The Second Volume of My Hero Academia is out, and the pace picks up significantly! The students now have their Hero Uniforms and are ready to take on the Indoor Battle Training exercise, which sees them split into groups of two people per team. One team plays the Hero, and the other team the villains as they face off in a realistic setup to build their intuition in battles and see how they think on their feet. The draws are random, and first up is Midoriya and Uraraka as the hero team, against Iida and Bakugo as the villains. It’s the fated first match between the two childhood friends.
This is a turning point for both of the boys, but mainly Bakugo as his long standing impression of Midoriya being a Quirkless nobody is shattered, and being so incredibly conceited it’s hard for him to take. He flies into a rage, ignoring Iida and the original mission to rampage after Midoriya, which gives Uraraka a chance to get away. Meanwhile the other students are watching from another room, and it’s interesting to hear their opinions and banter while all the drama is unfolding. We also get to see some of the other classmates in action which fleshes out some of their Quirk abilities, and it become apparent that All Might is not truly accustomed to teaching, as he uses cheat sheets and kind of makes things up as he goes.
We are soon introduced to the dark side of Quirk users simply known as Villains, who’s overall goal is to wipe out All Might as the Symbol of Peace. And damn are they scary looking! Kohei Korikoshi (illustrator and author) has a great talent at drawing all walks of life, as well as using shading and solid lines/fill to create moods and bring out emotions in the characters. Even though I’ve already read the story, I always find new things hidden within the artwork like hand gestures or expressions I didn’t notice on the first read, and it enriches the story again for me. I find some shounen manga are only worth one or two reads before you get bored, but Hero Academia has little hidden gems all around, and the character profiles at the start of chapters are a nice tough too.
The next exercise is a fundamental part of any Heroes career, a crash course in Disaster Rescue training at a purpose built facility in the school grounds. With Fire, Flood, landslide and building collapse zones it’s a well thought out plan to prepare them for anything. During their introduction walk through, a sinister black hole appears and in an instant, dozens of villains are ejected into the training grounds. In such a dire situation the only two teachers present are Thirteen and Aizawa (Eraser Head), and they jump into action to protect their students as best as they can. The fight to survive is on, while they wait for help to arrive they gather every bit of strength they can in order to hold out.
I really enjoyed this volume, not only because you get more of an introduction to the other students and their Quirks, but the rest of the school and other sections of society that exist in this world. The possibilities of different jobs after graduation are almost endless, and it almost makes you questions what your career goal would be if you had a Quirk. The story is well rounded, and I have high hopes for this series, specially since the announcement of the My Hero Academia anime coming in 2016.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.