My Hero Academia 162-166 – 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.
It feels a bit of a shame that I wasn’t able to do a review for Academia sooner, particularly as these chapters kinda break down into “the aftermath of the Overhaul arc” and “something lighter and more fun.” For me, I’m coming back to this after nearly two months, making the jump back in feel like “man I should’ve read this sooner, I hadn’t completed the last storyline.” But thems the breaks.
Chapter 162 is an odd duck, I think trying to do just a bit too much in one gulp. It opens with Gran Torino attempting to apprehend Kurogiri (and ultimately succeeding.) What this portion of the story is really for is to introduce us to Gigantomachia, our newest super villain addition to Tomura’s growing League of Villains. I love this part of the chapter, and when we return to this set up later. It’s a great way to build anticipation for just how chaotic things are likely to get going forward, With Sir Night Eye’s death I see it as a sign that, gradually, things are going to get worse and worse, constantly building the stakes and obstacles Midoriya has ahead of him.
We snap away from that tease to deal with Midoriya’s lingering inferiority complex that’s been on and off through this last arc. In some ways Midoriya feels responsible for what’s happened to Buff Tintin, and while Mirio tries to console Midoriya and put on a big smile, you can tell from the art (which is very expressive as always) that it hasn’t really squelched Midoriya’s troubled emotional state, not entirely anyway.
My issue with Chapter 162 really is the last panel, attempting to pull things around on a lighter note as we shift focus to Bakugo and Todoroki. Bakugo and Todoroki provide an almost comic relief shift in tone, one I really kind of loathe. I’d rather the chapter have ended on a more somber note, particularly as 163 takes us right back to that, making the one panel shift feel jarring and pointless.
Chapter 163 does a slightly better job at shifting the tone from somber to playful. We spend a few pages very much dedicated to everyone checking in on each other after the crazy Overhaul battle. It feels like a much more solid end point to the aftermath and a good time to switch up the tone. But Horikoshi kinda muddies the waters still, pulling us back to that Gigantomachia tease, which feels darker than what’s going on with either Bakugo or Todoroki. I can see a version of these events that isn’t quite so wishy washy in tone, if the Gigantomachia tease had occurred after the dorm scenes but before we’ve turned our attention to Bakugo and Todoroki. It’s a minor quibble though as the manga finally settles on a lighter approach by this point.
While still periodically addressing bigger questions left in the wake of All Might’s “Fall” chapters 163-165 largely focus on giving us a break from the dramatic with a more light-hearted adventure. Bakugo and Todoroki’s license make up exam brings back a couple fun characters from a few arcs ago, while providing a great twist on the exam itself. Rather than a balls to the wall beat em up fight, we get some great comedy from Gang Orca, and our would-be heroes attempting to quell a bunch of rebellious kids. It works thematically and as a solid way to give us a breather from the more action-packed, dramatic atmosphere of late.
My only complaint with these chapters is how stupid it feels to allow Camie to take the exam seeing as they know she had been knocked out and replaced by a league of villains member. Wouldn’t you want to make sure she’s actually up to snuff when it was the villain who did so well the first time around? Overall, outside of the wild tone in chapters 162 and part of 163 Academia manages to provide a solid conclusion to the Overhaul arc while also providing a chance for readers to catch a breath between meatier arcs. The Gigantomachia tease has me very eager to jump into our next harrowing arc and see just how bad things will get for our heroes.
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?)