There aren’t many hotter franchises right now than Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia. With the anime’s third season currently airing and the manga still going strong, the shonen series has everyone’s attention. I’m a latecomer to the manga, but I’ve now caught up to Vol.10, published by Viz Media. The volume collects chapters 81-89, which feature the aftermath of the summer training camp arc and include new developments regarding All For One. Is this installment good?
Much of this volume parallels my favorite portions of past volumes. A handful of the U.A. High students group up together, and we get to see them interact away from their pro hero mentors. Midoriya, Iida, Yaoyorozu, Kirishima, and Todoroki go out in search of the League of Villains, despite explicit orders not to do so. Over the course of their hunt the students acquire flamboyant disguises, lament their past mistakes, and interact in ways we don’t always get to see in the series’s more serious storylines. It’s a nice change of pace from the summer training camp arc’s endless action scenes.
In terms of plot development, this volume’s main contributions are its scenes involving All For One. All Might’s nemesis has only acted from the shadows thus far, but we finally get to see him appear in person here. His design is cool, if a bit expected. The opaque black mask exudes mystery and evil, but it doesn’t do so in a way that’s particularly unique or heightened. Most of Horikoshi’s designs are relatively original, so All For One’s is a rare disappointment. He is at least fairly intriguing as a character due to his connection with Tomura Shigaraki, though.
Art-wise, Horikoshi delivers dynamic action and line-work as always. All Might is especially cool-looking, as Horikoshi’s exaggerated style for him reaches new heights. There is also a fair amount of visual comedy here, as the U.A. High students’ disguises stick out like sore thumbs instead of being inconspicuous. With that said, this volume’s strongest visual comedy and character designs are both in its back-up story. There’s a five-page feature starring Tsu, and it is just delightful. We get to meet her best friend Habuko Mongoose, who has a snake’s head and wild red hair. Over-the-top designs like this one are easily my favorites in the series.
Overall, My Hero Academia Vol. 10 is yet another enjoyable installment in the shonen series. The artwork is strong throughout, the back-up feature is charming, and we get to see the U.A. students bond with one another outside of a battle context. All For One is a bit disappointingly generic, but he’s not an outright bad character. Superheroes may be primarily associated with American comics, but My Hero Academia does the genre better than any American series currently on the stands.