MANGA REVIEW | "My Hero Academia: Team-Up Missions" - Vol. 1
My Hero Academia is a series that just screams to have spinoffs made from it. With the hundreds of heroes that Kohei Horikoshi has created in this one narrative, the idea of seeing side quests with these characters should be easy as pie. Yoko Akiyama’s My Hero Academia: Team-Up Missions takes that sort of idea, and lets many of its heroes partner up in various ways. But does this lead to anything original, or will it just feel like fluffy filler?
As the title suggests, Team-Up Missions will have students of UA Academy partnering up with one another, as well as work alongside many of the various professional heroes. With students of different Quirks working side-by-side, new strategies to deal with threats are created in ways that’ll help in similar situations in the future. As heroes, techies, and even those without Quirks learn from one another, every team player discovers a new way to defend justice, even if it’s the tiniest of realizations.
On the surface, the idea to have heroes teaming up is a very good one. We’ve seen the big boys & girls at DC and Marvel doing exactly this in their own universes, so why not also the My Hero Academia realm too! Those who are familiar with Midoriya, Bakugo, Tsuya, and the rest of the students will get a lot of enjoyment seeing them working alongside Fatgum and Mirko. Not only does it let us see them flex their muscles, but it gives readers a solid idea on how these teams would cooperate in much bigger missions down the line.
However, as this first volume of Team-Up Missions is made up of one shots, there isn’t much structure in its overall narrative. You’re getting some great action sequences, as well as some good comedy (especially in the chapter involving Hatsume and the Two Heroes film character Melissa). But as a whole, these chapters feel no different from the main My Hero Academia story. While that can be a good thing in some cases, there are times where the stories feel like rejected chapters from Horikoshi’s scrapbook.
Perhaps one of the big reasons for this is the fact that the spotlight just can’t seem to be taken away from Midoriya. Yes, he’s the most important character in My Hero Academia, as his story is the backbone to the series’s whole spiel. However, this doesn’t give the rest of the team a chance to go deeper into their own stories and the like, resulting in Akiyama’s storytelling process to just try to squeeze Midoriya into every single story possible. The spinoff shines better when he’s not in the picture much, as evident by the “Who’s Prince Charming?!” chapter, where Tamaki, Tenya, and Momo are given the chance to shine in a silly-yet-fun story about a mysterious hero that’s swooned a little girl.
There’s always a chance for My Hero Academia: Team-Up Missions to better itself. The first volume has some promise, but not enough uniqueness from the main series (unlike, say, the Vigilantes spinoff). However, it appears Volume Two will not be made up of one-shots, which means there could be some of that missing structure put into its overall narrative. For now, if you’re only looking for more My Hero Academia, then Team-Up Missions will scratch some sort of itch; those looking for a different twist in the formula will more than likely be disappointed.
Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media