I hadn’t even heard the name My Hero Academia before I noticed this manga in Waterstones. However, it’s refreshing art style and nice looking cover meant I couldn’t resist giving it a try. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but the art style reminds me a lot of the Digimon Movie (which is an amazing movie, by the way); and that’s probably the main reason I bought it. Also, the mixture of the more American style (reminding me a bit of a lot of Archie comics I’ve read), incorporating superhero like ideas, and the crazy Japanese, Digimon like style, means it’s a unique read.

It’s certainly very likable. However, it’s something I would have preferred maybe a couple of years ago. This is because with it’s Digimon-iness, comes slightly more childish themes; like being bullied at school and such. It also means that there is a more simple plot, and less wording. Nevertheless, the story is good in its simplicity, carrying with it the idea that people are born with their own unique “quirks” – basically super powers. But… Is anyone reminded of X-Men? It’s not quite as original an idea as it seems. Even so, it is very unique as the idea is used in a different light, in a wacky, Japanese manga, so the style isn’t comparable with something like X-Men. The world contains in it the “quirkless”, of which are a minority, those who have quirks, most of the population, and heroes and villains. The heroes fight off the villains, who are villainised criminals, as the heroes engage in public battles with them; and Izuku Midoriya, the main character, a 14-year-old school boy, longs to once become a hero. Nonetheless, this means the manga becomes an underdog story, as the quirkless nerd risks his life to become a hero. Or, at least, get into the Hero Academy, which is a high school designed to make future heroes.

Midoriya is a fantastic main character. Not only do I love his character design, he offers greatly expressed character – similar to the likes of Davis Motomiya (the slightly nerdy one with goggles) in the Digimon Movie, but designed better – and comedic value in his nerdiness. That being said, the fact that he tells the story and the writer doesn’t is something I’m not big on. As Midoriya’s narration comes up probably once every three pages, it fills pointless space on the page, a lot of the time. You’re told things you already know, and things you don’t need to know. The wider array of characters is good as well, especially Kacchan, the arrogant flaming bully.

Back to the narrative now. The only big issue I have with it is that the story progresses too quickly. This means action sequences sometimes are rushed, and dialogue isn’t used to its full potential, whilst some plot points aren’t given enough time to properly develop. The start of the book is a victim of this, as sequences when Midoriya is in school are rushed, though they are good — they could have been great had they been given a bit more time. Notwithstanding, it is a decent story, and is portrayed well, as you are forced to relate and like Midoriya — the one thing that Horikoshi definitely wanted to achieve.

If there is one thing Horikoshi got properly right, though, that is surely the art. Every character looks completely different, and the art style is more complex than it may at first seem. Shading and expression is used to full effect, as both characters and settings are portrayed in great detail and with unique personality. Varying aspects of characters’ models and faces make every one look different, with Kacchan’s angular, spiky features strikingly opposite to Midoriya’s rounded, bold and circular features. In addition, action scenes look fantastically dynamic.

Verdict:

My Hero Academia has brilliant art and great characters, along with a likable style that my 12-year-old self might have loved even more than I do now. Still, though the manga has a good story, it is somewhat rushed; whilst text is slightly limited and character narration doesn’t work all that well. Even so, I can’t wait to see My Hero Academia in anime form, and I recommend you give this manga a go if you’re looking for a fun read.

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74/100

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– Reuben.

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4 thoughts on “My Hero Academia – Volume 1 (Kōhei Horikoshi) Review

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