My Hero Academia Vigilantes 41-45 – 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, Koichi, 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:
Chapters 41-45 do a lot to change my overall opinion of the series. Not only do they conclude the strong storyline started with Chapters 38-40, but they offer up a few solid character moments, reintroductions, and find a more satisfying way to weave between the slice of life gag stories and the overarching narrative.
Chapter 41 offers up a lovable moment for Koichi as we get the name for his new attack that’s just so adorably stupid and in character for him. It’s a great way to keep in some comedy, without making the situation overly silly. From there the chapter builds strong, showcasing the sheer might of our still unnamed continuing villain as he easily takes down the enemy Koichi and Eraser Head both struggled with.
Chapter 42 and 43 returns to slice of life, but manages to keep the focus on Koichi and Co. while weaving in Midnight’s undercover work on the case. Koichi and Pop are both much closer to the investigation here even if they remain largely unaware. It’s a small shift from the other more lowkey storylines, but an important one. It also helps that we came off of a strong action storyline, making it a little easier to swallow when the series decides to chill out for two chapters.
Chapter 44 and 45 both have ups and downs. On the one hand we’re reintroduced to Knuckleduster, pulling him back into the narrative with a twist on his previously unknown backstory that sets him much closer to the current arc that I would’ve believed. However, these chapters are pretty talky, mostly describing the story to all of us rather than building the narrative through actions. (Save for Knuckle’s fight.) While the focus on Knuckleduster is welcome, the series needs to perhaps spend a little more time allowing our characters to actively engage with the plot, rather than spoon feeding new details and developments to us in big multi-page talking head scenes. For example: instead of Eraser Head and the Detective discussing everything they know, perhaps save some for a scene of them discovering it through additional conflicts with the villains? Or weave in a little action between the explanations?
Ultimately though I think 41-45 put the series on a better path than before. It’s subtle, but a noticeable step up. I hope the series continues this, especially with the potential for Knuckleduster to drift back in under a new moniker. As a big fan of the gritty atmosphere he added to the series early on, I’m very excited for him to become a player again. I will also note that Pop doesn’t have nearly as much to do here, even when she is featured in Chapters 42 and 43. Unless Pop steps up her vigilantism, I actually think the series works better without her character, as she doesn’t feel well utilized in anything, even the slice of life content.
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. Chapter 1 is available for free on Viz’ Website, while 2-5 are collected in Volume 1. Volume 2 (Chapters 6-11) released on October 2nd. Currently Chapter 12 and on are still available for free through the Viz website.