Welcome to This Week in Shonen Jump, our weekly check in on Viz’s various Shonen Jump series. Viz has recently changed their release format, but our format will mostly remain the same. We will still review the newest chapters of one title a week, now with even more options at our disposal. The big change for our readers is that, even without a Shonen Jump subscription, you can read these most recent chapters for free at Viz.com or using their app.
This week, Robbie checks in with “My Hero Academia” If you have thoughts on this or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
My Hero Academia No. 399: Organic, Mingling Clusters of Light
Written and illustrated by Kohei Horikoshi
Translated by Caleb Cook
Lettered by John Hunt
Reviewed by Robbie Pleasant
While “My Hero Academia” continues on its final battles, the focus has shifted to one that’s been a long-time coming: All Might vs All For One. The past few chapters have been an exciting last stand for All Might, who’s relying on a super suit designed to mimic the powers of each of the students we’ve been following throughout this series – an excellent parallel to All For One’s collection of stolen powers and a reflection of All Might passing his own powers on to Midoriya. Now the fight moves closer and closer to its conclusion, and it’s honestly hard to tell how it’s going to end.
Yes, we know All Might is living on borrowed time, and whether or not he wins, this will undoubtedly be his last fight. But here’s the thing: All For One is his villain, while Tomura Shigaraki is Midoriya’s foe – each is a battle of the past and future generations of hero and villain, so there’s no reason why anyone else should be the one to defeat All For One. As such, the fight has no shortage of back and forth blows, as we see each of them pull out a combination of dramatic speeches and intense combinations of powers.
However, this chapter also brings some focus back to Yuga Aoyama, revealed in previous chapters to be a spy planted inside UA by All For One. While he was set on the path of redemption pretty much immediately, this chapter serves as a payoff, with his dramatic last stand running nicely parallel to All Might’s use of his powers.
(There’s also a tad bit of body horror, so be warned.)
Would it be nice to see other members of Midoriya’s class get a spotlight moment parallel to All Might using their powers? Oh, absolutely, but not all of their abilities are used to the same dramatic effect. In this case, it works well with the character’s powers in question, as it helps their story arcs connect.
Visually, we should know what to expect from Kohei Horikoshi’s artwork at this point, so it’s no surprise that there’s some pages here that just look great. Between All Might’s darkly-colored armor and the tendrils of blackness All For One is basically oozing, there’s a lot of dark shapes flying this way and that, which can occasionally make it tricky to tell precisely what’s happening in the more action-packed moments, but that’s not a major detriment.
Some of the designs for the quirks in action are bizarre and otherworldly, like when All For One pulls out giant floating heads on tendrils that attack All Might, and the visuals of heroes getting their energy drained and turned into giant flowers is disturbing at times, which makes the antagonists all the more villainous and their powers all the more threatening.
All the while, the action remains dynamic, the characters convey a ton of emotion through their expressions and body language, and every scene is overflowing with detail. Considering the amount of rubble and damage flying about, that’s a lot to convey, but Horikoshi can handle it.
It’s no surprise that this is another good chapter of “My Hero Academia,” but credit must still be given to the thematic elements, character work, tension, and artwork that makes this chapter (and the manga as a whole) a success.
Final Verdict: 8.8 – A strong chapter in the series’ final battle, with high stakes, tension, and character moments.