Have you ever found yourself wondering what the heroes of Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia get up to in their free time? Well, My Hero Academia School Briefs is here to answer that question! With a collection of short stories based on the ordinary rather than extraordinary, this light novel has been created in the hopes of offering something different – but does it succeed?
The story begins with Shota Aizawa (Eraser Head) announcing that class A-1 will be celebrating Parents’ Day. The students will be required to write a letter of gratitude to their parents that will later be read out in front of both their parents and their classmates. While the kids worry about the embarrassment of reading their letters aloud, Aizawa and the other teachers seem to be scheming something behind the scenes. One thing’s for sure – this is bound to be an unforgettable Parents’ Day!
The Parents’ Day story acts as the opening and closing chapters of School Briefs, while in-between we get a glimpse of U.A. High School’s chaotic staff room, see Uraraka, Yaoyorozu and Asui stop a panty thief, follow Ida, Tokoyami, Mineta and Kaminari for a day at a theme park, and lastly, watch Todoroki’s heartfelt conversation with his mother, as he wishes for her to attend his Parents’ Day. Each chapter is fairly short, but that prevents them outstaying their welcome and gives us the chance to spend time with a variety of the cast.
The other nice thing about this entry is that despite it being set quite early on in the My Hero Academia timeline, it’s not readily obvious. Because the cast aren’t fighting, we don’t notice any lack of power-ups they’ve since achieved in the manga. Apart from a couple of mentions of a particular event in the series’ timeline, School Briefs is nicely self-contained.
For those of of you curious about what you need to have read before tackling this book, this volume takes place just after the Hero Killer arc, so once you’ve read Volume 7, Chapter 59, or watched up to Episode 33 you’ll have experienced all you need to be kept spoiler-free.
School Briefs has been written by Anri Yoshi (who doesn’t appear to have done anything that’s made it into English till now), and although Yoshi’s not the original creator of the series, they’ve still managed to capture the cast wonderfully. Everyone feels in-character, and the situations they find themselves in are certainly like those Horikoshi writes himself when he’s not having our heroes face off against the forces of evil. There’s an afterword at the back of the book from Horikoshi (who provided the illustrations for the book) talking about how he wishes he could spend more time on the slice-of-life elements of My Hero Academia in the manga.
My only minor criticism when it comes to the plot is how obvious the eventual reveal of the Parents’ Day secret is. As mentioned earlier, it’s clear from the start that not everything is as it seems and the adult characters drop many hints as to what’s truly planned. This just ends up being a bit too on the nose and I’d already figured out the climax from the first hint. However, I’m not necessarily the target age group for the book so I can certainly let the issue slide.
My Hero Academia: School Briefs has been brought to the West thanks to VIZ Media, who also publish the main series and spin-off My Hero Academia: Vigilantes. The book has been translated by Caleb Cook, who also handles the main series, and the translation reads well. The writing uses fairly simple vocabulary, suited tor a younger audience, and Caleb does a good job of making sure the cast all have distinguishable and recognisable voices. There are currently three volumes of School Briefs out in Japan and VIZ have Volumes 2 and 3 scheduled to come out in English later this year.
Overall, My Hero Academia: School Briefs offers an entertaining look at the daily lives of the characters we love so much. Those of you looking for a break from the usual action and adventure will find a lot to like here.