I ended up reading four volumes of this in a row. After really enjoying the first two volumes, I fell behind on the series and then the anime came out, which I watched and hated. It made me hesitant to go back to the manga. In the end, I did come back, and if you could not tell, I enjoyed what I read since I kept reading and reading. There is an imaginary “3” up in the title as well. I did not feel it needed to be fully included in this review because it is one of those annoying volumes that finishes a story arc and starts another and so you are left without much you can talk about because it is half spoilers and a half underdeveloped storylines. Before I dive into the review for both volumes, I will say that my biggest problem with the anime was that they focused on Midoriya’s crying way too much. Sure, he cries; that is part of his character in that he cares so damn much it brings him to tears, but the anime showed him crying constantly and it got old quickly. Jumping back into the manga, I again noticed he cried, but the emotions behind the tears had so much more meaning, and it was nearly as annoying. If and when the next season comes out I hope that the people adapting the story finally understand that and can then produce something that’s viewable and instead of laughable.
Onto the recap of sorts. Volume 3 shows the end of the battle with the league of villains, which is the end of the first season of the anime. It also starts the storyline of the sports competition at the school, which has replaced the Olympics according to the story. It is just a way to rank the students which readers of Manga seem to love. It is also a chance to pit them against each other in a fantasy type battle since they realistically wouldn’t fight each other being heroes and all.
Volume four has interesting aspects in that Midoriya has a target painted on his back or more accurately his head having come in first on the obstacle course. Now they are playing the classic game of Cavalry Battle. The game itself is not that exciting because it has been done a thousand times in manga and will be done a hundred thousand more. What is interesting is the relationships that are built or changed. More people throw down the gauntlet with Midoriya because of All Might’s favor being shown towards him. While this is all okay, it is what happens after the match that matters.
Here’s where it sets up the story for a solid fifth volume. Shoto Todoroki’s father is revealed and also the reason why he will not use both of his powers. It is casually mentioned that he would only use his ice powers and not his fire powers, but after Midoriya pushes him in battle he uses them for just a moment. This makes Todoroki open up to Midoriya. I will not reveal all of it, but it gave much depth to this powerful character.
The fifth volume finds all of the students facing off in one-on-one combat. Midoriya and Todoroki go up against each other, but Midoriya’s plan is not to win this time. It is to fix Todoroki. It is wonderful as the scene manages to build up both characters and set up an interesting, be it a different final battle between the winner of their match. We are also left with a stern warning about Midoriya’s future as the Nurse is no longer willing to fix his broken fingers leaving him with a deformed hand as a reminder to find a better way to use his strength.
All in all, both volumes have their strengths and weaknesses. The Calvary Battle apparently only exists in the story for its familiarity because it is a strange second round when you think about where it fits in overall. The entire event also seems like an afterthought, but one that works out in the end because of the focus given to the individual characters.
The art is, of course, is exquisite. It’s done in the manga style and while I enjoy some of the more unique designs aspects to it like All Might illustrated as a Western superhero and the exaggerated hands and feet. It does not break the mold or push the visual medium, but I know that is not the goal of the work, so I am not judging it based on that. The action sequences continue to be easy to follow, detailed and over the top. You can tell this series is popular and being built up because there’s already seven assistants helping out on the art. I do not know if I have ever seen that many and not that many given credit.
I have one more review for the series before I am caught up, but I am glad to be back on board with this series. I hope that Midoriya has a leap forward in his powers so that he can use them in new ways, but I am patiently waiting for that time to come. At some point, I do have to compare this to superhero comics from the West, and I would say that it stacks up in many ways. I would read this over X-Men any day, and this book probably wouldn’t exist without the X-Men.
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My Hero Academia vol. 4 & 5 Creator: Kohei Horikoshi Publisher: Viz Media Price: $9.99 each Format: TPB; Print/Digital