Hello there and thanks for reading! This is my manga review of My Hero Academia Vol 1. This is part of my ongoing series of manga reviews for collected volumes of ongoing manga series that come out monthly. So make sure to check back on my blog page for new reviews.
With that out of the way let me explain how this review will work. I list information on the manga and anything special related to it. Including where you can buy it with links to those places and the price physical or digital. After that, I begin with an overview which is a general review with as few spoilers as possible. I give my thoughts and rate it telling you whether it’s worth buying.
This is for people who have not read the volume or series online, and are deciding whether they should. People that want spoilers can still read this because what I list I explore deeper in the second half of the review. My evaluation system is based on art, story progression, story execution, character development, and emotional impact. Ranked 1-10 from terrible to excellent.
After an overview, I do a deeper analysis. This part includes major spoilers and I go into detail about specific things and things I think are important to the story.
Explaining why I gave the rating I did with the evaluation of the things I was looking for to rate the volume. Included in this at the end are specific highlights from the volume I mention that struck me as good or awesome and things I didn’t like.
So with that out of the way let’s begin!
My Hero Academia Vol 1
Story and Art by Kohei Horikoshi
Published by Viz Media
Magazine Publication Shonen Jump
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.
Where you can buy it:
- Barnes and Noble or any major retailer that carries manga, and comic book store.
1.Kindle and Comixology
can download offline through kindle or kindle app for smartphone or tablet. Can read on the computer through kindle cloud app for chrome web browser or chrome book computer.
can download offline through nook or nook app for smartphone or tablet.
Can download offline for smartphone or tablet or read on the computer through Shonen Jump website in your viz manga collection.
Can download offline for iPhone or tablet and possibly read from the computer.
With the popularity of One Punch Man ( which by the way I like). I was hesitant to read another story set in a world with professional heroes. I didn’t know what to expect and it didn’t help that the story had a shonen cliche of a young protagonist in school. With a dream to be the very best and he is in training either through the school or starts in school.
The character didn’t strike me as appealing from the cover art and I thought I would be able to predict All Might. Well actually both of them after reading the synopsis, but dammit I can honestly say I was surprised in a good way.
There are some shonen cliches but the way the story was presented and executed all I can say is well done. For the first four chapters of a series, it started off strong.
When you start the story it opens up with the main character narrating which you don’t see that often in shonen. It worked though and flowed as you jumped to past and present and cut somewhere else. All with this narration while experiencing the main scenes in the story with action and dialogue throughout the entire volume.
The narration was not pointless and actually served the story and made you have more insight into the main character. At certain instances, it served as an intriguing way to make you want to keep reading. It appeared at the right time and was not overused.
From the get go you see Midoriya. There is definitely more to him even when you’re shown from his interactions with others he is timid and weak, but to a certain extent, you can’t blame his character due to the nature of the world. From how it heaps praise on those with powers, and riches for those who are strong heroes.
Midoriya is quirk-less which means he is normal. Eighty percent of the world is super powered, and people aren’t equal in terms of abilities and what they can do with them. There is no equality and those without powers are considered the bottom of the barrel. Not to mention no powers could be dangerous as we see people will use them to commit a crime and even kill not hesitating to use their quirks regardless of who they hurt to get what they want.
Even people that become heroes can do it for intentions not so noble. Though what I really enjoyed in regards to the powers was the different abilities unique to each person. There were times throughout the manga when I thought I could judge the abilities use based off one action or how the person looked and I was proven wrong.
I also liked how there are drawbacks and people can’t just be infinitely OP but have weaknesses. The story doesn’t wait to hit the ground running in the use of quirks as we follow our lead and see the effects of superpowers on the world and how his world turns upside down when All Might entrusts him with his power.
All Might was not what I expected and was not generic like I thought he would be. There is more of him definitely to explore beyond his heroic image. The other characters had personalities we’ve seen before but executed differently with slight variations in relation to the story.
It definitely was because of the story and interactions. Though it’s only the first volume so there is room for development.
Midoriya definitely had some development growing from weak to strong physically and man was he put through the wringer. He was also slightly less timid though once again there is room for improvement, but you forgive that because of his more noble traits.
He has a good heart and is no coward when it comes to saving others. He will put himself into danger or do what needs to be done even if it’s last minute. There are times in the story when things get tense and emotional and you’re drawn in. This works especially in a past scene when he and his mom learn he is quirkless, or the scene when he tries to save a classmate who treats him like shit and a few others.
This is helped by the fact the mangaka is really expressive with his art. It’s a sleek design typical of modern manga but is full of emotion. you feel the impact of the scenes throughout the entire volume.
There is an exaggeration but not over the top where you‘re like wtf! Combined with the story, dialogue, character interactions, and narration it works. A good amount of information is revealed in the chapter quite a few of them leaving more questions than answers, but it’s enough to get us invested and establish basic rules.
Some of it is also more subtle flowing and you don’t feel like you’re getting beaten over the head. For those that love action there is a good amount and for those that want a well-written story with some heart, this is pretty good.
There are cliches especially the angry rival which I hope takes a unique path. The classmate I mentioned earlier is a bastard not to mention supposedly a childhood friend of the main character if you could call it that.
Overall it’s a solid foundation for this series to become its own and stand out. In terms of rating, I give this volume an 8.5 (Great) and believe the first chapter alone is enough to get most people invested if not definitely by the end of the volume. Definitely worth reading and was worth the purchase I made.
Time to get into spoilers and clarify some things I mentioned in the overview. First, off I praised the first person narration technique which I thought was used well. It made the first few pages intriguing showing the past of our hero. Scenes with his thoughts that established the problem of almost everyone having quirks and how people abuse it even at a young age as kids would most definitely do.
It threw us into the reality of the world quick and even the beginning narration was more subtle cutting off as Midoriya talks about how even though he started out with no powers and had to deal with a lot of shit it would be his last setback.
Curiosity increased making you push further as it throws you into the present. The narration throws you here and there with the story diving deep. Giving some good payoffs as the time flips back and forth keeping you in the dark on some things then revealing it later.
I thought it was well done regarding the most important scenes with Midoriya. From the first chapter where we are introduced to his mind state and character with his setback at having no powers. The pains of that echo through him as he goes out to rescue his classmate who may possibly die due to a man that can go inside and take over people’s bodies.
Then building constantly on that emotion throughout inside him. To all his scenes with All Might and the validation he gets for being heroic getting entrusted with All Might’s power. To him training to get into U.A and the constant challenges of facing utter failure all through the story. While treating us to flashbacks including voice overs.
It sets itself apart as a story and when you think about it in regards to plot. It could have easily failed if not planned out properly in the writing process and strengthened by the expressive art.
Another plus was the quick progression of the story. Showing us criminal activity with quirks is a normal daily occurrence and using the people’s everyday conversation to convey more about quirks and the world.
The appearances really throw you for a loop. When I saw the Kamui guy I definitely didn’t expect him to have binding powers and was wondering why the guy that turned giant looked like some creature. While the hero girl was normal looking with a similar ability.
There were obvious differences and I liked that the powers were not so predictable.
As we dove deeper into the story through the other chapters a lot more was explained. Answers would come that any normal person would have. The mangaka really thought out the use of quirks which I liked and to top it off he did it at a good pace.
Don’t throw everything in at the beginning and when we got more about the quirks it applied to the story in some way especially for our main character who was getting used to the power All Might gave him.
This was significant because there are several things we know or can assume so far about quirks. They have side effects that limit the use and if overused it can possibly hurt them or at least they end up out of commission but the good thing is you can train to strengthen your abilities.
If there creative with how they use the power the sky’s the limit. This is especially important because as we see Midoriya and others go for the exams. The testers are looking for certain skill sets and traits that enhance the use of quirks.
Obviously being a hero is hard and the threats great which I think foreshadows that some fights can only be won with smart strategy and certain predispositions to how you engage your opponent.
Also evidenced by the cowardly heroes who didn’t want to help early in the chapter when Midoriya is supposed childhood friend douche bag classmate was attacked by the sludge man, and the hesitation to quick response because of flaws to their abilities.
It is important to note the story foreshadows that those that can overcome the problems to quirks and build skill sets that assist them with a mental aptitude for high strategy will be great. We should pay attention to this because I believe the same can be said for the villains.
We also know people with quirks don’t have an extra joint in their pinky. Quirks are also unique to individuals, and with the reveal of the secret to All Might’s power One For All. Quirks can be passed down and given to others who don’t even have quirks.
Much is still a mystery about how the powers came about and all that’s possible with them. It seems people in the story are clueless and I wonder if the mangaka is going to expand on this. Though I’m hopeful this will leave room for surprises and interesting quirks and their uses especially in regards to the villains.
The story explanation for how heroes came about makes sense. If everyone gets powers only brave people with powers can stop them. It’s the only natural progression since there will always be good humans and bad. Not to mention the world would be thrown into chaos.
I felt the emotions the story wanted to give me most of the time. The real tense scenes worked but at times I thought damn Midoriya cries too much he is pissing me off a little. Don’t let people put you down like that stand up for yourself. Especially when he got All Might’s power and used it in the exam to wreck a gigantic machine with one punch.
His confidence I thought should have shot up a little more and it did but he has a long way to go. I really hope his character develops at a good pace I don’t want it to be like Naruto where there is barely any change or he grows only after several arcs. I mean will see, but with that said it’s understandable. The story makes that clear to a certain extent.
In regards to character, I want to talk about some of the characters we were introduced too. Some that I’m sure will be mainstays. As I stated at the beginning I was sure I knew what All Might would be like. A stand-up hero preaching justice with a built body and great face. The smile to go along with the body chin and all.
I thought he would take an interest in Midoriya because he felt sorry for him and wanted to help his dream. To a certain extent, this was true but his image is more like a mask. He tells Midoriya the truth that he can’t be a hero without power and this hits home more when we see his condition all frail and weak after facing some villain we don’t know about yet, but I hope will make an appearance down the road.
His stomach is gone and he is always coughing blood up slowly dying even after multiple surgeries. Midoriya is a fanboy and to a certain extent has his heads in the clouds and boy does reality hit hard. All Might tells him to become a police officer and talks about his own fears that it is tough being a hero.
I enjoyed his uncertainty because usually in shonen you see an OP character and there always gung ho with no regards to their mortality.
The exchange between the two really builds up the stakes for this world and is a good foreshadowing of the challenges Midoriya will face. His supposed friend slash classmate Katsuki Bakugo I honestly I didn’t like him. He will probably be a badass but overall he is an arrogant prick who to a certain extent I’m sure has self-esteem issues
Three other characters worth mentioning are the girl with the ability to control gravity Ochako Uraraka who is bubbly and nice. Midoriya has a crush on her wonder if that will be expanded on. Then the guy with glasses from the prep school Tenya Ida who has some type of speed quirk. He is a stickler for the rules but will admit when he is bested. Both of them will probably end up good friends with Midoriya.
Lastly, there is the homeroom teacher Shota Aizawa who is interesting because he seems unpredictable and will provide good conflict for Midoriya and his classmates. He is a professional hero who has an ability to suppress quirks and he doesn’t get along with All Might.
Overall they fit a few stereotypes but it was not done badly there always is more room for development in the coming chapters. The first volume had to introduce a lot so no biggie.
There were a couple other unique faces in the class but they were not expanded on yet. The school system itself is interesting including how they judged the practical portion of the entrance exam. They know what’s good and award fairly.
U.A definitely is interested in cultivating great heroes and we see it with their homeroom teacher who tests them out the gate to understand their quirks.I want to see some unique classes in the later chapters hopefully it can do the school life thing in a much better way.
Lastly, the use of one for all is interesting it’s still up in the air what it can do. Midoriya will hopefully learn how to wield it well. I hope sooner rather than later but I can already tell he moves in progression by the challenges occurring in the story.
Highlights of volume
When Midoriya learns he is quirkless.
The sludge man incident those scenes.
All Mights true form.
When All Might tells him he can be a hero.
The practical exams.
The use of quirks in the fitness tests.
Bakugo flipping out to attack Midoriya because he is butt hurt.
To many pity moments a little over done.
Some typical characters but forgivable
Clear, smooth, and expressive.
Story execution- Excellent
The way the story was told could have gone horribly wrong but didn’t. Well paced and thought out. Hits almost all the emotional beats.
Character development- Good
Excusable because it’s an introduction and we do get some for the most important characters.
Emotional Impact. Great
Really engaged me the whole way through minor complaints.
Rating- 8.5: Great
That ends it for my review of My Hero Academia Vol 1. I hope you enjoyed it and check back for more reviews of volumes as they come out for this series in the coming months.