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My Hero Academia Vol. #02 Manga Review

3 min read

My Hero Academia Volume 2 CoverA solid sophomore effort that takes all the charm of the first volume and plugs it into dynamic, fast-paced conflicts.

Creative Staff:
Story/Art: Kohei Horikoshi
Translation/Adaptation: Caleb Cook
Touch Up and Lettering: John Hunt
Editing: Mike Montesa

What They Say:
Getting into U.A. High School was difficult enough, but it was only the beginning of Izuku’s long road toward becoming a superhero. The new students all have some amazing powers, and although Izuku has inherited All Might’s abilities, he can barely control them. Then the first-year students are told they will have to compete just to avoid being expelled!

The Review:
Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
My Hero Academia, for all the tropes and genres to which it’s indebted, remains a work somewhat difficult to sum up because, ultimately, the series is defined more by its energy and ability to be fun than it is by any genre or technical descriptors. “It’s a fun, charming series,” remains the best way to describe My Hero Academia—although the question of how it manages to achieve this remains.

It starts, as many such works do, with a solid foundation of likable characters. Having worked his way through the impossible barrier of having no superpower to speak of, wide-eyed protagonist Izuku Midoriya remains the lynchpin of My Hero Academia‘s personality via his combination of earnestness, kindness, and naivety. In a phrase, he’s basically impossible to dislike—and his high-energy spirit meshes well with the excited pitch of the series itself. The supporting cast (their variable personalities aside) likewise embody this same feeling. No matter the situation, characters are always thinking, acting, feeling, or yelling at high speed and at great volume.

This is particularly evident in the events of this volume, which chronicles Izuku and Bakugo’s explosive (heh) confrontation during a session of classroom training, as well as the first villain attack during a class field trip to the Unforeseen Simulation Joint for rescue training. The former runs right near the top of My Hero Academia‘s emotional register, piling all of Izuku’s desires and motivation together with Bakugo’s nasty insecurities and arrogance to put together an arc filled with emotional and action peaks. That mangaka Horikoshi is able to do this whilst also juggling the motion of the internal plot is impressive. The latter conflict is less of an emotional watershed than the former, but does a nice job of interspersing moments of triumph and awesomeness with the tension of the situation.

None of this is to say that My Hero Academia comes off as brash or obnoxious, because the snappy pacing within arcs and overall throughout the volume don’t allow moments to linger or push their way into campy territory. Additionally, Horikoshi’s character designs (which are almost universally cute in at least some way) and strong art (which is just about as earnest as Izuku is) bolster the volume’s ability to feel as if it does everything it does just because it likes doing it. In fact, many of the pages preceding individual chapters contain Horikoshi’s thoughts on his characters—many of which end up talking about how much he likes drawing them. Kohei Horikoshi is a man who likes drawing. From the numerous facial expressions with which he provides his characters to some of his gloriously detailed panels, this love comes through loud and clear—and that energy is always driving My Hero Academia forward.

In Summary:
As I said before, this is a difficult series to dislike. As of now, there’s not a ton of genuinely new stuff being done, but Horikoshi is able to execute on his ideas with enough verve and just enough of a twist to make My Hero Academia‘s second volume a real joy to read.

Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: November 3rd, 2015
MSRP: $9.99

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