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19-year-old Kouichi Haimawari always dreamed of being a hero, but didn't think he had a good enough Quirk. Instead he spends his free time sliding around town doing basic good deeds like picking up litter, or helping lost children find their parents. Content with his lot in life Kouichi never expected to be thrown into the world of heroes, but an unexpected run in with the Vigilante, or illegal hero, Knuckle Duster changes his life forever.

My Hero Academia: Vigilantes is a spin-off series of the popular My Hero Academia, running biweekly on the ShonenJump+ website and app (as well as Viz Comics’ Shonen Jump app in English-speaking countries and Shueisha’s Manga Plus app everywhere else), with occasional bonus chapters in the quarterly Jump Giga magazine. Made by a different author and artist, this manga, set some time shortly before the events of the main series, details the story of a group of unlicensed heroes.

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The manga's first three chapters and latest three chapters can be read in English for free on the Viz web site HERE.


Tropes presented:

  • Animal Superhero: Of a sort; a cat introduced in Chapter 17 has a Quirk called "Monster Cat", which allows it to take over a bus that Koichi, his mother and Makoto happen to be riding on, with some help from Trigger.
  • Badass Normal: In their brief confrontation, Eraserhead finds that his quirk-erasing abilities have no effect on Knuckleduster, because he has no quirk to erase. In Aizawa's words, "he's just a tough old man". His lack of special abilities doesn't keep him from going toe-to-toe with villains several times his size. It's deconstructed when it's revealed that his body has been ravaged by his activities and he's constantly doped up on painkillers to cope. He also can't use traditional hero tactics, resorting to sneak attacks and the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique to get the info he wants.
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  • Beware the Superman: Discussed by Number 6. Number 6 claims the reason he doesn't admire All Might like he does O'clock is because All Might is a slave to this trope. All Might has the power to do whatever he wants, but is instead largely reactive to when a Villain strikes, for if someone with his kind of power were to become proactive rather than reactive, people would be afraid of what he could do. With O'clock however, Number 6 admires that he's fast enough to throw the first punch before the Villains can even blink, and was proactive enough to be considered a legend before he disappeared.
  • Blood Knight: Knuckleduster loves to fight and mostly hunts down criminals in the hopes that they can give him a challenge.
  • Breather Episode: After Knuckleduster's battle with Kuin, the vigilantes spend a chapter just dealing with a succession of annoying perverts instead of Trigger villains. Even this takes a turn for the emotionally stirring, though, with the realization that this was the last time Koichi and Pop ever saw Knuckleduster before he left vigilante work behind, after demonstrating that they still needed his strength.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Eventually revealed to be a part of Knuckleduster's backstory. He used to be O'clock, a pro hero with an acceleration quirk, but became a Badass Normal vigilante after his quirk was taken from him.
  • Call-Forward: Somethings hint at stuff that will have had happen in the main series.
    • In chapter 48, Eraserhead wears a suit for undercover investigating and complains about wearing it. Monika Kaniyashiki tells him it is good practice in the event of needing to apologize for a scandal. Aizawa dismisses it saying that it would never happen.
  • The Cameo:
    • Many of the known heroes are seen throughout the series.
    • Nice Guy gives directions to Izuku's mother in Chapter 1.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Knuckleduster's agility and strength all come from training, as he is completely Quirkless.
  • Clark Kenting:
    • All Might tries to do this, using his weaker form to work as his own private life manager at All Might Productions. His constant leaving in the middle of talking to Naomasa clued him in on his identity, but he decided to keep the secret anyway.
    • Knuckle Duster fares slightly better at this; wearing a suit and combing his hair makes him look surprisingly normal, despite the big scar on his face. He even has his own fake business cards to complete the disguise.
  • Dope Slap: Kouichi tends to find himself on the receiving end of these from his mother, whose Quirk allows her to do it from a distance.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The main trio's primary goal is to hunt down the source of a dangerous Quirk-boosting drug called "Trigger".
  • Eagleland: Played with. The first American pro hero seen in either this or the main series is Captain Celebrity, a loud, boisterous Glory Hound (and serial philanderer) who waits for the cameras to show up before going into action against someone with a kaiju quirk with little regard for collateral damage that occurs during the battle. That said, the reason he's in Japan in the first place is because he was basically blacklisted from doing hero work in America because of these exact traits.
  • Exact Words: When Kouichi gets put under the quirk of a Living Lie Detector and asked if he's the Vigilante known as "The Cruller", he passes when denying it. After all, he's "The Crawler".
    • Knuckleduster draws a line in the sand and claims that Stendhal won't be able to cross it. Knuckleduster never said anything about not crossing the line himself, and sucker-punches Stendhal, ending the fight immediately.
  • Expy: There are a lot of minor characters who bear similarities to heroes from Marvel comics. The most prominently recurring ones are Ichimoku and Juubei, based on Cyclops and Wolverine.
    • In chapter 9.5, Stendahl attacks a yakuza group whose members have similarities to Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Winter Soldier.
    • A villain in Chapter 44 appears to have a certain famous tank engine for a head.
  • Foreshadowing: A rather roundabout example. The first shot of the chapter where the masked vigilante is revealed as a younger Stain who still has his nose is a manhole cover. This is foreshadowing because future Stain is visually very similar to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, specifically the original Mirage Comics version.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Enforced in Kouichi's case. When he was a baby, he was able to use his Quirk to propel himself through the air. Out of worry that something would happen to him, his mother conditioned him by punishing him whenever he used his Quirk this way, causing him to forget that he could when he grew up.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Turns out that Kouichi actually had met Pop☆Step a long time ago when he rescued her after she fell into a storm drain, and even gave her one of his prized All Might hoodies before leaving her. However he doesn't remember her and when recounting the story, thinks she was actually a boy. She likewise has yet to reveal this to him.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Via Foregone Conclusion.note  It is heavily implied that the whole significance of the events of the Prequel will be known only to the main characters, if they survive.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Kouichi's Sliding Quirk seems relatively mundane; a simple mobility Quirk that requires three of his limbs to touch the ground if he wants to get anywhere... except that it enables him to climb walls at the speed of a bicycle, and allows him to take sharp turns that not even the pro hero Ingenium can manage. On top of that, Chapter 18 shows that he doesn't have to be on a solid surface to glide. Koichi can outright fly with his quirk. This part of his power was suppressed due to his mother being concerned he'd fly out the window and hurt himself as a baby.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • Makoto's survey of the area shows that as far as the public is concerned, Knuckle Duster is a scary troublemaker, "The Cruller" might be well-intentioned but is also considered a bit creepy, and while Pop☆Step has the most positive feedback it's mostly about her butt.
    • Captain Celebrity has been essentially exiled from America's hero community due to the multiple lawsuits against him. He's also a massive Jerkass, which everyone acknowledges.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When talking about Stendhal, Knuckle Duster says that people who use violence to mete out their own personal idea of justice are nothing but trouble.
    • After Makoto Tsukauchi shows up to help Kouichi study, Pop (who had been hiding the whole time) starts bad-mouthing her for barging in and having no sense of personal space despite her own Pretty Freeloader status.
  • Idiot Ball: Tsukauchi in Chapter 54. He's hesitant about calling All Might only until the situation at hand (the Sky Egg close to falling with thousands of people inside, including his sister Makoto) becomes desperate, while it was already bad enough he should have called him regardless.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Kouichi mentions he wanted to be a registered hero but figures his Quirk was unsuitable for it. At least, that's what we were initially told. In actuality, he just never reached the hero exam in time due to rescuing a young Pop☆Step on the way there.
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: Averted Trope, when Monika uses her quirk to free hostages, Fatgum worries if she will get in trouble since she is a cop and not a hero. She laughs it off saying she will just have to write a letter of apology.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Fatgum heroically pulls this off in chapter 35. He survives (obviously, since he's still alive by the time of the main series) thanks to his Shock Absorption quirk.
  • Living Lie Detector: Makoto's Quirk, "Polygraph", lets her see whether or not people are lying by touching them.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The entire thematic premise of the spinoff. The manga storyline is about the seedy happenings below the radar of the world of professional heroes. Not only does it focus on new characters, but heroes whose careers are only briefly touched upon in the main series are given more spotlight.
  • Mistaken for Romance: When Kouichi sees Eraser Head with Kaniko while the two are undercover he thinks they are on a date and accidentally starts a rumor that Eraser Head is dating an Idol.
  • One Degree of Separation: Kouichi's upperclassman Makoto offers to help him with his classwork in exchange for him helping her study the vigilantes for her thesis (without knowing he is one, of course). Her full name is Makoto Tsukauchi, because she's the younger sister of All Might's Friend on the Force who is himself investigating the vigilantes as part of the Trigger case.
  • Panty Thief: The "Storm and Stress" (Sturm and Drang?) brothers shoot around flipping skirts, stealing panties, and putting them on (they've got it down to a tidy little system). Kouichi, with his high-speed sliding, skirt-ruffling quirk, is mistaken to be another of their kind.
  • Passing the Torch: Knuckle Duster retires from vigilantism after saving his daughter, Tamao, from the queen bee attached to her brain, but Koichi keeps to the path that Knuckle Duster set him on by continuing his unlicensed do-goodery for years afterward.
  • Playing with Syringes: As the next phase of their plan, the mastermind behind the Trigger drug abducts "instant villains" that showed particular promise, and turns them into "Next-Level Villains", altering and enhancing their bodies to make them able to withstand massive amounts of Trigger. This leaves them drastically and indefinitely altered from the dosages.
  • Popularity Power: In-universe. According to Makoto, back in the early days of Quirks the first vigilantes to be accepted as officially licensed heroes were chosen primarily because they had public support.
  • Prequel: Set some time before the start of the main story, around 5 to 6 years prior. To wit, Ingenium is still Tensei, Iida's older brother, and hasn't been injured yet. All Might still has his powers, and Stendahl is a younger Stain before he started targeting heroes. Midnight and Aizawa are also shown to not yet be teachers at U.A., with Midnight saying she would begin in the following year.
  • Psychic Strangle: Not quite strangle, but Koichi's mother has a Quirk called "Flyswatter", which lets her slap things from a long distance.
  • Psycho Serum: Most of the series is spent with our heroes trying to find the maker of a Quirk enhancing drug that causes its victims to turn into berserk monstrosities when they use it. A known sign of it's use is dis-colorization of the tongue.
  • Reality Ensues: At one point Kouichi meets Tensei Iida (a.k.a. Ingenium) and the two hit it off with Tensei offering advice on how to use his Quirk more effectively, even giving him a card and a job offer at his hero office. Kouchi is more than ecstatic for it...until he reveals he's a vigilante when he helps stop a speed-based villain. While Tensei is more than happy for the help and doesn't report him, he ends up asking for the card back since he can't endorse what is essentially a lawbreaker, much to Kouichi's dismay.
    • Captain Celebrity's Smug Super attitude and destructive behavior got him thrown out of the American hero system. And his womanizing tendencies have led to a ton of sexual harassment lawsuits being thrown at him.
    • Once Knuckleduster is able to rescue his daughter, one of the goals he set out to accomplish in becoming a vigilante, he immediately leaves into the Hong Kong underground to find leads into the Villain Factory, so he leaves his old allies and his daughter without giving much explanation. Not only was he called out for leaving his traumatized daughter in the hospital, his protege Kouichi has very little combat ability in trying to continue on his own, ending up in a lot of trouble that Knuckleduster would normally help him with.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Pretty much every single pro hero shown has, in action, tolerated the assistance of Vigilantes and not bothered trying to arrest them, even if technically their actions legally constitute villainy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During a brief panel in Chapter 3, a background Quirk user is a stretchy-limbed fellow in a straw hat.
    • Also in Chapter 3, a couple of middle-school punks get into a brawl; one has a very hairy face and the other shoots Eye Beams from a special visor. (It's Wolverine and Cyclops).
      • Specifically, they look like Wolverine dressed as Jotaro and Cyclops dressed as Josuke.
    • In Chapter 5, a man in the crowd looks a lot like Ash Ketchum, complete with a friend that looks like a humanoid version of Pikachu.
    • In Chapter 12, it's established that the first official hero system was created in America, in the state of Rhode Island, and only seven of the state's 189 vigilantes were licensed heroes. The original headquarters of the Justice League of America, which was founded by seven heroes, was located in the fictional town of Happy Harbor, Rhode Island.
      • 189 might be a reference to "The 198", the 198 mutants in the Marvel universe who still had their powers after House of M.
    • Chapter 17 features two to the works of Studio Ghibli; firstly, the cat injected with Trigger in this chapter uses its Quirk to take over a bus, and one of Ingenium's sidekicks, Enigma, greatly resembles No-Face.
    • Chapter 27 has a villain named Desire, whose Quirk, “Swan”, makes him a dead ringer for the main character of The Naked Swan, another series running on ShonenJump+.
    • In chapter 32, the Hotta Brothers that Aizawa takes down are villainous versions of Kamen Rider 1 and 2.
      • Also from chapter 32, the Kanidoge seafood chain inexplicably uses crab-themed power-loaders to move cargo.
  • Spin-Off: Focus on the side of heroism that isn't considered legal in the MHA world.
  • Start of Darkness: For Stain, who goes from a vigilante who targets criminals and gangsters to a Hero Killer.
  • Theme Naming: As with the main series, characters’ names almost always contain a hint about the nature of their Quirk. And keeping up the theme of locations being based on planets from Star Wars, the primary setting of Naruhata is a reference to Nal Hutta, the Hutt stronghold.
  • Trash Landing: This is Knuckleduster's idea of a heroic entrance. He apparently makes a habit of it, to the point of it being the first thing he teaches his new protege.
  • Vigilante Man: Stendhal, a killer vigilante who attacks villains with lethal force in contrast to the main trio. Soon after his introduction, it's confirmed that this is an earlier identity of Stain before he lost his nose and started targeting heroes.
  • Wall Crawl: Kouichi's Sliding Quirk works on vertical surfaces.
  • Wham Shot: Chapter 9.5 shows Stendhal licking the blood of the four Yakuza members he's fighting against to paralyze them— revealing that he would become the Hero Killer Stain.
    • Chapter 18 has Koichi, after diving off a runaway bus to save Makoto, can't quite reach Ingenium... and then starts flying using only his feet, with his hands gripping Makoto. Keep in mind that Koichi normally needs three points of contact to crawl, and he manages this with two.
    • Chapter 23 has Knuckle Duster's daughter being revealed as the one who is distributing Trigger. Or rather, her body is. The actual bee-user has been using her as the host.
    • The final page of Chapter 44. The man in the Hong Kong drug supplier's shop removes his hood, revealing himself as none other than Knuckleduster.
  • World Building: The comic focuses a lot more on the law towards quirks and what happens to a person arrested for illegal use of a quirk. Also, several characters from the main series such as Tensei Iida get cameos that offer a lot more background info on them.

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