ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘My Hero Academia,’ Volume 26

Reading Time: 3 minutes

My Hero Academia Volume 26

My Hero Academia has had a strong year, winding up on many top manga of the year lists. By mangaka Kohei Horikoshi, the series is published in English by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint and current individual chapters can be found on the Shonen Jump App. Last volume, we got a terrifying and sympathetic look into Tomura Shigaraki’s background and origin story. Horikoshi flexed his ability to write villains beyond redemption in volume 25, and now, in My Hero Academia Volume 26 we get the chance to see a story of atonement for the current number one hero: Endeavor.

My Hero Academia Volume 26 is localized in English by Caleb Cook and features touch-up art and lettering from John Hunt. While this volume lacks big action sequences against notable villains, it does feature powerful and emotive scenes for multiple characters. This volume contains chapters 247 through 258 of the series, focusing on the Endeavor Agency arc. This arc pairs our trio, Midoriya, Bakugou, and Todoroki with Endeavor as a mentor. Set up with the new number one, the three have different things they want to take away from the experience. For Midoriya, he wants to see what he can do with his new powers awakening. Todoroki wants to learn how to channel his fire and make it his own. And in a moment of self-reflection, Bakugo wants to understand his weaknesses.

While we get a nice montage of the boys learning and even taking on a minor villain who has a past with Endeavor, the importance of this volume is how Horikoshi confronts the Number One hero’s history of abusive behavior. As a character, Endeavor has stirred a lot of fandom talk, mainly about whether or not he deserves a redemptive arc and if that redemption would downplay his abusive actions towards his kids and his wife.

Through a dinner party and villain confrontation, Horikoshi answers that question with a resounding no. Endeavor will probably never be forgiven for his actions by his family and that’s the point. Horikoshi focuses on displaying Endeavor’s actions and the people who had to live through them, giving the characters the agency to shun their father’s attempts to fix their relationship. But that’s where this volume excels, because Endeavor isn’t asking for forgiveness, and Horikoshi isn’t apologizing or making little of the character’s actions. Instead, Endeavor is looking to atone, which puts the power in his children to accept the acts but doesn’t push them to do so.

But Endeavor isn’t the only thing in My Hero Academia Volume 26 that puts you in your feels. In the volume, Hawks and the Safety Commission have managed to get their hands on top-secret information about a big villain attack coming soon. This pushes the heroes to begin their preparations and causes Eraser Head and Present Mic to pay a visit to Tartarus prison to visit the imprisoned Kurogiri.

Last month, in My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Volume 8, readers got the chance to see Aizawa’s background as a student before he became Eraser Head and in the process, learned about the traumatic confrontation that led to the death of his best friend. The reveal here, that Kurogiri is connected to Eraser Head and Present Mic, is shocking and puts the two in a vulnerable position—one we haven’t really seen from Aizawa in this series so far. The emotion that Horikoshi writes for these characters is heartbreaking and is pushed by his artwork for the chapters. When Kurogiri is on the page, Horikoshi’s talent as an artist shines through. Shrouded in dark clouds, Horikoshi is somehow able to showcase depth in darkness, and the emotional expressions he illustrates for Aizawa and Present Mic hurts to read, in the best way.

The closing pages of My Hero Academia Volume 26 are strong, and as someone who is current with the chapters out now, it ends on a note that will lead into a new arc, and a scary one at that. Overall, this volume is a strong showing for Hoikoshi’s talents as a mangaka and is a nice breather before the disaster that’s incoming in volume 27.

My Hero Academia Volume 26 is available from booksellers January 6, 2021.


My Hero Academia Volume 26
5

TL;DR

The closing pages of My Hero Academia Volume 26 are strong, and as someone who is current with the chapters out now, it ends on a note that will lead into a new arc, and a scary one at that. Overall, this volume is a strong showing for Hoikoshi’s talents as a mangaka and is a nice breather before the disaster that’s incoming in volume 27.