In a world where having superpowers is the norm, mysterious terrorist group Humarise rises from the shadows, hoping to eradicate all those with special abilities. Released in U.S. theaters on October 29, “My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission” is a supplementary movie to the Japanese superhero series. It centers around Izuku ‘Deku’ Midoriya (Daiki Yamashita/Justin Briner), a boy born without a quirk who wishes to become a superhero. Directed by Kenji Nagasaki, the movie follows Deku and his allies after the fifth season of the series as they work to defeat Humarise. While the series’ motto may be “plus ultra” or “go beyond,” the movie—though enjoyable—was a disappointment; the plot and new characters of the movie were subpar and the animation was inconsistent. Spoilers ahead.
The movie’s plot was predictable; even before starting the film, it was incredibly obvious that the heroes would win and the new character would save everyone. However, this would not be particularly bothersome to the target audience of the movie—the fans. Those familiar with the show would understand that “My Hero Academia” is a series that follows all the hero stereotypes, even centering around the trope where the ordinary character suddenly becomes powerful through obtaining special abilities. In that vein, it was unsurprising that the movie adaptation would also follow the stereotypical plotline. What mattered more to me, and perhaps to the rest of the audience, was the colorful animation and appearances of the favorite characters.
However, while the bland plot didn’t necessarily harm the movie’s quality, the lack of originality in the new characters made the film boring and lacking in nuance. Like many cliche villains in film, Flect Turn (Kazuya Nakai/Robbie Daymond) decides to kill all people with quirks because of society’s dismissal of him. Even one of the main protagonists of the film, Rody Soul (Ryo Yoshizawa/Ryan Colt Levy), lacked ingenuity and complexity. Following the stereotype of the flawless hero, Rody seemed to be solely fueled by his love for his family. His quirk did not reflect either creativity and power. While it made sense to write the savior of the film as an ordinary person, Rody’s quirk, a bird that expressed his emotions, was simply underwhelming. To see the powerful main character and equally strong side characters sit back while a small and annoying bird ‘rescued’ the world felt like an unresolved and unsatisfying ending.
Additionally, while the movie had its share of breathtaking scenes, the animation was nonetheless inconsistent. Dramatic fight scenes were the highlights of the main series and the movie lives up the expectations set by its predecessor, masterfully using music to evoke a sense of suspense and thrill. However, animation in other scenes was less successful. While fluid and natural during the fight scenes, other more standard moments throughout the movie—for example, a character talking—featured less detailed and unrefined animation styles, making certain scenes look a bit odd and out of place.
Even in the series, “My Hero Academia” seemed to persistently push the message of going beyond (or “Plus Ultra”) your limit. As much as the message of never giving up is inspiring, “My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission” incessantly advocated this message, getting rather annoying as the film progressed. Whenever a protagonist seemed on the verge of defeat, bloodied and mortally wounded by a villain, they usually made a remark on the lines of never giving up and wanting to bring smiles to people’s faces. This repetition of a generic and oversaturated theme made the movie difficult to bear at times for even the most dedicated fans.
Regardless of its shortcomings, “My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission” is an enjoyable watch. It still manages to carry the same wonder and thrill that drew me, and likely many other viewers, to the series in the first place and therefore receives 4/5 stars.