My Hero Academia, Volume 3 – Review

My Hero Academia continues to be just the most consistent dang shounen action spectacle on the block. That really is something worth celebrating – very few manga hit their genre notes as cleanly and engagingly as My Hero Academia, and when the manga’s overall polished is combined with how friggin’ likable all of its characters are, you get something that is as pleasant and engaging to read through as a manga can be. It’s the kind of story you could chew through forever over a long afternoon, and having to review it in sub-arc chunks like this is a little agonizing. My Hero Academia was born to be an anime action hit, and I’m really hoping Bones knock this one out of the park.

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

My Hero Academia

Chapter 1

Strong use of heavy shadows

The hand-villain’s hands cry out “father…” when they’re separated from his body. JEEZ

“Throwing punches to save people… that’s our state-sponsored violence.” So are we actually going to question heroes?

“Carolina Smash!”

Smiling to look strong when you’re terrified

And the other heroes arrive just in time! All Might is also important to them

Chapter 2

“Scum like you could never kill the symbol of peace”

“Violence in the name of saving others is admirable, right?”

“Idealistic criminals have a different sort of fire in their eyes. But you’re just enjoying yourself, you big liar.”

Plenty of impact to the hits, but a fairly simple fight

Chapter 3

And the battle ends. Not too dramatic of a conclusion

Chapter 4

“Next time, the world will know of the terror you represent!” hrm

“Teleportation quirks are rare enough. Shame one of them had to go and turn villain”

The school actually has a fine relationship with the police

Tsukauchi, a police detective and friend of All Might

“Those foolish villains picked the wrong fight. Because the members of class 1-A are going to be mighty heroes indeed!” It feels like the whole class is on the same side, which is a nice feeling


Chapter 5

Cyborg cowboy character actually talks like a cowboy, of course. “Varmints” and whatnot

Describing this villain as a “man-child” is amazing

Talking about how people with no heroic role models, or those who are intimidated by greater powers, might be drawn in by a sense of pure, unaffected evil. This is, uh, actually pretty relevant

The sports festival is the country’s biggest sporting event. Top heroes are there as scouts. The hero economy is pretty interesting to learn about

They can get picked up as sidekicks, but many sidekicks never go beyond that

So now they’re competing against each other, of course

Uraraka continues to be a simultaneously endearing and good character. Great female lead

It unfortunately feels like this volume will be the epilogue to the villain arc and the prologue to the school competition one, leaving it in a fairly awkward space drama-wise. But put another way, that’s also a reflection of how compelling the manga is, that I’m too impatient to get the next one

Continuously returning to that “symbol of peace” refrain

You get the impression things are going to fall apart. The world is too secure right now

Chapter 6

“The slight difference between those who aim for the top and those who don’t… it’ll come to matter in a big way once you all emerge into society”

One thing My Hero Academia has over other shounens is that it exists in a modern world where the characters are already in a societal/economic infrastructure. Their powers are already weighed in terms of appeal, in terms of earning recommendations, in terms of securing employment. This is already “the business of superheroes”

The main three are all such likable people

Those in the hero course could potentially get knocked out during this competition, replaced by the other students

Some people protest the event

Todoroki, the crazy-powerful ice guy, calls out Midoriya

Chapter 7

Bakugo continues to be a shitty but understandable person. And the story doesn’t frame that as “cool” – he’s an angry asshole, but sometimes you have to deal with those people

The quieter middle chapters don’t leave much opportunity for big visual setpieces, and My Hero Academia doesn’t have the grace to make its smaller conversations visually interesting. But here, back in the action, we once again get great setpiece images

“Especially because dear old Dad is watching” says Todoroki

Strong, thick lines, good curves. There’s a great solidity to this manga’s art

Chapter 8

Nice sense of scale for Bakugo rocketing himself over the robots

“Class B and the others aren’t bad. It’s just…” “Class A knows there’s no time to hesitate. They’ve been exposed to the outside world, up close and personal. They’ve had that fear planted in them. And they’ve endured it. Overcome it. Each has grown from that experience, and forgotten how to hesitate.”

It’s great that that experience has actually changed them, and in a dramatically compelling way

The support students get to show off the tech they’ve developed to the industry

“Eyes on me, all you corporations out there!”

Right, Todoroki’s the number two hero’s son. So he’s got more pressure than anyone

More shots creating a sense of dramatic space

This last chapter packs more drama than most of the rest of the volume

Chapter 9

Midoriya wins entirely through insane strategy, and it’s friggin’ great

Without even using his quirk, but it still feels believable

The manga manages to still employ a bit of “guy without powers in a hero’s world,” since Midoriya’s quirk is so unreliable

The business course students discussing how they’d market Midoriya. Great stuff

Great Midoriya faces to end this volume

4 thoughts on “My Hero Academia, Volume 3 – Review

  1. I’m really glad you still enjoyed what, in hindsight, was probably the weakest volume for me. If you’re still going to continue reviewing the manga after the anime airs, then I’ll definitely be looking forward to your write-up for volume 4. Beyond the usual strengths of MHA, volume 4 has some of my favorite world building moments in the series.

    By the way, have you noticed how great all the shoes look?

  2. I’m not sure if this really matters but how would you compare MHA to Hunter X Hunter’s early arcs? I will probably end up watching the anime either way but just curious.

    • I’d say MHA is definitely more conventional – HxH started straight off with a bunch of challenges that demanded the characters find creative solutions, but MHA is largely just training and fighting so far. It’s very good at that stuff, but definitely less unique than HxH.

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