My Hero Academia- Kinoko Komori
We have known about Class 1B for a while now, but it isn’t until recently that we really have gotten a chance to see more than just a few of the students in action, as well as get a better look at their quirks. While Class 1B is the same size as Class 1A many of the quirks are outside the realm of what science could even possibly begin to explain, like moving in shadows, controlling vines, or turning onomatopoeias into reality. However, there was one quirk that I wanted to dive into and that is Kinoko Komori ’s mushroom quirk, which is the ability to quickly grow mushrooms from spores released from her body. The spores can grow on anything the spores touch as long as there is enough humidity. These mushrooms only last for a few hours before dying.
Kinoko Kimori uses her mushroom quirk to great effect during her recent team battle with Class 1A, with her mushrooms turning Toru Hagakure (invisible girl) visible from all of the mushrooms growing on her.
Kinoko Kimori also incapacitated Tokoyami by causing mushrooms to grow in his bronchial tubes, cutting off air to his lungs. My first thought was, of course, holy crap are you trying to kill him?
It’s not exactly very hero-like, but it certainly gets the job done. Of course now I am curious as to just how powerful Kinoko Kimori ‘s mushroom powers could be. However, before I can get to Kinoko Komori ‘s quirk I need to cover some basics of mushrooms.
The Basics of Fungus
All mushrooms are part of the Kingdom Fungi, which are non-green eukaryotic organisms that have no means of movement, reproduce by using spores, and get food by breaking down substances and absorbing the nutrients. They have a preference for damp and dark places, which is why Kinoko Komori carries a spray bottle to humidify the air, enhancing her ability to grow mushrooms.
Kinoko Komori spreads her mushrooms by emanating fungus spores from her own body. Now, yes, I do realize that this is scientifically impossible on several levels, but we need to talk about spores. Spores are single or multicellular reproductive structures that are extremely resistant to environmental factors and can grow into a full adult organism. They can be thought of as a fungus seed.
This brings me to the final and most overlooked factor of fungi biology, and that is that the mushroom or fruiting body that we see and eat is not in fact the main body of the fungus. A mushroom is only the reproductive structure of the organism. The main body of a fungus is the mycelium which is the mass of filaments that grow underground or into whatever the mushroom is currently sitting on.
This is also why the mushrooms would constantly grow back in the yard after my mother would remove them so my brothers and I wouldn’t try to snack on them as kids growing up. Removing the mushroom just removes the reproductive section of the fungus and not the main body. Also, in some types the mushrooms grow along the outer edge of the mycelium, creating what some call a fairy ring.
Knowing all this I would love to know if Kinoko Kimori’s quirk causes just the mushroom to grow or is there some mycelium growth as well? It would open up a whole new range of possibilities for Kinoko Kimori ‘s quirk if she could influence mycelium growth.
As of chapter 201, we know that Kinoko Komori can grow at least 6 different varieties of mushrooms. FYI- I am not a mycologist.
Ionomidotis Irregularis is a fairly common fungus found growing on dead trees in the northern half of North America. I probably ran across it more than a few times while I was part of the outdoors club while in college in PA. There isn’t anything particularly special about this fungus, and it is what you would call a non-mushroom club fungus. What this means is that it forms a shelf or other structure for reproduction instead of the typical mushroom we are used to seeing.
Frondosa is known by many names across the world, from Ram’s Head or Sheep’s Head in the English-speaking world, to Maitake or Dancing mushroom in Japan. Frondosa, like Ionomidotis Irregularis, is a non-mushroom club fungus found at the base of oak trees found in temperate forests in northern latitudes around the world. It has been known to grow up to 100lbs in Japan and is also called the King of Mushrooms.
It also happens to be extremely tasty and delicious as it is used in many Japanese dishes including nabe. In addition to being edible it is being studied for use in medicine, specifically cancer, where research has shown it to stimulate the immune system against cancer cells, induce cell death (apoptosis) and inhibit angiogenesis (stops blood vessels from growing into the tumor). There has also been some research showing it may help treat diabetes as well. Keep in mind this research is new and not in the clinical trial phase and it is by no means a sure thing yet.
The next mushroom on the list is also known as Man on Horseback, (probably related to how only medieval knights were allowed to eat it) and like Frondosa it also happens to be edible. The mushroom first entered the science books with Carl Linnaeus’s Species Plantarum, which was first published in 1753. Before that it was used in various cuisines and is considered somewhat underrated when compared to other mushrooms. It is very common in France, but it can be found around the world. Despite the yellow color its structure is that of a fairly typical club mushroom like we are used to seeing in the super market. This is where it starts to get interesting, though, because while it was once long considered edible, it might actually be toxic.
Yes, you heard me correctly: Tricholoma Equestre, a wild mushroom eaten for hundreds of years might actually be toxic. Between 1992 and 2000 there were 12 cases of poisoning (3 fatal) in France from eating Tricholoma Equestre. The individuals ate somewhere between 100g (0.22lbs) to 400g (0.88lbs) of Tricholoma Equestre in the course of several meals over a few days. The poison caused rhabdomyolysis, which is a serious medical condition where the patient’s muscle cells break down, and their contents enter the blood stream. The myoglobin released by the muscle cells is toxic to the kidneys. The treatment for rhabdomyolysis is mainly supportive in nature to help prevent the kidneys from failing.
It gets even more interesting as scientists are not quite sure if Tricholoma Equestre contains a toxin, and what it could be. More recent studies have found that Tricholoma Terreum, a close relative of Tricholoma Equestre, does contain a toxin that could cause rhabdomyolysis.
I can’t see the resemblance but perhaps it is possible that the poisonings were caused by a case of mistaken identity where someone picked the wrong mushroom, (an ever-present danger in dealing with wild mushrooms). A further study has also come out stating that there is a medium strength toxin in Tricholoma Equestre that could be fatal if eaten in a large enough quantity over several days. While not fast-acting, the ability to produce Tricholoma Equestre on demand does give Kinoko a rather deadly offensive ability in certain situations.
Here we have another mushroom that is edible but also has a toxic cousin (Galerina Marginata). However, this time, Flammulina Velutipes is cultivated and found in grocery stores around the world, so you do not have to search the forest for this one. In fact it is prevalent in Japanese cuisine and they refer to it as Enokitake.
Some other fun facts of this mushroom include that it can be grown in zero gravity environments like a space shuttle orbiting the planet, and some studies have shown it might have some medicinal properties. FYI- I think it is tasty and delicious.
Coprinopsis Atramentaria, or Inky Cap, continues the trend of edible mushrooms that Kinoko Komori is able to rapidly grow. It also happens to be poisonous, but unlike Tricholoma Equestre there is no question about its toxicity. This begs the question of why is it considered an edible mushroom? That is because the toxic affects of this mushroom are only seen when it is consumed with alcohol or while the body is under the influence of alcohol, called Disulfiram syndrome.
Disulfiram is a drug that is used to treat alcoholism by creating a sensitivity to alcohol. It does this by interfering with how the liver metabolizes alcohol.
1- Alcohol is broken down in to Acetaldehyde
2- Acetaldehyde is broken down into Acetic acid
3- Acetic acid can be broken down or turned into other substances by the body
Disulfiram and the Inky Cap mushroom interfere with the liver’s ability to turn acetaldehyde into acetic acid. The build up of acetaldehyde is one of substances that causes many of the symptoms of a hangover and it happens very fast when the liver can not convert acetaldehyde into acetic acid. So instead of getting a hangover the next day, it happens 5-10 minutes after consuming alcohol. The hangover then lasts 30minutes to several hours depending on the amount of the drug, and alcohol in your system. Now the effects of the Inky Cap mushroom are a bit less than disulfiram, but they still occur. Additionally, there can be some effects of the mushroom on the cardiac system in addition to the hangover symptoms.
The final mushroom on the list is also edible, depending on who you talk to. It is found and eaten across most of Southeast Asia, parts of India, and Madagascar. However, it is not considered to be edible in Europe and North America as people in those countries tend to find its texture less than pleasant. I’ve never had the mushroom so I cannot really comment on the texture or taste. What I can say is it that is one of the more unique mushrooms Konoko Komori can grow, if you are a mycologist. This is because it has over 28,000 mating types. While it might make sense to say the mushroom has over 28,000 different sexes, that would be a vast oversimplification of the process. There are different ways to regulate sexual reproduction in eukaryotic organisms, and we are used to the male/ female system found in plants and animals. In mushrooms and protists things can be a bit more complicated where there is a wider variety of genes involved in mating. This means that there is a wider range of compatible options when it comes to mating and the Schizophyllum Commune happens to have a rather large number of mating types or sexes. (Yes, what I just said is a vast oversimplification, but you could probably have an entire series of blog posts, or a whole blog on just this topic, and that is a bit much for me.)
Lastly, Schizophyllum Commune has been known to cause fungal infections in the respiratory system of individuals who have compromised immune systems. This was also the mushroom that Kinoko Kimori used to incapacitate Tokoyami during the team battles. While I doubt this is the case, it could be an interesting way to foreshadow problems with Tokoyami’s health or immune system.
Class 1B’s resident mushroom girl Kinoko Kimori has what might appear to be a rather weak quirk, but if she expanded her repertoire of mushrooms beyond edible mushrooms she could gain some rather unique interesting abilities, and, shall I say, dangerous abilities. Just imagine being able to quickly grow a deadly mushroom and adding it to a person’s food. When I think about that, I am glad that Kinoko Kimori is a hero instead of villain.