ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘My Hero Academia: Smash!!,’ Volume 5

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My Hero Academia: Smash Vol 5

My Hero Academia: Smash Vol. 5 is the final volume of the parody series based on My Hero Academia. The volume is published by Viz Media for English speaking audiences and serialized in Shonen Jump. The volume comes from mangaka Hirofumi Neda with an original concept by Kohei Horikoshi. Translation comes from Caleb Cook with touch-up art and lettering from John Hunt. In the final volume, UA’s best finally meets up with the League of Villains for an unforgettable match-up. The series so far has leaned heavily into comedy that takes into consideration the fandom’s jokes and this issue is no different giving us bickering from the League of Villains and even a nod to the beloved fantasy-inspired closing of the anime.

My Hero Academia: Smash Vol. 5 reads like a group chat AU fanfiction and, while that might seem like an insult, it actually isn’t. The manga doesn’t take itself seriously and leans into its ridiculousness. Each characters’ unique personality traits are exaggerated. This is best seen in the secondary characters who do not always get as much screentime as fans would hope in the show or the manga. A good example of this is Ibara Shiozaki, the UA student best known as Vine and for quickly taking out Kaminari during the sports festival.

While working with Deku during All Might’s class, Shiozaki’s gentle, caring, and loving traits are exaggerated for humor. Her dilemma over the ethics of being delighted to save people is very comical and also gives us more insight into who she is outside of what the show and manga have offered. While not strictly canon, these moments help flesh out the characters for fans. This is also seen in the League of Villains. Dabi is my favorite character in the anime and it is nice to see him in the opening panels of the volume.

However, on the flip side, seeing Mineta’s disgusting, perverted behavior exaggerated further is not nearly as endearing. Mineta is a very disliked character by many fans and his characterization is my biggest issue with the franchise as a whole. In My Hero Academia: Smash Vol. 5, he asked Juzo Honenuki, who can make thinks soft by touching them, to soften the breasts and butt of one of the victims, who are crash dummies more or less, that they are supposed to save. The scene is not surprising but it is still uncomfortable, especially since it is played so heavily for laughs. Luckily, that is only a small moment and if you are used to Mineta’s usual antics, it is easy to skim through.

The cutesy nature of the manga is also reflected in Neda’s art. The art is playful and shows the characters in chibi form. The close-ups of characters, especially of Todoroki, are the biggest highlight of Neda’s style because it showcases the adorable details. While the manga is not particularly action-heavy, the cutesy art style struggles to capture the dynamic and fluid fight scenes.

As the finale of the series, the volume does a good job giving the story and epic close that pays homage to the small quicks – pun intended- of the series that has made it so beloved. Overall, My Hero Academia: Smash Vol. 5 is a fun read. Fans of the franchise who need something more light-hearted to dive into will absolutely love this series.

My Hero Academia: Smash Vol. 5 is available wherever books are sold on August 4, 2020.

My Hero Academia: Smash Vol. 5
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TL;DR

Overall, My Hero Academia: Smash Vol. 5 is a fun read. Fans of the franchise who need something more light-hearted to dive into will absolutely love this series.