Deku and the class of 1-A return for their second (and last) cinematic adventure for the My Hero Academia series. Whilst the first film, Two Heroes was well-received, does Rising Heroes manage to please just as well?
Kicking off with a high-speed pursuit, the League of Villains are transporting Nine, who is a villain on a life support machine. Despite holding back the lower rank heroes, they stopped by Endeavour although Nine escapes from the wreckage. Cutting away to the class of 1-A, Deku and friends have been assigned to an island as part of a new hero government scheme to act as an interim between a hero’s retirement and a new one being assigned. As the island only suffers from low-level crime and minor mishaps, it acts as great practice to develop them as heroes. However, this all changes when Nine sets his sights on the island to track down a child with a healing quirk.
It’s easy to become a bit jaded with anime films of TV-series, particularly when they tend to be non-canon in nature so the plots can be pretty poor. However, the plot for Rising Heroes is engaging as it is a lot more tangible with explicit links to the plot of the anime series. Strangely though, it seems to be a year ahead of the anime series, featuring characters (including Nine himself) and other details such as Endeavour’s new suit which feature down the line. Where it is an interesting choice, none of it is particularly spoilers and builds some hype about what’s to come. Not only that, it means the film can appeal to those who are up to date with the manga, building on some of the more throwaway details. Where nothing will directly influence the series, based on the fact Two Heroes is canon we can assume this one will be as well. The only issue with the plot being based so far ahead, is the flashback scenes placed to help a person who hadn’t watched the series doesn’t make sense and just slows down the plot. Although it is only at the beginning so but can be overlooked.
What is also great about this plot is it lets more of the characters shine dealing with the various incidents on the island. Demonstrating now they all-round heroes, it is satisfying to see the students acting more like professional heroes whilst dealing with the various incidents on the island. For me the one character who truly shined in this film was Bakugo. Despite being his usual aggressive self, he has moments where he is shown in a more heroic light. Not only that, but even his combat analysis and ability are also demonstrated to be beyond Deku’s capabilities. Although, as always when there are so many characters, there are some that unfortunately get sidelined overall every member of the class have a notable role and involvement throughout the film which is a strength nonetheless. This would have been perfect if not for the constant shouting of plus ultra, which sure is a catchphrase of the show but did become quite annoying towards the end.
Enough about the plot, let’s look at the more technical details. Animation wise, the combat scenes are a true marvel to watch. It is quick, smooth and the blows are satisfying. Bones truly outdid themselves, making it easy to get absorbed into the action and get to enjoy some complex attacks. Particularly as no 3-D animation is used for these scenes, creating that smooth blend and no moments where it sticks out like a sore thumb. It is an interesting choice though as it is used for vehicles. Moving to the soundtrack, which is generally the music from the series that gets a bit repetitive as they play the same three tracks over and over. Although it does make it feel part of the series so it can be overlooked however during the climax part of the fight, they opted to play a slower grander piece, made for the film, which works at first then quickly feels out of place when the action when it takes off. If the voice acting was over it, that may have worked. But actually, it needed to be a piece that started slow and sped up with the action.
Overall, if you are a fan of My Hero Academia this is not a film to miss. A great action-packed ride, that adds to the show and works to show the characters in a different light. Sure it is rough around the edges but it is a step in the right direction of an adaption film and gives insight to what is to come for the tv series. It is a shame this is going to be the last film although that might be for the best to end on a high.