My Hero Academia, Volume 1 – Review

Back to the manga pile, this time for something a little outside of my usual fare. My Hero Academia is textbook Shonen Jump, but I can dig that if it’s executed well, and this one’s very polished. It’s extremely readable, the premise offers lots of fun character-design potential, and the art is excellent. I’m guessing/hoping it’ll gain a bit more personality as it goes along, but it’s also just nice to have a more diverse selection of manga to be keeping an active eye on. I’ll be sticking with this one.

You can check out my full review over at ANN, or my notes below!

My Hero Academia

Chapter One

Cartoon villains and heroes. A purse-snatcher is “pure evil”

But they become heroes for fame and fortune

The art is very practiced – you can tell this is a veteran mangaka. It’s full of bold angles and wild expressions, ideal for creating this story’s energetic tone

Character designs are angular and energetic – kinda blocky, but it’s a very consistent style, and stretches well for dramatic moments

“Quirks” are the name for the powers

Izuku Midoriya is the MC

Yeah, very dynamic angles and compositions, great use of shadow, speed lines. All Might stretches into a blur as he winds up a punch

It’s based in classic superheroes, but it’s got a self-aware tone that doesn’t come off as annoying. Rather, it’s just about superheroes in a world where superheroes didn’t exist, but now do, and so everyone’s acting like how they think classic superheroes should act

“Up close… he’s drawn in a totally different style!”

And All Might signs his notebook before he can even ask. Lol

Yeah, really angular compositions. It’s not beautiful in the way something like Bleach can be – it’s intentionally cartoony, but very professional

“A symbol of peace who saves people with a smile must never be daunted by evil”

All Might actually gives him some really practical advice

“There’s no one here who can stop him. Just gotta wait for someone with the right quirk to show up!”

Chapter Two

Already at a training chapter

“You blind fanboy! Such dumb zeal… THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I LIKE TO HEAR!!”

Classic Jump formula, but definitely executed with energy

His “Pass the Test, American Dream” plan

Because our MC has never had powers, he’s studied them a ton. He’s a nerd of heroes, so he can give context and will hopefully think things through from an outsider’s perspective

Or he’ll just be the usual headstrong hero

And now we’re in the exam chapter

The storytelling isn’t that sharp, but it moves well. We know what’s happening, so it doesn’t labor it

The visuals can occasionally get too busy to really follow the drama of what’s happening. It might be better if the author occasionally loosened up a bit

Ooh, the big dramatic shots are fantastic here

The artist has an excellent sense of anatomy and dramatic foreshortening. A clear and solid professional

Chapter Three

All Might using this “Stay Tuned!” style of storytelling for revealing how MC got in is great

The manga leaning into its love of superhero stuff works well

Chapter Four

The disconnect between his power and body allow for classic ramping up of abilities as well as Big Damn Hero impressive moments early on

This book is almost most interesting as a kind of blueprint of Shonen Jump storytelling

Chapter Five

Almost every element of the Naruto template is here. The trio of the MC, upbeat girl, and sullen rival…

And he’s immediately thrown into another test, the eight first-day tests

“That’s Plus Ultra!” too many catchphrases

“I can see what they’re capable of, and what not. This is inevitably linked to how creatively they use their abilities”

He can’t regulate his power, so he isolates All For One into one fingertip

MC’s okay with being called Deku since the girl likes it

“He’s drawn so differently from the rest of us. Gives me goosebumps.”

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