My Hero Academia 100-102 – Review
My Hero Academia:
Reviewed by: Tom
Synopsis: Izuku Midoriya has wanted to be a hero all his life. He lives in a world where people are born innately with quirks, and if so chose, can go down the path of becoming a hero, choosing to fight those who would use their birth given abilities for evil rather than good. It’s a difficult path for anyone, but near impossible for Izuku, who was born quirkless, without any innate powers of his own. He’s mocked by his classmates, who rudely nickname him Deku, but Izuku holds onto his dream no matter what.
Izuku’s life is forever changed however, when he has a fated encounter with All Might, the mightiest super hero of them all. Through this encounter, Izuku found his path towards becoming a super hero, a path not easy by any means.
Warning: Spoilers to Follow:
Now, having fought several villains seeking to defeat All Might, and learned to properly control his quirk, Midoriya and the rest of his class retreat to a summer training workshop where Aizawa-sensei hopes to speed up the groups development. After an attack by the league of villains ends with Bakugo captured, Midoriya and the others plan a secret rescue mission while All Might and the other big heroes start their own official operation.
However, it turns out Tomura is backed by a far greater threat! All Might’s nemesis, All for One, is there and things take a turn for the worse at the battle progresses. All Might manages to defeat All for One, but at the cost of his powers. Will All Might no longer able to act as the symbol of peace things are about to get a whole lot worse. In order to ensure student safety, the Academy decides to institute Dormitories, but Midoriya’s mother is against it. However, thanks to Midoriya’s passion for becoming a hero, and All Might’s promise to his mother, she eventually okays the idea. Now Midoriya and his classmates resume their education!
Picking right up from last time Midoriya and Co. are going to be coming up with Ultimate Moves! Aizawa and the other teachers explain the concept of Ultimate Moves, although it’s exactly like any manga/super-hero fan might expect: Moves that are your finishers/represent your abilities and are unique to each hero. Heading over to the gym, the students are introduced to the Training Kitchen Land, or TKL for short. It’s here the students will ‘cook up’ their unique techniques.
Iida asks why it is they require Ultimate Moves to obtain their provisional licenses. We’re given a very round about answer from Aizawa and Midnight concerning the license exam. They’ll be tested on a wide variety of topics and combat prowess is one of the criteria. It doesn’t actually answer the question of what’s so important about ultimate moves. In fact, I’d say it’s rather weak justification for including ultimate moves which, while useful, are mostly about big flashy panels in manga and comics. In fact, their combat usage is probably up for debate, and it’s assuredly best we don’t think too much about it, so I feel like this added, pseudo justification wasn’t really needed and only serves to poke holes in the narrative for more technical minded readers.
Ectoplasm points out ultimate moves aren’t necessarily attacks and uses Iida’s extreme speed boost as an example. They’re more signature moves than, say, ultimate moves. It’s explained that with just ten days of Summer Vacation left they’ll be going through extra-intense training to develop ultimate/signature moves that’ll aid them in battle. It’s also a chance to rethink their costumes. This is the real reason we’re focusing on this, as it’s more of an excuse to revamp the characters a bit, change up designs, and give them some cool flashy abilities previously unseen. I’m all for it.
Diving into the training we learn that Ojiro relies too much on his tail for movements, Mina needs to concentrate on how to properly shoot her acid, and Midoriya is in even worse a bind as his quirk still isn’t stable enough to think about developing ultimate moves.
All Might shows up to see how everyone was progressing. He immediately notes that Midoriya appears lost while Bakugo is nailing the exercise. After witnessing Bakugo in action most everyone waxes and wanes about how as kids they always wanted to make ultimate moves. It only hammers home to Midoriya how behind he is compared to everyone else. Again My Hero Academia is exceedingly good at bringing things around to the ‘feels.’ It knows how to take every moment and pull it back around to hammer home what a crappy life Midoriya’s been stuck with. I don’t think it’s harped on that too often yet, and these moments feel spread out, only occurring once every couple chapters.
All Might approaches Midoriya and tells him he’s still trying to emulate him. Before Midoriya can asks what he means, All Might moves onto giving everyone else a little advice too. All Might’s internal monologue explains that he’s trying to spur Midoriya’s thinking along, rather than just give him the answers outright as he has done before. Aizawa spots that All Might’s got an idiot’s guide to teaching in his back pocket, a fun little touch.
Midoriya surprised me here, as he’s a generally smart kid, and All Might’s comment is instantly recognizable as a true and obvious criticism. It’s not hard for any reader to pinpoint how dependent Midoriya is on mimicking All Might. But purely for narrative reasons Midoriya doesn’t get it. This causes two issues. One: It makes Midoriya out to be an idiot. It’s such an obvious criticism that even Midoriya should be able to see what All Might is talking about. It’s plain as day that this brain fart is to allow the narrative to flow in a certain way and bring Midoriya to an epiphany, while allowing for comedy and reinvention of his abilities/costume. Two: Even if we understand that it’s for narrative reasons it has the danger of pulling more experienced readers out of the story, damaging the flow and suspension of disbelief. It would’ve been more effective to have Midoriya simply acknowledge the criticism, but not know how to really grow beyond it.
Anyway, Midoriya decides, until he can figure out what All Might meant, he needs to focus on protecting his arm when using his quirk and perhaps that means reinventing his costume. Iida and Uraraka arrive, also looking to modify their costumes when they spot Midoriya. Just as he makes to greet them the door to the modification lab explodes, knocking Midoriya right off his feet. Through the smoke Power Loader, a pro hero in charge of the Support Course, and Hatsume, the nut job who caused the accidental explosion to begin with, emerge coughing and commenting on Hatsume’s newest failure. Hatsume was tossed from the room and ending up right on top of Midoriya, who gets an eye full of cleavage, much to shock of his budding love interest Uraraka! I have to say this moment is interesting as it can initially be written off as little more than comedic fan service, but from this full page of cleavage we get a budding romance subplot. It’s a little weird, having an emotional subplot spawn from fan service, but I think it works?
Skipping over the awkward incident, Hatsume asks for introductions. Once reminded of our three heroes, as she last met them during the sports festival arc, Hatsume loses interest and starts off back to work. But Midoriya gets her attention when he mentions he was here to see Power Loader about costume revisions.
Power Loader invites the team inside and explains the turn around time on different changes to their costumes. It’s mostly world building exposition, and technical information for more curious readers. Midoriya explains what he’s looking to adjust and Power Loader believes that it shouldn’t take too long to make the changes. Hatsume freaks poor Midoriya out as she begins to grope him, attempting to ascertain whether Midoriya will be a fit for her Power Suit! The next few pages are mostly for comedy as Hatsume subjects Midoriya and the others to her various, misguided inventions. However, as Power Loader scolds Hatsume for her continually ridiculous and unhelpful inventions Midoriya realizes what All Might was trying to tell him. Or sort of, anyway. As Midoriya explains later his epiphany is more of a stop gap/restructuring of the problem All Might pointed out.
Power Loader also tells them that they better get use to Hatsume, as she’ll likely end up as their support mechanic in the future seeing as she works really and is always inventing and tinkering. Thanks to hearing about Hatsume’s never ending drive to invent and push the boundaries of convention Midoriya completes his epiphany and realizes exactly what All Might was trying to tell him. Midoriya then asks Iida to teach him some moves.
We skip to four days later and All Might stops by again to see how everyone is progressing. Mineta finds that Midoriya has modded his costume and while he’s made a few improvements, Midoriya is adamant that he doesn’t want to change the original design away from the costume his mother originally made him. It’s a nice little addition and is sweet without making Midoriya pitiable again.
Bakugo’s also discovered how to use his explosive power in new ways as well. However, after blasting a hole through a rock, part of it comes tumbling down towards All Might. Midoriya rushes in, kicking the rock apart in mid air. He realizes that because All Might was all about his fists he’d subconsciously decided he’d use All for One like that too. But now we see Midoriya has moved beyond that and is developing his own, new style: One for All Full Cowling Shoot Style. Kind of anyway. The next chapter addresses this, at least a little, but Midoriya seems to be mostly now copying off Iida and it makes me feel like there’s two directions My Hero Academia could go with this to address this potential issue. More on that later though.
Flashing back to a few days prior, Hatsume is keen to come up with new accessories for Midoriya’s new style. She even gets Power Loader to agree to sign off on her upgrades if they’re good. If being the operative word. As they hammer out the new plan, Uraraka looks a little defeated, but more on that later. Midoriya explains how he came up with this idea thanks to watching Gran Torino and Kacchan. We get a brief run down on the new parts of his costume, as well as his more speed oriented battling style.
Back in the present Midoriya asks if All Might is alright and everyone takes notice of Midoriya’s complete change in style. Midoriya sees it as little more than a stopgap however, and think it isn’t really worth the praise. All Might is super impressed though and believes that even this change up in style will be a huge boon for him during the coming license exam.
All Might apologizes to Bakugo, who doesn’t seem too thrilled that Midoriya saved All Might. Part of me wonders if Bakugo nearly killing All Might and Midoriya saving him, is a hint at where either character will go. I’ve long suspected Bakugo might eventually switch sides, or at the very least became a volatile hero. So I wonder if this is the author’s way of telling us where either character is ultimately going to end up: Bakugo a lose cannon that’ll cause more harm than good and Midoriya, forced to fight his childhood friend. All Might also starts to realize that after all these years as a hero now he’s the one who needs saving. As the students start to converse on their changing costumes and styles, Class B arrives, not too happy that Class A is still using the TKL.
Monoma from Class B taunts that Class A will get trounced in the license exams by Class B. However it’s explained that Class A and B will be at different exam centers so as to ensure students of the same school don’t face each other. Our heroes will be going up against students from other hero academies, and because most first years don’t go in for licensing exams this early, they’ll likely be facing older, more advanced students. As we learn this line is less forewarning and more a way of subverting expectations at the end of this chapter.
Later all the Class A girls sit around chatting in the dorm, asking each other how they’re progressing. Uraraka is spacing out though and the girls put it together that Uraraka is in love. They try to get it out of her, but Uraraka won’t confess as to who she’s enamored with. As the conversation dies down Uraraka spots Midoriya out the window, doing more training in the middle of the night, attempting to emulate Iida’s kicks. As she watches him it becomes harder and harder for Uraraka to deny her feelings. I’m of two minds about this scene.
Firstly, I’m enjoying the budding romance narrative. I’m not sure exactly where it’ll go, or how it’ll really manage to tie itself into the main story, but fans have been shipping these characters together forever and it finally feels like that might be going somewhere. At the same time however, Midoriya’s inner dialogue here brings up my earlier criticisms: Midoriya has merely gone from copying All Might to copying others. As we’ve seen from the brief examples in these two chapters, Midoriya has gone from an all punches hero to all kicks and that’s about it. Once that becomes obvious, Midoriya’s epiphany feels shallow and there’s only a couple ways My Hero Academia can address this without undermining itself and its message.
One option is to have Midoriya realize sometime during the next few arcs that he’s made a mistake and has merely switched up who he’s copying. It suffers from the same problem as this whole plot line: It makes Midoriya out to be a bit of an idiot. For someone so observant to make such a basic error not once, but twice, it undermines how smart he’s felt as a main character up till now. That said, Midoriya has admitted this is a stop gap, and that makes me hopeful Midoriya will instead draw inspiration from everyone around him, becoming a sort of ‘amalgamation’ of the other heroes, developing himself in new ways that are built off his observations of the others and stand out that way.
Skipping ahead the training is over and our students are bused to their exam test site at the Takoba Arena. Mineta is feeling nervous, but Aizawa reassures him that he can pass the exam and get his license. Just as the students are performing their cheer to psyche themselves up another student comes along and screams alongside them before being he’s chastised by his own classmates into apologizing.
As it turns out this guy, along with his classmates, is from Shiketsu, the western Japan rival to U.A. Aizawa realizes who the student is, Yo-Arashi, a highly skilled top grades student who could’ve gone to U.A., but for some reason chose not to. Everyone is stunned, as this would imply that this other first year, Yo-Arashi, is even better than their own top student, Todoroki. This moment makes it clear that all the talk of older students was more or less to throw off our expectations so we’d be caught off guard by Yo-Arashi’s reveal. It worked on me at least.
Going forward I’m very curious how Uraraka’s budding interest in Midoriya will factor into the series. I’m also wondering when it’ll become clear what direction Midoriya will be growing as a hero, and whether he’ll go through a second epiphany any time soon. All Might’s character seems to be stagnating at the moment. The internal dialogue at the start of Chapter 102 feels a little like an end point for his character. He’ll clearly remain as a mentor for Midoriya, but it feels like unless we start delving into All Might’s depression surrounding his end as a hero, there just isn’t too much more to do with his character. Is this perhaps the big switch from All Might as one of our mains to a greater focus on Midoriya, or is another character going to rise up and take the second spotlight? Either way I’m excited to see where My Hero Academia is going and even if I’ve got a few complaints it’s still the manga I look forward to the most every week.
That’s it for today. Please let me know what you’re thinking of My Hero Academia’s current arc in the comments below!
My Hero Academia is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Volume 5, Chapters 36-44, released on August 2nd, 2016. Chapters discussed today (100-102) will be collected in Volume 12, to be released sometime next year.