Title: My Hero Academia / Boku no Hīrō Academia 僕のヒーローアカデミア
Mangaka: Kōhei Horikoshi 堀越 耕平
First Volume ISBN: 9781421582696
US Publisher: Viz Media
Status: In Progress (Published weekly in Shonen Jump)
Level: All Ages! (Although some violence might be a bit much for younger elementary students).
Reader’s Advisory Tags: action, adventure, superheroes, school
Anime: Available through Funimation
Content Warnings: Surprisingly, I haven’t been able to identify any besides a general advisory about violence!
My Hero Academia has surprised me. I haven’t read it until now because I’m generally not a fan of shonen, which I’ve talked about before. But there are a lot of positives in this Japanese take on a world of superheroes.
First off, some background on My Hero Academia. The story takes place in a world where almost everyone has “quirks” or superpowers. Izuku Midoriya, though, has no superpowers to speak of. He desperately wants to attend U.A. High School, a school for training new heroes. Izuku (later nicknamed “Deku”), though he has no quirk, has a selfless desire to help people. When All Might, the greatest hero of all, sees Deku running in to rescue another person despite his lack of powers, he decides to train him. He reveals that he can pass on his quirk to Deku. What follows is Deku’s journey to become a hero at U.A. High School.
What struck me about My Hero Academia was the focus on Deku’s desire to help others as his greatest strength. I also was struck by the treatment of Ochako. Female protagonists in shonen have a tendency to be reduced to love interests or sex objects, but Ochako is a fully fleshed out character with complex emotions and an interesting superpower. Later in the series, we see her and the other female heroes on an equal playing field with male heroes.
The superpowers are also wacky and interesting, which adds humor without having to resort to crudity or salaciousness. One character’s superpower is shooting a laser from his belly button. The costumes the students wear is equivalent to those of Marvel or DC. This is purposeful, as the world of the manga is seen as our world should people suddenly acquire powers, where costumes are designed to resemble those of popular comics.
At the moment, I haven’t read too much of My Hero Academia, but I wouldn’t be mad about reading more. I also think it’s a great addition to a school library. This is a title you can feel comfortable with buying. It has a strong moral code, good treatment of female characters, and an interesting premise. I was really heartened to read this and know that it had more to it than I expected to find.