My Hero Academia 197-202 – 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 finds 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. Shortly after Midoriya has a vision, where he sees the past wielders of All for One, and talk of an oncoming “singularity”. Before he can achieve greater understanding Midoriya and Class A are pitted against rival Class B in a team face off to see who has improved the most over the last few months.

Review:

My Hero Academia is doing really well this arc. We’ve had two full rounds now of Class A vs Class B and many of my worries concerning Class B’s usage have been addressed. We get to see plenty of team work on either side. Characters working together and succeeding at lining up their abilities, and others putting in the teamwork but not quite nailing the execution. It keeps it from looking like anyone on the field is too much of a chump.

There’s even some great character work for Shinso, as his team wins the match, but he realizes that his abilities are more suited to teamwork, and if he wants to prove himself as a capable Hero all to his own, he has a long way to go.

My fear that Class B is just here to make Class A look good is addressed. With the second match up Class B takes the victory after a hard fought battle, making it clear that Class B has a grander place in the story, rather than just to act as stepping stones to showcase how amazing Class A is. It’s not all perfect though. Perhaps afraid readers, particularly fans of Yaoyorozu, will walk away disappointed with her loss we have some heavy handed dialogue about how Kendo feels like she lost anyway, even with a victory, or teachers reassuring us that Yaoyorozu is a capable future leader. It feels unnecessary, like we can’t just let a loss be a loss.

But what really shines through here is the sheer back and forth. Shonen battles, or really any fighting in any action series, rely heavily on twists and turns in a battle, to keep it from feeling too one-sided. Sometimes a one-sided fight is good, but really only as a measure for the hero to drastically improve, or to highlight a major resolution to a long standing fight. Here we need to see our heroes push and pull, and we get a lot of that. These chapters do an incredible job of constantly shifting who has the advantage, finding ways to sweep that way from them, and putting everyone on edge.

But there isn’t too much else to say. MHA is pretty tightly focused on delivering these punch outs, and has time for little else. We only briefly, in Chapter 202, touch on the whole vestiges plot that was teased earlier, likely just to remind readers for when Midoriya and Shinso finally fight (likely in another ten chapters). We’re even given a quick prod to remind us that Bakugo knows Midoriya and All Might’s secret connection, perhaps hinting that it’s going to become a component of the story again. Either way I think My Hero Academia is nailing this arc so far, outside of a minor quibble here or there.

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

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