Boku no Hero Academia is currently one of my favorite anime, I am completely current on Season 3 and cannot wait for the next episode to be released! The world building for the anime and manga are amazingly well done, not to mention the character development and motivations for everyone involved (heroes and villains alike).
When I first heard of “My Hero Academia: Vigilantes“, I lamented the fact that they thought about making another story while the base anime was still going. When you look at the history of other manga overtime that have did this, the spinoffs or running a concurrent storyline beside the main one never panned out well (was always more of a cash grab). When I saw I had the opportunity to review this manga, I wanted to see whether-or-not this series was going to follow the same theme.
The world of Boku no Hero Academia features a society where most people are born with “quirks”, super powers which allow them to do incredible things. Professional heroes make sure that anyone using their quirks for evil are brought to justice, though it simultaneously allow them to use their gifts openly without it being illegal like it is for normal people. While many people would like to be professional heroes, the license exam to become one is extremely strict and even getting into a school that focuses specifically on training pro heroes is such a daunting tasks that few are welcomed an even fewer actually become qualified.
My Hero Academia: Vigilantes focuses upon a small band of people who want to do good by using their quirks, despite not being professional heroes. Their meeting is uncanny, they are anything but graceful and professional, and even their teamwork needs work. However, what they lack in professionalism and team synergy comes through with their desires to become something more than what they current are.
After getting mixed up with some thugs, “Nice Guy” is soon recruited as an apprentice to “Knuckleduster”, with “POP☆STEP” tagging along to complete their trio. Currently they are investigating the cause of an instant villain maker; an illegal drug called “Ideo Trigger” which boosts a person’s quirk while simultaneously making them lose all self-control over their actions and makes them give into their impulses. This makeshift group is operating under the watchful eye of the law and their goal is to prove their worth to themselves as being more than just bystanders.
To be perfectly honest, this plot is very easy to fit into the scenario that we were given by Boku no Hero Academia, and I must say the way it was presented makes a lot of sense. The fact that this team of three operates within the shadows and are able to take action before heroes would legally be able to, it all comes together in a way that makes perfect sense. Do not get me wrong, what they are doing is illegal and could get them into trouble with the law, but sometimes you feel like you have to do the right thing regardless if it is bound by rules that would normally restrict those types of actions. Vigilantes are people who take the law into their own hands, but sometimes that is more proactive than simply waiting for a crime to occur and thwarting it, or realizing that the real world is not going to be cushy and plush and minimize damage until a pro hero arrives.
While this manga has a good amount of characters, even notable ones from the main Boku no Hero Academia like All Might and Eraserhead, we are mainly following around the Vigilantes The Crawler, Knuckleduster, and POP☆STEP.
- The Crawler — Our protagonist, he is a 19-year-old freshman at Hitonami University named “Koichi Haimawari”. After not passing the exam to become a professional hero, he decided to go by the moniker “Nice Guy”, donning an outfit that is similar to the look of All Might. As Nice Guy he went around town picking up trash and doing good deeds, small things that he believe any good person should. After getting mixed up within the Vigilante life, he began to go by “The Crawler”, after taking up Knuckleduster’s suggestion that his original name of “Nice Guy” was not intimidating enough.
- Knuckleduster — A middle-aged man who is quirkless, yet he still fights to preserve justice and has a very abrasive attitude while being quick-to-fight. Saw the potential in Koichi to become a vigilante as the kid obviously wanted something more. Currently takes on the role as The Crawler’s master and is seen as an aggressive old geezer.
- POP☆STEP — A popular high schooler who does live performances as an idol, though her popularity could come from her flying theatrics with her “Leap” quirk and revealing outfit. She got mixed up with the group after being given a heads up that cops were heading towards her illegal show, ended up joining the group on a whim and after taking a liking toward Koichi.
To be perfectly honest, the characters are all pretty awkward and you wonder how the hell they could even do well together…but it just kind of…works. The characters are all something along the lines of outcasts who find it hard to fit in normally in their day-to-day lives, at least that what it appears to be.
STRENGTHS — Excellent storytelling that fits with the world of Boku no Hero Academia, Promising lead characters (I especially like POP☆STEP), Final villain introduced is my cup of tea.
WEAKNESSES — Weak quirks for the lead characters.
FINAL THOUGHTS — To be honest, I was really not sure about how a spinoff manga within the same world as Boku no Hero Academia would do, primarily because most manga like this are easy cash grabs using the name of a popular series. However, My Hero Academia: Vigilantes actually does a solid job of keeping up with the theme of the original timeline by adding a unique flair to those who want something more but cannot cut it as pro heroes. The characters themselves are all gratifying in one way or another, and despite how odd they are, their mix-and-match way of operating seems to be harmonious when put together.
I feel like anyone who is a fan of Boku no Hero Academia will undoubtedly be a fan of Vigilantes, especially since it is obvious they are going to crossover with some of the more well known characters sooner or later (such as a cameo appearance by Eraserhead in this manga). Those of you who are looking for more flavor that is not necessarily the same as the story of Izuku Midoriya will find a new love with the narrative told from the other side of the tracks.