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 two titles 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, Ken checks in on an epic “My Hero Academia.” If you have thoughts on these or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
My Hero Academia Ch. 285
Written & Illustrated by Kohei Horikoshi
Reviewed by Ken Godberson III
Note: This review will contain spoilers
For 285 chapters, Kohei Horikoshi has built “My Hero Academia” around the characters of, and their relationships, Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo. Sure, it has spiraled out with multitudes of people and worldbuilding, but make no mistake, that relationship, how it started, paralleled and intersected, is at the heart of this series. This arc, and this battle against Shigaraki, has now brought that back up to the forefront in a fantastic chapter.
Izuku and Bakugo at times couldn’t be more different. A boy born without a Quirk vs a boy with a very powerful Quirk. A boy that wanted to be a hero everyone could look up to vs a boy that wanted to be a hero to prove he was the best. It was a relationship that started built on antagonism (and, let’s face it, straight-up bullying on Katsuki’s part). However, they have grown and matured, being helped along by their interactions with each other alongside the friends they have made and it has led them to this point:
Katsuki Bakugo putting himself in harm’s way to protect Izuku Midoriya from Shigaraki’s attack.
This chapter is a turning point and Horikoshi makes that abundantly clear. With it’s flashbacks to scenes from the very beginning of the series, except this time from Katsuki’s perspective to the very title of the chapter: “Katsuki Bakugo: Rising,” a callback to the title of chapter one: “Izuku Midoriya: Origin.” Every bit of the callbacks lead up to the final double page spread of Katsuki being impaled by Shigaraki’s attack.
The artwork in this chapter is phenomenal and perfectly fits the gravitas needed for such an important chapter. Not including reused artwork from the beginning of the manga (although it really does highlight how much Horikoshi has evolved as an artist), every panel is drawn to maximize every emotional beat in this chapter. From the desperation to finally put Shigaraki away to the determination in Midoriya’s attacks (also, just their actions scenes that look beautiful) to that final double-page spread. Great comic artwork can tell a story without requiring a single line of dialogue and Horikoshi nailed that with this chapter.
Now we go into slight speculation. This chapter has the book at a crossroad and asks us: Is Katsuki going to die? Is Horikoshi going to kill off the most popular character in the book? My honest answer: No. While this is a big moment, I don’t think Horikoshi is that bold to take a very risky (and maybe even daring) step like that. However, it serves as such a cliffhanger. It makes this next week have you biting your nails in anticipation. That’s the sign of well-done work.
Final Verdict: 9.0- Nearly three-hundred chapters worth of development reach a very earned payoff.