REVIEW: ‘My Hero Academia,’ Volume 25

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My Hero Academia Volume 25

My Hero Academia is shaping shonen manga for a new generation. The previous volumes of the series have subverted old tropes for heroes and rivals and created new ones. Volume 24 of the series from Kohei Horikoshi began a new arc: Villains. When it comes to villains in shonen, they’re rarely terrifying because they’re not fleshed out. Powerful? Yes. Sympathetic? No, not really. Devastating? Well of course, they have to be.  It would be boring if our overpowered hero didn’t look like they’re on the ropes. We rarely see deep dives into their psyche and motivations. With My Hero Academia Volume 25, Horikoshi completes building his villain, 235 chapters in the making: Tomura Shigaraki. Volume 25 stands out as truly excellent, even among the other novels of this great manga.

My Hero Academia Volume 25 is published in English by VIZ Media through their Shonen Jump imprint and is written and illustrated by Horikoshi. The English edition is translated by Caleb Cook, with lettering and touch-up art by John Hunt. This volume encompasses volumes 236 to 246 and continues the villains arc from volume 24of the series. We get to see the ending of the terrifying moment when Tomura’s Quirk manifested and how All for One was the only one able to speak to the broken young boy’s heart. The consequences of that fateful meeting play out in the present as Tomura and Re-Destro, the leader of the Meta Liberation Army, battle for supremacy over the villains and the MLA.

The grandson of one of One For All’s previous holders, Shigaraki was born into a family with a father who despised heroes, Quirks, and the complications that come from them. While Shigaraki wanted to become a hero, his father attempted beat the notions out of him until one day, his devastating destruction powers surfaced. To put it in simplest turns, everything Shigaraki touches turns to dust. The family dog, his sister, his mother, everything around him. This volume is split into two sections. The first section focuses on the villains, focusing on Shigaraki.  The second section focuses on Deku, Kacchan, and Shoto as they start their training with Endeavor.

The heroes’ section of this volume is good and well worth the read. However, it’s Horikoshi’s take on becoming a villain that makes this volume outstanding. This narrative solidifies My Hero Academia as one of the strongest shonen titles to date. The dynamics of the different villains interacting with the members of the MLA really highlight that Horikoshi’s writing strength is writing darker themes of power. The narrative of Hawks infiltrating their ranks drives this assessment home. This is not a knock to his hero’s story. We can really see his passion when crafting evil. 

Horikoshi knows how to build a villain. Horkoshi deftly pulls us into sympathy for Shigaraki’s past. Once we really start to feel for the poor child, he turns that empathy against us by showcasing the malice building up in the young Shigaraki’s heart. In the villain’s final act of familial destruction, it’s clear that he wants to kill his father.  He accidentally killed his mother and sister, but he actually wants to murder his own father. This shift undercuts what the reader thinks is sad happenstance, and makes us question whether he always planned on murdering his family.

Hirokoshi’s art remains inventive and his use of grayscale builds atmosphere and tension unlike other mangaka, especially in the opening chapters. His ability to balance the art and narrative of hope and progress in the young heroes’ careers with the darkness and death in Shigaraki’s story is unparalleled.  It showcases his knowledge of crafting a narrative that is both multifaceted and dynamic. In Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia Volume 25, you see the rare quality of managing storylines with different tones so that the whole volume feels cohesive.  At the same time, the pace of this volume feel active, like we are witnessing important things in both storylines.

Overall, My Hero Academia Volume 25 reaffirms my love of the series and Horikoshi as a writer. The darkness of this volume, coupled with the small hope provided by the hero training, makes the volume sing. Having caught up on the individual chapters – now at chapter 286 via the Shonen Jump App – I know the hope is about to fade and I can’t wait for volume 26.

My Hero Academia Volume 25 is available from booksellers October 6, 2020.


My Hero Academia Volume 25 
5

TL;DR

Overall, My Hero Academia Volume 25 reaffirms my love of the series and Horikoshi as a writer. The darkness of this volume, coupled with the small hope provided by the hero training, makes the volume sing.