REVIEW: ‘My Hero Academia: Vigilantes,’ Volume 8

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My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 8

My Hero Academia: Vigilantes is the spin-off of the iconic series My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi and is localized in English by VIZ Media. Based on Horikoshi’s world and using some of his characters, the series is written by Hideyuki Furuhashi, and features art by Betten Court, touch-up art, and lettering by John Hunt, and is translated into English by Caleb Cook. In the series, we see what lies beyond UA, more specifically what the world is like for those who can’t be heroes, have retired as heroes, or just genuinely want to help people.  The series deals with the class structures within hero society and also offers background on the Class 1-A professors and pro-heroes from the main series. My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 8 picks up immediately after the last volume with those attending Captain Celebrity’s going away party in deep trouble.

While the last volume showed Captain Celebrity and Koichi giving it all they had to hold off the explosive attacks set up by the high-speed villain aiming to become the new O’Clock, the Tokyo Sky Egg is still in danger. Swooping in just in time, like the deus ex machina he is, is All Might. In a quick rescue, the fallout for those attending isn’t the main focus of the volume nor even a single chapter. Instead, we get chapters that serve to develop both the mysterious villain and Knuckleduster, as well as untangle small elements of the stories they fit in to.

For Knuckleduster, readers get the chance to see his brutality. Unlike the symbol of hope that the volume opens up with Knuckleduster has seen better days and understands the importance of bringing the man claiming to be his student by any means necessary. Volume 7 gave readers some emotional development around Captain Celebrity and My Hero Academia Volume 8 continues to unravel characters exposing their emotional cores. Knuckleduster is desperate, tired, and his brutality is on display with Court’s art sparing no details. Nevertheless, he’s fighting an uphill battle with the villain regenerating and using hidden explosives. But while we receive some narrative answers, Furuhashi doesn’t reveal everything that surrounds the two, ultimately leaving more questions on the table.

That said, the power in this volume comes in the back half. When Aizawa stops to help Koichi with a minor villain he encounters a cat. This one small animal and moment triggers a flashback sequence that takes place over a few chapters and deals directly with the events revealed around Aizawa’s school years that Horikoshi revealed in My Hero Academia. To be specific, we see the moment that Aizawa came into his power and the moment of his largest tragedy, losing his friend Oboro Shirakumo.

By dealing directly with a plot point and character from the mainline series, Furuhashi opens himself up to a moment that could go wrong. Writing a beloved character in one of his most emotional moments could have gone wrong. But, it is executed extremely well. So much so in fact, that My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 8 is necessary reading for any fan of the main series and more importantly, fans of Shota Aizawa.

As the professor who is most involved with the growth of UA’s Class 1-A, Aizawa is nearly all-knowing of his students’ weaknesses and strengths, working hard to teach them what he sees. But in this volume, we see him as a child, scared and unsure of his future. Not only do these chapters help showcase Aizawa’s growth from a  student who doesn’t see the importance of his power into a hero, but it also adds depth to the discovery that the League of Villain’s Kurogiri is actually Shirakumo. While this moment has emotional weight when it’s revealed in the main series, having this background information that builds their friendship makes that reveal hit even harder.

Furuhashi expertly captures the power and pain that Aizawa carries with him, weaving it seamlessly into Horikoshi’s main story. Overall, the strength of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 8 lies in Furuhashi’s writing of Aizawa and the emotional weight it carries. For that alone, this is a must-buy volume. While I’ve enjoyed the series thus far, this is the first time I’ve felt that it was truly important and necessary to better appreciate My Hero Academia and the world that it’s in.

My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 8 is available from booksellers now.

My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 8
5

TL;DR

Furuhashi expertly captures the power and pain that Aizawa carries with him, weaving it seamlessly into Horikoshi’s main story. Overall, the strength of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 8 lies in Furuhashi’s writing of Aizawa and the emotional weight it carries. For that alone, this is a must-buy volume. While I’ve enjoyed the series thus far, this is the first time I’ve felt that it was truly important and necessary to better appreciate My Hero Academia and the world that it’s in.