Never fear, for All-Might is here! All-Might arrives just in the nick of time to save Izuku and the rest of Class 1-A, but this might be exactly what the villains were counting on...

After putting up a valiant fight against the villains, U.A. High’s Class 1-A is cornered and their teachers beaten. Determined to hold out until reinforcements arrive, Izuku Midoriya and the rest of Class 1-A are saved by the arrival of All-Might. However, the “Symbol of Peace” was the real target of the attack all along and as he battles the villains his power begins to run dangerously low. As the only one knowing the true extent of All-Might’s power, Izuku is forced to watch as his hero is forced into a dangerous bluff with the villains. Later, U.A. High prepares for their superpower sports festival, with all of the students competing to gain the attention of heroes scouting for potential sidekicks!

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My Hero Academia Vol. 3 ends the series’ first story arc by wrapping up the battle between Class 1-A against Tomura Shigaraki and his villains in satisfying and exciting fashion. One thing that I’ve particularly impressed with is the way that the series manages to present a very standard shonen coming of age storyline without ever feeling dull. While the final outcome of Class 1-A’s fight was never really in question, the story did an excellent job raising the dramatic stakes by showing the battle through Izuku’s perspective. Izuku’s unique knowledge about All-Might’s weakening state added greatly to the scene by emphasizing the emotions involved with the struggle, putting his own actions in context. The emotions in play captivated me, creating a satisfyingly ominous conclusion which appropriately balanced the traditional Shonen Jump “victory” while providing a promising peak at what will almost certainly be an ongoing story thread.

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The second part of the volume follows Class 1-A’s preparation for U.A. High’s superpowered sports festival, which has become a national event where established heroes arrive to scout out potential sidekicks. This was an enjoyable breather after the intense dramatic stakes of the previous battle against the villains, and set the stage perfectly beginning of the next story-arc as the class participates in an obstacle course for the first event. I appreciated the way that the main plot was integrated into the festival as Izuku’s own personal struggle to prove himself is overlaid with the increasingly apparent need for a successor for All-Might to appear for the world. This did a good job making me feel invested in the sports festival as we saw very clearly how relevant it is to the main plot aside from just being a fun event to see these characters participate in. The obstacle course itself was a blast (literally!) and was fun to watch because of the creativity with which each of the characters utilized their powers, keeping things exciting and unpredictable even if the conclusion wasn’t that surprising.

The emphasis on world-building is also apparent, as numerous characters get some more development in the context of sports festival. I continue to enjoy how varied the members of Class 1-A are in terms of both their personalities as well as their powers, and it was nice to see some of them fleshed out a little bit. I particularly enjoyed seeing a little bit more of Ochako Uraraka’s personality, as it was interesting to see what drove her, helping to make her feel like more of a developed character. While the development of these characters isn’t groundbreaking by any stretch, the series continues doing a great job making the characters likeable and easy to root for because of their earnestness.

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Kohei Horikoshi’s art continues to be a treat, portraying a well-realized and wonderfully drawn world that demonstrates a wonderful amount of aesthetic cohesiveness. The character designs continue to be a high point because of the sheer creativity involved in each one, really selling me on this as a vibrant world full of people with unique powers. The costume designs for each hero also continue to be impressive, and I’ve really enjoyed how each character is designed in a way that emphasizes their individual quirk and says something about their personality.

The art also continues to shine in this series, with the action scenes being especially impressive thanks to the amount of detail that Horikoshi is able to infuse into each scene. These superpowered fights feel appropriately forceful, conveying a strong sense of power that fits right in with the overall setting. For example, while we are told (repeatedly) about All-Might’s awesome power, this is demonstrated very visually during the fight scenes as we see the sheer impact of his punches compared to the rest of the characters as he fights to villains. It all feels appropriately cartoony in a way that infuses the aesthetic with elements of American superhero comics, as All-Might’s character design as well as the choice of SFX pay homage effectively to these roots. This created a wonderful sense of aesthetic cohesiveness throughout this volume that perfectly fit this zany world.

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My Hero Academia Vol. 3 is another great continuation of this series, and one which anyone who enjoyed the first two volumes will be sure to love. While the conclusion to the villians’ attack on the class goes pretty much exactly as one would expect, it avoids feeling rote by vividly portraying the emotional stakes involved with a wonderful sense of earnestness that is a joy to read. The beginning of the school festival was also great because of the varied use of these characters powers, and I enjoyed the way that it incorporated Izuku’s personal struggle stemming from the conclusion of the class’ battle against the villains effectively into the storyline.

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What do our scores mean?
My Hero Academia Vol. 3 was translated by Caleb Cook and published by Viz Media on February 2nd, 2016. Authored by Kohei Horikoshi, the series began in 2014 and is still ongoing in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. Volume 4 will be published in English on May 3rd, 2016 and there are 7 volumes currently out in Japan.

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