Tuesday, 22 August 2017

"Show Me Some Blood!" ~ My Hero Academia Volume 9 Review


You've been waiting for this. Forget everything you've heard about this series. Forget the fans, forget the haters, forget the hype, and forget the anime. This volume right here is the one to get if you want to understand why My Hero Academia has managed such a foothold in the post-Comic Book world of the West where everything else has failed to catch on. This is a real story about heroes. This is the type of book Marvel couldn't even dream of making these days.

The students of U.A. are currently engaged in their Summer Training camp. Here they will learn to enhance their powers, relax, grow closer as friends, and, oh yeah, fight for their lives. The Villain Alliance is on the move, and their target is well within sight. All they have to do is pick off a camp of students and their teachers to get to it. This is what volume 9 is about. Can the students and teachers survive an ambush without casualties? As things go further and further off the rails it's not looking likely...

If you want to know why this series is so popular, take the character of Izuku Midoriya on the cover above. When the series started he was only a dreamer, completely unable to take his place in the world or achieve his dream. All he had was big talk with nothing to back it up. He was bullied, he was weak, and he was pathetic. I've heard some people quite nearly giving up on the anime after the first two episodes because of how they hated following whiny protagonists. Surely Midoriya was just another one of them.

If only they could see this volume.

In volume 9, you not only see some of the villains at their worst, you also see the heroes at their best, and no one is more at their best than Midoriya is. Chapter 76, titled "My Hero", might be the single greatest moment in the series thus far. Remember that whiny weak kid from chapter 1? He's gone now. Remember that kid who couldn't use his power without almost killing himself? He can fight now. Remember how he was just a sniveling brat who could never be a hero?  Not anymore. Remember when they said this series was a lesser version of Naruto? They were wrong. They were dead wrong, and ooooooooh boy were they wrong. One look at hat cover tells you all you need to know about this volume.

With the chapter entitled "My Hero" in this volume, Izuku "Deku" Midoriya has officially become one of Shonen Jump's best protagonists. He is up there with Kenshiro, Goku, Seiya, and Kenshin Himura, and all the other genre classics. And he did it by being a pure and unadulterated hero. Blood, sweat, and tears, through nine volumes has led to this moment. Here he is to remind everyone why he is the successor to the greatest hero of all time.

This volume more than anything is Kohei Horikoshi at his best. He's been on fire ever since the end of the Sports Festival and Stain showed up on the radar, but he's even more on point here. It's mystifying that one man can write superheroes better than anyone currently at the big two superhero companies, but he manages it with aplomb. He only gets better and better as a writer and artist, too.

Unlike most modern writers, Horikoshi believes heroes are heroes because of what they do. He believes villains are the same. In this volume you will see heroes who do good and villains who do bad, how they clash, and how and why one of them will come out on top. There is no grey area here, and it is refreshing in this murky morality modern entertainment is filled with.

And, not to spoil, but this arc leads into probably the single most important event in the series so far. Volume 10 and 11 will be total game-changers. It only gets even better from here.

If you aren't reading this series then by all means jump on here. Season 3 is almost certain to start on this volume when it starts next year, so get your foot in the door. If you want to know whether My Hero Academia is a fad or not then ignore the hype and pick up this volume. You will not be disappointed.

And did I say what a great cover that is? Eh, I'll say it again: That is an excellent cover.

My Hero Academia is the best manga currently running, and it is only improving. Now is the time to jump aboard. Don't miss out on the best hero book currently running.

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