Danger and comedy collide in Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia Vol. 3. This volume includes chapters 18 through 26, which detail the end of the protagonists’ first battle with the League of Villains, as well as the beginning of their first Sports Festival. Is it good?
Once again, Horikoshi impresses with stellar artwork. Seeing superheroes, the ultimate staple of American comics, drawn in a manga style is always a cool change of pace. Besides that, though, Hirokoshi’s art is a pleasure to look at in its own right. The level of detail throughout is consistently high, and the action scenes (which make up a majority of this volume) have a solid sense of motion to them. The creative ways Hirokoshi utilizes all the characters’ quirks (the series’ term for superpowers) are exciting and make it so one never knows how a battle is going to resolve. The art also contributes a lot to the volume’s most emotionally poignant moments; Midoriya’s facial expressions are frequently heartwarming.
Most of the writing in this volume is great as well. I prefer the second half to the first, as the Sports Festival storyline is a lot of fun thus far. It’s a neat opportunity to see how the characters utilize their powers in competitive but non-lethal settings. The obstacle course segment of the festival is well-paced with a great sense of tension throughout. Horikoshi does a good job making sure improbable plot events still make sense, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the festival plays out.
As great as this volume is, I still have a few qualms with it. The protagonists’ battle with the League of Villains (which began in Vol. 2 before resuming here) ultimately drags on a bit; I still enjoyed it but I wish it had ended a chapter or two sooner. This volume’s segments of that battle don’t introduce much pertinent new information, contributing to the sense of over-decompression. There are also some occurrences throughout the volume where actions are visually unclear.
Overall, My Hero Academia Vol. 3 is a great read. The artwork is fantastic on just about every level, from physical momentum to body language to visualization of superpowers. The writing is also strong, and Midoriya continues to be an endearing protagonist. Unfortunately, the battle against the League of Villains feels overly decompressed, and there are a couple moments of visual confusion. Nonetheless, Horikoshi continues to impress with one of the best manga series currently being published.