My Hero Academia 227-230 – 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. With Class A triumphing, it now seems new evils at beginning to move, bringing about greater threats to society.

Review:

Chapters 227-230 continue to see the league of villains go through hell in order to awaken extreme versions of their quirks. This mostly happen through significant strain and physical abuse at the hands of the Liberation Army. Toga gained stronger abilities in the last chapters through sheer physical abuse from Curious and her minions. Shigaraki develops this way as well by fighting numerous foes on top of severe sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion. Even Dabi seems pushed to the brink by Geten, an overly confident ice quirk user, although we haven’t seen Dabi’s power up just yet. But Twice’s increase in combat ability comes not so much from physical and mental strain, but personal development. Twice’s developments makes me wish we were getting deeper character development for all our baddies.

Twice was introduced in his first appearance with an interesting question: Is he really himself? Since Twice’s ability is to copy things, and he’s used it on himself, somewhere along the way he began to doubt whether he was the real deal, or just a copy that outlived the original. It’s been part of his character’s shtick for quite some time now, and has been touched upon again and again so the reader doesn’t have a chance to forget. Finally all that drip feeding of reminders pays off as Twice manages to deduce in Toga’s great hour of need that he is, in fact, still himself and not a clone. The revelation is a little sloppy, as we’re abruptly fed the crucial information that all it takes is a major injury to dissolve a clone. Twice suffers harm and learns the confidence repairing truth. The moment Twice regains his confidence is fantastic, the journey there though is a little sloppy.

Twice’s flashbacks aren’t as poignant as they could be, often choosing the wrong moments to visualize in order to really make Twice’s teenage suffering strike most true. The ideas are there, but the execution isn’t quite where it needs to be. Still, it gets the point across, and I ultimately feel like that’s what Horikoshi has  been going for with this arc. “Getting the point across” rather than allowing these characters truly emotional moments that make us feel for their suffering souls. They are the baddies after all.

But it’s the effort put into Twice’s personal revelation that I feel was sorely lacking with Toga’s focus. She grows more so from physical threat upon her life rather than the resolution of inner turmoil, and the same goes for Shigaraki too. (Though I think it’s possible to argue Shigaraki’s story is more so about sending him deeper into the depths of anger and frustration than offering even a maddened catharsis.) I’d like it if the rest of the league’s power ups at least contained progress in their personal stories, more in line with what Twice got than Toga.

Surrounding the heavy focus on the league is a peppering of exposition delivered by Re-Destro and other Liberation Army members. As it’s becoming clear the Liberation Army’s entire purpose is to power up the League, these scenes feel lacking. The league’s only other use seems to be strained comic relief that doesn’t work all that well. The interesting thing about the comedy is how predicated it is on repetitive dialogue. In most Western writing workshops you’re warned not to use repetitive dialogue too often. Characters repeating what other characters said is a big no no, especially in screenwriting. This almost feels like an in-joke on Horikoshi’s part, though I have no idea how much western writing practice transfers to Japanese styled-writing, whether he picked the idea up working with the anime team, or if it’s just a bizarre coincidence.

The exposition dumps are also a bit lazy, especially when Re-Destro tells Giran he doesn’t need to know information, but then tells him anyway, since the reader kind of needs to know it. Ultimately, despite flaws, what’s here works and it’s great to see the league wreck shit, heck they even get to kill a top executive, especially since they’ve really gotten to do very little up to this point. With the tease that Gigantomachia is on the move, things are looking to heat up. I really wonder if the Liberation Army will even survive this encounter, because it’s looking like the tides are shifting very much in Shigaraki’s favor.

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 20 releases on August 6th, 2019. Chapters discussed today will be collected and released sometime next year (or maybe even next next year?)

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