My Hero Academia Vigilantes 56-60 – 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:

Review:

Koichi barely gets a look in through Chapters 56-60, with much of the content focused on Knuckleduster and his fight with Number 6, Captain Celebrity’s big goodbye (as well as Makoto apparently!) and Eraser Head’s ‘origin story.’ Let’s Jump in!

Chapters 56-57 see Knuckleduster, formerly hero O’Clock, confront Number 6, a villain from the Villain Factory and seeming ‘successor to O’Clock’s unique quirk. Chapter 56 is the messier of the two chapters, offering explanation for how Knuckleduster came to be up on the rooftop with a sniper rifle aimed at Number 6. This isn’t at all needed, seeing as we established earlier that Knuckle was tracking Number 6, it’s wasted page space. The conversation between Knuckle and Number 6 isn’t all that much better, acting more as a short dissertation on All Might, rehashing a lot of the ideas/moral questions surrounding Superman (All Might’s pseudo-basis) in DC comics, rather than the beef these two have with each other. It’s a round about conversation that only sort of ties into why Number 6 wants to ‘be O’Clock.’ You honestly could cut so much of the All Might chatter and you’d have the exact same outcome, but with more time for action and nothing of value or relevance lost.

Chapter 57 is a much tighter chapter, offering action, twists and turns, and an explosive finish. It’s probably the highlight of this set. The only issue is you can see how so much slice of life focus in earlier chapters actively hinders the manga’s ability to tell its more exciting stories. There’s so much “by the way I can do this” in this chapter. Namely the biggest offense is the surprise that Number 6 can actually merge with cells of the monsters he uses as minions and turn his own body into explosives. It’s definitely cool, but there weren’t any real hints that this kind of ability was possible. It’s important not to give the game up, but it’s also important to offer little clues and hints beforehand so characters’ abilities don’t suddenly appear totally out of the blue. If Vigilantes spent less time on fluffy slice of life, or just cut needless sequences, like Knuckle’s explanation for how he got to the roof, there would be more opportunities to flesh out and set up cool twists and abilities going forward. It’s not a huge deal though and sits as a more minor complaint in an otherwise solid chapter.

Moving on, Chapter 58 acts as a solid wrap up to the Captain Celebrity plot line. Despite his under usage prior, Captain Celebrity gets a pretty well put together send off, as does Makoto, who it turns out will be going to America with Captain Celebrity as his manager. Koichi barely features even here, and the manga makes note via Koichi’s own narration that it’ll be awhile until Koichi actually ends up at the center of his own manga. It’s unfortunate, but at least the series is painfully up front about it.

After that we shift gears and go full Academia-proper side content with an ‘origin story’ for Eraser Head, or I guess how he learned to find his mojo and actually wanna do heroism. It features a character from his past, Oboro, who’s been hinted at in the main manga some 20+ chapters ago. This is clearly a story Horikoshi wanted to include, but hasn’t found good opportunity to flashback to it in the main manga itself.

Ultimately, despite Koichi continually being sidelined in his own story, these chapters aren’t too shabby. 56 is easily the weakest, but it’s made for by both 57 and 58. 59 and 60 are exactly the kind of extra series main content that Vigilantes was likely created for, and I’m fine with, assuming we eventually get a proper, gripping main plot line at least some of the time.

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.

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