by Kōhei Horikoshi
In the first volume review of My Hero Academia it was stated that this series was a fantastic take on the superhero genre and, basically, that was all that needed to be said. This is still very much the case with volume two–which should surprise nobody–as Kohei Horikoshi begins to develop some of the characters that, really, he didn’t have time to talk about in the first volume. There are twenty students in the 1-A class, after all, and that would be exhausting to try and cover in a single volume. If anybody has watched the anime (which is highly recommended as well) you know that certain episodes may focus on certain students in order to give them the attention they need to better flesh out who they are, their quick and their motivations. The manga will do that as well, obviously, and here in volume two Horikoshi has given just enough of a handful of characters to peak some interest.
The main focus here is the heated rivalry between Izuku Midorya (Deku) and Kacchan, better known as Katsuki Bakugo and the next step of training for them and the rest of the students. Now the battle between Deku and Bakugo is compelling, sure, and getting to know just how much winning and being the top hero truly means to a jerk like Bakugo after seeing how much it means to Deku is an interesting dichotomy but what seems to truly stand out is Shoto Todoroki. Every student is paired with another in a class that bits heroes against “villains” in an attempt to understand the mindset of villains and what it’s like to go against them in close quarters, indoor combat. The first team-up pits Deku against Bakugo, naturally, and while that fight is intense and interesting and it’s a good use of Urarake and Ida, teamed up with Deku and Bakugo respectively, there is one student that stands out. It seems more of a quick shot or two and if you’re reading too fast and not really diving into the panels you might gloss right over it. The true standout of the team battle exercise is Shoto Todoroki, who manages to secure the “nuclear weapon” without breaking a sweat and without harming anybody in the process. He simply uses his cold side to freeze the room and his opponents in place and then casually strolls over to the weapon to touch it and win for his team.
If the first volume was supposed to get your attention, then the second volume was definitely designed to pique your interest. It gives you just enough of key characters, including one of the main villains Tomura Shigaraki, to make you immediately want to jump into the next volume. There’s no question that, even this early on, Horikoshi struck gold. He clearly cares very much for this world and these characters and it’s going to be one hell of a treat to read through this series. Plus Ultra!