School's in session
Anime and superheroes have made a pretty good combination like chocolate and peanut butter, and the My Hero Academia series has been very distinguishable among the mountain of shows that populates from the genre. The first film, Two Heroes, felt like an expanded episode with a large budget and treated fans everywhere with an enjoyable theatrical trip even if it didn't do much to expand on the anime's mythos. This follow up, Heroes Rising, literally lives up to the show's motto of "Plus Ultra!" by going big in more than one way. The film's story takes place a little further in the manga so if you're like me and only follow the show then you'll be lost on several details that haven't taken place yet but I'll make sure to avoid potential spoilers. I'm also presuming you're familiar with the premise and characters as I won't be providing a brief synopsis (you've had 4 years to catch up on the show; if you haven't, get to it because you're missing out!) The class of 1-A have finally started their work as heroes after acquiring their provisional licenses. To gain experience the class is assigned to Nabu island, an isolated little isle with little to no criminal activity where they perform duties such as helping the elderly, assisting with construction renovations, and even as simply fixing a flat tire. On this island, there are no pro heroes installed anywhere so it's only the teen heroes in training doing the labor of helping civilians as well as interacting with them. A
menacing foe by the name of Nine (voiced by the always spectacular Johnny Yong Bosch) with ties to the League of Villains makes his way to the island as he invokes chaos in his path searching for an individual with a particular quirk. As the only line of defense between Nine and his rogue gallery and the inhabitants of the island, the class of 1-A coordinate with one another and pairing their abilities to protect the island and fight back. As is the staple of the show, the film displays the themes of unity and teamwork with colorful emphasis as each of the classmates gets a moment to showcase and display their capabilities. It's not just during the fight scenes, which are amazingly animated as per Bones studio's standard, where the
heroes get to shine but also in the smaller scenes where they're helping out on the island as we see their humility and good samaritan sides come into play. While Deku still remains the lead protagonist of the story, the sequel gives more attention to the rest of the characters this time around, as we see them pushed to their very limits as they willfully and courageously put themselves in danger to protect the island's inhabitants as well as look out for one another. This is honestly the film's biggest strength, as it encapsulates exactly what we've come to watch and love about the show. From the do or die moments, the unnerving tension of several fight scenes and even a very surprising "did that really happen?" moment, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising delivers some fantastic results. Supreme animation, a centralized narrative and more prominence on the secondary characters elevate it to the status of a sequel that is far and wide better than the first entry. Although it's sad that we may not get a third movie as the series creator has stated that there would be no way a follow up could top this one [yet], then in the least it can be said that My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising ended on a high freaking "Detroit Smash" note and gets my highest recommendation.