For several decades, Shounen Jump has been one of the biggest names in anime and manga. My Hero Academia or MHA Manga is currently one of the most popular Shounen Jump series.
The world has taken notice of Kohei Horikoshi’s blockbuster MHA manga, notably in North America. Since its anime adaptation first debuted in 2016.
It’s become a fixture in just about every space where western otaku gathers, from online forums to massive conventions. And with season 4 in full swing, it’s showing little sign of slowing down. You almost can’t get away from it.
Particularly in the context of big anime award shows where community votes determine winners. And while the sheer undying ubiquity of this franchise can be a bit frustrating.
If you’re an MHA manga hipster like me who wishes people would watch more cool obscure stuff. It’s also pretty impressive and not entirely undeserved.
A lot of people love this series. “My Hero Academia manga” is undeniably a little overhyped. But it also, undeniably, deserves at least some hype.
My Hero Academia Great MHA Manga
Here’s what’s so great about My Hero Academia, MHA manga.
Set in a future world with technology not far beyond our own. Where a majority of people are born with bizarre superpowers and mutations called quirks.
My Hero Academia “MHA manga” focuses – as the title suggests. On the lives of students training to fend off superpowered crime as professional costumed vigilantes.
More specifically, it focuses on Deku, a timid, weak boy born with no powers. He nonetheless yearns with every fiber of his being to save people with a smile, just like his idol, All Might.
All Might, the “Symbol of peace,” is a classic spandex-clad crusader of justice. He is super-strong, super-fast, and gifted with superhuman endurance. He’s revered throughout the world s its greatest Hero, like some sort of man who is super.
But he has a secret. A battle with a powerful villain some years prior left him a shell of his former self, only able to work as a hero for a short time each day.
He searches desperately for a worthy successor in his off-hours. And when he sees powerless Deku charges in to save his classmate Bakugo from a villain, he has no hope of beating. He knows he’s found one. Lucky for both of them, All Might’s “One For All” isn’t like other quirks.
Beyond simply granting super strength allows a person to store power within their body. And ultimately pass it on to someone else along with the quirk.
Several generations of this gave birth to All Might’s unbeatable strength. And now, Deku has been chosen to inherit all of that power – and the responsibility that comes with it.
To take ownership over that legacy and become the new Symbol of Peace. It’s everything he’s ever dreamed of. But it won’t come easy. Just acquiring the power demands a year of thorough strength training. He will have to compete with some of the brightest teen quirk prodigies in the world.
They train in combat, search and rescue, and hero PR at the prestigious UA academy. All while fending off attacks from sinister villains who seek to destroy All Might and everything he represents.
Unlike Dr. Stone or The Promised Neverland, My Hero Academia or MHA manga doesn’t do all that much to innovate with the shounen manga formula.
My Hero Academia Manga Is Fun
So it stands to reason that a well-made Shounen battle manga about superheroes would also be fun. And My Hero Academia manga is nothing if not well-made. It has the fundamentals of that Peanut-butter and chocolate combo down to a science.
If you’re looking for big emotional fight scenes. Where young spiky-haired battle boys put all their feelings into their fists for the sake of Honor. Their dreams, and most importantly, their beloved Nakamas, My Hero Academia show has you covered.
Its battle boys and girls are award-winning good. There are few places where you’ll see such fights so impressively animated.
My Hero Academia manga is a Sakuga smorgasbord, showcasing some of the best animations to ever come out of the studio that gave us FMA.
My Hero Academia characters
How these characters move is impressive, but so is how they’re drawn. The art style of My Hero Academia (MHA manga) is one of the series’ most significant assets as a manga. This is someone who’s spent hours staring at its individual lines for thumbnails.
It’s more than just an MHA manga take on American comic books. Kohei Horikoshi builds his characters out of big, colorful, expressive, cartoony shapes and renders them with rough ink-splatter line art that gets messier and more urgent as the action intensifies.
Blend that with angled layouts and heavy use of exaggerated perspective. You get these beautiful panels where the characters seem to pop off of the page.
It’s remarkable how faithfully Bones was able to capture the manga’s iconic style without letting it get in the way of their animators.
So often, with manga adaptations, it’s one or the other. You get a faithful reproduction of the manga that moves like a slideshow Jojo or a relatively smooth show that looks kind of like it.
MHA manga throws a lot of different designs from all over the manga spectrum into one big blender. The combination wouldn’t work in anything other than this messy comic book style.
Even the Vigilantes spinoff manga doesn’t quite get it right. And while they dodge around the problem a bit by using primarily original characters and more . “manga-style” heroes from the main series, whenever All Might show up.
The MHA mang nails a tough character design challenge right out of the gate, and if it hadn’t, especially the fights. But it’s not just the visuals that make those fights so good.
MHA Manga Deep Dives
My Hero Academia, MHA manga deep dive into 4 of them now, covering Deku vs Bakugo, one of them was just released from copyright Jail. This series has a real knack for setting up fights that have high personal stakes for everyone involved, where every combatant has both a goal to accomplish and something to prove by fighting.
This makes the villains feel driven and dangerous. They were simultaneously making it more cathartic to see the underdog heroes come out on top.
Through strong direction and great panel layouts in the manga. The series excels at creating a tense, thrilling feeling of push and pull between both sides of any given battle.
They were gradually building toward these triumphant crescendos, where the animation, music, and acting peak in harmony to send our hearts soaring into the stratosphere. It’s powerful stuff.
MHA manga also features a lot of outstanding, creative fight choreography. Though its protagonist doesn’t do the best job of showing that off.
Because Deku’s whole thing is breaking through his psychological and physical limitations to win the day by the skin of his teeth. Especially the early ones are often determined by simple bursts of raw, destructive power.
His fighting style is very conventional before he starts zipping around like gran Torino with full cowl and using his “shoot style” kicks.
Crazy shounen MHA manga fights to see creative, unique, and specific power sets clash and try to figure out how one might triumph over the other.
That dynamic is what makes them stand battles of Jojo. The Jutsu trickery of Naruto and the Alchemic reactions of FMA are so fascinating to watch and so fun to speculate about.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other heroes at the academy to pick up the slack. And the series’ premise allows for an essentially infinite range of wacky, particular superpowers.
From making things weightless by touching your fingers together. Sending and recess managing soundwaves through biological earphone jacks, hair made of super sticky grape balls, and sweating nitroglycerin.
My Hero Academia MangaPower
There’s a lot of power I’ve never had before here. And when the characters who have them get their time in the spotlight, the show has a lot of fun putting them to creative use.
Even the more conventional superpowers usually come with an interesting twist. Like how Iida’s superspeed is limited by the heat capacity of the exhaust pipes in his legs. Kaminari’s lightning has the side effect of frying his brain at higher voltages.
Those limitations force these characters to think outside the box. It prevents the series from rehashing ideas that western comics have already done to death.
As a result, the MHA manga series is at its best. At least action-wise, during big events, like Tests, Tournament Arcs, Battle Royales, and massive villain attacks. Where every Hero has a chance to play their part and square off against an evenly-matched opponent or two.
It gets even better when allies can mix and match their abilities synergistically – and conversely. When heroes are forced to work with others whose powers don’t compliment their own, that can put some interesting hurdles in their way.
My Hero Academia MHA Manga Students
Of course, most of the Heroes in My Hero Academia are students, naturally enough. This means that they’re only just beginning to learn how to use their quirks. And that conceit allows the series to handle Power Scaling differently from many other shounen mangas.
Instead of powering up by learning new abilities or changing forms. Deku and his friends increase their efficacy in battle by honing the abilities they already have, augmenting them with tools, and finding new applications for them.
Deku achieves his “full cowl” powerup not by undergoing intense emotions or unlocking some hidden potential but rather by changing how he thinks about All For One. Seeing his power as energy that he can channel through his body, rather than a force that he unleashes from it.
Conversely, Bakugo – already an innovator in how he uses his explosions to fly – unlocks a new super move simply by reducing the area of his blasts. This makes it feel gratifying to see these characters grow by making every new move seem like a hard-earned reward for their efforts.
It also further encourages nerdy theory crafting about how each character’s powers might evolve or be creatively applied in the future. And nerdy theory crafting is something a lot of weebs like.
It’s the bread and butter of many communities and creators that focus on shounen manga, and MHA manga was wise to tap into that market. Now, without going into spoilers.
The manga has recently introduced some differences. More conventional vectors for character progression have the potential to undermine this dynamic somewhat. But those vectors do still follow the general logic of how quirks work.
So long as Hero aca makes those changes rare and hard-earned and keeps tying them directly to significant changes in the characters themselves. This is the kind of show that lives and dies on the strength of its action.
This is not to say that Hero Aca is dumb or that it does nothing interesting with its setting and premise. But that said, it’s actually got more going on under the hood than you might think, thematically speaking.
Amid all its big cool superhero fights. The MHA manga series explores the tension between a distinctly American brand of Liberal individualism. The collectivist ideal that forms the core of Japanese culture.
This tension is embodied in its core concept: in MHA Manga. The American-born individualist icon.
The Superhero is put to work for the good of society through a very Japanese system of corporate and government bureaucracy designed to both incentivize and regulate superpowered vigilantism.
Mean To Be An MHA Manga Hero
The MHA manga series’ central question – what does it mean to be a hero? – aims to find an answer that will resolve this tension. Is a hero someone who fights for personal glory, inspiring others with his greatness? Someone who serves the people to her own detriment? Or something in between?
Of course, this isn’t the only big shounen manga to run with such a concept. Compared to One Punch Man, I do think there are some blind spots in My Hero Academia’s MHA manga exploration of these ideas.
In contrast, it does acknowledge that individual heroes like Endeavour can potentially be bad people, for example, in 253 chapters and counting.
It hasn’t so much as touched on the possibility that such bad people might co-opt the power granted to them by the hero licensing system for their ends.
In this world, or at least within Japan’s hero system, bureaucratic tyrants and self-interested faction leaders like One Punch Man’s Sweet Mask and Fubuki don’t really seem to exist.
The system is represented as mainly being functional and resistant to high-level corruption. This can’t really be said for any real-world policing system, so in that respect, I would say the My Hero Academia Amanga series comes off as a bit naive.
But covering the same ground as One Punch Man would make My Hero Academia manga a little redundant and to its credit. It does acknowledge that such systems can create problems even when functioning as intended.
The perverse incentives that drive hero work motivate many Pro Heroes to behave selfishly, chasing fame and fortune first and helping people second. This leaves many young idealists feeling disillusioned – some, like Stain, violently so.
In the Vigilantes spinoff manga. We see how it can also leave lower-income areas unprotected. allowing villains and local crooks alike to act with impunity and leaving “local volunteers.”
MHA Hero Society
The restrictive nature of hero society plays a major role in making villains out of outcasts and weird like Twice, Spinner, Magne, and Toga. And the worship of Heroes as these exceptional individuals who make the world better.
So you don’t have to, is shown to make ordinary people more complacent and less willing to go out of their way for others or the greater collective. Which creates a lot of minor cracks in society through which unfortunate people like Tomura Shigaraki can easily fall.
A consistent theme among the series’ villains is that society has failed most of its rogue’s gallery in one major way or another. And by framing their motivations through that lens. My Hero, Academia manga to make the actions of its antagonists comprehensible without excusing them.
Tomura wants to use his incredible power to break the world that broke him. Stain intends to use his to rebuild that world according to his ideals. Neither is in the right, but we’re shown enough to understand where they went wrong.
Interestingly, the social order has failed many of the series’ protagonists, too. My Hero Society doesn’t offer many opportunities to quirkless kids like Deku. Ochako’s family has to endure economic hardship to give their daughter a chance at success.
Todoroki’s family suffered through years of abuse thanks to his father’s single-minded pursuit of the number one spot.
Bakugo’s ego and anger are both the product of a society that has told him over and over that his power makes him better than other people. Mineta is just allowed to be outside, unsupervised.
Let’s not forget the ultimate symbol of hero society himself: All Might. Who’s been used up, worn down from Wannabe Superman to Flashpoint Superman by the world’s existential need to perceive him as something more than human.
As a result, the MHA manga world is on the verge of collapsing, clutching to a single, frayed lifeline because nobody can really be All Might.