In the anime community, My Hero Academia has become a shounen staple since it’s anime debut in April 2016. With the show well into its fourth season, the series has produced not only one, but two movies revolving around the hero-villain dynamic. The series’ second film, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising was released in Japan this past December and captured the essence and glamour of the show. However, it is an open-ended spin-off film that allows both new and old fans to truly enjoy My Hero Academia as a whole.
The film opens up with the series’ protagonist Izuku Midoriya, or Deku, familiarizing the audience with the world of My Hero Academia, the state of affairs between heroes and villains, and his enrollment at U.A. High School; one of the leading hero institutions in Japan. His monologue is both informative for new audiences and concise enough that it does not bore familiar viewers. As such, any fan can jump in and follow Heroes Rising. It is worth noting you do not need to catch up with the manga nor season four of the TV anime series.
What separates Heroes Rising from the first film, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, is a significant focus on U.A. Class A-1. The second movie highlights the rich spectrum of characters while maintaining its focus on Deku’s unique chemistry and relationship with his friend and rival, Bakugo. Every student was able to have some moment of contribution and screen time, from Uraraka to Kirishima. Even Hagakura had some memorable moments as both a “useless” and “useful” character because of her invisibility Quirk.
Animation Studio BONES has been animating the series since season one and continues to demonstrate some of the best action and fighting scenes to date. The blend of vibrant colors and fast pace cinematography shows that the creative staff is able to deliver the same impact in movies as the TV anime series.
Music composer Yuki Hayashi continues to deliver an astounding soundtrack that compliments the film overall. While there are many fan-favorite tracks featured throughout the film, Hayashi continues to draw out new sounds and beats that create a uniquely distinct ambiance. His insert musical piece “Might⁺U” featuring vocals by Makayla Philips elevated the climax of the film, emphasizing the force behind every punch and the emotional weight of the characters’ feelings.
However, one drawback to Heroes Rising’s execution is the overall threat and plot of the show. The antagonist’s mission to change the world and reshape society has already been explored throughout the My Hero Academia universe and dampens the severity of what’s at stake for our student heroes. For fans who are familiar with this setup, the premise might seem quite stale. Luckily, it is quickly overshadowed by the one theme My Hero Academia continues to champion: no quirk is useless, and one will always have a purpose in the ever-shifting world of heroes, villains, and vigilantes.
Funimation Films is bringing the film to US theaters on Wednesday, February 26, 2020. The film will be available in both English sub and English dub. Funimation describes the film as:
Class 1-A visits Nabu Island where they finally get to do some real hero work. The place is so peaceful that it’s more like a vacation … until they’re attacked by a villain with an unfathomable Quirk! His power is eerily familiar, and it looks like Shigaraki had a hand in the plan. But with All Might retired and citizens’ lives on the line, there’s no time for questions. Deku and his friends are the next generation of heroes, and they’re the island’s only hope.