Thursday, September 1, 2016

"But I Wanna be a Hero, too!" ~ My Hero Academia Volume 5 review

*Be aware of spoilers!*

In this volume of My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi, we reach the end of the Sports Festival and learn much about the heroes' internal battles as well as the villains' next plot. This is the volume where My Hero Academia fully hits its stride.

I've mentioned before that My Hero Academia is my favorite currently running manga. My opinion remains the same. The reasons why are plentiful, but I will try to be brief.

My Hero Academia is written by someone who loves heroism for what it is at its purest level. It glorifies self-sacrifice, eschews selfishness, promotes good, and is never afraid to show evil for what it really is. Every character in the series is given a chance to see just why they want to be a hero (or a villain) and it never stops being both inspiring and invigorating for the reader.

Take this volume, for instance. It's the first without our protagonist, Izuku Midoriya, on the cover. That's because, as the subtitle mentions, this is the origin of Shoto Todoroki, one of Midoriya's classmates. Todoroki is a quiet guy who keeps to himself, but something about the way Midoriya acts and throws himself into his heroism has started to stir something within the loner. He comes off at first as something of an anti-hero, but that quickly falls away. This volume mainly deals with Todoroki as he explores just what kind of hero he can be, and if he is approaching it from the right angle.

But it's not just that. This volume also deals with Katsuki Bakugo, Midoriya's childhood friend, dealing with his own shortcomings as a hero as he ends up both taking on a girl without losing his overbearing pride, and facing a match where his opponent will not show him everything he has. His massive pride is almost obliterated. This is the moment that Bakugo begins his journey of becoming a real hero. He wants to be someone who will not fall flat next to Midoriya in everything that matters. This will return in future volumes.

Other events include characters like Tenya Ida, and Ochaco Uraraka beginning to coming into their own as characters, and the realization that a villain unlike any other is at large. This volume is packed.

While My Hero Academia is a a superhero story, which means tons of big action and spectacle, it is also a shonen manga, which means growing up and doing the right thing at any cost. It remains the best of both worlds. This makes it not only a terrific read for fans of either, but also for those who might have fallen away from them with age. This series will remind you why you enjoyed superhero comics and shonen manga in the first place. The kid version of you knew something you didn't.

At this point, the series has my full 100% recommendation for any fan of action or adventure. While the first few volumes were mainly world-building and character establishment, from this point on it's all good versus evil, heroes making their stand, and villains trying to ruin it all.

While western comics are falling into political preaching and stale retcons out the wazoo, and eastern comics are reveling in pornography and nihilism, there still remain series like My Hero Academia out there to carry the torch for tradition. This is why we read in the first place.

Good is good. Evil is evil. That's the way it is, and always will be.

Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. I watched all the episodes of this and liked it so much that I went ahead and ordered all the available manga volumes. I can see this one becoming a new favorite of mine.

    One thing I really liked about the animation was how All Might is drawn and shaded in a style reminiscent of American comics, I thought that was a nice touch.