      • Additionally, his name may also be a play on the word "monomaniac," meaning "exaggerated or obsessive enthusiasm for or preoccupation with one thing," which is easily explain his obsession with toppling Class 1-A.
    • His name comes from the word "mimicry, imitation" (物真似 monomane), which references his Quirk.
    • According to Horikoshi, it is revealed he had based Neito on a real person named Dane DeHaan, specifically because of his performance as Harry Osborn in the film The Amazing Spider-Man 2, as told in Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #12 2022.
    • His hero name Phantom Thief, is allegedly based on the literary character archetype of same name since the Phantom Thief is characterized as a criminal who keeps a moral code and does bad things for the sake of good, as well as leaving calling cards and may use tricks, illusions, and disguises to achieve their goals.
    • He likes French cuisine and Franco-Belgian comics.
    • This may be unintentional, Neito almost looks identical to Takumi Aldini from Food Wars! - 92nd Generation. Especially by the fact that they're both rivals and are blond-haired white guys who sport on similar looking buttoned outfits, especially when Takumi wears a black tuexedo like Neito does except without the polka dot tie.

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