The hero trend isn’t going away. Its emphasis on super-powered humans taking down threats to mankind seems to hold a place in our everyday thoughts and conversations consistently. However, series such as The Watchmen keep me invested in the genre as it gives readers a different perspective on who a hero could be. Shy from author Bukimi Miki takes this approach with its main cast as they struggle with their newfound responsibilities of being a hero and the weight they must now carry.
Shy Vol. 1 introduces Teru Momijiyama as Japan’s newest hero, Shy. If you couldn’t tell by the name, she might be a hero, but she’s actually a very shy person. Given that she’s only 14, she doesn’t have the confidence to stand on the frontline of a situation, and instead, she follows orders and does what’s right. It creates a pool of possibilities in terms of character growth as we learn more about the rules of this world and the heroes that protect each region.
After attempting to save a group of kids on a broken-down rollercoaster, Shy ends up hurting someone, which damages her confidence. These moments of self-doubt seem to be the central theme of the entire volume because it’s visited later on through the eyes of another character. Her reasonings are sound, and she questions if she has what it takes even to be a hero. However, after a few events, her eyes are set on becoming stronger, even though she might still be an introvert.
These aren’t one-shot chapters with random issues solved by the conclusion. Shy Vol. 1 paints a pretty interesting picture in terms of the villain that these heroes are faced with. It’s new for them, given that the world has been at peace for some time, but they rise to the occasion the best they can, and Shy’s approach to encounters might be the only way to stop the darkness in people’s hearts from taking over.
Some interesting pacing happens throughout Shy Vol. 1. It begins as a typical hero’s introduction and makes you believe this will be a slightly comical action manga. However, the tone seems to shift halfway through, and the illustrations depict this tonal shift wonderfully. It’s like you enter a nightmare, and the art panels reflect this new direction. It lasts for the entirety of the fights, but this allows for the resolution to exude a softness that the scene needs.
As a lead, Teru is a girl that wants to be relied on, but she has so much doubt in herself. The writing for her seems to reflect some real-life emotions that we may all suffer from. She’s relatable to any introvert, as she does her best to keep up with the extroverts around her. It creates a decent pace for the narrative and grounds the reader in this world. Some heavier events are on the way, but the story still takes time for Shy to act like a kid.
Shy Vol. 1 is a story of heroes from a different lens. As the lead, Shy provides an almost innocent vessel to learn about the rules of this world and the threats approaching. However, her struggles with doubt and confidence keep her relatable in many situations. The narrative understands pacing, but some scenes feel like padding on the runtime, even though they turn out to be necessary later on, but this mainly stems from the ADD ramblings of Russia’s hero. Regardless, I’m looking forward to Shy finding her place at the hero’s table.
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