I’m sure everyone is aware of My Hero Academia by now, it’s become one of those worldwide hits, but for those uninitiated it centres on Izuku “Deku” Midoriya and his classmates at UA High School, a school that teaches young super-powered teens how to be fully fledged heroes when they graduate. As this movie begins, we see that Midoriya’s class has been assigned to an island south of Japan to act as the resident superheroes, completely unsupervised, as both a training exercise and to be helpful to the small community whose resident hero having just retired, a new one has yet to be sourced. The island has a very tiny crime rate, so what could go wrong?
Well, in one of those crazy coincidences, at the same time a dangerous enemy is being transported by the series-long villains known as… “The League of Villains” and ends up escaping both the League and their hero pursuers, meeting back up with his three allies and making sinister plans to steal a quirk that will give him new and unstoppable power… it turns out that the quirk in question is on the very island our hero class is innocently guarding. Who’d have thought?
So there we have a very classic Shonen Jump! movie story, take the characters from the manga/show and create a small group of new foes for them to face. There is one big caveat to all this though, and that’s the fact that, much like the first film series, creator Kohei Horikoshi has overseen it and placed it into the timeline of the series. Now, also much like the first film, I’m sure the events of the film will mysteriously never really be mentioned, but there are moments of character development between Midoriya and his life-long rival/friend Bakugo that were really well done and a joy to watch, and made this seem like it would have more impact that your typical “didn’t really happen in any canon timeline” Jump! film. In interviews with the people behind the film, a big moment in the climax was actually at one point in Horikoshi’s plans for the overall series finale, so it shows this is more than an afterthought.
There was one problem for me, however, and that is that Mr. Horikoshi placed the film a few arcs from where the TV series is now, which led to the proper animated debut of a new character being treated as if I should already know him, some costume redesigns and an increase to Midoriya’s moveset that came as quite the surprise to me, an anime-only follower. Thankfully nothing major, but still worth mentioning.
Finally I have to mention the big climax of the film, where not only do the animators use every modern trick in the book to blow your socks off, but the sound effects go quiet, there are no voices, all that plays is a new with-lyrics version of My Hero Academia classic “goes with everything”-video-creating background song “You Say Run!”. Wow is all I could say to that. Not to mention the actual big … thing that was going to be the overall series ending I mentioned before that happens leading up to it, it might just be the perfect cinematic shonen fight, and it’s sure to make you leave the screening with your jaws dragging on the floor.
Don’t worry if you have a favourite student that isn’t Midoriya or Bakugo as every member of the main student cast gets to do something, even if its just one or two attacks before being blown backwards (though most do far more than that, to be fair). It certainly does a better job of juggling the whole cast than you’d think, given the under two-hour runtime. There are also a pair of children at the centre of the story that do fall into the cliché side of things, but it’s not too bad. One hates superheroes and needs to be brought round, one really wants to be a hero if only he could be brave enough… that sort of thing.
The animation, as mentioned, is stunning during the action-heavy moments, and is fine during others, and the soundtrack, beyond the closing moments of the final battle also already mentioned, is decent remixes of the TV OST. The original Japanese cast is, as ever, on point during the whole film.
So it’s safe to say I enjoyed Heroes Rising a lot. For most of its runtime it doesn’t really do anything more than a lot of these Jump!-based films, but that final fight… Wow. On the big screen with a major sound system, it’s going to blow you away.