My Hero Academia 185-187 – 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 villainy on the rise the hero association does a new ranking, giving the populace of Japan a new No. 1 Hero– Endeavor. But can Endeavor fill the role All Might left behind?

Review:

And so we begin a new arc, one entirely divorced from Midoriya. I actually really like this choice, depending upon what Horikoshi ends up doing with it. Shonen heroes these days tend to win unequivocally, with never a moment for the villains to walk away as the overt victors. That issue aside, moving the fight from Midoriya to our background characters allows the villains perhaps a chance to do some real damage, although how much really depends on the outcome of this fight between High-End and Endeavor.

We began the arc last Chapter, with Midoriya and Co.’s attention shifting to this new top ten hero ranking, meant to restore faith in the Hero Association by giving the people new top heroes to believe in. These chapters ultimately work to explore Endeavor’s mindset and attempts to come off more so as a symbol of peace now that he’s center stage and All Might is effectively out of the picture.We’re also introduced to a new character, Hawks, a quirky individual less focused on the concept of traditional heroism and more willing and eager to bask in the concept of peace where he can both enjoy the attention as a hero and the obscurity of a lower ranking. His character is perhaps at odds with the manga’s desire to instill this idea that without All Might society is in danger of caving to the rise of villainy, as he doesn’t entirely jive with that seeming drive for a darker atmosphere. Then again Shonen these days don’t seem to like to wallow in darker plot lines for very long and Hawks speaks to the need to have a more jovial individual to balance out a more brooding atmosphere.

And All Might wasn’t?

So with Hawks I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other, since Academia is already brimming with quirky, borderline pure comedic characters he seems to be just another to add to the pile. What I do appreciate about these chapters are instead that strong focus on Endeavor and this seemingly menacing new Nomu, High-End.

High-End appears as a tease at the end of Chapter 185, with a wild design that begs for him to live up to its villainous flare. It’s not more than one chapter later that High-End is wrecking havoc and directly challenging Endeavor. I have mixed feelings about High-End clashing with Endeavor right from the get-go. Academia has a tendency, even away from its primary cast, to allow heroes to take the immediate victory. I believe you can count on one hand the number of times villains have walked away the overt victors from any particular encounter, with the most recent being the League of Villains revenge against Overhaul and their murder of one of the hero’s meant to be guarding Overhaul during his transfer to prison.

By challenging Endeavor right way, this doesn’t give a lot of wiggle room to hand the villains an overt victory and allow for Endeavor to ultimately succeed in subduing him. It’s almost an either or situation save for whatever destruction High-End can wrought before ultimately being put down.

Someone is not afraid to get decked.

What do we get however is a crazy fight with some serious destruction. The manga finally offers something much closer to overt damage to society that indicates a world without All Might is one in which villainy could very well win out. It’s not quite there, because it’s not as if stuff didn’t get messed up when All Might and Co. went toe to toe with the villain’s other attempts, but it’s perhaps a sign that we’re may be nearing a turning of tides, one I think the manga really could use sooner rather than later. While Academia is still relatively young compared to other long running titles, it’s much faster pacing almost demands more frequent developments, as we move in and out of arcs at a much more rapid pace compared to say, One Piece, Naruto, Dragon Ball or any other major action shonen. Either way however it’s still a powerful fight scene, and I wish these chapters didn’t line up so awkwardly with the Summer anime premieres, as I’d have liked to talk about the fight in its entirety.

The other big thing is the focus on Endeavor. This comes about in two ways, a focus on Endeavor’s personal struggle to live up to the idea of what a symbol of peace should be and the clashing reality with who Endeavor is as an individual. While I’m not too big a fan of Hawks’ persona, he almost certainly exists here as a challenge to Endeavor’s perception of himself, helping to remind Endeavor that he’ll never really be All Might, not in the same way at least.

#WrongedbyEndeavor?

There’s also what I’d call the “#MeToo” story of Endeavor, as we come to find Endeavor’s other children are painfully disappointed that he’s has been idolized despite the truth of how he treats his family. It comes at a time when a storyline like this, depending upon how it’s handled could either feel powerfully relevant, or draw ire for its handling of the subject matter. While Endeavor’s treatment of his family doesn’t perfectly reflect some of the more grotesque reveals of western entertainment figures (nor should anyone expect it to) the basic idea of a beloved, popular individual having a darker, disgusting nature does still speak to the basic climate of today. I largely suspect however that Horikoshi will sidestep the issue,and is instead using this idea of Endeavor’s mistreatment of his family as more a measure of his personal growth as a character, rather than addressing the abuse he’s handed out as something deserving of comeuppance.

Ultimately I feel like this is a nice change of pace, one centered more so on exploring this supposed new status quo, particularly through the eyes and efforts of Endeavor to fill the void left by All Might. Depending on how this plays out it could go a long way to addressing my deeper criticisms of the series and help to better solidify the idea that villainy really is threatening to take over with the loss of All Might. The manga won’t likely go in the ultimate direction I’d prefer, but I’ll settle for a gradual rise in villains achieving their horrific goals.

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 released on February 2nd, 2018. Chapters discussed today will be collected and released sometime next year (or maybe even next next year?)

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