By: Kohei Horikoshi
Illustrator: Kohei Horikoshi
Translator: Caleb Cook
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Series: My Hero Academia #20
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)
My Hero Academia, Vol. 20 by Kohei Horikoshi combines the ending of an action-packed fight and the fun and chaos of a school festival. This volume wraps up the school festival arc, leaving the next volume to begin an entirely new story arc.
The story picks up midway through this latest arc, and directly in the middle of a battle between Midoriya and Gentle Criminal. As the fight gets closer to U.A., the school festival is threatened and Gentle Criminal’s plan gets closer to completion. During their brawl, the focus turns more directly on these new villains. Much needed backstory is given in the form of flashbacks, showing how both Gentle Criminal and La Brava got to the place they are.
While the tension and stakes aren’t nearly as high in this arc as fights during previous volumes, Midoriya and Gentle’s fight is nonetheless fun in its own right. Like so many other characters, Gentle is, in some ways, a foil of Midoriya. He’s another could have been, a path that Midoriya could have potentially fallen down if things turned out differently, and, for that matter, still could. It is a fight of the disillusioned adult versus the hopeful youth.
The trope of love and friendship saving the day in fresh, unique ways. The focus of the familiar ‘loves saves the day’ is played out quite literally. Interestingly, it isn’t our protagonists who find themselves using the power of love to try and win the day, but our antagonists, creating an under-utilized scenario that evokes a stir of conflicting emotions in the reader.
The rest of the manga focuses largely on class 1-A’s festival concert itself. We get to see the wonderful, over the top performance that only our favorite heroes in training could come up with. There is additional emotional payoff regarding the Eri subplot, and Mirio makes an appearance as well. These chapters depicting the concert have been improved greatly since the original run in Shonen Jump. Some sketchy, hastily drawn panels have been redone in their entirety, making certain panels much easier to comprehend. A wonderful two page spread of Jiro was also added, changing the layout of some of the corresponding pages.
The manga rounds out with the televised Hero Rankings where we are introduced to our new number one and number two heroes – Endeavor and the young hero Hawks. The last chapter sees the plot barreling full steam ahead with Nomu attacking, forcing Endeavor and Hawks’s meeting to cut short and have the two heroes team up. My Hero Academia, Vol. 20 by Kohei Horikoshi leaves off on quite the cliffhanger.