Every manga series has its highs and lows, and My Hero Academia is no different.
Arcs are meant to divide a story into different sections. That way, fans have an easier time remembering when certain events take place.
My Hero Academia is an action-packed series with several big moments. However, despite its popularity, not every arc has been well-received.
This article will mainly cover these arcs from a manga perspective. The anime has its own issues separate from the source material, such as removed content and unnecessary censorship. It's very important to make distinctions between manga and anime counterparts since they vastly differ in quality.
Note: This article reflects the writer's opinions and contains major spoilers from the manga.
My Hero Academia arcs that are critically acclaimed
4) Meta Liberation Army
The anime version of this arc was heavily criticized for various reasons, such as the removal of violent imagery. Meanwhile, the manga version is highly regarded for giving the villains a chance to shine. This shift in perspective rarely happens for a Shonen Jump series.
Shigaraki's origins are finally explained in the Meta Liberation Army arc. Other villains, such as Twice and Toga, also get plenty of screentime. All of these characters get dedicated fights and fleshed-out backstories. Even the backstories of relatively minor characters like Spinner are explored here.
This arc is also a major turning point in My Hero Academia. After Shigaraki and his team defeated the Meta Liberation Army, they joined forces to become the biggest criminal organization in Japan.
3) Hideout Raid
After Bakugo was rescued from the League of Villains in the Hideout Raid arc, All Might and All For One faced off in a climactic battle. It truly was a tense and emotional fight between the strongest characters in the series. Although the Pro Hero prevailed, All Might finally used up all the last vestiges of his powers.
This arc was a generational shift in the story of My Hero Academia. From this point forward, Deku and Shigaraki would take center stage as the main heroes and villains, respectively.
2) Paranormal Liberation War
Paranormal Liberation War wasn't a perfect arc by any means, but it was a hugely important one for My Hero Academia. Many heroes and villains lost their lives in this all-out war. It had everything, from Deku versus Shigaraki to Twice's sacrifice for his friends.
There are so many revelations within this arc that it's hard to count them all. The biggest one involves Dabi's revelation of his secret to the entire world. My Hero Academia anime fans have been waiting for this particular moment for a very long time.
1) Sports Festival
The Sports Festival represents everything that fans love about My Hero Academia. In this arc, all the students got to show off their fighting prowess in a series of competitive games. Everybody had to work together if they wanted to advance through the rounds.
In many ways, it can be compared to Naruto's legendary Chunin Exams arc. My Hero Academia characters had a chance to truly shine in this tournament.
The most notable match was Shoto Todoroki vs. Izuku Midoriya, with the latter genuinely testing the limits of his powerful Quirk. Despite losing, Deku proved his determination to the entire world that day.
My Hero Academia arcs that were disliked for various reasons
4) Joint Training
The Joint Training arc pitted Class 1-A against Class 1-B in a friendly competition. More than a few My Hero Academia fans believed it lacked any stakes whatsoever. Nobody believed that Class 1-B would stand a chance, given their lack of importance in the series.
Although several characters were meant to show off, a lot of them looked very weak in this arc. An example is Setsuna Tokage, a highly rated student who lost her match very easily.
Unlike most arcs, this one lacked major story events, with the sole exception being Deku unlocking the full potential of his Quirk. However, that doesn't happen until the very end of the Joint Training session. If it wasn't for that one moment, this arc would feel very like a filler.
3) Star and Stripe
At this point in the story, Shigaraki was too overpowered with his multiple Quirks. There weren't many heroes that could stop him.
With no buildup whatsoever, My Hero Academia introduced a new character in this arc named Cathleen Bate. Known as Star and Stripe, she was the number one Pro Hero in the United States. She had a broken Quirk that allowed her to change the rules of her surroundings.
Many readers dreaded the idea of Shigaraki using All For One to steal her Quirk. While that didn't happen, Cathleen Bate was a symptom of a much bigger problem. The series wrote itself into a corner by making Shigaraki too powerful, so he needed to be weakened by somebody else.
2) Tartarus Escapees
Many would argue that My Hero Academia was never the same after the Paranormal Liberation War. There was barely enough time to take it all in before Deku left the U.A. High School. Characters don't even get to react to what happened in the previous war.
This arc also suffers from major pacing issues. Everything moves too quickly without having room to breathe.
The most egregious example is Lady Nagant, who showed up with very little foreshadowing. Some fans believed that the Pro Hero-turned-villain needed to appear earlier in the series. There wasn't enough time to get attached to the character before she was swept aside.
1) Pro Hero
Endeavor's redemption arc is a very touchy subject within the fanbase. Although he managed to defeat a powerful Nomu, that wasn't his greatest challenge. After several years of abusing his family, the Pro Hero tried his best to atone for his sins. Whether or not it worked is another matter entirely.
My Hero Academia often deals with mature themes, yet this one hits a little too close to home. It's very difficult to discuss this arc without getting argumentative. Series creator Kohei Horikoshi even received death threats for how it was handled.
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