What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising movie! It’s not often that you will catch me this excited for an anime movie that I can watch in theaters, but My Hero Academia does it for me. This is the second installment in the movie franchise, and as much giving us a lot more to look forward when Class-1A is much further along in their progress towards becoming legitimate heroes.
Off the bat I loved the idea of sending the students from Class 1-A of UA Academy to the outlying island, Nabu Island. Nothing worries you more in a world like this where there is too much opportunity for the kids to be forced to share the screen with the pro-heroes. This training they were sent for was the best way to cut out that mentality where you questioned where the adults are. This also made it very easy to jump right into the students getting to work. Up to this point it was rare that these students were able to do some hero work or training as a class. This was their opportunity to put their bonds to the test helping out an island of one-thousand people and keeping a system going amongst themselves. Between Iida and Momo, I was also taken back by the way they slipped into a leadership role effortlessly putting everyone right where they needed to be and keeping everyone on the same page.
Now when things picked up, they picked up fast once the villains made their way to the island. Quite easily they could have eased everyone into the chaos this would bring to their lives? Though why not shake it up and catch everyone completely off guard? It made the situation real and everyone was quickly on their toes for what came next when it was time to actually face off against someone who means to do harm. How the students reacted to this was great for the fact that there was a balance between keeping the people safe, limiting the collateral damage, and keeping these new enemies at bay.
One of my favorite takeaways from this movie was actually seeing how far the class has come in their personal training. There was not a single student who did not impress by going plus ultra to prove they leveled up. The results were devastating for some of them too. Where the first movie was limited was in the fact that they chose a point in time where everyone was still at their basic level in understanding what they could do with their quirks. Uraraka could never lift as many objects as she did in this movie, Kirishima would have never reached his ‘Unbreakable’ form, Aoyama could have never released a blast as big as he did without suffering immensely, more side characters like Tokoyami wouldn’t have been able to consistently catch us off guard with new moves, abilities, and tools consistently. I should say the point that this takes place also made things interesting considering some of these students had tools they never had before in the anime, or yet. When the fighting started, there was not one student who didn’t prove that they had something to throw at the villains to challenge them.
Though I could go on there, let’s jump right into the stars of the movie, Midoriya and Bakugo. These two were the life of the party when they have both reached points in their training where they are a force to be reckoned with. It was exciting seeing what could come from them really being on the same page and understanding what was at stake by seeing past whatever would have made them bicker in the past. That is where Bakugo stole the show. So much growth was taken from the way that he was able to fight the villain and still see that that wasn’t all he was fighting for. There was only one point in the movie where he was denied that growth fully, though it is hard to get into that without spoilers.
Now given the clips we saw before the movie even hit theaters, it was easy to guess that at some point in the big climatic battle these two would decide to share the power of One For All. How they did this was stunning because the result was much more mind-blowing than when Midoriya teamed up with All-Might in the first movie.
As far as villains go, this one was a huge step-up from the villain(s) in the first movie. Rightly so when these students have all leveled up in big ways. If there was one concern I had about these villains, it was that they might be forgettable, though most of them turned out to be anything but that. Actually, they turned out to be pretty OP. I mean, just that chimaera himself was jaw-dropping when that kind of strength displayed by him is unlike any force we have ever come across in the series. All-Might is strong, but it was never that kind of raw strength which brushed everything off. The others left a good impression as well for have combinations of quirks which were more than enough to give some students a run for their money.
Now I will say that initially I had some reservations about Nine. The last thing you ever want to see from villains is copies. On the surface the similarities were definitely there when it came to Nine being able to steal the Quirks of others, just as the series strongest villain All for One.However, that was pretty much where the similarities ended. After that he was the stuff of nightmares as a villain who could use use more useful quirks than most in combat. All For One was definitely something when he was creating combinations of his quirks, but it goes without saying that those were small quirks combined to make something powerful. Nine was simply using quirks one after the other which were powerful on their own. With that said, he was the perfect villain for being able to bring out the best in the students. So many of them wouldn’t have had the chance to push past their limits if they didn’t have to throw literally everything at him. That’s not to say that here and there you may have not felt that he should have been down for the count, though it was understood that even for villains they wanted everyone pushing to their very limit.
The animation was excellent. They upped their game for the movie and that made the biggest difference in how every scene was sold to us. Particularly when the colors popped much more and had a stronger range to them. Where they did best was that last stretch of the big battle where the movements of every characters was much more intense, focused, and fluent from one action into the next. This goes double for the scenes where both Midoriya and Bakugo are really putting their backs into their hits. I felt some One-Punch Man vibes, though fortunately not too much. They managed to keep the style unique to this world.
Before the movie began, I did have some dread towards the plot involving kids. When you’ve seen one kid around heroes, you’ve seen them all. They either get too close to the fire, or they are nothing but an obstacle through and through. In the case of Mahoro and Katsuma, they were refreshing for two kids who barely annoyed you as much as they could have. Their voices weren’t obnoxious, and their quirks were actually pretty cool. Especially for how useful they could be under the right circumstances at their age. It was even better that by the end of the movie there was nothing reliant on them either. Nine was definitely after them, but there was nothing thy could do to take attention from everyone else who you wanted to see more of.
I had only one negative to throw this movie’s way, and that was towards a certain story decision they made towards the end which honestly felt like a cop-out. It’s as if they didn’t think that we could believe a certain character would do something honorable after spending an entire movie hyping up the hero who lied beneath the tough exterior. They wanted the moment to feel magical, but it fell flat because of that decision.
At the end of the day, the big question was; Is the My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising was worth the wait? The answer to that is that it was! Aside from that on hiccup nearing the end, everything about this movie was on point and capturing the best parts of this world and characters. There was nothing about this movie that didn’t scream “Go Beyond! Plus Ultra!”. From here I hope that they do not let up with the momentum this movie has created for them to really challenge what can be done with these students.