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01/06/2020 21:24:19 •••

A superhero manga classic

This covers up to Chapter 256.

Superhero stories aren't nearly as common in Japan as they are in the US, but if you read My Hero Academia, you'll see there's at least a few reasons why it's as popular as it is.

The story's set in a world in which most people have superpowers and Izuku Midoriya is one of the few exceptions. Despite that, he gets the power used by the #1 hero, and sets out to become the greatest hero himself. The concept is anything but original, and features numerous other cliches, but it's executed well enough that you probably won't mind.

The setting is rich, detailed and well thought-out, particularly in showing that a society in which everyone has special powers and heroes are relied on to keep the peace isn't everything it's cracked up to be. The Quirks are a well-used concept, with entertaining and realistic takes on common superpowers. There are bits of Fridge Logic if you look hard enough, but that's true of most detailed settings.

The cast is quite large, and most of the main protagonists are well-developed, since they pursue admirable goals and must overcome their own shortcomings in the process. Unfortunately, the main cast is often spread quite thin, with no less than 20 students in the main character's class, some of which have gotten hardly any development. The female characters unfortunately get the short end of the stick, since while they're more interesting than some of the males, not to mention more likeable than certain individuals, they seldom get time in the spotlight. Even Ochaco, who's supposed to be one of the main characters, is a distant fifth behind the other four, which is a shame, since she has admirable goals and is a Love Interest whose life doesn't revolve around Izuku.

The above is exacerbated by how certain unlikeable characters take up the spotlight. Bakugo is an unrepentant bully who told his "friend" Izuku to kill himself in Chapter 1, an incident that is never mentioned again. As you can imagine, he's inconsistently written, and while his Jerkass personality holds him back, many people are willing to talk him up as a great hero. Mineta, a pervert who should have been expelled, is also unlikeable, but since he's a mere comic relief, he's easier to ignore.

On a more positive note, while some of the villains are less memorable than those in similar series, they do get more interesting later on, especially when the main antagonists become the focus characters in their very own story arc, showing their backstories and fighting against opponents who force them to their limits.

Unlike some manga I can name (e.g. One Piece), the MHA anime is a worthy adaptation. Not only does it have good music and animation, but being released on a seasonal basis, it also eschews filler, and any added scenes generally add to the story. Both versions of MHA are well worth your time if you're a fan of superheroes.

01/06/2020 00:00:00

I do disagree that the female characters get the shaft (if anything, their small numbers ensure they get more screentime than many of the background boys of similar prominence), and I think you spend a bit too long complaining about specific characters. (Even though I 100% agree on both counts, and I can\'t deny I\'m glad to hear such sentiments from others.)

I also worry that last paragraph trying to cover the animated adaptation in one paragraph does it a bit of a disservice, and also underplays that a great deal of My Hero filler is pretty poor or gratuitous. But I reckon I did something kinda similar in my own work, so glass houses and stones. And I do wish you could\'ve put something in there about the aesthetics, if only because I worry I didn\'t talk enough about the appealing character designs and exciting blocking of the original comic, since at the time my experience was largely with the animated version.

It\'s a good review in general, if very character-focused. And hell, I guess I might\'ve technically cheated to get mine out, so... can\'t judge!

01/06/2020 00:00:00

It\'s true that the female characters get more focus than the least interesting boys, and there\'s the whole \"quality vs. quantity\" argument. On the other hand, I\'m hard-pressed to defend how in the Internship arc, the female heroes\' fight happens almost entirely offscreen. It would have been nice if Tsuyu got the same Character Development that Midoriya and Kirishima did, or if Nejire got a real chance to show off her skills, like Mirio and Tamaki.

Likewise, out of the 16 contestants in the final tournament of the sports festival, only five are female, and only two girls get past the first round, losing in the second. Apart from Uraraka vs. Bakugo, most of the girls\' fights are cut short or off-panel in the manga. MHA, much like Naruto, has the glass ceiling firmly in place for female protagonists.

I\'m not very good at evaluating manga art unless it\'s hideously bad, so I generally leave that sort of judgment to other people.

I\'ll concede that I spent a fair amount of time on the characters, but I decided to use them as examples of two less than likeable characters who get screentime at the expense of others, as well as two of the more problematic members of the cast. People who have been bullied or sexually harassed may have issues with Bakugo and Mineta going unpunished, respectively, even taking Values Dissonance into account; at least Endeavor admits that what he did was wrong and accepts that his wife and kids don\'t have to forgive him.

01/06/2020 00:00:00

Yeah, I actually like how Endeavor\'s character is more complex and dynamic than his introductory story made him seem he\'d be. I cut that part in what turned out to be a woefully-foolish attempt at controlling the wordcount, but it was a bold gambit to make him, for lack of better terminology, a human being rather than a caricature.

Don\'t know much about the Internship arc, admittedly, and I do feel that the girls also benefit from filler expansion. But I\'d argue the glass ceiling is more for side characters than girls; it\'s just more noticeable because the class\'s gender balance as a whole is so skewed towards... well the Sausage rather than Taco Side of the Force, to use an extremely crude metaphor. A more-even gender balance would probably be a better answer overall. It does sound like later stories involving conflict with their sister class are a bit better about that.

And again, I can\'t deny that I spent as long and longer on characters in my own review, or that I agree with your assessments. So I guess I can\'t really complain, can I?


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