– Post may contain spoilers-
In order to attend the Summer Training Camp, the students of U.A.’s Hero course were tasked with completing both written and practical exams. With the written portion in the past, the students have been paired into teams to square off against professional heroes. To succeed, they either have to handcuff the hero (acting as the villain) or escape through the exit gate of their arena. The twist? The pairings were specifically chosen to challenge the students’ particular personalities and quirks.
This volume picks up immediately with the execution of Midoriya and Bakugo’s makeshift plan to fight All Might. Finally compromising on a strategy, the two attack All Might at full force and make a dash for the gate. Bakugo, driven by his intense desire to win at any cost, makes the decision to work with Midoriya as they approach the gate. Being a sore loser sure can instill a great amount of determination in a person. Meanwhile, the other students encounter their own problems in their respective arenas. In particular, Yaoyorozu doubts her own decisions and Mineta struggles to overcome his own cowardice as his team’s battle turns into a one-on-one. We get glimpses at other battles, but unfortunately much of what happens in those is left up to the imagination. It’s actually quite astonishing that the series chooses to forgo showing us the challenges of Ida and Uraraka, two of our primary characters. We see the resolution of Uraraka’s challenge but see virtually nothing of Ida’s. One thing the series is slowly improving upon is sharing the spotlight between its primary cast and its secondary cast, the latter of which is bloated given the school setting. It’s nice to see characters like Yaoyorozu and Mineta receive focus for a change, but I feel we should have spent a little more time with the rest of the class, especially our primary characters. While their challenges might have not had much happening for most of their duration, it still feels like a waste, especially because the glimpses of each battle we do get were so fun. One of My Hero Academia’s greatest strengths is how fun it tends to make its battles, so it’s a bit of a letdown that so many promising fights are skimmed over. We do see some of those creative moments in the other battles within the few panels allotted to them, but it’s minimal coverage compared to the three focal fights. However, I can only imagine how long it would have taken to give each fight the same coverage, so maybe this was simply a choice made to speed up the arc a bit.
As mentioned, Yaoyorozu and Mineta receive the most focus besides Bakugo and Midoriya. Yaoyorozu’s internal conflict, while enjoyable to watch, seems like it should have had more leading up to it. A few panels last volume hinted at her indecisiveness and feelings of inadequacy, but it would have been nice to see those play out (and negatively affect her) in another battle before having her face them. There’s unfortunately no real dramatic weight accompanying it as a result, and it just seems like a detour meant to give us some time with a secondary character.
On the other hand, Mineta’s development makes more sense (and yet it doesn’t). His opponent, Midnight, takes his partner Sero out of the battle, leaving him to fend for himself against her permeating sleep-inducing aroma. Mineta’s been the coward of the group since his main introduction, so seeing him forced to fight alone is the perfect way to force him out of his shell. He lures Midnight away from the gate so her aroma won’t linger, which doesn’t make all that much sense considering he essentially holds his breath anyway. Why he couldn’t do that closer to the gate escapes me. Maybe it was so he had time to drag Sero out with him. Anyway, it just seemed like an unnecessary action, but it still worked overall. That aside, Mineta’s motivations are still…rather lacking and are merely a vehicle for (often obnoxious) comic relief. Even so, it’s still good to see him without support for a change, and I hope he’ll grow into a respectable person…eventually.
Just a skeptical (and somewhat spoilery) note on Koda and Jiro’s challenge: Holy crap do those insects travel fast.
The second half of the volume follows the students as they prepare for and head toward Summer Training Camp. Unfortunately, it’s not a smooth ride, as Midoriya encounters Shigaraki, the face of the League of Villains, while getting ready. After two defeats and being overshadowed by the Hero Killer, Shigaraki is understandably frustrated. So what does he do? He seeks answers from his second most-hated hero, Midoriya, as to what makes his actions and convictions different from the Hero Killer’s. It’s a positive step for a character who thus far has come off as simply childish in his goals and convictions (though that’s admittedly the point of his character). For some reason he chooses not to turn Midoriya to dust then and there, and he walks away with renewed motivation, now setting his sights on destroying the status quo by taking down All Might to show the world justice doesn’t always win and protect people.
My biggest issue with this volume is editorial. The flow of dialogue is not always coherent. There are times when a character will say something, and it will not really fit into the current conversation or other characters’ responses won’t really address what was said. These instances seem like translation errors, but I can’t be sure considering I can’t read Japanese. The volume was just kind of difficult to follow at times as a result of these issues.
While My Hero Academia has managed to make its training arcs enjoyable so far, I’m eager to get past them. A four-person hero team called The Pussycats arrives to oversee the Summer Camp, so the new faces could help keep things interesting for the time being. The series has done well balancing the school plotlines with the villain plotlines, but I think most people are looking forward to a return to fighting the villains, whenever that may be. As long as the series remains fun and keeps being generous to its secondary cast, I can keep patient a while longer.