My Hero Academia Vol. 11 begins smack in the middle of All Might’s clash with All For One, covering their climactic battle and the immediate aftermath. Big changes are in store for everyone at U.A. High School, but does this volume deliver them with aplomb?
Plus Ultra! This volume contains some of the most exciting, emotional chapters of My Hero Academia. Writer and lead artist Kohei Horikoshi absolutely proves that All Might is a hero that belongs next to icons like Superman and Captain America with this volume. Horikoshi keeps him grounded and explores what it means to have the hopes of a nation on your shoulders. However, instead of turning that burden into something depressing, he scripts a volume that portrays All Might as both a nuanced person and a completely worthy bearer of the title “hero.” Not only are the fight scenes expertly choreographed as they always are, but Horikoshi keeps the emotional stakes at the center of the fight, making it more compelling than a typical punch-out. I won’t reveal any of the major plot points of the fight here, but Horikoshi delivers some major revelations as well as major shifts in the series in a way that feels appropriately climactic and exhilarating.
The second half of the volume deals with the aftermath of All Might’s clash with One For All and shines a rare spotlight on Midoriya’s mom. It’s nice seeing her feelings about her son and all the peril he ends up in as a student at U.A. developed more thoroughly than a concerned expression as Deku runs out the door. Horikoshi writes her in a realistic way and creates a conflict that makes sense for a concerned parent to have. We also get a couple chapters focused on class 1-A in a way that delves into almost every student’s personal tastes. These are some of my favorite chapters in the series because I love getting to know this charming cast even more and there’s a moment centered on Tsuyu’s feelings that brought real tears to my eyes. However, Mineta continues to prove that no cast is perfect and his gross misogyny is the ugliest thorn sticking out in the middle of a lovable group of kids.
One of the major factors in keeping the cast relatable is the expert face-work Horikoshi and the art team continue to deliver in this volume. Whether it’s Midoriya’s big, round, teary eyes or Bakugo’s more angular features cast downward in a moment of quiet resignation, the faces in My Hero Academia never fail to express exactly what the writing wants to convey. As I mentioned earlier, the fight scenes are always well-choreographed and that shows in the way they’re drawn throughout the volume. Characters’ movements are almost always expressed clearly so the reader can tell how they go from one punch, to a kick, to flipping over an opponent’s head without any gaps in the action. There are few to no filler panels of added punches just to fill an imaginary fight scene quota in this volume and the characters’ bodies are cleanly rendered, so the reader’s eye never gets lost in the action.
My Hero Academia Vol. 11 is a show-stopping, emotional roller coaster of a volume that kept me on the edge of my seat and affectingly explores what it means to be a hero. With the major changes coming to the series with the end of this volume, I can’t wait to see what comes of those shifting dynamics!