MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES VOL. 2 REVIEW BY HIDEYUKI FURUHASHI
Story
Characterization
Art
Summary
In MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES Vol. 2, writer Hideyuki Furuhashi gives us exactly what we were looking for in the first volume, more character development. Although the plot hasn't progressed much further in this installment, the sequel did well to keep readers engaged and invest us in the series' colorful cast of vigilantes.
93 %
Fun Sequel!

In a super-powered society, the only way to make it big is to get licensed as a professional hero. Or so we thought. MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES Vol. 1 introduced us to The Crawler, Knuckleduster, and Pop Step. Although they aren’t the toughest around, the trio just wants to help those in need. But how can they do that without receiving the education it takes to become a pro-hero? Easy, they fight crime during their free time as VIGILANTES!

Written by Hideyuki Furuhashi and illustrated by Betten Court, MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES shows us what it’s like to be ordinary in an extraordinary world. From stopping petty crime to being ticketed for illegal quirk-use, this series manages to make a super-hero story feel like a slice of life. In volume 2, we got to learn why the vigilantes risk their lives on such a regular basis, giving some much-needed background on the characters from the first arc.

More In-Depth Characters

One of the main concerns in our review of MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES Vol. 1 was that we didn’t know enough about the characters. In this volume, Furuhashi gave us more to sink our teeth into. A few scenes were dedicated to flashbacks that helped explain why Koichi (The Crawler) cares so much about helping people. Furuhashi tied the flashbacks into the scene well, making them feel very organic. We even got to learn more about Pop Step, who took a back seat to her compatriots in the last arc. Knuckleduster doesn’t receive a formal backstory or flashback, but we do get some answers about why he fights crime. We’ll discuss that more when we get to Betten Court’s artwork.

Cast of MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES.
Vigilantes! | Image: VIZ Media

Sadly, because Furuhashi spent so much time developing characters, the plot wasn’t given much time to progress. As a result, the antagonist felt a bit flat. Nothing she did in this arc will have much of an effect on the story, dismissing her role as the series antagonist.

An Awesome Cameo

Luckily, the writer introduced us to a new character who made a fantastic villain. Towards the end of this volume, we met a vigilante named Stendhal. Despite being a vigilante, Stendhal isn’t like Koichi or Knuckleduster. He takes his war on crime to the extreme, killing every criminal he comes across. This inevitably puts Stendhal at odds with our heroes, resulting in a super fun conflict.

Koichi from MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES.
The Crawler! | Image: VIZ Media

I won’t say what happens exactly (you’ll have to read it yourself), but Stendhal winds up becoming a major character in the main series, MY HERO ACADEMIA. This crossover rewards fans who follow both stories an helps to explain when MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES takes place in relation to the main series.

Stunning Art

Betten Court reminded us just how good he is in this volume. The art constantly fluctuates between silly and serious, depending on the context of the scene. This fluctuation could make a book feel choppy, however, Court’s strong style made everything feel like it fit. By exaggerating people’s facial expressions, the characters felt more human and therefore more relatable.

Knuckleduster leaping from a building in MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES.
It’s Knuckleduster! | Image: VIZ Media

Style aside, Betten Court managed to do a great deal of character development through his art. This couldn’t be more apparent than in the way that he portrays Knuckleduster. Whenever he’s fighting, Knuckleduster can’t help but smirk. Not an outright smile, like All Might, but a smirk. The kind that a child makes after getting away with stealing a treat from the cookie jar. That’s because fighting crime is his guilty pleasure. Knuckleduster doesn’t fight crime because he’s driven by some moral code of conduct, he does it because it gives him a rush.

The manga never states this sense of ecstasy outright, but fans can figure it out based on Knuckleduster’s expressions and mannerisms. The use of show-don’t-tell wound up being one of my favorite parts of the story, and it’s all thanks to some amazing art from Betten Court.

MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES Vol. 2 was Great!

MY HERO ACADEMIA VIGILANTES manages to set itself apart from its predecessor by offering fans of MY HERO ACADEMIA a fresh perspective. Furuhashi and Court did a great job balancing intense action with everyday monotony. Because the story is always switching between the two, it always feels fresh. There wasn’t a great deal of plot progression, but snappy dialogue, cool fight scenes, and interesting characters make this a really fun story.

Interested? Check out Viz Media for free chapters of the manga, or pick up the first two volumes anywhere manga is sold. If you’ve already read it, let us know what you think in the comments below! Volume 3 releases in the U.S. January 1.

Feature Image Courtesy of Viz Media.

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