The long awaited conclusion to Endeavor’s fight against the Nomu is here! That’s right, we’re about to check out My Hero Academia Volume 21. Need to catch up? Check out my review of Volume 20 here!
Volume 21 of My Hero Academia kicks off with our hero Endeavor having tragically died in the throes of battle. But then he lives! That’s right folks, it was all a clever ruse to lure the Nomu into a false sense of security. With the help of Hawks, Endeavor is able to vanquish the foul Nomu. But his victory is short lived. As fans around the world cheer for him, Endeavor’s focus is solely on a new arrival to the battlefield – Dabi, from the League of Villains.
That’s when the cavalry arrives. As more heroes pour onto the scene, Dabi makes his exit. But that isn’t the last we’ll see of him. Shortly thereafter Dabi meets up with Hawks and the two talk about how this attack did not go according to plan. Don’t break out the pitchforks just yet though. Hawks is merely acting as an undercover operative, looking to gain intel from the League to report back to the heroes.
In the eyes of the press, Endeavor still has a lot left to be desired. That is, until a young boy’s rallying cry of “cantcha see” spurs a meme campaign of support for the top hero. This hilarious moment has the unfortunate luck to occur concurrently with Endeavor’s visit back home. Although there’s no fiery explosions of temper, the spark of humor in this moment is snuffed out.
Back at U.A. Midoriya has some weird dreams of the vestiges who held the One for All power before him. Brought about by Shinso’s mind control quirk. Coincidentally, Shinso joins both Class A and Class B on a joint training day. The two classes are pitted against each other in several matches of heroes versus villains.
The battles are intense, but things get dicy when Tokoyami’s team enters the ring. In a brief flashback we are treated to a moment during Tokoyami’s internship with Hawks. In that moment, Hawks helps Tokoyami unlock the secret to flight. This becomes advantageous in his battle against Class B. While Tokoyami is able to get Aoyama to safety. This maneuver ends up leaving Yaoyorozu open to an attack of opportunity from Class B. Little does Class B know that this is just the sort of challenge Yaoyorozu likes to rise to.
Volume 21 of My Hero Academia is definitely what I would call an exposition volume. The plot is definitely progressing, there’s just so many branching paths that it’s hard to anticipate what will happen next.
The downside to this type of plot progression is that it’s hard to know what to be excited about. I want to know more about the predecessors of the One for All quirk. I’m digging the Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes I’m getting from Midoriya’s situation. It’s just hard to predict when this plot point will be relevant again.
In a similar vein, it’s hard to enjoy some lesser explored characters being brought to the forefront when we already have plot points in flux for other characters. I love reading about the students’ classroom activities. My problem is that they always seem to happen when there’s something else I’d rather see more.
When all else fails, the art of My Hero Academia never ceases to disappoint. Kohei Horikoshi does a phenomenal job capturing the intensity of the emotions the focal character is experiencing. This especially shines through with Endeavor in this volume. From his fighting spirit to his humble shame, I feel both support and sympathy for Endeavor at every point.