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The Big Three refers to edits of a panel of the My Hero Academia manga panel introducing three powerful characters. Memes based on the format usually depict trios of real people or fictional characters and present them as the biggest and most influential in a certain category.
Prior to January 12th, 2017, a panel from then-upcoming Chapter 122 "A Season for Encounters " of My Hero Academia depicting a trio of characters referred to as "The Big Three" was leaked (shown below). On January 16, 2017, the chapter was published, introducing the upperclassmen Mirio Togata, Nejire Hado, and Tamaki Amajiki, known as "The Big Three" for their outstanding skills as heroes.
They are known as… the Big Three.
On January 12th, 2017, Tumblr user Triplukman (kulhiddenstache) posted an edit depicting Vault Boy, Kaede Akamatsu and Uchiha Sasuke as The Big Three, with the post receiving over 238 likes and reblogs in three weeks (shown below, left). On the same day, Triplukman uploaded another edit of the panel showing the characters wearing iconic outfits Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece, which are recognized as three of the most popular shonen manga and anime series (shown below, right). The post received over 540 likes and reblogs in three years.
After the release of the chapter and the Triplukman's edit, the format grew popular in anime meme communities online, particularly in on /r/animemes subreddit, with the template seeing a surge in popularity in May 2019. For example, on May 6th, 2019, Redditor Fnoox uploaded an example showing three characters from the artist sky_freedom_ (shown below left), gaining 17,500 upvotes in six months. On May 8th, 2019, Redditor DeepDestruction shared a meme about popular anime genre which received over 11,800 upvotes in the same period (shown below, center). On October 30th, 2019, Redditor xGeralD19 uploaded a meme about #TeamTrees campaign that gained over 11,500 upvotes in the following month (shown below right).
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