From the Back Cover: It’s off to summer camp for Midoriya and the U.A. students! But this is no ordinary vacation – it’s high-impact training where the students are expected to develop their Quirks even further! The teachers have set up some tough challenges, but none will be as difficult and as life changing as the threat a new group of enemies poses. What’s even worse is who the villains’ target is and why…
I really am conflicted about this review. My Hero Academia remains a strong series despite its shortcomings, and it offers some unique and insightful commentary on superheroes into which other series rarely delve. The series is wonderful. But this volume is not the series at its best.
Why? Midoriya. He is both the best and the worst thing about the series. He’s a wonderful character in that he’s a relatable protagonist for readers to latch on to. However, the fact that his superpower is literally just super strength carries with it some difficult writing issues.
It’s hard to pinpoint the limitations of super strength. Something like Jiro’s ear jacks or Tsuyu’s frog powers are easier to measure because they have defined parameters. With their quirks, Jiro and Tsuyu can do a set number of things. But with Midoriya’s, he literally just hits hard. And while other characters have to rely more on creative strategies in order to utilize their quirks in battle, Midoriya, as a result of being a brawler, isn’t really able to do that. Besides catching an opponent offguard, there aren’t very many ways to make super strength more effective other than simply making him hit harder. And that’s what happens here. Midoriya ends up in a pinch when even his 100% attack fails to do much damage. So what does he do? He goes beyond his maximum output. The author does note that the 1,000,000% was not literal, but the fact that Midoriya seems to be able to surpass his limits at any given time on sheer willpower does not bode well for future storytelling, as it sets precedence for Midoriya simply being able to punch his way out of any situation if he just tries hard enough. I’m okay with Midoriya getting stronger, but having that power increase just occur randomly in the middle of a battle simply because he wills it seems both lazy and boring. Yes, it’s cool to watch him punch people into oblivion, but there needs to be some rhyme or reason to his powering up.
That gripe aside, the rest of the volume is all right. The villain attack borders on being too similar to the USJ attack, but I’ll let it slide. I do wish we got to see more of the students’ battles, but it looks like these fights will be wrapping up fairly soon so I doubt the series will spend much more time on the forest battles. Which is a shame, as I really wanted to see the Bakugo bodyguards fight as a team.
On the more positive side of things, Kota’s subplot involving his hatred of heroes and their line of work works pretty well. My Hero Academia continues to find new ways to explore the intricacies of superhero work, which is probably it’s biggest strength. Kota’s development does feel a bit rushed, but that can’t be helped given the story development. All in all, it’s an emotional point that just makes the world within the series feel more human and real.
The art dips in a few places this volume, as characters just look scribbled onto a few pages. Granted, the art looks great most of the time, so maybe I’m just being picky. However, there are a multitude of panels without any background to them. While it works for Midoriya and Kota’s scene, it looks unprofessional elsewhere. It’s not terribly detracting, but it does make the series look less appealing overall.
My Hero Academia is still headed in a good direction. But it needs to slow down a little. These fights come and go at a rapid pace, and it would just be nice for them to take a little longer to allow for the build-up of tension. Everyone except Midoriya is fun to watch in battle, and even he can be fun when he utilizes more than just raw power. It’s just a shame we haven’t seen that more clever side of him since his battle with Todoroki. I’m eager to see him return to that in the future, assuming he doesn’t just become All-Might 2.0.