My Hero Academia 211-213 – 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:

Horikoshi has had a few health scares over the last year, and I think chapters 211-213 really indicate how much the series can be impacted by that. While Horikoshi seems to be on the mend, or at least hasn’t been as vocal about any health concerns as he was back in early 2018, there’s aspects to these chapters that feel underdeveloped or truncated in such a way that I can’t help but feel the series is suffering because of it.

First is the art. This Class A vs. B arc has flitted about between the typical highly detailed character art and background art Horikoshi typically delivers, to being a tad more minimalist, cutting location art in favor of utilizing entirely white space. It’s particularly noticeable in a couple panels in Chapter 213, when Monoma goes in for the kill, even though Midoriya only just recovered. It reminds me a bit of Togashi’s gradual shift in art as his health declined.

Beneath the art is the writing, which feels a tad rushed. Rushed maybe isn’t the right way to describe it either. Everything here plays fine, but feels like missed opportunity. Midoriya’s powers go berserk, but not for more than 2 chapters, and without any real damage. We miss the opportunity to sell this overload as a really big and dangerous deal, before pulling back and revealing it’s actually a boon. There’s barely any damage, the solution is quick, and the reveal sudden.

Even All Might and Eraser Head’s response to it feels muted. Instead of rushing in for damage control, or calling the match (since, I mean, this seems like a big deal) we cut that avenue off and get right back to the fighting, as if someone losing control of their quirk, or manifesting a totally new one, isn’t anything to be concerned about.

These aren’t huge issues, but I think they point to Horikoshi trying to keep the page count down. It’s no secret that a fair number of recent chapters have a lower than usual page count. Where as before we could expect 20-24 pages, Academia hasn’t broken 18 since before chapter 200. My suspicion is that in order not to overwork himself, but not be forced to take breaks and bruise his pride, Horikoshi is tightening up the story as much as possible, to get his basic ideas across. I don’t know that I like this method of dealing with the problem. I think Horikoshi is in danger of damaging Academia this way, rather than say bowing out every 4th week like Oda does.

That said, what’s here works. Monoma comes across as much more of an asshole than normal (almost making me wonder if he’ll do a villain heel-turn later in life), but otherwise the reveal of Midoriya’s new ability to wield quirks from previous users is fun, and what character art we do get still looks fantastic. I’m hoping before the arc wraps up we do a little more with Shinso, whose role seems to have diminished as the story’s tightened, but it feels like we’re really close to moving onto the next leg of the story.

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 at 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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