It’s rare that I start with a manga if it has an anime adaptation. In fact, it’s rare at all that I sit down with anything from my manga collection, which tends to grow and never gets read. These days I buy manga because I loved the anime and I want to have something physical to represent it. That’s how I end up with strange gaps in series like Haikyu!!, where I jump from volume four to volume nine.
I liked Boku no Hero Academia volume one well enough. But when it takes me a month to read a few chapters, it’s a good sign that I’m not being blown away or I really need to step up my reading speed. I wasn’t in love with the character designs (oh how ironically attached to them I am now), but I could see the nods to Western superhero design and I appreciated the way Kohei Horikoshi makes his style his own.
Though the beginning was slow, the pacing picks up quickly soon after. I gave the anime a chance, but skipped past the introductory episodes, and season one went by in the blink of an eye. Season two has some of my favorite scenes and great development starts happening in waves. I’m so excited to see where this series goes as the cast expands and the world enlarges.
Eraserhead and All Might
I love that the mangaka chose not to make Class A’s homeroom teacher All Might. Instead, because another professional hero is in charge of them, we get to see a difference in teaching approach. All Might’s indulgence and Eraserhead’s intolerance for nonsense is especially apparent with it comes to Midoriya, but they both want the best for their students.
Eraserhead is one of my favorite adult characters in My Hero Academia. He doesn’t have a flashy personality, but in many ways, Shota is able to come to a deeper understanding of what his students need. In return, we see the subtle ways that Class 1-A responds to his guidance. In the first day of class, Eraserhead reprimanded his class for wasting time. In season two, Class 1-A is praised during the sports festival for their initiative. They’ve all learned through experience how to stop hesitating because time is precious.
I hope that we’ll see more of Eraserhead’s one on one interactions with the students. The way he handled Yaoyorozu’s confidence crisis and assessed a way to help her was the highlight of Yaoyorozu: Rising (season two, episode 35). Honestly Aizawa is a big softie at heart. I’m going to be devastated if this manga makes it to Deku’s second year and Eraserhead is no longer their homeroom teacher. Can he just stay with them? Pretty please?
Todoroki Shouto Who Has 99 Problems (and All of Them Are Endeavor)
One of the reasons I was motivated to try My Hero Academia again is because I started hearing about an interesting character that becomes prominent later in the series. His original hero costume design didn’t scream promise, but Todoroki Shouto has more than enough explosive power to merit his special recommendation into the hero course. He’s far calmer but as equally off-standish as Bakugo.
If I’m comparing him to Sasuke Uchiha (it rarely gets more angsty than Sasuke), Todoroki is far more willing to accept his anger (with only a little nudging with Midoriya!) and channel it into something productive. Though we might momentarily doubt them as readers, Todoroki and Bakugo never falter from being the good guys in the series.
Class 1-A and Class 1-B
“Young Bakugo, you understand the difference without being told, don’t you? Those who are always aiming for the top, and those who aren’t. Their difference.”
“You didn’t take the difference in tenacity into consideration, did you?”
“Bakugo is merciless. If he’s gonna do it, he’s gonna be thorough!”
-Season 2, Episode 18
With the sports festival underway, it gives us a chance to meet more pro heroes, students from other courses and classes, and see individual quirks displayed in creative ways. Tokoyami became one of my favorite characters after the festival’s calvary battle round. He’s just super respectful and resourceful.
I kind of wish we had the opportunity to see some of the matches from the upper year students. Is All Might only in charge of Foundational Hero Studies, or does he double as a homeroom teacher too?
A villian that’s a lot more interesting to watch in action than Shiragaki. My Hero Academia Illegal is on my somewhere down the line to-read list because it provides more background for Stain’s character. As the main antagonist of the Vs. Hero Killer arc though, the Stain we know is cold but prides himself on a strong ideology. The Hero Killer’s mission is to cleanse society of fakes, leaving All Might as the only true hero with the honor to kill him.
I find it interesting that Stain had no interest in attacking Iida without being provoked, and he saved Midoriya while being unconscious. He has no qualms giving out unsolicited advice to people who don’t share his ideals, and he even seems to believe that there is a fundamental moral problem with his actions. Stain does evil anyway for the eventual good because he sees a deadlock situation where there is no easy choice, only his “right” one.
“Because of the unfairness of adults, you will not be able to receive the praise you would probably have gotten, but at least, as someone who also protects the peace, I can say thank you.”
—Season 2, Episode 31
I’m gonna admit, sometimes I shed a few tears. In two seasons I’ve grown exceptionally attached to these young heroes and, of course, Eraserhead. There’s a lot of meaning in this superpower driven society you can poke and prod at. Todoroki might give me a bit of that too cool for everybody fix, but it’s Bakugo who I find the most complex of his generation. There’s a lot of heart in him, and he cares a lot about the things that are important to him, but he’s also a bully in every sense of the word. I can’t say I love him, and I don’t even think I entirely understand him yet, but I’m always happy to see how he slowly grows. Under the right guidance, he’s more than likely to become one of the best superheroes his world has ever seen. If nothing else, Bakugo has conviction. Midoriya has heart. I have an unhealthy addiction to this series that will end up with me buying all the manga volumes. Damn.
Also, I’ll take a moment to respect how hard Recovery Girl and the other pro heroes work. The principal is also super cute (even if he is a closet sadist.)