My Hero Academia (Chapters 89-93) – Review Discussion
My Hero Academia:
Reviewed by: Tom
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 finally properly control his quirk, Midoriya and the rest of his class retreat to a summer training workshop where Aizawa-sensei hopes to speed up the groups development in order to prepare to fight this budding league of villains. However things don’t go as planned when the villains discover the summer camp and attack, capturing Bakugo and wounding several dozen students in the process! Unwilling to let Bakugo remain captured, Midoriya and the others plan for a rescue mission in secret, as All Might and the other pro heroes prepare for their full blown assault against Tomura and his villain squad. However, there’s a far greater evil backing Tomura than our heroes were prepared for.
These five chapters make for some of the most riveting shonen manga I’ve read in the past few years. This conflict is up there with the more memorable arcs of One Piece, Naruto, Dragon Ball, whichever top fights you recognize as pinnacles of shonen writing and My Hero Academia has found, what I think, is its first defining battle. Stain the Hero Killer was close, but this battle between All Might and All for One is easily the most tense battle of the manga yet and impresses me as we dig in with each new chapter.
Chapter 89 Review:
We return with the villains each getting teleported away by All for One’s black ooze. All Might tries to grab onto Tomura but it’s too late. Instead he becomes surrounded by Nomu and is forced into a short battle. Afterwards All Might heads over to the other battle site, where All for One is, and asks Endeavor to handle the situation at the villain’s main hideout as more and more Nomu continue to appear.
This next part disappointed me. My Hero Academia reinvents a few of the classic tropes and has some real ingenuity going for it, but at its heart it’s still a shonen and that means the death count is always going to be quite low. We return back to the second battlefield where Midoriya and Co. continue to cower after All for One blew the building into nothing. We discover than Jeanist and the others survived the attack. Moments like this always soften the power a villain’s displayed. The death fake outs also have a lasting affect on any manga, where the audience stops fearing for the characters and merely instead waits for them to get back up. It’s disappointing that we’ve, yet again, pulled back on the body count and I’m hoping one day shonen manga will be more willing to kill off a few characters, otherwise these stories lose their impact.
Midoriya and the others are unable to move from the sheer fear they’re feeling. Bakugo and Tomura’s gang arrive, deposited by All for One’s ooze. All for One tells Tomura that he’s failed. What’s great about this moment is normally the big bad is extremely mean towards his henchmen, often to the point of physical or verbal abuse. However, as a nice subversion, All for One is surprisingly forgiving. He instead tells Tomura that he’s doing all this is for him. It’s a bit weird that All for One has such high regard for Tomura, and while some of the reveals later on potentially explain this, I still have to wonder exactly what kind of relationship these two have and why All for One has such faith in Tomura’s potential.
Midoriya now with Bakugo on the line again, tries to force himself into action but Iida thankfully stops him. Midoriya really has no hope of victory here and would only be rushing to a very early death. It’s not as big a moment as I would’ve liked, Iida fulfilling his promise to protect Midoriya, and I don’t think it quite lives up to the heavy handed reminders and foreshadowing leading up to this moment. All Might then arrives and attacks All for One straight away.
Chapter 90 Review:
All Might and All for One duke it out and have a short chat while doing so. All for One seems aware that All Might’s abilities are waning and as All Might goes in for a solid attack All for One instead knocks All Might away and through dozens of buildings.
If it wasn’t made obvious already, it’s during this sequence that it becomes clear All for One, as the name would imply, strips people of their abilities and can recombine/reuse them in anyway he sees fit for himself. But it appears it can do a little more than that as well. All for One knows that wasn’t enough to down All Might and forcefully activates Kurogiri’s ability. It’s definitely a surprise that All for One could forcefully use other people’s abilities without directly stealing them. Anyway he provides the means of escape for Tomura and so he can steal Bakugo and complete his plans.
All Might charges back into the battle, but is unable to save Bakugo as Tomura prepares to steal him away. All Might is instead pinned down in his fight against All for One. During all this Midoriya is still struggling to think of a way to help Bakugo, even though, as a student, he’s not allowed to participate in the battle going on around him. Midoriya finally comes up with a plan that’ll allow them to save Bakugo without actually fighting, but he needs the entire group’s help to accomplish the plan.
Midoriya and the other’s launch into the sky and have Eijirou call down to Bakugo as a friend. Bakugo responds by taking Eijirou’s hand and joining the others in their getaway. Midoriya recognizes that Bakugo wouldn’t respond if it were him calling out. It shows how far their friendship still needs to come in order for things between Bakugo and Midoriya to be patched up. Although, personally, Bakugo’s enough of a snot that I feel it’s really on him to apologize and I have trouble truly identifying with Midoriya’s continued efforts to befriend this overly arrogant child. It’s all about My Hero Academia’s message though, to keep reaching out and keep helping. I think we all know the end result of this plot line between Midoriya and Bakugo, but we are ages away from its resolution and I’m only aching for Bakugo to do his heel turn into some kind of villain. Makes me almost wish Tomura did manage to kidnap Bakugo.
Chapter 91 Review:
It’s looking like Midoriya and the rest are home free, but the villains work together to send Atsuhiro flying after them. Mt. Lady, who was thought to be down for the count, rises up and blocks Atsuhiro. Gran Torino arrives and knocks down the last few villains, further aiding Midoriya.
All for One, knowing the battle for Bakugo is lost, forcefully activates Magne’s ability and sends Tomura and the others way through Kurogiri’s portal, telling Tomura he’ll be the one to continue the war.
With his minions gone, All for One turns his attention to All Might, who comes in for a full attack. But All for One forcefully teleports Gran Torino in the way, making the old man take the brunt of the attack. All for One and All Might procede to exchange blows, but it’s looking like All Might is the stronger of the two. He manages to take All for One down, breaking apart his helmet in the process.
But All for One isn’t out of the game yet, he taunts All Might invoking the name of All Might’s master, Nana Shimura and that he’s doing nothing but copying her mantra like some sort of parrot.
Chapter 92 Review:
Taking a brief break from the All vs All battle, Midoriya and the others have managed to escape to an evacuation area where civilians are gathering. Midoriya wonders how All Might is doing and if running from the battle really was the right move.
All for One continues to drop bombs on us, the audience, as he taunts All Might about Nana Shimura. He claims to be the father of One for All, rather than Nana herself, giving the impression that All for One in some way engineered One for All. He calls Nana Pathetic for not having the power to back up her lofty ideals and this greatly angers All Might who is easily goaded by All for One’s words.
All for One, with All Might off guard, delivers a powerful blow and sends him flying into the sky. Gran Torino saves him and urges his friend to calm down. Everything is playing out much as it did six years ago. Reporters are swarming the skies now as they report on All Might’s progress in the battle and everyone across the country is watching. Some are confident All Might will be victorious and others question whether he can truly pull this off.
All for One continues to taunt All Might, explaining he wishes to see him die an ugly death. He prepares another huge attack, but All Might can’t dodge it as a woman is trapped behind him in the ruble. What’s great about this chapter is we continue to jump between backstory revelations and mounting obstacles for All Might. It’s shaping up to be a devastating battle and holds so much more weight than any battle that’s come before this in the manga. I might even be tempted to say, baring My Hero Academia’s yet unwritten conclusion to this arc, that this battle might be one of the best shonen fights of all time. It’s all hinging on how this battle resolves.
Gran Torino is knocked away by the blast and All Might takes the hit directly. He’s taken so much damage up to this point that he can’t even maintain his form and the news copters show the world All Might as he truly is. It’s a devastating moment, his big secret kept quiet for a solid 90 chapters is out now and revealed to the world. Just when we though things couldn’t get any worse All for One reveals the truth surrounding Tomura and why he chose him to be his successor. Tomura is none other than Nana’s grand child who hates All Might with unwavering passion.
All Might is torn apart by the news, and it’s one of the best shocks delivered during this arc. Considering All Might always smiles while fighting evil this becomes a great twist on that, his smile much more mocking and humiliating through Tomura’s eyes. It’s easy to see how something so simple could shatter All Might so thoroughly. All Might is at an all time low and if this weren’t a shonen this is where we’d see All Might meet his almost inevitable end. I feel like shonen, as a genre, has quite a few minor story telling issues that tend to hold all of its stories back. A fear to commit to the darker elements and a need to pull far enough away from the darker subject matter that the experience is often deluded, especially for readers who’ve grown up past the target demographic.
The woman behind All Might pleads with him to save her and tells him she believes he can still win. In fact the entire crowd around Midoriya and the others cheers for All Might and pleads for him to win. Even Bakugo and Midoriya are caught up in the moment.
All Might, with renewed hope, decides to give it one final go. Putting all his muscle into one last attack. He declares that heroes need to protect and he can’t back down from this fight.
Chapter 93 Review:
Concluding our review for today we jump into All Might’s head as he psyches himself up, remembering why he set down this path in the first place. All Might’s still gearing up for that last attack when the other heroes intervene, saving the few civilians and downed heroes still trapped on the battlefield. Even Endeavor cheers All Might on (in his own unique Bakugoesque way.) This chapter is, what I’d consider, padding. We’re really drawing out the final clash, making sure everyone gets just a little more screen time, one last thought on the fight before we conclude this epic battle.
Everyone pins their hopes on All Might as All for One answers All Might’s upcoming attack by charging with one of his own. He combines near ever strength quirk he’s stolen into his arm, making it bulge in sheer size. The two charge one another and All for One tells All Might he’s aware he passed his powers onto Midoriya. He ridicules All Might for choosing someone so unfit and ill-prepared and that, as a teacher, he’s failed.
All Might and All for One’s attacks clash, but All Might refuses to lose, saying he can’t die yet, not when Midoriya still needs him. He endows his other arm with One for All, putting a hefty amount of strain on his body that he really can’t afford and decks All for One in one final blow.
Heading forward I feel like My Hero Academia could go two different ways. Either we’ll actually see All Might’s death in the next couple chapters or he’ll suffer, in some ways, a far worse fate, one where he’s left a crippled husk of the man he once was. My money, after Chapter 93, is that All Might won’t in fact die, but will remain as a guiding character for Midoriya, crippled by this battle and permanently unable to use One for All. It’ll be interesting to see which way the manga goes and the only way I’d be disappointed is if All Might came out of this battle no worse for wear. I’m fairly confident however that My Hero Academia is going to have some very big consequences from this arc that’ll have long lasting effects on the series going forward, and perhaps, with luck, effects on the shonen genre as a whole.
That’s it for today. Please let me know what you’re thinking of My Hero Academia’s current arc in the comments below!
My Hero Academia is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Volume 5, Chapters 36-44, will release on August 2nd, 2016. Chapters discussed today (89-93) will be collected in Volume 11 to be released sometime next year.