One day, a four-year-old boy came to a sudden realization: the world is not fair. Eighty percent of the world's population wield special abilities, known as "quirks," which have given many the power to make their childhood dreams of becoming a superhero a reality. Unfortunately, Izuku Midoriya was one of the few born without a quirk, suffering from discrimination because of it. Yet, he refuses to give up on his dream of becoming a hero; determined to do the impossible, Izuku sets his sights on the elite hero training academy, UA High.
However, everything changes after a chance meeting with the number one hero and Izuku's idol, All Might. Discovering that his dream is not a dead end, the powerless boy undergoes special training, working harder than ever before. Eventually, this leads to him inheriting All Might's power, and with his newfound abilities, gets into his school of choice, beginning his grueling journey to become the successor of the best hero on the planet.
Boku no Hero Academia ranked eighth in the 8th Manga Taisho Awards and fifth in the 2016 Kono Manga ga Sugoi! for the male readers division.
The series has been published in English as My Hero Academia by VIZ Media under the Shonen Jump imprint since August 4, 2015; in Italian by Star Comics since February 3, 2016; in French by Ki-oon since April 14, 2016; in German by Carlsen since July 26, 2016; in Spanish by Planeta Comic since October 2016, in Brazilian Portuguese by Editora JBC; in Turkish by Gerekli Şeyler since March 2017; in Indonesia by m&c! since October 4, 2017. It has been licensed in Polish by Waneko.
A video game titled Boku no Hero Academia: Battle for All has been released for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan on May 19, 2016. Another video game, titled Boku no Hero Academia: One's Justice, has been slated for a 2018 release for Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC.
It's not everyday you make an account on a site you lurk just to post a review, but here I am.
Over-the-top entertainment, really easy to get into, great artwork, fun and likable characters. It’s no surprise this manga series is as popular as it is. Reading the author’s note on the first volume, it’s clear the author, Kohei Horikoshi, just wanted to create something fun and enjoyable, and he succeeded in doing so, at least in my opinion.
So why the 4? Well, you see, this review focuses on the writing in this manga series, and I'm going to be as brutally honest as
I can be about it. It seems weird to do so, since this manga isn’t trying to be anything more than it is. But you often hear so much about how great the writing in this manga is compared to other shounen manga series. God knows how many times I was told this before I decided to give it a read. But the reality is quite different.
If I could compare the story to in this manga to something similar, it would be the Pokemon series. In every Pokemon saga prior to Sun & Moon, Ash will travel to a new region, run into some girl that decides to travel with him, meet a new rival that kicks his ass in almost if not all their encounters, gather all the badges in the region and assemble a Pokemon team, enter the Pokemon League where he finally bests his rival once and for all, ultimately lose the Pokemon League, and then it's back to square one with him traveling to another new region, where he runs into some girl, and you know the rest...
In My Hero Academia's case, once Deku is accepted into U.A. High School, in order to become the greatest superhero, each arc starts to follow a pattern of Deku going to school, learning a new technique or gaining a new equipment, taking part in a test/exam with little to no consequences, a villain appears, a villain’s arrested, Deku goes back to school, learns a new technique, and well, you know the rest...
The reason why I specifically chose the Pokemon series even though a lot of stories tend to have a set structure, is because no matter what events occurs, things always returns to the “status quo” with little to no impact on the world or the characters.
Speaking on the world first, 80% of the population has superpowers (They call them 'quirks') and yet, such a phenomenon doesn't seem to have effected the world of MHA much. Only significant change is that being a superhero is now an occupation, other than that, the world is still so “normal”. Even then, we simply just don't know much about its world as a whole at all, and as such, this manga has one of the most vapid and shallow settings I have ever come across within the medium.
I can only think of two locals, that being U.A. High School and Shiketsu High, the latter is by name only as it hasn't been touched on at all. I can't even be optimistic about it ever being explored in the future because U.A., which has been the only setting of importance in this manga so far, is barely expanded on as well.
The author doesn't need to dive deep on every region in Japan or every country in the world but he can't even expand on the school that's the story's main environment and is also apparently a big deal within it's world?
And because not much is known or seen about the world, it doesn't seem like anything that happens actually matters. Spoilers: later in the story, Japan's greatest hero loses his powers. They make a huge deal about it, saying there's panic among civilians, villains have started to emerge from the underground, and that other countries are in shock about the situation. But none of that is every felt. There's panic among civilians? Then why is every panel filled people just going on about their lives like nothing happened? Villains are coming back to the scene? Well, where are they? There’s only been one, and he got dealt with the same arc he’s introduced. "America’s in uproar"? Why would anyone reading this care when we don’t know the relationship between the US and Japan? The only place we ever see this news have any effect is U.A. High School, with the students having to move to the dorms, but this doesn't shake the "status quo" as the students are still just going about their days as if nothing happened.
Also, at times, some of these effects and rules within its society don’t make any sense. There's a character known as the Hero Killer who is attacking and killing heroes, and due to this, the cities he has visited in Japan have experienced a drop in the crime rate....I'm sorry but, what? He is actively preventing people from stopping crime and that somehow leads to a decrease in crime? But at the same time, his actions also lead to an uprising of villains? It's contradictory and doesn't make a lick of sense. And then when the students put him down, they are scolded for using their powers to defend themselves and to save a life, all because they don’t have a license? ....Again, what? Another issue with this is, where was this rule when the students were freely using their powers to defend themselves against a horde of goons earlier in the story?
World building seems like a lost cause in this manga. There’s barely any, and when it does try, it ends up being nonsensical or contradicted later on within the story.
Regarding the characters, a lot of them have two things going for them, that being their characters designs and their likable personalities. Outside of that, we still don't know much about most of them. Not only that but majority of them don't seem to serve any purpose to the story.
There are a lot of characters in this manga but the story seems to mainly revolve around Deku, Bakugo and Todoroki. And out of those three, I only find Bakugo interesting. Deku is already a model hero, in fact, I would argue he was already one from the beginning, only lacking confidence, which he's gained now. All he has to do now is gain full control of his god tier quirk, "One for All", and he'd be unstoppable, literally. Todoroki's whole character is about his daddy issues, which I've simply grown tired off because each time he's the main focus, it's the same story being retold each time about him having problems with his father and accepting his fire ability.
There are a few side characters that are really fleshed out like Endeavor & Mirio, for example. But looking at majority of the characters there’s not much that can be said about them. I'll be focusing mainly on the students in Class 1-A. Many people will tell you that, in this class of 20, majority if not all of them are well fleshed out. If I asked someone to list just 5 things about Tokoyami, Jiro, Mineta, Kaminari, Ashido, Ojiro, Sato, Koda, Shoji, Sero, or Hagakure's character? Could they actually? Because I really doubt they could. Even then, for the characters that do get anything, those moments are very few. Momo's only had one, that being the time where she lost her confidence. Same with Iida's during the Hero Killer incident, and Ochako's during the Sports Festival.
The argument to this is "we'll learn more about them in the future". And I mean, yeah, we might very well learn more about them later on, but I'm writing this in the present, based on what I've been told about them in the present. I'm not saying every character needs to have equal development and characterization, that’s impossible. But we just don't know much about majority of the characters in this manga, and the author keeps adding more and more characters each arc, who we learn little to nothing about, and ultimately don't do anything.
Regarding the villains, the main ones are known as the "League of Villains". It's a similar case with Class 1-A where I doubt anyone can list 5 things about each of their characters. Add that in with how incompetent and weak they are and I feel like I'm just reading about an edgier Team Rocket.
Two other villains I want to write on are the Hero Killer and Overhaul. The Hero Killer, called Stain, believes that heroes nowadays have a corrupt view and wants to change that, how? By going out and killing heroes. First of all, where are these corrupt heroes? They flat out don’t exist within the setting. Oh but well, Stain's definition of a corrupt hero includes people who get paid for it. Going by his logic, military soldiers, who risk their lives to protect their country, are corrupt because they get paid. How one could form such a ridiculous ideology, I don't know.
Also, he has such an "awe-inspiring" ideology but doesn't bother voicing it to the public and instead believes serial killing is the best way to get across his message, as if anyone would ever see the difference between him and a normal serial killer. Another issue with this is, how was this ever going to change his society? What results did he expect to get from just going around and murdering heroes? I mean, the heroes aren’t just going to stop being heroes because of one guy. Soon or later, he was going to be put down, and he was, by students in training even.
And on Overhaul, the easier way to describe him would be to call him a combination of the League of Villains and the Hero Killer. By that I mean, he's incompetent, stupidly putting so much trust in a group that he not only just met but also killed one of their members a few moments ago, and he also has a contradictory and nonsensical motivation where he creates quirk erasing bullets because he see them as a disease that must be cured, but also makes a serum that restores quirks, going against his ideology.
Not to mention that unlike the Hero Killer, Overhaul is treated like a punching bag at almost every point, and after the manga just went on about how strong he was 4 chapters prior. Imagine if after all that hype, the Z-Fighters dealt with Vegeta and Nappa long before Goku arrived at the scene, or if Orochimaru was defeated by Team 7 when they first meet in the Forest of Death, or if Luffy beat Crocodile on his first try. That’s Overhaul.
When it comes to the fights in this manga, they tell you more about the characters, it’s a way to learn more about them and also where their development takes place. That’s about the only positive thing I can say about them. Other than that, the fights are underwhelming for two of reasons: One, they don’t follow any logic and just have the characters constantly breaking rules previous set by the story itself or receiving a deus ex machina to resolve the battle. And two, the superpowers suck.
A lot of the superpowers in this manga are bizarre which is actually a plus in my book. I mean, Sero is able to shoot tapes from his body, that's wacky and is something that I haven't seen elsewhere. But a lot of quirks are way too restricted rendered them useless. As I said, Sero can shoot tapes from his body, but actually he can only shoot tapes from his elbows, and as such, there's not much he can do with it. His quirk isn’t practical for battle and as such, he was one shotted so casually by Todoroki who just used him as a means to vent his frustration. And now that I think about it, why would anyone choose to have someone who shoots tape from his elbows protect them, when a pistol would easily outdo him?
Another thing about the powers is that while they’re bizarre, it doesn’t mean anything if they aren’t or can't be used in a creative or bizarre way, which is the case with nearly every ability in this manga. Sero is one example of a character who's very limited in what he can do. Aoyama’s quirk is that he can shoot a laser from his stomach, it’s no surprise that he doesn’t get much action, and that the one fight he was in, he lost. Koda’s quirk is too situational, unless there just happens to be a lion running around the city nearby, he’s not going to be of any use at all. On the other hand, Todoroki’s quirk allows him to create ice from half his body, and fire from the other half, but watching him fight is always mundane because his moveset consists of just blasting ice from one side and/or fire from the other side. Iida has like two kicking techniques, the other just a faster version than the first. Kirishima can harden his body, and can, well, harden himself even more. Almost everyone uses their powers so one dimensionally because majority of the superpowers are heavily restricted despite being super basic, and thus fights are generally dull to read.
In conclusion, while this manga is fun to read, I would be lying if I told you the writing is anything more than just barely competent, I mean it was already contradicting itself as early as the second chapter and that's a sign for what to expect from the writing in this manga. You could call it an average shounen but I've read Bleach and that one bothered to flesh out its setting and characters a little. Almost nothing in this manga is fleshed out, it’s all surface level and incredibly bland, so contrary to what people tell you, if you’re looking for a well fleshed out story, this isn't it.
MHA is undeniably the most popular newcomer in Jump right now. Having read 183 chapters of the manga and also caught up on the anime, I’m still at a loss as to what it is about this series that's generating so much hype. Unless this is your first shonen, I advice that you dismiss any claim that it “deconstructs” or “subverts” anything. It’s a shonen to a T, which I don't have a problem with at all if the execution is good. But it's not.
First chapter opens with our protagonist, Izuku Midoriya (As called Deku), who's born into a world where majority have super
powers, dubbed "quirks". In this world one can become a super hero, which has been his dream since he was little. But sadly, he wasn’t part of that majority and is picked on for being "quirkless". One day, he runs into his idol, All Might (The greatest hero in all Japan), who initially tells Deku to give up on his dream of becoming a hero. But upon witnessing a selfless act by Deku not long afterwards, he acknowledges him and tells him the one thing he's always wanted to hear his whole life, that he too, can become a hero. And thus Deku's journey to become the greatest hero begins, end chapter. You are given the impression that this is an underdog story about Deku's struggle to achieve his dream despite being at a disadvantage (Think Rock Lee from Naruto). But this is completely thrown out in the second chapter as Deku is conveniently handed down the strongest quirk (One for All) in the whole series, and then it's not long before his classmates acknowledge him and he's also able to compete with a kid who's been sparring with the second strongest hero his whole life.
Anyway, the story then becomes about Deku trying to master his newly gained powers and become the greatest hero. How does he do this? By going to hero school, where it seems like the students are being trained to become athletes rather than heroes. For example, the entrance exam consist of them just destroying robots to earn points like a video-game. What does this have to do with heroism? It doesn't, and one of the teachers even calls out the exam for being irrational. This was also the case later on when they must take an exam in order to obtain a "hero license" (This is needed in order to take on villains legally). I want you to take into account that the villains they may come across may be seriously dangerous individuals (As shown in the next arc right after), but what does the exam consist of? Playing glorified dodgeball. And at the end of the day, failing doesn't really seem to matter in the long run. Like with the entrance exam, Deku fails to destroy any robots, earning him zero points and ultimately fails the exam. But it doesn't matter, because there was apparently a way to earn extra points that no one knew about and he gets into U.A anyway. Same with the hero license, if anyone failed the exam, they could just take it again in three months, and if that doesn't work out, they still have 2nd & 3rd year to try again. Throw in some villain attacks here, there, in-between and you have the story of MHA.
Deku, is an odd case for me. He want to be a hero, but aside from being quirkless he already has the qualities of one from the get go; he's brave, self-sacrificing & inspires others. So his "journey" pretty much amounts to leveling up One for All. I've also heard how 'different' Deku is from the "typical shonen protagonist" but he is just a wimpy high schooler like Kenichi, Ippo & Tsuna, how original.
As for the rest of the cast, their designs are great and most have likeable personalities, but that's all there is to them. Few characters like All Might, Bakugo, & Todoroki for example, get fleshed out along with any screentime. The majority are stale, underused and only get 1 minute of fame. Plus, when they do get their moment of screentime, it more often involves them derailing rather than progressing. Momo for example, is presented as a confident individual. She apparently loses her self-confidence at some point in the series, which is not only brought up but also resolved that same chapter. Same with Iida, who is presented as a stickler for rules and morals, his brother is attacked and so, he sets out to take down the villain that did it. Once the arc is over, he reverts back to how he always was, and hasn't had much of a presence in the series ever since. Granted, this is a long running series and is subject to change. But as of now, I don't understand where the praise for how the characters are handled comes from. Naruto introduced 9 characters during the Chunin Exam each with their own distinct personality, and along with the main 3 (That's 12 characters), expanded on their goals, hopes, abilities & heritage (Ok, 11, cause Tenten is no more relevant than that one dude in 1-A who talks to animals). One Piece dedicates an arc to each member of the Straw Hats. Even Black Clover, another really average shonen, does more with the members of the Black Bull than MHA does with class 1-A, and so, I can't help but feel like all the praise the series gets for its characters is misplaced.
The main villains are known as the "League of Villains" led by Shigaraki. Every last one of them is shallow (Except maybe Jin). We know next to nothing about their motives, ideals, and their achievements feel very unearned. Then there are the other villains like Stain & Overhaul,
*This bit is going to contain spoilers*
Stain is introduced with his goal being to "purge" the world of "fake" heroes. He believes that a hero should be self sacrificing and prioritizes saving people who can't save themselves, like All Might. This would have made more sense if the setting of the story actually supported it. A lot of heroes may be shown having the dream of fame & money, but none of them put that ahead of saving lives. When Dabi attacks the students in a classroom during the Training Camp Vlad wasted no time jumping in the way of the students protecting them and then detaining Dabi in seconds. Eraserhead ended up brutally beaten up by the villains but still didn't stop trying to protect the kids at every point of the way during the USJ arc. Mount Lady & every hero involved in the raid prioritized rescuing the students and other citizens. Gran Torino doesn't even consider himself a 'hero' but still takes part in villain raids and protecting citizens. Heck, Iida's brother is shown saving lives in the story and when Iida confronts Stain and asks him why he attacked his brother, Stain answers with "because he was weak", which just makes him appear as a mad man itching to kill rather than creating a better society like he says. What's even more laughable is the fact that the series tries to justify him by saying the crime rate have decreased thanks to him, even though his actions should lead to the opposite. I previously said that the League of Villains achievements feel unearned and this is one of the reasons why, as Stain's actions somehow lead to a upraise of villains, who seek out Shigaraki, basically handing him a bunch of allies he never did anything to merit.
Overhaul is introduced talking to Shigaraki and telling him his goal to eliminate all quirks as he sees them as a disease. To do so he creates bullets that can erase quirks, yet also creates a serum that restore them back. We later get a flashback explaining how he was saved by the Yakuza and wants to raise them to the top of the market, as thanks for saving him. To do this he plans to sell the bullets to the villains and serum to heroes. Makes sense so far right? You'd think maybe he was just trying to persuade Shigaraki to buy his bullets but nope, instead we get another flashback on how he's seen quirks as an abnormality that must be eradicated since he was little and he will rid the world of them, which is only contradicted by his creation of serum and doesn't fall in line with his plan to "reinstate" the Yakuza. Also, Overhaul is also suppose to be a capable fighter according to Rappa, yet he, along with three of his underlings, get utterly destroyed for 10 minutes by Lemillion. I initially chose to give Overhaul the benefit of the doubt here as Lemillion's quirk could be seen as a counter to his, but even after Lemillion lost his quirk Overhaul, along with Chrono, were still struggling for 5 minutes straight, Overhaul even gets his right arm broken (Makes you wonder how he lasted 10 minutes in the first place if Lemillion's punches can shatter bones). It isn't until after he fuses with one of his subordinates and powers up that he's able to pose somewhat of a threat. And once again after the arc is over, the League of Villains swoop in and take everything Overhaul's worked for as their own.
*Spoilers end here*
Long story short, Stain & Overhaul feel like they are nothing more than plot devices who only exist to make Shigaraki better.
Not much to say, it's basically our world but with superpowers thrown in. Sadly, a concept this simple is still greatly underutilized as U.A and the other hero schools are never explored, classes and training sessions are either skipped entirely or immediately interrupted by villains, school events are clumsy brought up right before they begin with no build up or foreshadowing, and besides U.A, it doesn't really seem like Japan is affected much by the huge villain attacks.
This is of course, a battle shonen, so one can expect a lot of fights. The first, being between Deku and his rival, Bakugo. It had a lot of dramatic weight to it as their relationship had been built up as a rocky one due to Bakugo seeing Deku as inferior in every way possible, and has done so since they were little. Deku's intelligence comes to play here as you see him constantly analyzing and making use of the knowledge he's acquired in his notebook. In terms of choreography, you have dynamic panels consisting with Deku using martial art grapples and Bakugo's fighting style being flexible with his quirk. There are a few fights like this, emphasis on "few". Majority of them aren't that action packed: they consist of characters mostly talking than actually fighting, they also lack build-up and don't have much going in terms of choreography as scenes mostly consist of characters spamming the same again over and over again. Deku vs Todoroki comes to mind as an example of this. This also brings me to my next issue, being that most characters don't use their powers or skills in creative or interesting ways. Overhaul for example is able to disassemble and then reassemble anything he makes physical contact with either back to it's original form or to something new entirely, yet 90% of the fight consists of his spamming the same spikes attack over and over again. This applies to Deku too as later on, he kinda just stops using martial art techniques and his fighting style becomes quite plain and straightforward. One of the villains even calls him out on this, and when none of his attacks were working he didn't think up a plan or come up with a way he could be flexible with his skillset (Like Naruto or Luffy would, and they're suppose to be the dumb ones unlike Deku), he instead received a deus ex machina to resolve the fight.
If there's one thing I'm mostly positive on, it's the artstyle. As previously mentioned I think the character designs are great, even for the grunts like Nomu. The scenes pack a lot of expressions and raw emotions that simple scene feel impactful. Only down side would be that later on, actions scene get really messy sometimes, making it a little difficult to understand what is going on.
All in all:
I actually do enjoy the series, for what it is. Be it the anime or the manga, it's entertaining. I do however, find the praises extremely overblown, the show doesn't do anything that older shonen series haven't done before. Granted, generic isn't bad if the execution is good, but I don't believe MHA does that well either. Out of all the newer Jump series, I would recommend reading Promised Neverland & Kimetsu no Yaiba over Black Clover & My Hero Academia, as those are actually good and try to be much more than just a downgraded Naruto.
This review is just something I had to get off my chest (It will also contain spoilers)
It's nothing but training, exam, training, exam, training, then once in a blue moon a villain appears, who eventually either escapes or is arrested, and then we're back to more training. Granted, it is called My Hero ACADEMIA so this should be expected, and this kind of set up could work; Assassination Classroom is a prime example for that, but I find it very weak in My Hero.
First of all, there's a lot of training in this, which isn't a bad thing, I mean, look at Hajime no
Ippo, Haikyu or any other manga where you have a lot of training arcs. But in those manga series, the training arcs are actually fleshed out and are thus, interesting. In My Hero, you get a page of exposition then a few more pages of characters doing stuff and then the rest is skipped entirely. For example, the students go to a training camp with the aim being to improve their quirks, how? By using it more and "smashing past their limit". Then we get 3 pages of "training" and it ends there. In any other manga with a focus on training, we see the characters struggle as they try overcome the physical or mental wall played in front of them. Like Naruto's training for the Rasengan or Tsuna's X Burner or Ippo's newly improved Dempsey Roll. Heck, the first half of Greed Island in Hunter x Hunter is one huge training arc with technique development at the end. In My Hero, you get an arc for quirk improvement that is almost entirely skipped, another arc for learning special moves where the protagonist comes up with an idea for something but we only get to see the end result.
Then there is the test/exam, where in a series like Assassination Classroom, which is set in our world, they take regular exams like we do. You get a chapter or two of the students studying and then a montage right before the exams begin. The interesting part is how the exams are portrayed as actual battles, with questions being illustrated as monsters and such and with the characters being placed under a lot of stress, it's engaging. And when characters didn't meet expectations, like Karma for example, they learn and grow from it. But in My Hero's case, it is set in a world where everyone has superpowers and are hoping to become superheroes. You'd expect the exam to have something do with "quirk control" or "quirk power", or just general fitness all round and the like. But no, instead, you have them playing glorified dodge ball because why not? And the worst part about these exams is that failing doesn't matter; Deku failed the entrance exam? Well, there was apparently a secret way to pass that no one knew about so he gets in anyway. Whoever places last place in the trails gets expelled? Sike, the teacher was just messing with them. Bakugo & Shoto failed the license exam? Meh, just take the extra classes.
And finally the villain attacks. I'll be frank with you; the villains are pathetic. The main ones being the "League of Villains", these guys are no threat whatsoever, they get beat by heroes in training and have to be rescued by another big bad, if anything they are the true underdogs of the story.
TL:DR, lots of training arcs with little or no actual training, lots of tests/exams with irrational requirements and no actual consequences, and the villains are a laughing stock.
Great character designs and backgrounds but fight scenes have poor direction and panelling.
In a class of 20, there's Deku, Bakugo and Shoto. Best not bother remembering anyone else in the class because they are just extras. Seriously, after finally catching up with the manga I couldn't stop thinking about how much praise this manga gets for its characters, and then wondering if I was reading the same manga as most people. Majority of the characters struggle to even get some freaking screen-time, talk less of development or characterization. I think the current arc pretty much embodies everything about the characters in this series; currently, the manga as of this writing is on another training arc with both class 1-A & 1-B, and it seems like the author is trying to say that people should give a damn about all these characters BUT HALF OF THEM AREN'T DOING JACK SHIT. It's mind-boggling, and I think it really says something when freaking Shino from Naruto has done more in one arc (Chunin Exam) than majority of the cast has done in the whole series.
I can't find much enjoyment here when everything about this series is so half-assed, and has been done far better elsewhere.
This series has taught me not to buy into hype; I saw so much endless praise for the series, but it's nothing like I heard it was. That said, I really want to stress that I have nothing against the people that like this series, but more with the praise of how this series "breaks the mold" or "perfects shonen" when it's really very much a standard shonen manga.
This review is for those who saw All Might on the cover and thought this manga might resemble a decent read, but this is cut from the same cloth as Naruto or Hunter x Hunter. The main character, Deku, is the absolute star and if you don't care about a high schooler's boring, emotional, cliché-ridden rise to prominence, there is little else at offer in this story.
To get right into it, the manga opens on the premise of a world where superpowers have become commonplace. One superhero, All Might, stands above all and is idolized by many. Unfortunately, All Might's time is running short
and he must pass on his power. All Might in his infinite wisdom chooses a loser named Midoriya who is shown to be a complete pushover who nevertheless, won't stop trying! (If you've read any shonen manga before you'll know where this is going.)
Midoriya and his edgy rival join the superhero high school along with a plucky teenage girl who randomly befriends Midoriya because that's what happens at high school. A bunch of events happen. Not very interesting events, basically your average shonen stuff, the kids race and throws balls really far, they vote for class president. There are some fight scenes that I'll get to later. This whole section is where you're assumed to care about the high school characters' personalities, but they're all tired stereotypes. You have the prefect, the dumb blond, a teacher who'll really put the class through their paces but has a heart of gold. God help you if you are like me and hate a high school setting, it's pure torture.
This manga has many, many similarities to Naruto. You have the fake out "I will expel you if you fail, oh you failed, that was the point!" cliché from the teacher at the start of the school year. Melodrama between Deku and his rival because his rival is a massive unlikable douche. Many, many flashbacks even in the first volume because that's not lazy. The author has stated his main inspiration was the masterpiece Naruto and it's obvious if you suffered through that garbage for any length of time. The art style loves to focus on EXTREME CLOSE-UPS of characters supposed to evoke emotion, but it's so predictable. The writing takes absolutely no chances and is as cookie cutter as it gets.
Fights in this manga center around the idea that you are tired of good fights, so lets throw in tons of "strategy" of people talking and nothing happening. Then the protagonists win in a handful of panels. That's what happens in the first real "fight" of the manga around 20 chapters in. This was also done in Hunter x Hunter to great fanfare from the MAL crowd. I can see why it would have its appeal by subverting rules set by series like DragonBall, Kinnikuman or JoJo where fights have any impact or long-standing effects, because apparently this approach isn't a thousand times more overdone at this point. The main character broke his limb for the tenth time! I wonder if he'll go to generically have it healed up for the tenth time too...? Really keeps my interest.
The art and pacing of this manga has its ups and downs, some designs like All Might are good, unfortunately he immediately is shown to have a weakling form that looks like a starving The World Ends With You protagonist. That's not not necessarily a bad thing, but he is by far the best designed character. Being on the cover is basically a statement that he is an extreme compared to the boring, lame high schoolers. They dress in ridiculous outfits you'd see at a high school fair, though elementary school might be more accurate, and of course there's a sexy student whose cleavage is always exposed. She apparently designed it this way herself, I wouldn't mind if she wasn't 14! I also liked Noumu's design, but he is a Goomba for all intents and purposes, not a character.
One of two main villains of this manga is an absurdly edgy and shallow character called Shigaraki. The author will dangle the keys in front of the reader that he might do anything impactful, but after almost 30 chapters nothing happens after the big confrontation, everyone is fine and Shigaraki just returns to his boss. The boss character's design, looking it up, is fun but he blatantly does nothing and is replaced by Shigaraki because Shigaraki is a beloved character, apparently. Shigaraki talks in his own EVIL EDGY WOBBLY TEXT but what he's saying is obviously meaningless and for effect. I might have read further if this first encounter wasn't such a letdown and red flag.
I will give some credit to the art and humour, as it's the one enjoyable part of the manga. The art style is cartoony and befitting of a comic book, superhero setting, only let down by constant flashbacks a la Naruto. The humour especially with All Might at the start is good, but once you get introduced to the other high school characters it goes into the cringe Naruto territory. Many side characters exist purely because their quirk, or superpower in Hero Academia terms, is a gag, most have essentially a gag personality.
I am personally in the mindset that shonen comes in two forms, there's DragonBall, Kinnikuman and One Piece, and there's Naruto, Hunter x Hunter and Fairy Tail. This definitely comes in the form of the latter, where every character is trying to be either cute, edgy or comic relief, the story is insanely predictable and obviously cashing in on the latest craze without any real plan for the future. After being strung along once or twice by these kinds of series I don't get how manga readers continue to be fooled, but if this is your first manga I can't blame you. If you like those three series I mentioned, or even one of them, you may like this, and there's nothing wrong with that. Just be warned too if you hate any of them that this manga will be as much of a letdown.
The Spring 2016 anime season will be on us sooner than you realize, and with that comes a whole host of eagerly awaited manga adaptations. If you're not up to date with the latest manga hits, we're here to give you a run down of the most eagerly anticipated manga being adapted next season.