I have realized something about novelizations and short story collections based on manga/anime: I prefer the episodes that don’t refer to something directly from the main series. Just for the record, stories that started as novels and then got turned into the other forms are something else entirely, not this. This is My Hero Academia: School Briefs 4. Basically it’s a series of short stories mainly linked to episodes from the manga; at least I’m pretty sure since I’m not totally caught up with the comic (or the animated series either for that matter). Except for the first one, which, yes, was my favorite of the set.
The first story starts by showing several students on their way to their internships, but then settles on two of the side characters whose hero supervisor is also more of a side figure: Kirishima and Amijiki are interesting as a set since they’re so different, and Amajiki is one of my favorite students characters even though he’s not one of the main ones of the main series. He’s the one who can turn bits of his body into whatever he has eaten recently, and I have to wonder if that works on more than just animals. Kirishima isn’t much of anything interesting, more of the standard character in this kind of story, good kid who is obsessed with “becoming stronger” both personally and otherwise. The hero Fat Gum is just plain fun most of the time; he can kick butt when he needs to but otherwise seems pretty laid back. He’s a nice guy who has also got some smarts; I think read somewhere he’s one of the original story author’s favorites, and I agree with that. Anyways, the two students have to help someone with a personal problem and also save the day, which naturally they do, everyone learns a lesson, and everyone is happy (except the villain, who gets arrested).
The rest of the stories focus on elements of the school festival arc, and none of it is very interesting. Every school setting story like this seems to feel the need to do one of these as a sequence of episodes, and while I get this is a real thing in Japanese schools, the stories do the whole thing virtually the exact same way, and it’s just not all that interesting, even in a school for professional heroes. The school play episode tries to be funny by mashing up all kinds of pop culture from Harry Potter to Shakespeare, and at least for me it was too obvious. The beauty pageant story was a little better in that the girls at first seemed like the stereotypical pageant girls who would do anything including cheat to win, but there’s a twist in the end which is partially obvious but not entirely. The final bit of the final story was also not too cliche, in which the teachers remember times they had to participate in such festivals while starting a drinking party which gets stopped abruptly by the arrival of an authority figure. It’s harmless and amusing, and I don’t remember this bit from the manga, although it could just be me.