By Dustin Cabeal
While I didn’t enjoy the anime adaptation of My Hero Academia all that much, I do still really enjoy the manga. It is by far one of the best superhero comics out there in either the Japanese or American market. For those familiar with Marvel Comics, think of Avenger’s Academy when you first heard about it, not when you read it, and expand that idea. The main character Midoriya is enrolled at UA which is a superhero academy.
Since the beginning of this series we have been slowly learning about All Might and his power “One For All.” This volume not only teases that there’s more to this story, but eventually the origin is revealed. There’s a lot of ground to cover in the story before getting to that point as the battle with the Hero Killer is wrapped up.
I can’t help but draw parallels between My Hero Academia and One-Punch Man. Granted it’s easy since both have heroes as a profession, but in reality, that’s where the comparison ends. Oh, except for they both have hero killer storylines going on. Thankfully, My Hero Academia’s is wrapped up in this volume. What was also a huge difference being the designs. Stain looks creepy and scary. There are several pages of illustrations in this volume that reminded me of Spawn rather than manga. The details, the grotesque design and the quirk were all huge factors in making Stain not only memorable but one of the best villains in the story to date.
After the battle with Stain, there are some interesting consequences for our heroes and heroes in training. That’s also around the time that the story takes a darker turn. Sure, there’s always been this dark element, but the world when we’re first introduced to it seems like one that’s overrun with heroes. Crime is committed by desperate people, which seems like a commentary on societies inability to help them, which then shifts into the villain’s mantra. With the reveal of “One For All’s” origin, it makes the world a scarier place which is particularly interesting for this series.
What seemed to be a simple story about a boy without quirk’s inheriting the great quirk of them all, has not turned into a secret war for society. The deck that seemed to favor heroes now looks a bit thin. Then there’s the nagging bit of information that All Might is holding back from telling Midoriya. While we learn “One For All’s” origin, we’re still not told everything. There’s a large hint, but that still needs some context as to why because it will be important to Midoriya’s future.
The illustrations are getting better with each volume. Not that they were every bad, but you can see Kohei Horikoshi growing and developing which is incredible considering the level of production already. There’s a great bit in which he talks about Stain’s design and mentions that he put all this intricate detail into the scarf only to have it show up looking mostly black when printed. Even he admits that he’s growing and learning, but when you see the art, it’s hard to imagine it getting better and yet it has. Just looking at the fifth volume again, you can see how much better Horikoshi has gotten at illustrating Uraraka. The art for the manga manages to have a unique feeling to it which is another reason I was so disappointed with the anime.
This isn’t the best volume to jump onto for the story. You could get away with it in the last volume because it kicked off the next big arc of the story, but the seventh volume of My Hero Academia relies on you having read the previous volume. That said if you’re reading the series you’re in for a real treat because this is probably the best the series has ever been and only seems to be getting better.
My Hero Academia vol. 7
Creator: Kohei Horikoshi
Publisher: Viz Media