My Hero Academia is one of the biggest Shonen series in the past few years. With an approachable cast of characters and a story that matures as the years go on, the anime has captured many hearts. Animated by Studio BONES and based on Kohei Horikoshi’s manga, the series is entering the home stretch both in terms of anime and manga. With an extremely emotional season just wrapped and Izuku Midoriya in dire straights, it’s only going to get more intense.
But while the anime is fantastic, there are many reasons to read My Hero Academia instead of only watching. From art to the nuance offered that animation just can’t fit into an episode time limit, here are three reasons why you should read My Hero Academia. In fact, if you just love superhero stories, then the My Hero Academia manga is absolutely for you whether you read it on the Weekly Shonen Jump app through VIZ Media’s official website or purchase the individual tankōbon volumes. Each My Hero Academia chapter packs in a lot of punchand in this digital age, it’s easier than ever to read the manga the moment it comes out in English.
Read My Hero Academia for the art
Studio BONES has animated some amazing fight sequences and moments over the course of four seasons and three films. That said, there is a level of detail and drama that Horikoshi’s black and gray artwork captures that just can’t be replicated in animation. That doesn’t take away from BONES, don’t get me wrong, the studio has managed to capture certain visuals that only they could pull off. That said Horikoshi’s work from the start of the Villains arc until where we are now is so intensely illustrated that you can feel the pain on the page.
When Horikoshi makes the story darker, he captures it with line work and uses black to create a complete atmosphere for the reader. This comes through in emotional moments between characters that are just dialogue, but it also comes in action moments, particularly in Twice’s last Sad Man’s Parade. There is beauty in Horikoshi’s pages that is well worth reading, even if you’ve already seen the animated moments.
My Hero Academia keeps expanding its world
I don’t believe a series should make it necessary for you as a viewer or reader to explore material outside the main story. That said, the world of My Hero Academia is only getting larger and when you read My Hero Academia Vigilantes, you get the chance to look into the adult complexities of a world built on rigid morality and what happens to those who want to do good, but fit just outside of it. Additionally, since it takes place before the events of the main My Hero Academia story, readers get to meet and learn more about pro-heroes before they reach that pro-hero status. We get some added background on Mirko, but more importantly, Aizawa gets a deep backstory that makes him even more of a dynamic character than just a mentor able to see the hearts of his students.
Beyond getting to connect dots from heroes’ pasts to the mainline series, My Hero Academia Vigilantes offers readers a look at those who aren’t outfitted with the best quirks and who fail continuously when they try to save others. Where the Villains arc and after of My Hero Academia gave audiences a peak at
Read My Hero Academia for the nuance
My Hero Academia is a powerhouse of anime, and that is because of how well Studio BONES has adapted the manga by Kohei Horikoshi. That said, there are certain moments in the manga that, when adapted, need to be streamlined. Most of these are the episodes that feel partially like filler throughout each season but in the manga, carry emotional and narrative weight.
One of the best examples is Endeavor’s fight with the Nomu after becoming the number one hero. In the anime, it’s one episode long and focuses on the fight. And while the action itself is stunning, including in Horikoshi’s illustrations, it’s the weight of Endeavor taking the number one spot and the people’s adoration while the family abused watches on. It complicates the character but also shows the Todoroki family as a whole – as well as sets up the Dabi reveal in Season 6, far better than the anime did.
When you read My Hero Academia instead of just watching it, you also get the chance to peak into the minds of characters with more detailed monologues. BONES doesn’t ignore all of these, but I can understand why these character moments get condensed when you have a set episode time. This is true for earlier in the manga when Bakugo is abducted and even later when we see Hawks’ backstory. Like most adaptations, the anime brings a different dimension to the story we love, but reading the series helps you appreciate the anime more. This is particularly on display when in the Bakugo Rising episode the animators chose to turn an important tonkobon cover into a frame in Bakugo’s flashback.
From expanding on All Might as Izuku’s idol, going more deeply into the special training arc, or giving even more depth to the Todorokis and Toya that they deserve.
From the first chapter to the fast-coming finale, Kōhei Horikoshi’s work is well worth the read. You can read My Hero Academia via VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump app or buy the volumes individually wherever books are sold.
Kate Sánchez is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of But Why Tho? A Geek Community. There, she coordinates film, television, anime, and manga coverage. Kate is also a freelance journalist writing features on video games, anime, and film. Her focus as a critic is championing animation and international films and television series for inclusion in awards cycles.