Comic Cultre With Rafa: #003

The Standard Of True Heroism: Mirio Togata in My Hero Academia Vol. 17

By Rafael Encinas

Volume 17 of the wildly popular manga series, My Hero Academia, hit shelves this week, and there is something special to celebrate in this volume. The Raid on the Hassaikai Gang arc is one of mixed opinion, but fans can agree that it showcases some astounding moments.  Up until this point, we follow our heroes as they try to catch up with and detain the deadly Overhaul and his deadly gang of Yakuza called the Eight Precepts of Death, but we see the heroes get separated in the underground tunnels/labyrinth.

The plot up to this point is all about taking down Overhaul’s criminal organization, especially considering that they are producing bullets with the power to permanently erase quirks, this series’ version of superpowers. The key to this is in the special quirk residing in Eri, a little girl that Mirio and Midoriya failed to save earlier in the arc.

In this volume we finally witness one of the heroes catch up to Overhaul and his Yakuza minions, and that hero isn’t Deku, the main protagonist… it’s Mirio.

Outnumbered and less experienced, the deck is stacked against the pro hero in training. But Mirio does something wild in these chapters.

We expect Mirio to put up a good fight; after all, he’s been hyped up and we’ve seen him excel as a fighter in previous volumes. But he not only overcomes the odds and actually rescues the frightened Eri, he does it easily!

This is huge because, as already mentioned, Mirio is a hero in training. He is not a pro, yet. Overhaul is not a joke of a villain. He is a cruel, conniving, and powerful sociopath with the power to disassemble and reassemble anything he touches.

Mirio kicks his ass! He saves Eri and he does it in a way that feels powerful. We see this little girl who is used to pain and fear watch someone actually come to her rescue. Mirio actually exemplifies the very definition of being a hero.

And in this volume, we get so much more than a beautifully illustrated fight sequence. We get to see just what being a hero means to Mirio. This is a kid who worked tirelessly to turn a difficult quirk, permeation, into a Top Tier super power. His judgement, reflexes, and timing are all in tune, and we get to see him perform some of the coolest moves in the manga. And there is so much heart in these panels as we see Mirio fight so desperately for the little girl that is used to being used and abused.

Ultimately, he makes the ultimate sacrifice by taking a bullet for Eri, losing his powers in the process. But like a real hero, he continues fighting and protecting Eri for a full 3rd of the fight depowered. Mirio is no joke, and again, it is powerful to see someone give so much to save one individual. Mirio came up with his hero name, Lemillion, by vowing to save a million people. And in a poetic and poignant moment, he was able to save just one girl. And he does it without hesitation. This is the standard of a true hero!

And it has become the standard for this popular manga to wow audiences with interesting and unique powers, to astound us with epic fight sequences, and to motivate us with shonen style life lessons. If you don’t believe me, check out the phenomenal anime. It is worth your time. This is a special volume in an outstanding series. Let us all be like Lemillion. Let us all live up to that standard of true heroism.

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