When it comes to new anime, none may have gained notoriety like My Hero Academia. The work of Kohei Horikoshi has become a prominent title for both manga and anime and the series continually makes its mark in pop culture. In 2018 the series made its cinematic debut with the film My Hero Academia: Two Heroes. While the movie had some issues, Two Heroes was an enjoyable experience and accomplished in bringing the series to the silver screen. Two Heroes was a success with the movie doing surprisingly well in the US market to the point where its limited release was extended. For this reason it came to no surprise that Two Heroes would not be the only cinematic adventure for Midoriya and the rest of Class 1-A, and sure enough the next installment for the anime has come in the form of My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising. Directed by Kenji Nagasaki, Heroes Rising was released in Japan on December 20, 2019 but now the movie has made its way to American theaters. Because of how impressed I was with the first film, and the fact that I am a fan of the series, I knew I had to see the new film for myself; and just like its predecessor Heroes Rising lives up to the series by being an exciting film filled with heroism.
The plot of Heroes Rising deals with Midoriya and his friends working on a remote island to help out the community. After meeting the young siblings Maharo and Katsuna, Midoriya and his classmates are tasked to protect the two when the villainous Nine comes to the island to steal Katsuna’s quirk. Much like the plot of Two Heroes, the story of Heroes Rising is simple but very much effective. When it came to its structure the story was to the point. While this direction was effective in establishing Class 1-A’s time on the island, it also led to plot points like the involvement of League of Villain leader Tomura Shigaraki, to feel abrupt. Yet the broad structure was aided by the plot’s sense of pacing. The plot moves steadily in the beginning to establish the group’s role on the island, but when the villains show up and the conflict brews the plot begins to pick up and it builds to a finale that was climatic in every sense of the word. Rounding things out was the plot’s ability to implement the story of the anime. Just like the first film, Heroes Rising does a fine job establishing the events of the series without being adhere to it. This along with its sense of storytelling made this plot one that, I believe, could be enjoyed by both fans and newcomers; and that was more than enough to make this continuation a solid standalone tale.
If there is one thing that My Hero Academia exceeds at, it would its cast of characters-particularly the group of Class 1-A. While the likes of Midoriya, Bakugo, Iida, Uraraka and Todoroki are all great standout characters, the entirety of the class are a fantastic ensemble as every character has something to offer. So it was pleasing to see this element be reflected in Heroes Rising. While Midoriya and Bakugo had the most screen time, the movie utilized the entire class whether it was characters like Todoroki, Uraraka, Tokoyami and Kirishima having cool hero moments, or if it was characters like Kaminari and Mineta being comic relief. Along with the class was a number of good supporting characters. The siblings Maharo and Katsuna were fine kid characters while pro heroes like Endeavor, Hawks and All Might had solid, albeit brief, moments. When it came to the villains the movie’s rogues were more impressive than I expected. While they did not have the most compelling of development, the villains did have a sense of character to them which made them fitting additions for both this film and the series in general.
When it came to animation Heroes Rising was fairly sound. The film’s animation did a fine job keeping true to the style of the series while giving the franchise a cinematic appearance. The animation was also beneficial in making the action a highlight. The action was as vibrant as it was tense as the grandiose nature behind the sequences was as impressive as any superhero movie. The music by Yuki Hayashi seemed fitting as, though it did not have many standout compositions, it was able to utilize the music of the series in a way that was effective for this cinematic stage.
It may not go beyond but My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising lives up to the series’ name. Like its predecessor this movie was simplistic when it came to storytelling and character development, but where it exceeds Two Heroes is in its delivery. The film utilizes the franchise’s cast as best as possible and elements like the action was phenomenal to say the least. While anime can be difficult to adapt to the big screen, My Hero Academia excels in this medium as Heroes Rising not only did justice to its series, but ended up being an exciting cinematic experience.