The world of My Hero Academia expands with their spin-off series Vigilantes. Not everyone has been blessed with a quirk worthy of becoming a hero, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying. My Hero Academia Vigilantes dives into the street level crime that often goes unnoticed. Hero license or not, someone has to step in and do what the heroes won’t.
Koichi Haimawari knows that his slide and glide quirk isn’t the greatest. When placing three limbs to the ground, he’s able to move at the speed of a bicycle. Not quite the velocity needed for super heroics. When not working at a local store, Koichi spends his time doing acts of kindness throughout the city. After running into a group of low level creeps assaulting the aspiring music artist Pop Step, Koichi attempts to save her. He quickly learns that stepping in was a mistake and is beaten harshly. Just as Koichi looks like he’s met his doom, a masked man leaps from a tall building and pulverizes the brutes. The vigilante introduces himself as Knuckleduster and offers to become Koichi’s crime fighting mentor to which the young do-gooder blatantly refuses.
A new drug called trigger is circulating throughout the city. It has the ability to amplify quirks while inhibiting the user’s sense of reason. It essentially turns normal people into villains. Reluctantly, Koichi joins Knuckleduster in his mission to find the people responsible for the spread of trigger and prevent any users from causing trouble. The only way to verify someone is under the influence of trigger is if they have a black tongue. With the help of Pop Step and her leaping quirk, this unlikely trio try their best to solve this serious dilemma without being arrested. While patrolling the streets, a part-time villain by the name of Kuin Hachisuka unleashes her queen bee quirk and injects multiple citizens with trigger.
Chaos ensues as mindless “villains” terrorize the city. Some top ranked heroes show up and quickly dispose of the threats. While the mainstream heroes jump straight into action, Knuckleduster hones in on one of Kuin’s bees and sets off to locate the person truly responsible for this mayhem. Surprisingly, Knuckleduster decides to use his mind instead of his fist for once.
My Hero Academia: Vigilantes offers a unique look into the dynamics of a world full of quirks and laws. While only licensed heroes are allowed to publicly use their quirks, that limits a large population of quirk users from openly using their abilities. While most quirks are not hero level caliber, there are still those who wish to use their gifts for good. The characters and dialogue fit right into the MHA world. Vigilantes feels a little more adult than the original MHA manga. Pop Step is sexually assaulted and is openly weeping. Not to mention her fan service costume. The introduction of drug use is also on the dark side. This series clearly has its own identity which sets it apart from the original.
I really enjoyed the introduction of trigger. A drug that enhances quirks opens up many possibilities in MHA. If done right, trigger could be a game changer for the entire franchise. It was interesting to see how trigger essentially evolved the characters into their next level of power. Based on certain heroes that show up in this volume, I’m assuming that it takes place prior to or near the events of the My Hero Academia Vol. 1. Cameos from characters we know and love make for some interesting encounters.
It’s hard not to compare Vigilantes with MHA. While there are some exciting elements, it doesn’t quite match up to the main series. Certain themes feel rehashed and characters lack qualities that allow the reader to feel immediately invested. The art is great and the story moved along at a nice pace. The series has a lot of potential and I hope the story delivers some of those “wow” moments we are used to from this franchise. I loved all the manga and comic book character homages in this volume, so make sure you scan every panel to find some hidden heroes. You can order your own copy of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Vol. 1 right here!
Note: We reviewed a free review copy from Viz Media in exchange for an honest review