Home > Manga Reviews, Reviews > My Hero Academia, Vol. 1

My Hero Academia, Vol. 1

My Hero Academia, Vol. 1My Hero Academia, Vol. 1
by Kohei Horikoshi
Viz, 192 pgs
Rating: Teen

Superhero comics have long been a staple of the medium in the United States. Arguably they’ve dominated sales and the public conscious more so than any other genre in the American comic book scene for over half a century. Japan, on the other hand, not so much. That said, Japan certainly has had their own superhero tradition, one look at the long running live action franchises like Super Sentai or Kamen Rider is proof of this. Over the last few years, Viz has shown interest in tapping into America’s love of the superhero with several superhero manga titles. Tiger & Bunny, One Punch Man and now… Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia.

The latest in Viz’s small wave of superhero manga My Hero Academia, Vol. 1 introduces us to a world where superpowers are the norm and the road to becoming a hero is an academic one. Enter Izuku Midoriya, a middle school student who stands out from the rest of his powered classmates by virtue of not having any powers. With nothing but a dream and determination, he sets out on his quest to become a hero… but can he?

Izuku Midoriya is an underdog, an outcast, but one determined to see his dream through regardless of the naysayers! Indeed, while he may not have a superpower, he certainly has the power of determination and to win over the heart and mind of the one of the world’s greatest heroes, All Might. While All Might was initially skeptical of Izuku’s dream, he’s ultimately won over by his heart and thus becomes his secret sponsor, supporting him, training him and more as Izuku pursues his dream. The under dog with a secret and a selfless heart is a fairly classic mold for American superheroes. Indeed, the scenes of him being bullied at school reminded me of similar scenes from older Spider-Man stories and, to a lesser degree, Superman stories. Meanwhile, the class setting, school rankings, and other things like a rival character call to mind a myriad of shonen tales. While it’s an interesting mixture and an enjoyable read, it doesn’t quite come together to create a compelling and gripping read.Page from My Hero Academia, Vol. 1

Kohei Horikoshi’s heavily stylized and cartoony artwork doesn’t really help matters much and took me a little while to get used to. When characters leap into action their faces and bodies twist and flap in some rather disturbing ways, though what’s happening is almost always clear and easy to follow. The cartoonish art and the faces that look like they’re in wind tunnels allows for a rather easy and fun depiction of motion and intensity. The character designs do a pretty solid job at capturing a character’s personality, with Izuku’s slightly harried appearance perfectly capturing his underdog personality. Many of his superhero designs reminded me of Adam Warren’s work on Empowered, a superhero comedy full of ridiculous but memorable looking outfits. Such is most definitely the case in the last few pages when Izuku’s classmates debut their costumes.

Despite an interesting and easy to root for main character, and despite being a rather fun read, My Hero Academia, Vol. 1 didn’t really wow me. It’s mix of super heroic and typical shonen fare left it feeling a little too predictable and without anything that had me wanting to come back for more. It was an enjoyable read, but ultimately one that failed to really hook me.

My Hero Academia, Vol. 1 is available now from Viz.

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  1. August 21, 2015 at 1:29 pm

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