My Hero Academia Vigilantes 2-3 – Manga Review
Synopsis: Vigilantes: People who work outside the law in the name of ‘justice.’ These are the individuals who aren’t registered as licensed heroes, not permitted by society to use their quirks in public. While Heroes like All Might, Eraser Head, and the aspiring Midoriya confront villainy with the power of the law behind them, other heroes lurk in the shadows, pursued by the police for their disregard of the rules.
When Kindly Dude: Nice Guy, a street level hero who does little more than help the average citizen in the most pedestrian of tasks, meets KnuckleDuster, a grizzled and hardened Vigilante, Nice Guy finds his life forever changed as he dives into vigilante heroism in order to combat a growing epidemic of ruffians who’ve their quirks boosted with illegal drugs.
Warning: Spoilers to Follow:
Chapter 2 continues about where we left off with Chapter 1. Koichi is still skeptical about teaming up with KnuckleDuster, and our street thugs from last time are colliding with the drugs/drug dealer KnuckleDuster was hunting down before.
This chapter really hammers home how different a hero figure KnuckleDuster is to All Might. He’s far less concerned with helping people and more interested in shutting down villainy before it even begins. His relationship with Koichi, Nice Guy, is also very different as well. While Koichi, like Midoriya, idolizes All Might, he seems skeptical of KnuckleDuster and often doesn’t approve of his actions. At times it feels like a very purposeful subversion of Midoriya and All Might’s relationship.
Pop Step gets a bit more to do in this second chapter, such as working with Koichi to try and keep KnuckleDuster in check. He just wants to bash heads till they find druggies, while she offers a more techy solution of narrowing down the field via social media.
It doesn’t take long for the series to tie a main series character into the proceedings. Eraser Head shows up to do battle with KnuckleDuster, who he believes is an instant villain. There’s a cool battle here as these two guys go at it, but what I actually love about this scene is the reveal for KnuckleDuster: He’s got no quirk. I think it’s a pretty cool idea to focus on what a quirkless individual can do in this society, and as we’ll discover in the next chapter, it’s more than you’d think.
Koichi and Pop Step are attacked by the street thugs from before while chasing down a seemingly meek businessman. These baddies are powered up and their appearance ends Eraser Head’s and KnuckleDuster’s brawl. Working together, our four heroes manage to subdue the street thugs, but the businessman from before is actually the drug dealer, and quickly powers himself up, bringing us right to the beginning of Chapter 1’s flash forward.
Through this fight Koichi recognizes how much he really wants to be a hero. It’s pretty standard stuff, although well written and engaging. Still lacking the emotional punch of the series proper but, as side content goes, very enjoyable. KnuckleDuster and Eraser Head have a final conversation hammering home the two wildly different view points of heroism, which definitely pigeon holes KnuckleDuster into anti-hero territory.
The chapter ends with Koichi and Pop Step having a moment, perhaps hinting at a romance sub-plot down the line?
Chapter 3 almost acts as a reintroduction to Vigilantes concept. It starts by going over the entire premise again, before introducing us to Koichi’s new persona, the Crawler, though everyone still calls him Nice Guy. We get 3-4 pages telling us the same stuff we already know, which feels a bit redundant.
Anyway, Koichi’s got some upgraded gear so he can use his quirk more efficiently without worrying about hurting himself. And we get to see the burgeoning dynamic between him and KnuckleDuster. Pop Step also has a sort of P.R. roll for the two, smoothing things over when KnuckleDuster’s punch ’em first mentality doesn’t go down well.
An actual villain shows up and our heroes jump into action. This is the first time we get to see their teamwork, as Nice Guy, excuse me, The Crawler, jumps in to save a baby and KnuckleDuster does what he does best, punch ’em! We get to see how effective a rough and tough Quirkless Hero can be, even when facing someone who has a super power. It’s a fun idea and gives a unique quality to KnuckleDuster in a world where near everyone has some kind of super power. Really makes him stand out.
After the fight the police arrive and the detective from My Hero Academia, Naomasa Tsukauchi, and his assistant Sansa Tamakawa, hammer home again that Vigilatism is a crime, again a retread of information we’ve gotten before. It’s a bit odd how ‘retready’ this chapter feels, as if the author wanted to make doubly sure we understand the premise before going any further. It’s not bad, but there’s some odd choices here doubling down on information we’ve heard before.
Closing out the chapter we learn that despite KnuckleDuster and The Crawler’s heroism, people aren’t quite calling them the hero names they’d set out for themselves. Overall It’s another good set of chapters in Vigilantes run. It’s nothing amazing, not quite as equal to the highs of Academia, but serviceable and enjoyable all the same. I’m hoping in the next couple chapters we’ll see the series settling into its ongoing story, and hopefully not retread elements of its introduction again.
That’s it for today. Please let me know what your thoughts are on these chapters in the comments below!
My Hero Academia Vigilantes is published monthly in Shonen Jump and currently available for free through the viz website.