Hello there and welcome to Your Manga Week. Finding time to keep up with all the manga that releases on a weekly basis can be difficult, so I’m here to tell you what’s worth your time and what’s not. We’ll also be discussing the story and arc developments as they come. This week, we’re talking My Hero Academia chapter 270, The Promised Neverland chapter 176, and SPY x FAMILY chapter 26.
At this point, calling this column ‘Your Manga Week’ seems like a bit of a misnomer. Not only have the last three issues of Weekly Shonen Jump been released on a fortnightly basis, but Shueisha recently put out a statement saying that the delays may continue as long as the manga authors need more time to adjust to the new workflow as dictated by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Fingers crossed that won’t happen, however, as we need manga more than ever in these pressing times. On with this week’s chapters!
My Hero Academia chapter 270
The ticking time bomb that is Tomura Shigaraki has been festering away in the depths of Maruko Shiga’s secret lab ever since the beginning of this latest My Hero Academia arc, but it is in chapter 270 that it finally goes off.
After having taken the baton from the battered Mirko in the previous chapter, Eraser Head and Present Mic clean up house with the Nomus and attempt to take Maruko into custody. During this, we are treated to some exposition relation to Maruko’s past, confirming that he was the one who initially put forward the Quirk Singularity Theory and outlining how he came into contact with All for One in the first place. Particularly interesting here is the way that Maruko describes his godlike presence, giving us a taste of the power of the Symbol of Evil back in the chaotic period when Quirks first appeared.
My Hero Academia chapter 270 then shifts focus to Tomura, who is inhabiting some sort of dreamscape filled with his childhood memories. This almost rivals Tatsuki Fujimoto’s recent work on the hellscape of Chainsaw Man in terms of striking visual design, but is much more straightforward in its execution. Here, Tomura is quite obviously dealing with the memories of his past as well as his relationship with his master and mentor, All for One, all the while preparing himself to wake up from his nearly-completed Quirk transformation.
Then, the big bombshell of My Hero Academia chapter 270 comes: the Quirk transformation process being undergone by Tomura was not solely meant to develop his ‘Decay’ Quirk, but also grant to him the fearsome All for One, signalling his final evolution as the Symbol of Evil’s successor.
Immediately, the ramifications are clear. Tomura wakes up just as X-Less is about to restrain him, and Deku can feel the presence of his fated rival some distance away. Already, we saw how devastating Tomura’s evolved Decay Quirk was at the end of the Meta Liberation Army arc, so the power that he might now wield thanks to All for One is almost unimaginable. Certainly, he’ll make more than a fine fold for Deku’s similarly-evolving One for All power set, which is said to hold over six different abilities.
This development in My Hero Academia chapter 270 seems like as good of a moment as any to reflect on Tomura and his role as the villain of Kohei Horikoshi’s long-running series. I remember watching the first episode of the anime and thinking that Tomura was pretty generic, but that couldn’t be more different from what I think of him now. By virtue of his character development and symbolic importance as both the successor of good and evil (don’t forget that he is also All Might’s former master’s grandson), he’s now one of the best antagonists in Jump with a formidable presence to match. The fact that he merely wakes up in this chapter and there is this much to say should be a testament to that fact.
The Promised Neverland chapter 176
With Tomura’s transformation in chapter 270, it is safe to say that My Hero Academia is shaping up its endgame, albeit bit by bit. The Promised Neverland, on the other hand, is on the verge of concluding. We know that not just thanks to the course of the story, but also because Shueisha said so in a recent statement that also announced that there would be a special ‘project’ for the series following its conclusion. Let’s hope that the second season of the anime is in there somewhere, delays be damned.
In any case, there is much concluding work to be in The Promised Neverland chapter 176. Peter Ratri is long gone, having offed himself back in chapter 174; Leuvis has taken control in the capital, filling the political vacuum in chapter 175, and so all that’s really left for Emma and co. to do is bask in the glory of their victory. They do so in the best way possible – reuniting with Phil and the others that they had to leave behind in Grace Field in an emotional moment that has been a long time coming.
There have been many moments in this final arc that have felt a little too corny and a little too melodramatic, but this one works very well. Part of that is because this reunion was set up so long ago, which gives it a real sense of weight and worth, as well as the fact that this ostensibly the end of the story, which gives it the right to be a little bit self-congratulatory here and there.
By far the most emotional moment for me, however, was when Emma was surrounded by those she had lost – chiefly Yuugo and Lucas, who sacrificed themselves at the beginning of the Cuvitidala arc to fend off Andrew and his team of assassins. This reminds me of better times, to be honest, back when the series wasn’t slipping up quite so much in by far my favorite arc, the Goldy Pond arc. Sometimes it’s the little things.
In any case, it’s not all swings and roundabouts in The Promised Neverland chapter 176. Just as Emma and co. have let down their guard, a demon appears with the sole intention of eating all of the children before the farm gets shut down. She and Norman make a run for their guns, but they’re too late – their previous guardian, Isabella, is pierced by the demon’s claws, bringing a tragic end to an otherwise uplifting chapter.
If Isabella does pass away as a result of this grievous wound in The Promised Neverland chapter 176, then it would be a fine way to cap off her character development. She told herself for many years that what she was doing was for the best, giving her children the happiest lives possible before shipping them off to be demon food, but Emma finally gave her the courage to realize that what she was doing was wrong. As she says to other Moms in this chapter, “Now we can just love them.” And what better way to go then out of love?
Of course, the big unknown variable in all of this is Emma’s promise with the mysterious ‘Him,’ which rewrote the previous promise between demons and humans so that the children could go to the human world. But Him also asked Emma for something in ‘exchange’ – could this have something to do with Isabella’s sacrifice? We’ll just have to wait and see.
SPY x FAMILY chapter 26
In a manner quite different to My Hero Academia chapter 270 and The Promised Neverland chapter 176, you’ve probably already read SPY x FAMILY chapter 26 by now. It was released back on May 3, but due to the now-irregular nature of this column, we’re only just now getting around to it. But it’s a really good one, so it deserves inclusion.
The main thrust of SPY x FAMILY chapter 26 is that Anya has midterms coming up, which Twilight needs her to succeed at for the sake of his mission. But the chances of that happening seem unlikely, so Yor invites her obsessive older brother Yuri over to help tutor Anya. Sparks fly pretty much straight away. Yuri has no intention of helping Anya out unless it pleases his beloved sister, and Anya picks up on all of these self-centered thoughts thanks to her mind-reading powers. It’s an excellent example of character comedy, stemming from the unique personalities that Tatsuya Endo has managed to craft for these characters.
Once they get down to it, however, Anya does find some common ground with Yuri and they end up having a lot of fun studying grammar, even if it isn’t actually going to be on the test. More specifically, Anya reads Yuri’s mind and finds out why he is so academically gifted – he studied hard in order to help his sister, which shows his devotion in an understandable, if slightly obsessive, way.
Aside from Yuri’s backstory, one of the most interesting things about SPY x FAMILY chapter 26 is the fact that Tatsuya Endo takes the time to place a limit on Anya’s telekinetic powers. Previously, it seemed as if Anya could use her powers whenever and wherever she wanted, but this chapter explains that her mind-reading powers disappear whenever there is a full moon, which is why she is forced to study for the upcoming tests.
Whether or not this will have an impact on the overall narrative is unclear, but this is a very smart move on Endo’s part. All the best action-oriented manga teach us that any power set must come with a restriction, lest it become too powerful – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is chock-full of example – and while SPY x FAMILY is a very different series in terms of narrative and tone, the tactic holds true.
In any case, it is good to see that SPY x FAMILY chapter 26 picks up the pace a little bit with regard to the series’ overall narrative. The previous arc surrounding the family dog Bond was entertaining, but frustrated me a little due to its tangential nature. With Tonitrus Bolts now on the line, however, we will most likely see some movement soon.
On a final note, major credit has to go to the translation work on SPY x FAMILY chapter 26, which is even better than usual. The exchange between Yuri and Anya about a ‘swole chihuahua’ already got a significant amount of attention last week due to how inventive it is, so I won’t say much more. All props go to Casey Loe!
You can read My Hero Academia chapter 270, The Promised Neverland chapter 176, and SPY x FAMILY chapter 26 for free via VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump. SPY x FAMILY is also available to read via Shueisha’s Manga Plus.