My Hero Academia 143-146 – Manga Review
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.
Chapter 143 puts us right back into the Fat Gum and Kirishima fight against Overhaul’s Spear and Shield combo team: Rappa and Tengai. This chapter does a solid job of building up Kirishima’s negative thoughts and then thrusting him right back into action like a hero should. It’s a solid moment and only added by Fat Gum’s surprise change in appearance as we learn there’s more to this hero than meets the eye. He can store physical energy his fat has absorbed into a counter attack. This means his fat sheds away and showcases a much more heroic figure beneath.
But 143 is undermined by a lengthy flashback in 144, that I feel, isn’t entirely necessary. As Fat Gum counterattacks we go into Kirishima’s history, his meekness, his lack of willpower, and what drove him to change himself. It’s much longer than it needs to be, not because any of this is bad mind you, but because Horikoshi, our author, has done a really really good job of selling Kirishima’s persona already. The writing has been so strong, so good at portraying Kirishima through subtext alone, that much of this flashback isn’t needed and could probably be told at half the length.
Again, it’s not bad, but it does feel redundant and doesn’t need to be this long, extending into the majority of the next chapter. My big issue with flashbacks like these are how badly they cut into the flow of the modern day story. Flashbacks should be short, to the point, and get in and out without disrupting the flow. They should fit snugly, book-ended by the battle of the present and no longer than one chapter. The last flashback managed this perfectly.
The flashback continues for the majority of this chapter and again, while there are some good character moments, it feels superfluous to what’s going on in the present. Maybe reserve some of this stuff for side content? Collected volume chapters or OVAs? I just don’t think the majority of it is relevant to what’s going on now.
Anyway once we’re back to the present we get a solid smash punch from Fat Gum, ultimately concluding this battle.
With Fat Gum’s attack the battle comes to an end, although our attack happy villain, Rappa, is still up and ready to rumble. Thankfully he pulls back on the battle, as he’s a blood thirsty fighter who wants a fair and square rematch one day with Kirishima. I generally dislike developments like this as it feels like a cope out to the no holds bared fight we just witnessed.
Not only does Rappa put an end to their bout, but he goes so far as to treat Fat Gum and Kirishima to medical supplies, which further feels weird and off base for the conclusion of this encounter. Amongst this content we do at least get some tease for how dangerous Overhaul’s quirk is and the sheer power of life and death he wields. He apparently killed Rappa and also brought him back to life. It reminds me a lot of Pain from Naruto and I do fear that My Hero Academia will make the same mistake Naruto did, of crafting an all powerful villain who ends up claiming the lives of quite a few characters, before then reverting their deaths. Moments like that are cheap manipulation for the reader, and I’m crossing my fingers Horikoshi has more sense than that.
In fact, I’d prefer Overhaul be a fake out to that development. Perhaps several characters do eventually die in the hunt for Overhaul, but he refuses to bring them back to life, subverting the idea that he’ll see the error of his ways. But now we’re just spit balling.
The chapter ends with both Twice and Himiko, on loan from the League of Villains, being sent in to bring a stop to our heroes advancement on Overhaul.
So overall I’m a bit let down by these chapters. Character moments and flashbacks can be nice, but I dislike their overuse in the midst of heavy action. I hope the next time I review My Hero Academia they pull back on the extreme usage we saw here and go back to a more natural flow.
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 9, Chapters 72-80, releases on August 1st, 2017. Chapters discussed today (143-146) will be collected and released sometime next year (or maybe even next next year?)