My Hero Academia Vigilantes 4-5 – 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:

Review:

Before I start this review I have to correct and apologize for a mistake in my last one. I got the characters of the shady drug salesmen and the figure collector guy mixed up, thinking they were one and the same person. For that I apologize.

Moving on! Chapter 4 and 5 give us a look into Koichi’s daily life now that he’s partnered with Pop Step and KnuckleDuster, as well as the first real step forward in the series’ main plot.

Chapter 4 opens with another recap of Vigilantes’ concept, thankfully just one page this time, before delving into Koichi’s living situation. It’s a fun few pages as we see Koichi have to deal with both KnuckleDuster and Pop Step encroaching on his personal life, as well as glimpses into what either is like without their vigilante costumes on. Knuckle doesn’t change much, and Pop Step is a pretty classic “It’s actually a shy/plain girl underneath” but it’s fun all the same.

Who knew Cyclops was an Idol fan back in his middle school days.

The part that doesn’t quite work is another attempt to show us how socially ostracized Koichi is from his peers. We learn he nabbed the apartment cheap, which is located atop an abandoned building, and tried to convince his college mates to join him up there after a night of partying. The aftermath and rumors around campus focus on Koichi having tried to drag a girl up through the abandoned building, but it feels like a weird development as he invited tons of people to head up with him. It doesn’t feel like the natural end to the night would’ve been everyone backing away and finding Koichi a creep. It seems more likely at least a few people would’ve journeyed up with him. The ‘creep status’ Koichi is afforded again feels like a stretch, all in service of portraying Koichi as this unliked, unloved, loser, yet good guy. And like I’ve said before, I don’t think it’s needed. The overall atmosphere of Koichi’s life is one of a loaner without any friends, I don’t think these flashbacks add a lot, especially as they feel so forced.

Moving on, the chapter very quickly delivers us our instant villain of the week, a middle school student obsessed with Pop Step, who was apparently given the drug booster by our mysterious briefcase carrying individual. It plays out about how the last one did, concluding with KnuckleDuster introducing yet another mundane/home remedy way to defeating someone even if you don’t have a quirk. I actually really like these solutions. Kinda makes me interested in seeing what KnuckleDuster might do against a pro-hero.

The chapter ends with Koichi, previously put out by Pop Step and KnuckleDuster encroaching on his lifestyle, finding he’s actually kinda happy to have two, freeloading friends.

Hey, sometimes Justice requires breaking a few fingers, even a middle schooler’s.

Chapter 5 is much more main story focused however. We start with the police’s  investigation into the matter of instant villains, before snapping over to Pop Step and Koichi working their end of it, while trying to keep KnuckleDuster out since he’s more a punching machine than anything else. It’s a pretty fun gag, especially as they accidentally run into him while out on their investigation.

We’re also casually introduced to someone who seems to be our primary villain, at least for now. Hachisuka, a girl with a bee quirk, known as Queen Bee, that allows her to inject the booster drug into innocent individuals, quickly causing a massive stir in town. We get a smattering of Academia’s most famous pro Heroes emerging on the scene, including Ingenium, signifying this must take place some time prior to the end of the sport’s festival, but also after Academia’s first chapter as All Might is on the scene too, having only moved to Japan shortly before the start of the main series. [Correction: As kindly pointed out in the comments below, All Might did not move to Japan, but rather simply moved closer to UA at the start of the main series. My bad.]

While Koichi and Pop Step remain seemingly unaware of the villainy afoot, KnuckleDuster has already identified that the bees flying around might be attached to a suspicious individual. The chapter gets ominous narration, alluding to the idea that things are about to get a whole lot worse, with a truly sinister villain behind everything.

Overall it’s another solid set of chapters and I think it’s here the series is really starting to find its footing. I find myself excited and interested in seeing just where all this goes. The ‘slice of life’ stuff was a lot of fun too, and I’m hoping we get to spend more time with Knuckle and Pop Step putting poor Koichi out.

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.

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2 comments

  • All Might didn’t move to Japan at the beginning of the main series, he just moved closer to UA. While All Might is very much loved in America, he is a Japanese native and mainly works in Japan. It becomes clearer in upcoming chapters, but Vigilantes appears to take place not too long after All Might received his injury, likely no more than a year or so after wards (meaning when Deku and co would have been 9-10 years old).

    • Oh right, my bad. I’m not a diehard fan, so I sometimes get a few of the details mixed up. Thanks, I’ll correct it. Nice to know upcoming chapters set the time frame however. Interesting that it’s more a prequel than a side story.

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