My Hero Academia, Vol 1
by Kōhei Horikoshi w/ Assistants: Sasai, Neda, Yokoyama, Horie, Hinachiku, Fukiya, Takou Nagoya
My Hero Academia by Kōhei Horikoshi is, well, an amazing experience and a fantastic take on the superhero genre. End of review.
Okay, there’s more to it than that. 80% of the world’s population develops, for lack of a better term, some sort of super power known as a “Quirk”. It becomes so common that being a super hero is a recognized profession with its own set of schools and regulations. Of course on the flip side of that, super powered crime is still a factor and villains also thrive. Shōnen Jump, the source of many, many of the most popular series not only in Japan now in North America as well, My Hero Academia revolves around a high-school aged kid with seemingly impossible dreams. Volume 1 compiles the first seven chapters of My Hero Academia. From the start creator/writer/artist Kōhei Horikoshi grabs on and doesn’t let go.
With a strong, obvious takes on the eternal struggle of Good vs. Evil and, our central character, Izuku Midoriya, aka Deku, has a heated rivalry with a fellow student that’s he’s known his entire life. These themes are common in Manga series, and it might be cliche, but in My Hero Academia it works on all levels. The story of struggle, and hard work, and trying to achieve dreams and an impossible goal is so gripping that any of the cheesiness washes away, and all that’s left is the story that Horikoshi crafts.
Add to that the art and it becomes utterly engrossing. Not only are the characters designed with great care and consideration, the fact that Horikoshi draws the main hero, All Might, in an almost Western style–even poking fun at it with little comments in the series like, “Look! He’s even drawn differently! It gives me goosebumps.”–is amazing. It sets him apart from everything else in the book, and really reinforces his presence on the page and the fact that he is the number one hero around. The battle sequences are fast, furious and expertly choreographed; but even simple dialogue sequences are interesting. The expressions, usually hyper-exaggerated, are excellent at effortlessly showing the emotions the characters feel, even if the dialogue contradicts those emotions. With Deku, the struggles he’s going through are extremely visible on every panel, be it overcoming fear or being overwhelmed with his newfound quirk. It really brings the characters to life.
My Hero Academia is great. It’s really great. It’s captivating, has fantastic art, great characters, and a great story. It also feels like something that transcends the box most Western comic fans stick manga into. It’s a super hero comic, at it’s core, but with that manga feel that not only makes it easy for somebody unfamiliar with manga to pick up, it also feels like the kind of story that will then make it easier to jump deeper into that world. It’s a gateway drug, and you’ll be hooked. Plain and simple. Pick up this series at the very first chance you get.