Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) has been taking the world by storm. Once the anime ignited the flame back in 2016, the fandom has been growing ever since - and with good reason. Studio BONES were charged with the animation and while it is still on my watch list, BONES have done tremendous work with past anime projects.
What we’re here to examine is the manga, the first volume to be specific. The first chapter is an absolute bomb, full of emotion and beautiful art that sets up enough events to not overwhelm us, but not keep us in the dark either in terms of plot.
The story pretty straight forward; our young protagonist, Izuki, desires to be a hero in a world where humans have basically evolved to having some sort of quirk that grants them varying degrees of power. Izuku unfortunately has no such potential but the focus really is on the world unfolding before our eyes and how the world order has shifted. He comes into much social conflict with students and we see how dire his situation is - even after meeting his hero, the charismatic All Might, his dreams are shot down. Within chapter one though, Izuku discovers something jaw-dropping about his idle, and gains the conviction to push through to become a hero no matter what.
The second chapter does such a wonderful job of giving the lesson to temper the body and mind, having the emotional stability to take on responsibility all mixed in with quite clever writing for a shonen. It’s pretty much a lengthy but effective montage of what Izuku has to endure for about a year to even come close to achieving his dream, but we’ll have to push through to see if it’s a success.
Chapter three does a fantastic job of really showing us how harsh most people can be once they get a quirk and false sense of superiority, in addition to the stress of taking the test at U.A. to become a hero! However, we get a little shonen taste of fruits from Izuku’s hard work and labours, it ends in a mid-show stopper, but the volume isn’t over yet.
The fourth chapter leads to the conclusion of the mock exam and how gaining new abilities does not equal great results. While he did stand up heroically, he may just have to find his own way to be a hero considering how well the others performed. His mom waits eagerly for the acceptance letter and Izuku wallows in disappointment and distress. When it eventually arrives, low and behold, ALL MIGHT is on a hologram to relay a message, explaining that the metrics for acceptance are raw numbers of villains or points beaten or earned, it’s about true heroic characteristics. Izuku even manages to gain quite a following of people rallying to his heroic attitude and Uraraka, the girl who helped him at the entrance ceremony, briefly gives him much thanks. Despite all these victories, the tone of hard work and the upward battle that still lays before Izuku are done so well. It's very interesting that he has such a fantastic ability, but he needs to grow as a person to learn to control it. In other shonens, once a character gains a certain power spike, they become quite powerful for a bit and the next challenge is far in the distance. Here, it is presented much better.
We enter a heart-pounding fifth chapter as it steadily ups the steaks in creative ways. After a quick greeting and celebration with All Might, Izuku must be off to start his new life at U.A. High School to further pursue his dreams. While the regular social challenge of other students still remains, we see a very interesting sub-plot building with Kacchan, his main adversary, in the background. I strongly suspect that Kacchan is going to do the very honourable and heroic things of trying to trip up Izuku and get him expelled. We also learn that U.A. is very freestyle with its teaching due to the nature of quirks being so wild and free in and of themselves. Whilst their homeroom teacher doesn’t ring a bell of anyone exceptional, he is notoriously explained via dramatic irony for being a teacher who expels the most students on a whim. Being iron clad in his ways, the first lesson is gym class but with quirks allowed to gauge the students, and who ever scores the lowest as a twist gets expelled. How will Izuku overcome this and will Kacchan and Uraraka become factors?
The plot thickens when chapter six turns the spatula and we discover who the homeroom teacher really is and how he’s involved with U.A. High School, also what kind of creative challenges this gym period has in store for Izuku. Off the bat we see that the homeroom teacher Aizawa is trying to assess how each quirk fares in different scenarios, aka how creative can the students get with their powers. Again propping up Kacchan, we see that the power of explosive warrior-minded quirks can be diverse where as some other people show that, while their ability isn’t as diverse, their minds can correct this issue. Abruptly, Izuku is stopped from doing his one assessment by homeroom teacher Aizawa and hit with a moral lesson of being a liability despite heroic actions, and how it burdens others.
Finally, the last chapter ends on a wonderful note that is to say, not a bad cliffhanger. It concludes in a way that will leave you satisfied if you bought this as a physical manga; the best way to summarise the chapter is basically the overall plot that Boku No Hero has presented thus far - characters are explained on a very superficial level, sub-plots are presented for the immediate follow up and the type of writing we can expect is absolutely superb so far.
It's only later that I realised why I love anime and games. It's just how many ways one can express an idea.
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31 May 2018
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