Coming off of 2018’s My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, it was clear to My Hero Academia‘s creator Kohei Horikoshi that movies were a good way to utilize ideas that are either too grand or contradictory to the manga/anime. Two Heroes also made $27.5 million, so naturally we got a sequel. Heroes Rising is not only better than Two Heroes, but it is also one of the best show-based anime movies I have ever seen.
Heroes Rising takes after the most recent arc in the manga. However, only events of the first four seasons of the show are referenced and/or shown in the movie, so if you are not reading the manga do not be worried. Future events are not spoiled. With that said, there will be light spoilers for the anime below.
The film follows U.A. High School’s hero course class 1A as they have been sent to Nabu Island to form a temporary hero agency on the island. There, they complete small tasks due to the island being mostly crime-free. However, when a new villain named Nine threatens the security of the island, Class 1A must fight Nine and his allies alone. Nine has the ability to take other people’s quirks, but due to his body’s composition, he cannot handle the power he possesses. Nine and his allies come to the island searching for two children, Mahoro and Katsuma Shimano, who may possess a quirk that will allow Nine to fully utilize his powers.
Over the course of the four season of My Hero Academia we have seen Izuku Midoria (Deku) and Katsuki Bakugo (Kacchan) relationship go from them being enemies to bitter rivals. Heroes Rising is a love letter to their dynamic. The movie further communicates the idea that even though they have different approaches to hero work, their ultimate goal is the same. Whether it be saving everyone, or beating the villain, they both want to be the number one hero. Heroes Rising is at its best when Midoria and Bakugo are on screen together. With that said, every member of class 1A gets their moment to shine, unlike in Two Heroes. The entire class has to work together to defeat the villains.
Studio Bones brought their A-game for Heroes Rising. The animation, especially during the final fight between Midoria, Bakugo, and Nine, was jaw dropping. The dynamic movement of objects through each frame reminded me a lot of Bones’s work on Mob Psycho 100 II. The animation for Two Heroes was great, but it is nothing compared to what Bones has accomplished here. Director Kenji Nagasaki and the rest of the production team worked wonders to make the action sequences stand out compared to those in the anime and Two Heroes.
If you watch the dub for the anime, then you know that the cast is wonderful. It is the same case for this movie. Justin Briner (Midoria), Clifford Chapin (Bakugo), David Matranga (Shoto Todoroki), Luci Christen ( Ochaco Uraraka), J Michael Tatum (Tenya Iida), and the rest of the returning cast are all fantastic. What I really want to talk about are the new cast for this movie. Dani Chambers and Maxey Whitehead both bring this childlike innocence to their voice performances as Mahoro and Katsuma. Johnny Yong Bosch, who you will likely recognize most from his roles as Ichigo Kurosaki in Bleach and Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass, brings a unique combination of power and weakness to Nine that feels unique. However, the real star of the dub is Zeno Robinson as Hawks, the new number two hero. Unlike the other new additions to the cast, Robinson will likely be returning as the character in future episodes of the anime. Robinson brings this casual swagger to Hawks that none of the other heroes have. Automated dialogue replacement (ADR) director, Collen Clinkenbeard, brought out the best of the cast. My Hero Academia‘s dub has been very consistent quality-wise, and that is no different in Heroes Rising.
Heroes Rising is a great addition to My Hero Academia‘s story. It feels like a natural culmination of Midoria and Bakugo’s character arcs. I am excited to see what the next movie has in store, because there is no way they are not making another one of these.