My Hero Academia 214-216 – 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:

Despite a low page count My Hero Academia delivers an okay set of chapters to conclude the Class A vs. B arc. Not great, just okay. There’s still some heavy compromise, squishing of events, and a general lack of ‘epic quality’ to the conclusion of this arc, but nothing that’s terribly detrimental. The art even picks up again in these chapters, with more background artwork for some of the crazier action shots during Midoriya’s head to head with Shinso.

But I still have a couple criticisms. While we get some back and forth between Midoriya’s team and Shinso’s, the match is really over before it can even begin. Sure we get some great showcase of Midoriya’s new quirk (even if it only lasts a mere moment), but otherwise things play out rather quickly. This brings us to the ending of the arc I kind of feared we might get: Class A wiped the floor with Class B. Class B only managed a single win, settling for a tie in another and three total loses. While there was little doubt Class B might actually win outright, three loses makes these characters continue to feel like real losers compared to our main crew, and hardly a challenge. This was an outcome I was worried we’d get and solidifies my fear: Class A is untouchable. Sure they’ll face ‘challenges’ but the chances they’ll outright lose to anyone? Feels real low.

It’s in this way I find Academia a bit toothless. If we don’t let our heroes suffer more crushing defeats, how am I supposed to believe they might ever lose against even bigger threats? It would be nice if we could go into a future arc  wondering if they have what it takes to defeat the biggest of bads, because they seem far beyond what our heroes are capable of. But if Midoriya and Co. often crush everyone leading up to it, it really dampers my expectations we’ll ever see them face a truly deadly threat. To be fair, a lot of shonen these days are like this, deathly afraid of letting heroes actually fail. So it’s not really an Academia exclusive problem, but a criticism of the entire modern shonen landscape. It feels like underdog narratives are fewer and farther between.

Chapter 216 mostly serves as a recap/wrap up chapter, recounting the whole Class A vs. Class B story, noting winners, losers, and then generally focusing on Midoriya’s surprise power up, and Shinso’s bid to join the Hero Program (Which with him getting in I’m just crossing fingers that he’ll actually end up in Class A, otherwise he’ll continue to remain an underutilized character if he joins the periodic punching bag crew, Class B.)

Chapter 216 ends on Monoma gettting called out to go visit Eri in the hospital. It immediately makes me wonder whether Monoma is going to be used to copy Eri’s power and give Buff Tin Tin Mirio his powers back. To be honest I actually hope it doesn’t, seeing as if Mirio is going to return to the story much like Rock Lee did in Naruto, it needs to be a bigger moment, coming at a more climatic time. If he’s just sort of handed his powers back in between arcs, it feels a bit lame.

Ultimately I may sound hard on Academia. The truth is these chapters are fine. They’re okay. Not amazing, but kinda predictable. Like most modern shonen I don’t think it challenges its leads enough, and sometimes acts more as a power fantasy for youthful readers than delivering a gripping, page-turner narrative filled with ups and downs. Here’s hoping we move onto a villian centric story, with maybe, juuust maybe, a crew of characters that can do some real lasting damage to our heroes. I’d really love to feel some actual tension again.

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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