My Hero Academia 153-157 – 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.
My Hero Academia has been getting increasingly chaotic of late as Midoriya and and Overhaul grew closer and closer to a one on one duel. The battlefields been torn up, heroes are on the ropes, and Overhaul still seems generally unbeatable. All good, tense things that make this arc increasingly feel like we’re finally and truly seeing the affects of a All Might-less world.
Chapter 153 opens with a flashback detailing what Midoriya and Co. were up to prior to him smashing his way onto the scene. Things continue to remain chaotic as they struggle to get Eri off the battlefield while dealing with a seemingly unstoppable Overhaul. It’s pretty incredible seeing how badly this goes. Not only has Mirio lost his power (although there’s some debate about whether he could potentially get it back thanks to Eri’s abilities) but Eraser Head gets taken out of the battle quite quickly. Not only that, but we get to see an incredibly cool, and entirely unexpected use of Overhaul’s power as he deconstructs both himself and one of his minions to turn himself into an absolute monster. I think it’s one of the series best surprises yet.
Chapter 154 has a lot of diving into characters inner thoughts, bouncing us around between the growing self-doubt Midoriya has about whether he truly deserved to be All Might’s successor or not, Overhaul and other characters. The one character we don’t get a lot of personal insight with is Eri herself. Despite her being the big focus of this fight we don’t get a good idea about what’s going on inside her head. Later we have a narrator summarize her emotional journey, and where she ends up, but it feels odd when everyone else is depicted with internal dialogue. It’s a deliberate choice, but one I’m not sure jives with the rest of the content.
There’s a bit of fake out here as Sir Night Eye is seemingly killed while delaying Overhaul, buying time for Midoriya to escape. It’s a powerful moment, undermined by the reveal that he’s alive later on. The chapter does mention that Overhaul will end up touching him no matter what, at least in the future Sir Night Eye has seen, so I wonder if perhaps Sir Night Eye is still doomed for this world, but we’ll take about fate in a bit, as these chapters really tease inescapable outcomes.
As Midoriya gets ready to duke it out with Overhaul directly, a battle long time coming, Chapter 155 pulls back to showcase what’s going on with Eraser Head. He’s been captured by Hari Kurono, who has a quirk that slows a person’s ability to move down to a crawl. It’s the least touched upon aspect of these chapters: What’s to become of Eraser Head. I think, in some ways, it’s the most interesting. There’s no hint that he’s got back up coming to save him, and the implications of his capture seem to imply he’s going to be experimented on.
A big question lingering over these chapters is how dark does My Hero Academia intend to get? This battle has grown increasingly harrowing, in part due to a slightly rougher, frantic art style (although I’ve heard that has more to do with Horikoshi’s struggle to balance work on the anime and the manga than anything else.) which builds an increasingly dim atmosphere and outcome for our heroes. So far, outside of Mirio losing his Quirk, everything here is reversible. I think far and away the outcome of this arc, and it’s greater ramifications, will decide exactly what ‘kind’ of manga My Hero Academia wants to be going forward.
Up to this point characters we care about have only ever lost their Quirks, or ability to fight. All Might is too weak to continue, Iida’s brother immobile from the waist down, a smaller character from the Summer Camp arc also quirkless, and now Mirio. No one has actually lost their life, or met with a far worse outcome like becoming a test guinea pig and suffering through torture. It’s not necessary for My Hero Academia to torture or kill it’s characters, but I think it’s interesting how close it’s getting to these outcomes, and I’m curious whether it’ll pull back or go full steam ahead.
The battle with Overhaul remains the arc’s big highlight as Midoriya struggles to take Overhaul down. Things take a bad turn as Overhaul’s manages to convince Eri that our heroes have no hope of winning. This is where it’s revealed that Sir Night Eye has apparently seen the future, he and Midoriya die as Chisaki escapes. This is the one aspect of these chapters I don’t know how to feel about. By putting Midoriya square in the sites of “fate says you die” we now know that, despite all Sir Night Eye’s talk about being unable to change the future, it’s going to have to change. We won’t be losing our main character. But what this also means is that Sir Night Eye’s death isn’t necessarily on the table, potentially making that earlier moment lose impact. My feelings on this really depend on exactly how this battle ends. Midoriya will indeed make it out okay, but will things not come together as our heroes would like?
Chapter 155 ends as the ceiling caves in, with Uraraka and Tsuyu, along with other heroes and villains tumbling into Midoriya’s battlefield. Chapter 156 flashes back to explain this, as its apparently due to the League of Villains continued efforts to undo Overhaul’s operation, in retaliation for what he did to them. It leads to Overhaul making an effort to escape and run away with Eri, but as the narration describes, Eri manages to find the will to finally push back from Overhaul. We also finally learn exactly what her quirk is: The ability to rewind any individual, undoing their injures etc. She uses it here to undo Overhaul’s merger with his lackey, depowering him.
Chapter 157 builds up to the final showdown between Overhaul and Midoriya, with Eri acting as a way for Midoriya to push himself to 100%, but rewind any damage his does to himself. Again we go back to the idea that Midoriya is about to die, as foreseen by Sir Night Eye’s visions. There’s a lot of push back by Uraraka and Co. wanting to fight and change the future. If anything the chapter seems to foreshadow Sir Night Eye perhaps sacrificing himself to change his death vision for Midoriya.
As if Overhaul’s previous merged form wasn’t enough, he crafts himself a new, even larger and more deadly body from the rubble and remains. Midoriya partners with Eri and undergoes a near Super Saiyan visual transformation as he, for the first time, powers up to 100% Full Cowling. It’s a bad ass moment to go out on and has me incredibly excited for what’s to come.
Overall these are some great chapters. They’re tense, chaotic, and full of an impending sense of doom. They get a bit hopeful at the end as Midoriya finally gets to show his best stuff. I’m interested to see how Academia will choose to deal with its ‘destiny and fate’ elements, although I feel like they’ve sort of been tacked on since Sir Night Eye was introduced. They’ve never really given the focus they need to feel like a integral part of this arc. Their inclusion still feels like an after thought, as if to up the tension and add increased doubt to our heroes ability to defeat Overhaul.
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 11 releases on February 2nd, 2018. Chapters discussed today will be collected and released sometime next year (or maybe even next next year?)