My Hero Academia 115-117 – 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 became targets by the league of villains, culminating in a battle against All Might’s nemesis, All for One. All Might managed to defeat this great evil, but at the cost of his powers, now no longer able to act as the symbol of peace. With a shift in the status quo, Midoriya and Co. manage to get their provisional licenses so they can prepare for the great rise of villains just on the horizon. the world is in for a turbulent time.
We open with focus on Twice, one of Tomura’s League of Villain allies, helping us readers to see the shifting state of Academia’s world through the eyes of its villains. I don’t particularly like this chapter. I enjoy its sentiment, and the look into what the new status quo is like from the villain’s side of things: But I feel like the execution here leaves a lot to be desired. It’s hammered home again through the TV news that the world is increasingly on edge after All Might’s fall and Endeavor just doesn’t have the chops to be the symbol of peace everyone needs. This part is a tad confusing, as it’s not always obvious through the speech bubbles when we’re getting TV reports, or our villain’s thoughts on the matter. I like the notion that Endeavor just doesn’t energize and comfort people like All Might did, and it speaks to me as someone currently living through one of the most turbulent elections in America’s history where Charisma was a center talking point.
As Twice struggles with an inner voice, we see that crime is on the rise, specifically joint crime, with groups of villains working together, something that had been uncommon prior to current events. Heroes find themselves outnumbered and outdone. It’s these illustrative scenes I find more compelling and engaging, sadly much of the chapter is bogged down on heavy amounts of monologue.
Our villain gets a call informing him that the league of villains wants to meet up, although he’s conflicted and increasingly crazy as his inner voice contradicts everything he says. This also feels like a disconnect to me, as we don’t know enough about Twice for much of this chapter to have any real impact or interest surrounding his character. It’s almost played as a mystery as to why he’s so crazy, but doesn’t feel engaging since the chapter’s focus is also split with introducing us to the new status quo.
Eventually we get some context for Twice, whose Quirk is called Double. He’s able to make a double of himself many times over, but this eventually lead to confusion amongst his separate selves, which killed each other, leaving him unsure who was the original. He feels he has no place for himself within society. But after spotting a group of villains conversing, and noting that everyone is finally carving out a place for themselves in the world he contemplates whether to step forward and ask to join back up with the league of villains or not. He’s possibly going to be a bigger player going forward, or perhaps just an illustration of the rising tide of villains, but I can’t help but feel this reintroduction was botched here, the manga trying to do two different things at the same time and never really doing either proper service.
Eventually we snap over to All Might who’s face to face with the imprisoned All for One, hoping to settle things for good. Or he says that anyway, that doesn’t really happen over the next chapter.
I don’t particularly like this chapter either. It feels very try hard, unsure of exactly what it wants to say, or how to execute that without All for One coming off like a classically smug super villain who’s got an ‘edge’ over our hero. More troubling is that it doesn’t feel like it really furthers the story at all. All for One and All Might have a chat, with All for One filling us in on the prison he finds himself incarcerated within, Tartarus. All Might quickly turns the conversation back to his own topic, asking where Shigaraki is. But All for One isn’t forthcoming, pointing out that Shigaraki has left the nest, unlike All Might’s pupil. This is probably when the chapter is most on point, but doesn’t provide us with any new information. We know that Shigaraki is moving on his own, and we’ve already heard similar notions before about Shigaraki taking up All for One’s mantle.
All Might eventually asks All for One why he set up a successor, and All for One explains wanting to leave one’s mark upon the world, to leave himself a legacy. All for One then goes on to note that he expects the world is shocked by All Might’s retirement. He then accurately surmises the state of the world and taunts All Might with the idea that he can’t save people anymore. It’s almost like these chapters are more meant as character exploration, but the trouble is we never knew All for One that long anyway. It makes All Might’s chat with him feel so– well, off. This struggle between these two has never really been in the manga’s foreground. It’s only recently that it came to a head, and while that battle was epic, this battle of wills lacks punch because we’re still so unfamiliar with All Might’s longstanding history with All for One.
All Might reveals he understands how All for One thinks too. He refuses to die and he won’t allow Shigaraki to kill him. He won’t let the future be what All for One wants it to be. He gets to leave and tells All for One that the future he forsees will be smashed, no matter what it takes and All for One instead will be the one watching on in horror in his remaining years.
On the drive back All Might gets Midoriya’s text, with a photo of his new license. Back with Midoriya everyone is celebrating, that is until Bakugo asks Midoriya to meet him out front so they can discuss his quirk.
This chapter finally brought us around to some real meat but continues the format of focusing more so on character than story. Later that night Midoriya and Bakugo meet up and Bakugo leads them to where they first fought after joining the academy. Bakugo notes how Midoriya was a quirkless failure, but somehow got into U.A. He notes it all began after Midoriya met All Might. And after the Kamino incident he’s finally pieced it together that Midoriya got his quirk from All Might.
He realized it wasn’t just some B.S. Midoriya had spouted before, not after seeing All for One suck up people’s quirks. Midoriya realizes this is his fault for blabbing to Bakugo ages ago about a borrowed power. We knew this confrontation was coming and I think it’s very apt that it happens right after Bakugo has clearly been surpassed by Midoriya.
Bakugo then decides that it’s time they fight. He wants to see what Midoriya has that All Might saw in him. And if Midoriya wins then it means Bakugo was wrong this whole time. Midoriya still doesn’t want to fight but Bakugo charges. Midoriya takes too long to respond and by the time he jumps away his leg gets caught in Bakugo’s blast. Bakugo screams for Midoriya to come at him, but he still doesn’t want to fight. We end on an image of All Might, who may in fact be watching this battle in secret. It’s unclear, and perhaps a tad confusing whether All Might is literally meant to be nearby or merely appears in panel to remind us that these two are battling it out over their differing ideals of what All Might means to them.
Overall I’m disappointed. I get what 115 and 116 are trying to do, but I think they do it very poorly and I feel like they’re perhaps some of the more disappointing chapters in the manga yet. But 117 brings things back around and I’m hoping it stays that way.
That’s it for today. Please let me know what your thoughts are on these chapters in the comments below!
My Hero Academia is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Volume 7, Chapters 54-62, release on February 7th, 2017. Chapters discussed today (115-117) will be collected and released sometime next year (or maybe even next next year?)