By Dustin Cabeal
I seemed to have missed a volume in my reading. If you’ve followed the reviews for this series, you’ll see the gap, but it wasn’t planned. I lost track of where I was and just read. It felt like I had missed something, but not to the point that I was bothered by it… then I realized that I had read volume 14 and not 13… which made me wonder if it really mattered?
That’s one thing to note about Kohei Horikoshi’s writing; it’s strong enough that you can jump on and off the series without being completely lost. When I’ve done this accidentally in the past, on series like Twin Star Exorcists, I end up going back and tracking down the volume I missed before continuing. With My Hero Academia, the plot is slow moving, and following the pattern, it’s displayed in the past. Volume 12 apparently introduces another school that’s not UA, and from what I read when I went back to volume 13, it’s a carbon copy of the rivalry with Class B… just, you know, a different school entirely. I didn’t even need or care for the cliffhanger of volume 13 in which everyone’s favorite douche bag Grenade Hand picks a fight with Deku. Yeah, that’s right, Bakugo sucks. His character isn’t believable, he’s unrelatable, and while he has a great power set, he’s the character you’d rather see fail than succeed. At no point do I want Bakugo to be better than Deku.
I say that even after the 14th volume in which Deku’s entire secret is revealed and All Might stops by to stop the fight and pat Bakugo on the head. Something he doesn’t even want now because again, he’s a shitty unbelievable character. The only development that Bakugo’s wanted has come from his envy of All Might, but when All Might actually gives him the time of day he genuinely shits on the moment. Not even in a Tsundere way either, just a “Hey I’m going to shit on this moment” type of way. The fight ends in a predictable way, but there was one and only one good thing to come from it, Deku and Bakugo can talk like human beings now instead of Deku turtling a turd in his pants every time Bakugo barks from his mouth in some attempt of “displaying his personality.” Frankly, Bakugo has a one-dimensional personality, and we’ve yet to see any growth from him, regardless of what anyone says. All of his “development” has been circular, which is to say he learns the lesson, repeats the mistake, sulks, learns the lesson and repeats the mistake. Over and over, just go back and look for it.
The rest of volume 14 is great because Bakugo is cut out of it as Deku meets the student that everyone wanted All Might to pick for “One For All” and I’m sure it has nothing to do with him looking a lot and I mean a lot, like All Might to begin with. The kid’s name is Miro Togata, and his powerset is very interesting, but there’s a lot of story spent on showing and explaining it, so I’ll refrain from divulging it. From there, the students are granted the opportunity to do work study which is being a real sidekick to working heroes. Deku wants to get stronger faster so that he doesn’t let everyone down and so he talks to Gran Torino who suggests All Might’s all sidekick. All Might doesn’t want to talk to the dude directly, so he asks Togata to introduce Deku to the dude. Did you get all that? It was needlessly complex and all entire convenient to the story. Deku meets the dude, and their fight is interesting, and yes, of course, they have to fight.
The villains aren’t forgotten in either volume, but in 14 the Yakuza meet the League of Villains or whatever their dumb name is. I’m sorry, but I can’t picture a bunch of villains sitting around coming up with GD names for the group. The two evil gangs have a wonderful misunderstanding about who is joining who and frankly their distrust and angst between each other is believable. Neither side is going to admit weakness. The new villain introduced of course comes crashing into Deku’s life on his first day of the job, which is curious, but will likely be a predictable encounter because sadly a lot of the story in My Hero Academia has become stretched out and formulaic.
The art is still quite good. You can see Horikoshi developing and refining the overall art. The one downside that I’ve begun to notice is that with so many damn characters it’s A) hard to remember or tell them apart at times and B) they’re all starting to dress alike and have boring designs. When you see the colored covers, you realize just how many people are wearing green or read… or fur. Horikoshi may want to ask others for design help or and here’s a crazy idea, stop inflating the cast. If you’re not a part of the main cast of kids and important to the overall story, I tend not to pay much attention to them on the page, which is sad.
My Hero Academia is climbing towards the height of fame on the international level. It’s become a big shot in manga and anime, and that’s great for Kohei Horikoshi and Viz. Unfortunately, My Hero Academia’s biggest problem is the amount of filler it injects into its story. I missed an entire volume, that’s like half a year in manga publishing, and it didn’t matter. It didn’t change or affect the story. Hell, technically, I missed two volumes and wasn’t lost in the least bit. That’s good and bad. Good writing that I was able to catch up without missing a beat, but then bad because what reward did those other readers get from following along the entire time?
I’ve said this before, but I’m not likely to continue reading this series. It’s not good enough or different enough at this point to bother waiting for something magical to happen. Whatever big payoff the series is building towards is so far into the future that it doesn’t feel rewarding. I miss the early days of his series that felt more like X-Men and less like over the top drama and character that “needs to be the best,” but is intentionally developed slowly. Asta in Black Clover is growing better and faster than this guy, and he wouldn’t have a quirk in this world either… they need to speed Deku up and at least make him transform a little. If you love it, keep reading it. Not that I would have stopped you with this review, but if someone asked me if I recommend this series, I would tell them no.
My Hero Academia vol. 13 – Score: 3/5
My Hero Academia vol. 14 – Score: 4/5