Sure, there are moments of greatness in the world of heroes and villains that My Hero Academia introduced everyone to, but what happens in the outtakes? My Hero Academia: Smash!! is like watching the blooper reel from a Marvel movie. We get to see the great All Might be a different kind of goofball, see what Mt. Lady is actually doing most of the time, and consider costume changes Kamui Woods might make. It’s as fun as watching Thor juggle his hammer or Vision get the giggles, no video player required.
That being said, this is really a parody comic, not a blooper reel, so the stories in this manga actually aren’t canon and often completely break from the canon story. Smash!! is essentially a collection of four-panel comics that loosely follow the storyline of the main manga, with this volume ending after the introduction of the Nomu and the big fight at the Unexpected Simulation Joint facility, for those familiar with the main series. The four-panel style can make it kind of hard to read if the reader is used to a continuous story because, even though there are two of the four-panel comics per page, they may or may not be related to each other or to the panels on the next page.
Since the creator of Smash!! is an assistant to Kohei Horikoshi on My Hero Academia, the art style is very similar to the original, especially when compared to My Hero Academia: Vigilantes. The art style in Vigilantes is more distinctively its own, which makes sense because it’s telling a story related to the main manga, but off to the side, while Smash!! is a direct parody of the main story. Honestly, the art is surprisingly detailed and effective considering it’s a silly parody that makes frequent use of tropes and ridiculousness.
Unlike Vigilantes though, Smash!! has a slightly younger appeal. The humor is fairly juvenile and while there are moments with scantily clad characters and references to things like foot or crushing fetishes, it’s not overt or terribly frequent. The four-panel style makes it great for a slightly younger reader too, since it takes less critical attention to get the punchlines of the jokes and it can be easily set aside then picked back up later without loss of understanding. On the flip side, the humor can be heavily referential to Japanese culture or other anime, so some of the comics’ humor might get lost in translation for some readers. There are, unfortunately, no translation notes at the back of the manga, though there are several bonus comics that are both within the story of Smash!! and about the author and how he got the job.
While it is a funny read, I can’t say that I would strongly recommend this title for a collection. Parodies aren’t known for amazing writing, even if the art of this particular parody is high quality, and I’m not sure how much value this series has in terms of patrons checking it out more than once. I would add this to a collection that has a community with a strong desire for anything My Hero Academia, or one that already has other manga parodies, such as the Attack on Titan or Neon Genesis Evangelion parody series.
My Hero Academia: Smash!!, vol. 1
By Hirofumi Neda
VIZ Media, 2019
Publisher Age Rating: Teen