- Mangaka : Miki Bukimi
- Publisher : Yen Press
- Genre : Action, Fantasy, Shounen
- Published : December 2022
In recent years we’ve seen a flurry of superhero-themed manga, no doubt inspired by the success of My Hero Academia and One-Punch Man, as well as the box office success of Marvel’s cinematic universe. Shy from Yen Press is the latest manga to examine the duties of a hero, and the emotional weight that places on often-young shoulders.
Following a 14-year-old Japanese superhero named “Shy”, we’re introduced to a world of heroes and a dastardly undercover plot threatening the safety of the world. Is Shy, Volume 1 an innovative step forward for superhero manga, or just a re-issue of its competitors?
To find out, join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review Shy, Volume 1!
To prevent a Third World War, heroes with superhuman powers stepped forward from every country of the globe, representing their home nations to usher in a new era of peace. Despite the overall success, these superheroes are still relied upon daily to save citizens, arrest criminals, and generally do all the things we expect of classic heroes.
Our main character, the titular “Shy” (real name: Teru Momijiyama) is a middle-schooler who can transform into her super-form using some special bracelets and the power of “Heart-Shift.” Shy in both name and mannerisms, she struggles to draw a crowd like the other heroes, and when she accidentally allows another girl to be injured, she sinks deeper into her own misery.
But Teru won’t have long to deliberate on her role as a hero—an evil being called “Stigma” is unleashing a global crisis upon the world. Using the power of people’s psyches and the darkness in their hearts, Stigma can transform innocent civilians into monstrous, warped versions of themselves. With the help of new friends and her hero colleagues, Shy is determined to rise to the occasion—but she’s going to need courage, belief, and a lot more strength to get there!
The artwork in Shy, Volume 1 is satisfactory but hardly noteworthy—the action is clean, and the psyche transformations are shockingly monstrous, which was a pleasant surprise. The pacing feels rather off, though—something we’ll cover in a moment—and ultimately we finished the first volume feeling rather lukewarm.
Let’s get into what Shy does right—and wrong.
1. The Moral Dilemma of Justice
Clearly drawing inspiration from Western comic franchises like Marvel and D.C., Shy, Volume 1 frames its emotional beats around the responsibility of heroes, and their failings too. Heroes can’t be everywhere all the time, but people place heavy expectations on heroes, without even knowing the true person behind the costume.
To that end, we appreciate Shy’s efforts to highlight the emotional burden of being unable to save everyone—it’s the type of storyline we’ve seen played out on the silver screen, but nonetheless pleasing to see in manga format. Teru’s struggling emotions are genuine, and her shyness is an endearing aspect of her overall growth.
1. Why Aren’t You Crying? I Specifically Requested Crying
As we alluded to earlier, Shy, Volume 1’s pacing is too rapid for the reader to actually accept the emotional payload being thrown at them. Teru is introduced to the reader, enters a depressive phase, exits a depressive phase, makes a friend, beats a villain, and then decides to get stronger—all in a single volume.
The pacing is all over the place for introducing new characters and concepts; although we like what Shy is trying to accomplish here, with such little room to breathe, we’re left without the emotional payoff we’re clearly meant to feel.
2. My Hero’s Kingdom Hearts
Shy enters a genre dominated by two heavyweights—My Hero Academia and One-Punch Man. And although Shy is clearly going for something else—a heavy, almost-childish obsession with hearts and emotions—it’s hard not to feel like Shy is simply a watered-down version of its rivals.
My Hero Academia also deals with the responsibility of being a hero, and what it means to be unable to save everyone, while also having room to develop its main character. And One-Punch Man succeeds with huge set pieces and gorgeous artwork, before falling back on self-aware comedy to lighten the mood.
That’s not to say Shy doesn’t have a place in the market—but its first volume leaves a lot to be desired.
Shy, Volume 1 has a decent premise and shows potential, but as an introductory volume, it fails to stick the landing. With some fierce competition in the shounen space, Shy will need a serious training montage to hold its own in the same ring as its rival hero manga.
Are you going to check out Shy, Vol 1? Let us know down in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!