Kohei Horikoshi, creator of My Hero Academia, revealed a personal story in the latest Volume 39 which was released in Japan on November 2, 2023. Horikoshi said that chapter 395 was originally 13 pages instead of 15, clearly shorter than other Jump titles. This is because, as he reveals, Jump makes adjustments for his health. But for chapter 395, he found that there was a tale that he wanted to tell in more than 13 pages, effectively burdening the Jump editorial staff to accommodate his unusually longer chapter:
“Some of you may have noticed, but My Hero Academia has a low page count per chapter,” Horikoshi says. “This is because my hands have gotten slower over the years, and my schedule is constantly exploding. The strong-hearted editorial staff adjust the page count just so that My Hero Academia can be serialized. I am acutely aware that this is 100% my own fault, but there are no small number of times I think “If only there were more pages…!” This is an outrageously shameless issue on my part. I’m so sorry.
So the page count is set, and for Chapter 395: ‘Built Upon the Joy of Others’, I was initially told 13 pages. However, it actually turned out to be 15 pages. This is thanks to my editor-in-charge, Imamura-san. I first drew the storyboard to the instructed 13 pages. However, it felt like I had barely crammed everything in by the skin of my teeth. If I had the capability, I probably could have done 13 pages satisfactorily… But without time, I immediately had Imamura-san check it.
And after looking over the storyboard silently for a while, Imamura-san said:
‘…What would happen if we could add 2 more pages?‘”
“It’s forbidden for editors to increase pages by their own judgment. Because it’s a magazine, after all. And Imamura-san is a relatively young editor, too. ‘You can do that!?,’ I gaped at her, stunned. It was then that Imamura-san stared straight at me with pitch-black eyes, devoid of light, saying, ‘I’ll be the only one scolded. It’s fine as-is, but I want to make this chapter the best it can be. In exchange, please be sure to finish within the timeframe. Not getting it done even after adding 2 pages would be no joke, so what do you think, Horikoshi-san?‘
A blackhole-like black and white. A jet-black void. Darkness.
And so Chapter 395 ran at 15 pages.“
“What I want to say is that Imamura-san and the editorial staff truly consider earnestly how to shape My Hero Academia well, and that My Hero Academia couldn’t have continued without the hard work of the editorial staff. I want to take this chance to express my gratitude. I appreciate it. And to everyone soon taking their first steps into society. This is what it means to inconvenience others. Let’s meet deadlines…so as not to paint over the black in others’ eyes with more darkness.
Signed, a man who knew from the beginning that a proper social life would be impossible for someone who had never submitted summer homework on time.
Horikoshi’s health complications are well documented, going on a two-week hiatus in February 2023, as well as breaks in October and December 2022. He stated last October, “I’m sorry for all the breaks. My schedule is a mess. I’m getting back on track.” While this isn’t rare for mangaka, it’s a sad and common state of affairs in the industry. One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda went on a four-week hiatus from June to July due to eye surgery; Oda routinely takes break weeks and his hectic schedule sees him regularly sleeping only 3 hours a day. Horikoshi’s latest comments continue to leave many fans worried about his physical well-being and the chances that My Hero Academia will meet an acceptable ending. While the self-deprecating tone of his message and taking 100% of the blame is also a concern, the pressures of the current manga industry mean his bluntness isn’t unique to him alone, either. Elfen Lied creator Lynn Okamoto recently opened up on X about his failure to become a master artist, seemingly resigned to that fate. However, given Horikoshi’s editors have previously been at the center of fan controversy, it’s reassuring that they appear to be among his biggest supporters.
Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia debuted in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in July 2014 and has been collected into 39 volumes as of November 2023. As a celebration for Volume 39, a series of teaser trailers were released, featuring an Ochaco x Toga Best Friends video as well as a Midoriya, Bakugo, and Todoroki special PV. The manga series is a best-seller, with over 85mn copies in circulation, and a successful anime adaptation that has spanned six seasons. Despite the franchise’s success, Anime Corner’s Jay Gibbs gave his opinion on the My Hero Academia: UA Heroes Battle card game, calling it “God-awful” in his review. My Hero Academia announced a seventh season in March and a fourth movie in August.
VIZ Media licenses the manga for North America and describes the plot:
Midoriya inherits the superpower of the world’s greatest hero, but greatness won’t come easy.
© Kohei Horikoshi / Shueisha