Shonen Jump Editor Discusses My Hero Academia's Appeal, Possible Live-Action Adaptation
posted on by Eric Stimson
Kōhei Horikoshi's My Hero Academia is usually considered the successor manga/anime to Weekly Shonen Jump hits like Naruto and Bleach, combining the usual Shonen Jump formula of friendship, effort and victory with a unique character design and lead protagonist. Its editor, Kengo Monji, spoke with Japanese entertainment news site Oricon Style about what factors make the series a success.
Monji points to a scene in Chapter 1 as evidence. "The protagonist, Deku, faces off with an enemy, but he doesn't do that much. He just jumps out to save [Bakugō]. In Jump, the main character is supposed to be active, but this manga is a little deviant. But Horikoshi's sense that, when everyone else is hanging back, a hero rushes out even if he can't save someone, is a new way of thinking." He also cites Horikoshi's powerful art style and "heat." "You get the feeling that he's putting his soul into it, that he's suffering for it," he says.
Monji is also pleased by the variety and personality of the manga's characters. "When I saw the designs for new characters in rough drafts for the first time, I thought 'Of course!' often." Horikoshi had a stock of characters in mind from the outset, but he also responded to Monji's suggestions for characters as the manga went on. Like other Shonen Jump manga, Monji and Horikoshi regularly respond to reader surveys and discuss changes to improve My Hero Academia when results are bad; on the other hand, Monji says they don't always follow readers' suggestions in order to keep Shonen Jump's genres balanced.
Finally, Monji was asked about the possibility of converting Shonen Jump properties into live-action films. He was enthusiastic because, like anime, live-action films can expand the audience for the original manga. As for My Hero Academia, "there are many large-scale action scenes, so for live-action you'd need a lot of money for things like CG. How much would we need to do it?"
My Hero Academia's fanbase extends beyond the usual Weekly Shonen Jump demographic to celebrities like actress Rika Adachi and Nogizaka 46 member Rina Ikoma. For more on My Hero Academia's unique take on heroism, Nick Creamer has a lengthy essay on the topic. Horikoshi will appear at Jump Festa from December 17 to 18.