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Manga / Shy

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World's shyest superhero

"Shy is generally a story about self-hatred. At first, Shy is a story about how a shy person can save herself. Now, it is a story about how that person can break out of her shell with a little help from another. Maybe one day, Shy will become a story about how she can save others besides herself... At least that’s what I think."
Miki Bukimi, Volume 1 Extra

In the middle of the 21st century, the world was on the brink of World War III. But suddenly, superheroes appeared all over the world and with their efforts, they saved it from certain destruction. Nowadays, heroes are world-acclaimed celebrities and a role model to many. One of these heroes is Momijiyama Teru alias Shy, a 14-year-old and extremely shy middle school student from Japan. While making a public appearence at an amusement park, a roller-coaster accident happens and despite her best efforts, Shy is unable to save one passenger who is put in a coma.

With both public opinion and herself blaming her for the failure, Shy loses her powers and becomes a shut-in. But after getting a pep talk from fellow heroine Spirits and seeing a young boy's determination to save some people from a burning skyscraper, she regains her determination and becomes Shy once more.

Trying to become a better hero, Shy soon learns about a mysterious young boy named Stigma who threatens the world's peace and is drawn into the conflict between earth's superheroes and Stigma.

Shy is a superhero manga by Bukimi Miki, which began serialization in Weekly Shonen Champion in 2019. The series has an anime adaptation produced by 8Bit that premiered on October 3, 2023. A second season has been announced.

Shy contains examples of:

  • Adult Hater: Sigma and the Amarariruku are outright hostile towards both adults and the sudden boom of Superheroes, intending to rid the world of them outright for the children. They have a similarly dim view on teenagers, as they're willing to either use them as vessels to further their goals. Or in the case of Teru and her allies, outright murder them due to being heroes themselves.
  • Back from the Dead: It is eventually revealed that Sveta is Spirits's mother Lenya who was resurrected as a member of Amarariruku.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • When asked what kind of person Stardust is, Spirits calls him a psycho and we see him sitting on what looks like corpses with a knife in hand. The next page reveals that he was just filming a video for his latest music album.
    • When Iko meets Uni-Lord for the first time, she asks if she can make some group photos. Uni-Lord responds that since they are currently discussing a highly confidential matter (Stigma's rings), she cannot allow that... so they have to use the photo booth instead.
  • Big Good: Uni-Lord, the supervisor of all of earth's heroes.
  • Breather Episode: Most arcs are followed by at least one of these, usually centering around Shy/Teru's everyday life.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: After the battle against Sveta and Kfufu is over, Stardust and Lady Black arrive at the scene. Realising that the enemies have already left and the situation is under control, Stardust soon leaves again to report to Uni-Lord while Lady Black tends to the civilians who were caught in Sveta's Amarariruku.
  • The Corruption: Stigma's rings force people to bring out their deepest and darkest emotions.
  • Determinator: Most heroes qualify as this, but Pilse Dunant/Lady Black deserves a special mention. Despite losing both her lower legs in an accident when she was a child, she practised with her prosthetics so much that nowadays she's barely inconvenienced by it anymore, became a superhero and is currently studying medicine.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Stigma's ring brings out Iko's survivors guilt, she tries to kill herself.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The manga opens with a report of the latest action of several superheroesnote . While Spirits already has a big role in chapter 1, Stardust doesn't get introduced until chapter 5 and Century has to wait until chapter 38 for his proper debut.
    • The cover page of chapter one also shows Lady Blacknote  and another as-of-yet unnamed superhero.
  • Famed In-Story: Most superheroes are known and have fans all over the world. When Spirits appears in chapter 1 to help Shy rescue civilians, she is immediately recognized (and swarmed) by the crowd. Even Shy, who only recently became a hero, is already popular enough to be recognized by a group of children in a Russian orphanage.
  • Fingore: How Stardust removed Stigma's ring from his friend: He cut off the whole finger!
  • First-Name Basis: After having a little talk with Teru in chapter 30, Iko decides that from now on they will use their first names with each other.
  • Flying Brick: All heroes have enhanced durability and strength by default, but only the American hero Century and the Russian heroine Spirits can also fly.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Heart is the awesome power in this series:
    • Superheroes use special wristbands which use their "Heart Energy" to transform into their superhero forms. The more determined a hero is, the stronger he or she gets. But if they lose their conviction, they transform back.
    • Members of Amarariruku can turn their surroundings into a space inside their hearts (which is also called Amarariruku), essentially creating a Place of Power around them which prevents any outside interference and is inescapable from the inside. Normal humans lose consciousness inside this field and can even be controlled by the Amarariruku.
    • Shinobi train their eintire life to use the power of the heart, the same power the heroes utilize. Unlike heroes, they cannot transform and don't have super strength or endurance.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: The children at Yurii Orphanage.
  • Henshin Hero: All superheroes are this
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Shy has this at first after her failure to rescue the girl in the roller-coaster. But after gaining some advice from Spirits and Lady Black and after taking a level in badass, she grows out of it. At least a bit.
  • Hope Spot: After losing one job after another, facing eviction and shouting at her little daughter, Lenya decides to kill herself so that her daughter can grow up in her old Orphanage of Love. When she tries to buy her a last gift in form of cookies, the owner of the bakery gifts her the best cake she has, only wanting a report on how the girl liked the cake. Inspired by her kindness, Lenya decides to not give up on live yet, only to get ambushed by a homeless man who steals her cake and throws her into a frozen river, causing her death
  • Lampshade Hanging: When her teacher announces that they are going to have a new student, Teru gives us this gem:
  • Magical Girl Warrior: Shy/Teru is basically this with a superhero skin. She is 14 - much younger than other heroes - has a Transformation Trinket (Her Bracelets) and a Transformation Sequence, a Mentor Mascot (EBIO/"Shrimpy"), Elemental Powers (fire), her powers all come from the Heart, and is as much taking on the darkness in people's hearts (See Episode 2 / Chapters 3-4) as defeating criminals or rescuing people.
  • Meaningful Name: Most hero names are this in one way or another, but Shy probably takes the cake.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: Amarariruku, the organisation led by Stigma.
  • Ninja: Entire ninja villages even that exist detached from the outside world. Their stated goals are to protect the peace in the world, stopping evildoers and helping those in need from the shadows.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The heroes are said to have appeared mid-21th century and an unclear amount of time has passed since thennote , but the technology doesn't seem to have advanced at all, with the sole exception of the heroes headquarter which is a space station.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Stardust gives one to Shy while simultaneously delivering a breaking speech that she should give up on being a hero since he believes that she is to nice to be a hero. It doesn't work.
  • No Nonsense Villain: Amarariruku as a whole view the heroes as little more than an obstacle that needs to be eliminated. While they occasionally use their powers on the heroes in an attempt to use them like they do innocents, as Prayer did by siccing a love-potion infected Lady Black on Shy during their invasion of Tokyo. They're more than content to simply try and kill them instead of forcing them under their control.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Shy's partner, Ebio. It acts as her advisor and can open small portals.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Subverted: When the roller coaster cart with the last passenger flies of the rails, Shy barely manages to catch it. Unfortunately, the sudden stop heavily injures the girl and she is put into a coma while public opinion mostly blames Shy for it.
  • One-Word Title: Nom de Guerre of Protagonist Title.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: When Spirits gets stabbed in the stomach by Sveta, she tries to play it down later to reassure Shy and claims that this is no big deal. Lady Black is having none of it.
    Lady Black: Temperature drop after being wounded and the amount of blood you lost after that. I'd say that this is very much a "big deal"!
  • Orphanage of Love: Yurii Orphanage
  • Painful Transformation: Iko goes through this after Stigma puts a ring on her finger that forces her deepest feelings to manifest in form of black crystals.
  • Personality Powers: Each hero develops over time a unique power that mirrors their personality.
  • Practically Joker: Kufufu. Green Hair, clown-like makeup, twisted sense of humor revealing a psychotic outlook, and an Affably Evil demeanor. Yep, definite inspiration from the Joker.
  • Prosthetic Limb Reveal: In chapter 10, it is revealed that Pilse Dunant/Lady Black is a double amputee.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Since Sveta is Spirits' dead mother Lenya who was brought back by Stigma, her body is only a construct created by her own heart. When Spirits' manages to reach her mother with her feelings, her personal heart-space shatters and her body begins to disappear. Before she dies completely, she gives the heroes valuable information about Amarariruku and has one last drink with her daughter.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The British hero David Wonder Jones/Stardust is clearly modeled after David Bowie
    • The Swiss heroine Pilse Dunant is named after the founder of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant and possesses healing powers
    • The way Shy stops the runaway train during the Tokyo crisis is taken almost one-to-one from Spider-Man 2.
    • In the anime dub, when Spirits calls Shy to invite her to the orbital station, she says she's calling From Russia with Love.
  • Show Within a Show: "Rise! Civil Revolution", a popular anime where Magical Girls fight against the evil Xexecutive. It's been running for 30 years! It's likely a nod to Pretty Cure.
  • Shrinking Violet: Shy, both as a hero and as Momijiyama Teru. She is bad at making public speeches, cannot say no to a request and tears up when she has to call out loudly, so she prefers to stay indoors.
  • Take a Third Option: When Shy, Lady Black, Ai and Spirits are confronted by Kfufu with an almost textbook example of the trolley problem note , they manage to stop the train à la Spider-Man 2 instead.
  • Took a Level in Badass: At the beginning of the manga, Shy has no special abilities apart from Super-Strength and Super-Toughness which seem to be standard for superheroes. During her fight with Stardust, she learns to conjure her passion into flames which proves to quite useful against Sveta.
  • Training Montage: Chapter 11 contains an unusual example: After seeing Lady Black using her powers without transforming, Teru (unsuccessfully) tries to do the same. She then stumbles into her schools calligraphy club and, after getting an introduction to calligraphy, decides to train by writing down the the kanji for "fire" again and again. Eventually, it works.
  • Translator Microbes: The wristbands of superheroes allow them to convey their thoughts to others, completely bypassing the language barrier.
  • Transformation Trinket: Superhero wristbands and Stigma's rings.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After Shy rescues all the people on a roller coaster that breaks at an amusement park, the public turns on her because as she was going back for the last person (who told her to rescue everyone else first), the roller coaster's emergency brakes fail and send the cars flying off the track, causing the woman to be injured and rendered comatose. Had Shy not intervened, everyone on that roller coaster would have died but the public acts like the one person who got hurt was Shy's fault and some people even say that she should be held criminally liable for the injury!
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Since there is no telling what Stigma's next move will be, the heroes have no choice but to wait until the next time he shows himself.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Shy has this, having to balance her superheroing with Middle School