Kohei Horikoshi's My Hero Academia recently celebrated its fifth anniversary of running in the pages of Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump. In that time, the series has since snowballed into one of the most recognized franchises ever with several spinoffs, video games, an anime adaptation nearly five seasons in, and now two feature films under its belt with My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising. While its debut feature film effort was a huge hit with fans around the world, even more eyes than ever were on the big follow-up that's been shaking things up ever since it was announced.
My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising was initially revealed with the tantalizing tease that creator Kohei Horikoshi once considered its story for the series' actual finale. Because of this, there's been a greater weight on the shoulders of Izuku Midoriya and the other members of Class 1-A's heroes on the rise to somehow meet expectations both inside the universe and outside of it. There's no need to worry, as My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising embraces this challenge and explodes beyond all preconceived notions.
Heroes Rising takes place a bit later in the story from where the anime is currently taking place. This means there are a few tidbits that fans of Horikoshi's original manga will see animated for the first time, but it's not necessary to be completely caught up to enjoy the experience, nor will it seem jarring to those not up to date. With the entirety of Class 1-A now having their Provisional Hero Licenses, they have been tasked with the job of covering all hero work on Nabu Island, completely on their own and without major pro-hero backup.
Unfortunately, the worst-case scenario happens as the mysterious villain Nine suddenly appears on the island, hoping to steal a quirk from a young pair of kids that Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo have come to know and protect in their time there. With no help on the way and a group of powerful new villains attacking the island, Class 1-A jumps into action in order to protect the people on the island and take down this massive threat.
It's interesting that the film was originally a concept for the finale, as there's a palpable sense of finality running throughout. It's especially noticeable when it comes to Midoriya and Bakugo's dynamic, as fans have seen their fierce rivalry morph through different phases over the course of the series thus far. Seeing them forced to work together in such an intense way for the first time feels like the culmination of several years of effort.
The first film, Two Heroes, had an exciting finale, but it existed far outside of the realm of the original story. It fit into the series' established canon but didn't play with any of the characters in a way that felt like true reflections of their growth and development. It's entirely different here, as seeing all of the Class 1-A kids jump into the action not only gives them wonderfully animated fight scenes but emphasizes their growth and importance to the story overall.
The villainous threat is admittedly hollow in terms of motivation, but at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter. This is a film about Izuku Midoriya and Katsuki Bakugo foremost, and for the first time, the vision of the future for the series is crystal clear. From the beginning of the anime, we've been told this was the story about how Midoriya eventually becomes the number one hero but Heroes Rising is where it seems truly believable and within our grasp.
My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is a splendid display of heart, character, and heroism, a film capitalizing on years of storytelling that's stunningly animated with tons of care and attention to detail. It's a film you're going to wish you could see for the first time, every time, as it becomes the pinnacle for anime films to compare themselves to for years to come. It's an infinite source of 100% fun.1comments
Rating: 5 out of 5
This review is based on both the English dubbed and English subtitled releases now screening in theaters for a limited time.