Thus far, I’ve been impressed by all the volumes I’ve read of Viz Media’s My Hero Academia. As a fan of superheroes, manga, and school settings in fiction, the series checks off several boxes for me. Creator Kohei Horikoshi also consistently delivers impressively detailed line-art, and the cast of characters is as likable as it is unique. After the comparatively lighthearted U.A. High sports festival arc, Vol. 6 switches gears to the internship arc and Hero Killer Stain. Does the series maintain its high quality while adjusting its tone? Is My Hero Academia Vol. 6 good?
As far as the villain Stain goes, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, he’s consistently written and makes for a convincing threat. His Bloodcurdle Quirk is also the sort of unique and weirdly specific power that Horikoshi specializes in creating. Stain’s dramatic connection to Iida also provides an opportunity to see Iida less calm and collected than usual. With all that said, I still can’t connect with Stain very well. He’s just kind of boring–his motives have the potential to be interesting but they haven’t been fleshed out much yet. He’s especially flat next to the League of Villains members who return in this volume. The new versions of Nomu are particularly cool, as well as mysterious.
As far as the U.A. High students go, this volume provides some great moments. The kids pick out their superhero names in the volume’s first chapter, and there are both funny and fitting choices. The best part of this scene is when Bakugo repeatedly tries to take the moniker “King Explosion Murder” to no avail. After this, the students begin their internships with pro heroes. The internship process brings about solid character development for some characters, most notably Todoroki. With that said, the volume’s character development would be even more satisfying had the page-time given to certain events been split up differently. There are some moments that could have been very emotionally affecting had they received the level of attention necessary to be so.
Unfortunately, Midoriya’s internship scenes aren’t as interesting as the others. His mentor, Gran Torino, is a walking bundle of tropes that I’ve never been fond of. The old, seemingly clueless man who turns out to be more competent than he seems is a cliche I don’t care for, but readers without my bias may be less bothered by the character. Torino does at least help Midoriya think about new ways to utilize his quirk, which results in some satisfying twists throughout the volume’s action scenes. Most of the action is well-rendered; there aren’t very many clarity issues that disrupt the flow of battle.
Overall, My Hero Academia Vol. 6 is an enjoyable read. We get to see our protagonists challenge themselves through their internships, and what action we get is well-done. On the downside, Stain is fairly bland, and some portions of the story could have been more emotionally resonant had they received more page-time. There aren’t any moments in this volume that are blow-your-mind good, but Horikoshi continues to deliver fun work nonetheless.