My Hero Academica

Volumes 1 to 11

Synopsis: Young dork Izuku Midoriya is a boring normal kid in a world drowning in superpowers. Then he meets his idol and is made the inheritor to their power, which sets him on (as the Manga tells us) the path to becoming the world’s greatest hero.

I enjoyed seasons one and two of the My Hero Academia anime a great deal, so buying the Manga for it when on sale seemed a no-brainer. The series is a whole bucket of fun, combining (mostly) likeable characters and their interesting powers (called Quirks), some amazing set-piece moments and fights, and a lot of soul-searching and commentary on the nature and application of heroism. The series enhances these with some truly amazing full-page panels and two-page spreads, delivering a massive impact that is palpable.

It almost seems a shame that the series has a plot at all, given that simply watching the main cast bounce off each other is already highly entertaining and shows a massive amount of thought into the nature of superpowers invested by the author. This isn’t to say that the overarching plotline is a drag - it expands the same level of thought out to a worldwide scope as it explores the dynamics and resentment that could arise in the hypothetical superpower-drenched society and the steps in place to control it. It also has a great number of parenting themes, and Izuku’s mother is the MVP for being the single most emotionally believable character. Bless her.

The series does have one unforgivable problem however - one of the secondary cast members, Mineta. Mineta is a little comedy relief twerp which the rest of the cast and the very series itself seems amazed that he is able to hang with the high standard of the rest, which just makes it worse. See, Mineta is the comedy sexual harasser of the series, and every single line out of his tiny mouth is some form of blatant sexual harassment. The easy-to-make defence of this is that Mineta never succeeds, that everyone (rightfully) hates them, and that all his horn-doggedness in fact works against him. But he still exists in the series, is clearly supposed to elicit your sympathy, and is a normalising lens to allow a reader who is so inclined to view the female cast in the same manner that he does. It’s wretched and disgusting and utterly repugnant. The fact that he gets an attempted redemption arc at one point is offensive.

Mineta should not exist and he flat out drags down the series. He makes recommending the series to others a thorny issue instead of an instant and effortless decision, which I dearly wish it was so I could throw it at more people.

Rating: Smaaaaasssshhhhhhhhhh!