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My Hero Academia Vol. #21 Manga Review

4 min read
This volume starts off pretty well with the focus on Endeavor

Endeavor gets fired up, but the readers won’t be by the rest of this volume.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Kohei Horikoshi
Translation: Caleb Cook

What They Say
Class 1-A’s joint battle training with Class B continues! Class 1-A gets the first win in the best-of-five series of all-out Quirk battles, but after some feedback from the teachers, the students square off again for a second round, and rivalries form. They’ve all come a long way from where they started and are showing some real creativity with their Quirks, but they’re still just starting down the path of the hero!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
We start off this time by rejoining Endeavor’s fight in progress with a souped-up Nomu. And I’ve got to admit, it’s a pretty nice fight that pushes the hero to the brink while also showing what he can do as the top hero. But just when he and Hawks are about to stumble away from the battle, both seriously exhausted from the effort, Dabi from the League of Villains shows up out of nowhere! However, before he can use that opportunity to deal a crucial blow, another of the top heroes shows up and he’s forced to flee. And it’s then that we get the reveal that Hawks is actually working with the League in secret. Now, I do like this in that it does a great job of explaining what seemed like rather coincidental timing from last time… but we also get it immediately revealed that Hawks is ACTUALLY double-crossing the League and just pretending to be a spy for them. It’s fine and still leaves the character in an interesting place, but it feels like a bit of a waste of the setup to just reveal that right off the bat.

In the aftermath of all that, we actually get to take a look in on the Todoroki family. And the best point here is that while all the family has their own opinions on the matter, Shoto’s takeaway is that Endeavor is an amazing hero, but he questions just what sort of dad the man will prove to be, and if he can make up for his past. That’s a really great synopsis of the situation, and shows to me that fortunately, Endeavor won’t be getting a light redemption, but will really have to work for it. And that’s good, because that’s exactly how it should be.

As for the back half of the book, it all goes into a mock battle between Class 1-A and 1-B, with Shinso thrown into the mix. And what we get here is… okay, but honestly a bit on the dull side. It’s clear that the goal here is to show off everyone’s current skills, and properly show off the members of the B class. So, unfortunately, that means there’s honestly very little emotional weight to the proceedings, and the stakes are completely and utterly absent. All that could still work okay enough, but there’s one additional problem here: This stuff is dragging hard already, and it’s going to keep on doing so, because so many pages are being spent on something with so little substance. Like I said, half of the book goes to this, and we don’t even get all the way through the second battle out of five. And so, it certainly seems we have plenty more bland fighting ahead of us…

In Summary
This volume starts off pretty well, with the focus on Endeavor being handled about as well as could be expected. We get a pretty good fight for him and confirmation of his position as a hero… but also recognition that he has a long way to go to be a proper father. I definitely like all that, and I can respect that if we’re doing an Endeavor redemption arc, it at least seems to be proceeding in the proper direction. That said, the back half of the book is something of a drag, primarily acting as a looooong opportunity to show off a ton of characters and little else. It just feels like it’s really lacking anything to truly draw you in, and sadly it seems like that’ll be continuing on to next time around, which is a real shame. Maybe it’ll surprise me then, but for now, it definitely drags down what could have otherwise been another solid entry in the series.

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

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: October 1st, 2019
MSRP: $9.99

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