MANGA REVIEW | "My Hero Academia: Vigilantes" - Volume Nine
When second-classed heroes reach the end of their path, what’s next for them? Do they disappear into society and blend with the normal folks, or do they attempt to find a way to use their powers in a different way? This is what runs through the mind of Pop Step in the latest volume of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes. As those who are close to her seem to be going in a different direction for her, the time has come for our heroine to plot her future.
With even “The Crawler” Koichi now seeking a job, Pop Step takes a deep look into her accomplishments, and what they could lead to. While she has some potential in both heroics and music, neither of them have enough strength to move into either path. That is, until Narufest manager Nomura is moved by a song she was working on. Nomura decides to become Pop Step’s singing manager, for reasons that, well...
It’s hard to talk a lot about this volume of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes without spoilers. However, it appears that a new motivation for Koichi and Knuckleduster to keep on acting as unofficial heroes may be on the horizon. The lead up towards this instinct comes out of nowhere, as Pop Step’s future is questioned even more due to what happens later in this volume. As such, what happens next may either keep these three on the pathway of justice, or it force them to hang up their capes for good.
There’s also the question of what Pop Step and The Crawler are to each other. It becomes apparent that the singing hero has strong feelings for Koichi, but she can’t find the right words to say what’s in her heart. Add on to the fact that there’s a possible romantic rival in the form of Ms. Makoto, and you’ve got a very complicated situation for Pop Step to deal with. At least she has Nomura...or does she?
Since it’s been confirmed that this is the final arc of this series, author Hideyuki Furuhashi is throwing a lot out there for readers to get one final good look of what occurs outside of the official heroes’ ranks. You get a solid understanding that those who will forever been wannabe heroes will one day wake up and walk away from the pathway of justice. A superhero suit might one day be replaced with business attire, or — at worst — it could lead them down a dark pathway. And it’s all showcased with a deep understanding of how Kohei Horikoshi’s universe works.
And yet, how this volume ends might make longtime fans fearful of how Vigilantes might wrap things up. But it’s all done in a way that’ll make any long time fan eager to see what’s just around the corner. Will The Crawler retire his hoodie? Has Knuckleduster finally found peace? And what of Pop Step’s well-being? All of these questions run through my head as the final panel revealed itself, and it makes me wish that I didn’t have to wait for the next volume of My Hero Academia: Vigilantes to come around to see how it all turns out!
Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media