Jul 28, 2023

My Hero Academia's Final Saga Is Revolutionizing Shonen Manga With Its Shorter Chapters

Many fans may be disappointed by My Hero Academia's recent trend of short chapters, but they are actually a good thing that may revolutionize manga.

With its ending fast approaching, My Hero Academia has been employing a radical new approach to telling its story and surprisingly it is actually working. Mangaka Kohei Horikoshi is clearly having to push himself to new limits to produce the riveting battles of the Final War arc. However, the result of this pressure to produce new chapters has somewhat warped the format of the series, reducing the length of its chapters, but it's surprisingly working for the better.

Chapter #397 best typifies this phenomenon. Despite being an incredibly hyped chapter detailing part of the final fight between All Might and All For One, it is only 7 pages in length, which is shockingly short for a Shonen Jump series. However, the concise nature of the chapter really helps make every single panel matter and give the fight a lot of extra weight it might not otherwise have had. It also forces Horikoshi to cut out any filler moments that can often plague Shonen battles like characters discussing what others are doing. Lastly, it allows Horikoshi to really focus on making the art absolutely stunning, which makes his incredible talent shine even more

This flies in the face of the typical weekly production cycle of a Shonen Jump manga. Outside certain holidays or break weeks, each mangaka must produce a chapter approximately 20 pages in length every single week. While most of the mangaka do have assistants to help them meet this deadline, it is still a grueling process. If a series gets big enough, however, mangaka are granted a bit of leeway with this schedule. Hunter x Hunter has gone through multiple long-term hiatuses (even tho these were caused by author Togashi's bad health, which was the result of his grueling work) and series like One Piece and Jujutsu Kaisen are granted a regular break week approximately one out of every 4. My Hero Academia is no exception, although this crunch time has clearly also caused these extremely short chapters.

However, the high quality of these releases makes the shorter chapter lengths well worth it, despite fans potentially being disappointed that they aren't getting more content that week. However, if the chapter wasn't released in a shorter version then it likely wouldn't have been released at all, generating even more disappointment. This trend could revolutionize how manga is made, not only cutting down on hiatuses but also being healthier for the mangaka who are forced to pump out new chapters every single week. Shorter chapters can make this much more manageable.

It is currently unclear whether this trend will spread to other Shonen Jump manga. Recently, One Piece has also had some chapters in its epic Egghead Island arc that have been less than 20 pages, but these have still been much longer than My Hero Academia's chapters. Hopefully, this is a sign that My Hero Academia's shorter chapters are actually causing a shift in the manga industry instead of just being a flash in the pan.

My Hero Academia is available to read from Viz Media.

Ben Sockol has been writing articles for the comics section of Screen Rant since early 2022. Growing up watching a variety of Saturday morning cartoons and then voraciously reading through the comics they were based on, Ben developed a love of the superhero genre from an early age. And upon discovering anime in high school and college he became a manga fanatic as well. After double majoring in Physics and Mathematics at MIT and doing a brief stint as an Analyst at an investment firm, he realized that writing about his nerdy interests was his true calling. When Ben isn’t writing about comic books, he is most likely reading them or engaging in one of his many other hobbies like card magic. Ben has his own YouTube channel YGOFrom0 where he does deep dives into historic formats of the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game. You can occasionally find him on Twitter @bsocks8.

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