|The General Public|
|Gender||Males & Females|
|Manga||Ratman Chapter 1|
The general public mostly includes the entire population of Japan, specifically the city of Tokyo and its districts. Though they are not individually named or such, they play a very pivotal role in the world of Ratman as it is their opinions of what heroes are supposed to be, and how their presence affects everyday life, which drives the events of the story.
According to what is known about the S Project, society seemed to be very dark some seven years ago, which is the reason why Tongo Mizushima and his wife began this experiment; in order to bring a ray of hope to a dark world. However, no one in the project could have predicted how much the general public would embrace the idea of 'superheroes' to protect them from the dark parts of civilization. Due to the overwhelming initial success of Shiningman, the phenomenon known as Superhero Fever would begin and eventually become a major feature in the present culture.
With the creation of the Hero Association and the proliferation of people with low-level superpowers, (who seemingly had the safety and well-being of the public in mind), the populace willingly accepted what seemed to be a godsend. As a result, these heroes are seen like sports superstars or even godlike where most of them are pretty much nothing more than walking ads for the company that sponsers them. Consequently, the people began to believe that these 'heroes' could do no wrong, despite the fact that many of them were only concerned with fame and fortune. The people are easily swayed to accept whatever these 'heroes' tell them, and they see only the flashiness of their powers, their impressive 'Killer Moves' and their so-called heroism. Fandom begins to overtake common sense, leading to many becoming devout followers of these idols with very little to no questions at all. With the exception of a few individuals, the majority of the populace is swept up by the excitement of Superhero Fever.
However, due to commercialism and the fact that the Hero Association keeps all bad press away from its members and itself, the altruism which is normally associated with heroic acts, is no longer a major factor, and in some cases, is totally lost. For the general public, a hero is now somebody who is sponsored by a company, and is licensed by the Hero Association. He/She is expected to be a 'savior' of the people, and therefore is not supposed to be involved in any criminal acts. Many of the public see the heroes as their protectors and do not even suspect that they could ever betray their trust. Consequently, the public is basically ignorant of the more shady dealings among the heroes. For them, commerical heroes are to be worshipped and given the utmost of respect, even when at times, the people must buy their goods and services, in order to be 'saved' by them. Furthermore, the people became overly-dependent on these 'heroes' to protect them from all harm, instead of thinking and acting to save themselves. For those who perform actual heroics without any sponsors or financial gain, (such as Ratman), the public looks upon them with suspicion as these individauls are not affiliated with the Hero Association.
The stereotype of the 'superhero' is so ingrained into this society, that virutally everything is connected to that concept. Companies take full advantage of the flashiness and perceived power of these heroes, in order to promote their products. Law enforcement see these heroes as an additional resource to combat crime, while rescue organizations welcome their help during disasters. Children see heroes as people to look up to and aspire to become themselves, (especially Shuto). Normal business mascots like Fatman and Mr. Big Horn are elevated to high celebrity status, due to the fact that they are connected to the heroic ideal. Even the lowest-ranking heroes like Yavais, are given a lot of attention despite the fact that they are not supposed to be involved with crime-fighting and rescues. The hero motif can at times, have nothing to do with heroes such as Monsieurlin and Mr. Niku, who only use it as a publicity gimmick. Any connection to the hero motif, no matter how small or obscure, is generally acknowledged as part of the stereotype. In fact, there is almost no part of society that doesn't have something to do with heroics.
With appearance of Ratman, these thought patterns begin to change among some individuals, such as reporter Chihaya Sugimura, who wants to write a more meaningful story about heroes, rather than the dull, empty articles she had been doing in the past. The main protagonist Shuto, gets first-hand experience on how some heroes are not really as heroic as he initally thought. Even the Hero Association's President's daughter, Rio was disgusted at how the media had been manipulated to cover up any wrongdoing by the Association's members.
On the other side of the debate is the fact that there are some members of the Hero Association, who truly wish to help the public as real heroes, with altruism being the main driving force, rather than money or publicity. These individuals include the Akiba Holy Girls, Randolman, Fatman, Heavenly Maiden,Catgirl Rio, and for the most part, Yavais. Ironically the so-called 'villain' Ratman also emulates this ideal. Even more ironic is the fact that the seemingly 'heroic' members of the Association act more evil, (such as Ankaiser in the beginning and IS-KA). However, the general public still remains ingnorant of these details.
On the whole, the general public still believes in their heroes, and their perception of them is important to the Hero Association. In the eyes of the public, the heroes will never fail them and are deserving of their attention. Any negative views of them is to be covered up, but after the Hero Booster Arc, the general public's ideas of heroism is shaken to its core. Most likely, this is the first, undeniable event in which the heroes have betrayed the people's trust, and this will therefore hurt many businesses and society in general.