Ever since my boyfriend started singing My Hero Academia’s praises, I knew I had to read it. The series’ earliest volumes knocked my socks off, and the last few volumes I read were still good even if they weren’t quite as good. Vol. 7 of the series collects chapters 54-62, which finish up the Hero Killer Stain arc and include the beginning of the U.A. High students’ final exams. Does creator Kohei Horikoshi bring his usual excellent art and sense of fun to this volume? Is it good?
As far as the Hero Killer Stain chapters go, that arc ends much more satisfactorily than it began. We get a little more background on Stain’s personal history in this volume, and he’s an interesting example of a hero-turned-villain. Even better than Stain himself, however, is his impact on the characters and society around him. We get to see the tension between licensed superheroics and vigilantism, as well as a meeting between trainee heroes and law enforcement. Horikoshi effectively links the Stain arc to the events that follow it, as we see how Stain’s ideals have influenced public opinion. This relates to what the League of Villains is now up to, and I’m excited to see what becomes of that plot in the next volume.
Art-wise, Horikoshi has still got it. This volume is the most visually polished out of the last several. The characters come alive thanks to expressive faces and body language which heighten both dramatic and comedic moments. The different style used to render All Might continues to be delightful, as he really stands out as a shining beacon of traditional heroism. The villains also look great in this volume, from the legitimately creepy Tomura Shigaraki to the strikingly mindless Nomu. Horikoshi’s visual storytelling skills are excellent, as one panel flows into the next with perfect pacing and sense of motion.
This fluidity of motion is especially prevalent in the volume’s final chapters, when the U.A. High students begin their final exams. The students are divided up into pairs that must work together to defeat their teachers. The action here is fantastic, as Bakugo goes all out and Tokoyami continues to be the coolest birdheaded hero around. The number of visual clarity issues in this volume is very low, as is my number of plot complaints. The main thing that I wish played out differently story-wise is Iida’s character arc. Namely, he doesn’t actually seem to grow much. After so much happens with his older brother and Stain, it feels disappointing that Iida doesn’t get more effective spotlight.
Overall, this volume is the best that My Hero Academia has been in a while. The Hero Killer Stain arc has consequences that truly feel important, and the final exam arc gets off to a strong start. Horikoshi shows off both his comedic and artistic chops here, and the result is a pleasure to read. My Hero Academia Vol. 7 is full of the qualities that helped make the series so endearing in the first place.