My Hero Academia Volume 10 concludes the training camp arc with the League of Villains’ defeat and full retreat, though it may have been in part a distraction, in order to abduct Bakugo. In addition to the success of that covert objective, the League damage the heroes so extensively that U.A. feel like the losers in the wake of their Pyrrhic victory. As Midoriya recovers, he receives the alarming diagnosis of damage so severe that another 100% power punch could cripple his tendons.
The minute that Bakugo awakes in the League of Villains’ lair, they start pushing the kool-aid. Though the villains see Bakugo as a kindred spirit, he scorns their offer only to find out via a televised press conference that the heroes and public perception also consider Bakugo a soft target, a powder keg that could ignite at any moment and succumb to the dark side. Bakugo’s PR problem means nothing to him, however, for while he’s fine with being thought of as a jerk, the only thing he’s ever wanted is to be like All-Might. Here is our periodic reminder that beneath his bombastic exterior, Bakugo is not only exploding with hot air, but with heart.
Not that his being in All-Might’s fan club endears me to Bakugo in the slightest, for whether he’s an All-Might, Astro Boy, or Batman fanboy, the fact remains that he bullied Midoriya to the point of suggesting suicide, and continues, even in the presence of the mighty heroes on the UA faculty, and even after his idol All-Might may as well have endorsed Midoriya, to bully Midoriya. If the only reason Bakugo wants to be good is due to his self-image, which he identifies with All-Might, that makes him a narcissist, not a hero. Which is consistent with his origin, because while heroes don’t suggest suicide, narcissists do. It will be interesting to see whether author Kohei Horikoshi is using this story arc to mark the beginning of Bakugo’s downward spiral or the catalyst for a moral awakening. If it’s the former, he doesn’t have very far to fall, but if it’s the latter, it will be a long, uphill climb.
Having narrowed down the League of Villains’ lair to two possible locations, All-Might leads one group, Best Jeanist leads another, and Midoriya’s irrepressible Gryffindors get into the thick of things as well, though Ida nags, nags, nags all the way up until All For One’s ambush, when one of the more ridiculous heroes of My Hero Academia appears to die. When All-Might cuts loose, it seems that the tragic thread that unravels the aforementioned hero might also run through All-Might’s battle.
While My Hero Academia Volume 10 was an excellent installment of this superhero serial, my favorite part was the hilarious bonus manga, in which we got a look at Tsuyu’s amphibi-family, as well as a moment when she turned a school bully into a friend (reversing Midoriya’s origin, in which his quirklessness made an enemy out of his childhood friend Bakugo).
While there aren’t any serious problems with Volume 10, Ida’s brotherly nagging becomes robotic, and Midoriya and his hero harem should just go ahead and incorporate into a teen super-team. The core team of Midoriya, Ida, and Todoroki already have a Silver Age Legion of Super-Heroes vibe, an eighties Teen Titans vibe, and a third season of Young Justice vibe. It would be nice if Horikoshi made the Midoriya Mighty Teens roll call official so that the reason for Tokoyami and Tsuyu’s sparse appearances is that they’re on the B team, and only occasionally drafted into adventures.
My Hero Academia Volume 10 arrived in stores on November 7th, and if you find it sold out, you can buy it through Viz Media. More My Hero Academia coverage can be found through this link.
Viz Media sent the review copy.