Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: August 4, 2015 (available at SDCC 2015 before street date)
My Hero Academia is an ongoing series illustrated and written by Kohei Horikoshi. It was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump in 2014 and has become very popular. The story follows a normal boy, Izuku Midoriya, who was born without superpowers. Unfortunately, that makes him the odd-duck in a world where everyone is born with quirks.
I liked this manga from the moment I laid eyes on it. The cover is drawn in a style very familiar to American audiences and definitely channels the ridiculousness of comics. I don’t know if that was the Japanese author’s intention, but it definitely works here. We are first introduced to Izuku Midoriya who is a middle schooler preparing for high school entrance exams. He dreams of going to an elite superhero school; however, he is a boring and quirkless boy. Even his parents have quirks of some sort! We learn a bit of his backstory – his parents brought him to doctors to see if he had a superpower that would manifest itself. In this world, powers manifest by age four but Izuku remained normal. Despite all of the odds against him, he still dreams of getting superpowers and becoming a normal boy with a quirk. He applies to the famous superhero highschool that all of his classmates plan to test for even if it means being rejected. Without powers, it is absolutely certain that Izuku will get left on the curb.
One day, Izuku’s bravery during a crime changes his life. As a result he meets the famed hero who goes by the stage name, “All Might,” and learns a bit about what it takes to be a superhero. All Might likes the powerless boy’s courage and heart and decides to become a mentor to him. For ten months before the high school exam, All Might puts Izuku’s skinny body through rigorous physical training that transforms him mentally and physically. At the end of the intensive training, All Might rewards Izuku with something beyond his dreams…
I want to start my final word by saying I really enjoyed the first volume of My Hero Academia. I do want to say that this story line is definitely over-used, especially over the past year. Of course there are so many comics and manga out there about someone who wants superpowers and then s/he eventually gets the wish granted; however, the market feels a bit saturated to me. Off the top of my head I am immediately thinking about Food Wars, which, yes I know it’s not quite the same genre and it’s also about a bunch of teen chiefs trying to become number one – but is this story that much different? We now have a bunch of teenagers fighting to get into an elite high school to become the number one super hero. No matter how you dress it, it’s the same story in a different package. Despite this, I would definitely love to read volume 2 to see where the story goes and if it deviates from the standard high school storyline. I understand that there is a whole genre of manga devoted to the secondary school context; however, it would be interesting if the focus moved away from the actual events in school. The first half of volume 1 definitely moved out of the school setting and spent a good amount of time on a beach or in the streets. I can appreciate that and I hope to see more of that in volume 2. If you’re interested in this genre of manga, I’d suggest you pick up a copy because it is well written and funny. If you can’t wait till August, you can grab an early copy at Viz Media’s booth at San Diego Comic Con 2015.
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**This item was provided for review.