Monday, May 16, 2016

Manga Mondays (6): My Hero Academia, vol. 01

Manga Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Alison @ Alison Can Read

My Hero Academia, Vol. 01 (My Hero Academia #1)
by Horikoshi Kohei
Original Title: 僕のヒーローアカデミア (Boku no Hero Academia)
ISBN:1421582694 (ISBN13: 9781421582696)
Demographic: Shonen
Genre: Action, comedy, school life
Published by: Shueisha (Japanese), VIZ Media (English)
Purchase from: VIZ Media

Synopsis:
What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…

Review

My Hero Academia is set in present Japan where having super powers brought upon by “Quirk” is so common that it’s literally rare to not have it. The strength of one’s quirk varies from person to person. Some people — Villains— use their powers to do evil but there are others—Heroes— who have taken it upon themselves to save humanity from evil. Everyone can become a hero, so to speak, but to be a “professional” Hero isn’t an easy task. First, you need to get into the hero academy, U.A. High School, where the entrance exam’s passing stats is less than 1 out of 300 and then after graduating will a person only become a Professional Hero.

In MHA, heroes are treated like celebrities. The most famous and also hailed as the strongest is All Might. Kids and adults alike look up to him including our protagonist, Midoriya Izuku or Deku for short. Even at age 4, Deku was already set on becoming a hero like his idol, All Might, probably more than anyone in the world ever wanted. However, in the sea of people with quirks/super powers, Deku is one of the rare type—the quirkless one. So this story revolves around how Deku becomes the greatest hero ever without his own quirk.

When I started reading MHA, I thought that it was going to be just another shonen manga. This isn’t the first time I’ve read about a useless and weak underdog protagonist that ascended to greatness because of perseverance and hard work. Besides, I wasn’t really into super heroes or xmen-ish stuff, but there’s another hero manga called One-Punch Man that I really enjoyed so I gave this one a shot.

Kohei Hirokoshi’s art looks great. His character style for Deku is spot on. Kohei made Deku look ordinary and unhero-like, but his expressive wide eyes that give him a perpetual look of innocence set him apart from other characters in the series. His personality also sets him apart from other Shonen Jump protagonists. He’s not as hot-headed like Naruto nor is he as jolly as Luffy. He is fully aware of his weaknesses. He doesn’t try to deny them and he doesn’t act tough, instead he acknowledges them yet he never loses his sight on his goal. He’s the type of guy who’d probably lose to anyone in a physical fight and he knows it. But it never stopped him from wanting to help.

In a way, Deku reminds me of David from Steelheart because they are both Hero/Epic geeks! Since Deku doesn’t have superpowers, he has taken to analysing heroes’ superpowers much like what David did in order to defeat Epics although for Deku it really was just a hobby that later on became an important weapon against his enemies. David has this obsession on wanting to join the Reckoners much like Deku wants to become a Hero.

I find Deku to be extremely relatable. He is the character that every person who has ever been a fan wants to be. Deku’s being a hero otaku/geek never sat well with his classmates and he was oftentimes bullied by it. In Japan, the term Otaku translates to geek but it has a very negative connotation that could be synonymous to pervert. He was often shun for loving the things he loved and laughed at because this thing he loved the most is the very thing that he wants to be, but has been decided from the day he was born that he could never be. But he was given a chance.

Kohei did really well in portraying Deku's emotions through the art. I could feel his desires, his hope, and sadness very palpably. I cried when he cried, and I smiled when he laughed. Honestly, I felt like a mother to him. I just want him to reach his goals and be happy.

Overall, I think I'm obsessed with this series now. It is so good! And Kohei Hirokoshi is a great artist and story teller. The characters are so diversed. It's impressive that there could be so many mainstay characters and not have their personalities overlapping each other while still being natural and noncontrived. 

You all need to read this whether you’re into manga or not because the story and the characters are just so perfect!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

2 comments:

  1. I actually really like the theme of superheroes/superpowers but don't read manga. If I did though, I'd definitely consider this one, Chel.

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  2. Ooh what a fascinating manga! I must admit I haven't read a manga in years, and even when I did, I tended to lean towards the romance ones haha. But Hero Academia sounds very interesting, and it almost has an X-men feel to it!

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