The highly anticipated standalone Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) film has been out in Japan for a few months now, but it’s finally being officially released internationally in late October and Honey's Anime was lucky enough to get a preview of the film from Funimation!
Fans are in for it with this one, as Studio Bones pulls out all the stops to produce an intense and thrilling addition to the Hero Academia-verse, Boku no Hero Academia THE MOVIE: World Heroes' Mission (My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission). Set during the work-study arc (as seen in Season 5), several of our favourite heroes from both class 1A and 1B show up to help the Hero Association take down yet another radical organisation! Humarise, led by Flect Turn, is a terrorist organisation spurred on by the belief that Quirks are a disease to humanity and ought to be eradicated. To this end, several scientists have been kidnapped and forced to work on a special substance that manipulates the Quirk Factor within the superhuman body.
This film is an animation masterclass, a whirlwind of intense and amazingly immersive action scenes that are exciting and has camera angles that feel like they add a whole new depth and dimension to the scene. The story, seems to be an attempt at fleshing out the ideological universe present within My Hero Academia, something which has been happening since the second season with the introduction of Hero Killer Stain. Unlike in the fifth season, where the antagonists were in favour of a superhuman society, Humarise and Fleck Turn seek to completely rid the world of Quirks. They will do this by means of the Trigger Bomb, a device armed with a special Quirk manipulation factor developed to completely remove a person’s Quirk. 25 of these devices are said to be armed all over the world, so it’s up to the heroes to find and disarm them before they go off!
Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission) is a really enjoyable film, especially with the recent end of the fifth season, and it gives us quite a lot of cool Easter Eggs and a thrilling soundtrack, but a plot and antagonist who weren’t so compelling. Let’s get into what made this experience so thrilling despite some of its kinks. Careful, there will be spoilers in this review!
– Spoilers Ahead –
As mentioned before, the movie follows the events during Deku, Bakugo and Todoroki’s work-study under Endeavor, who is currently the Number 1 hero. While it is exciting to see various heroes in a more serious, higher stakes battle following the disappointments of the fifth season, the story behind this movie is a fairly simple one and runs a self-contained story in the capital city of the fictional country of Othello, where Deku meets the other main character of this film, Rody Soul, a petty criminal who performs all kinds of deliveries and odd jobs to take care of his younger siblings.
When some villains steal expensive jewelry from a store, Deku (Quirk: One For All), Bakugo (Quirk: Explosion), and Todoroki (Quirk: Half-Hot, Half-Cold) happen to be in the area and immediately attempt to subdue the suspects. One of them travels quite a ways with the suitcase containing the jewelry, and before Deku finally closes in on him, he passes the case to Rody, who had simple orders to take the case to a certain location. Things get very dicey because while the three heroes deal with the theft, a whole new high-speed chase is underway between an unknown man driving frantically to take a very similar suitcase to an unknown location, pursued by a villain capable of turning her fingers into a bow to fire arrows imbued with some kind of energy, enabling her to manipulate the course and speed of her arrows.
During Deku’s pursuit of Rody, the man with the case gets into a horrible accident as his tires are punctured by the villain on his tail. Rody, having dropped his case in an attempt to shake Deku, continues his escape after snatching the first case he sees; however, he doesn’t realize that he’s snatched up the wrong case! The pursuit with Deku continues as Rody bobs and weaves through all kinds of obstacles, showing a very intimate knowledge of his surroundings, while Deku very comically gets tied up, stuck or late for the train!
After the chase ends and Rody opens the case to find not jewels, but strange documents inside the case, Deku lets him go, but it’s soon revealed that Deku is wanted… for mass murder. Obviously, Deku is being framed by the Othello police because the contents of the case currently in Rody’s possession include several top secrets from Humarise, courtesy of a member of the organisation who we’ll try to identify later on in this article. Whatever is in that case, Flect Turn has deemed it worth killing over, and with the influence he has even over the police, it seems that Rody and Deku will be subject to a life on the run while Deku’s friends try to figure out what’s going on.
At this point, we’re exposed to the extent of Humarise’s influence, particularly in Othello, where large scores of important people have been radicalised against Quirks and superhuman society in general. Rody is not a throwaway character in this regard, as it turns out that his father left the family under mysterious circumstances because he was kidnapped by Flect Turn who wanted to use his scientific knowledge to create the Trigger Bombs. While his face isn’t fully revealed in the high-speed chase, it’s safe to assume that the man who was killed in the events leading up to Rody’s accidental switching of the cases was none other than Eddie Soul, Rody’s missing father, based on the similarity of their cowlicks (cowlicks are in no way a substitute for actual DNA tests, kindly refer to your doctor).
Flect Turn is not the most compelling antagonist we’ve had in My Hero Academia; however, he’s set up as a kind of foil for Deku and the superhuman world at large, as he believes that Quirks are a blight unto this world and that the only way to save humanity is by forcibly releasing them of their meta abilities. Turn is spurred on by personal circumstances, as his Quirk, Mirror, enables him to reflect any physical contact he experiences by several times, if not several hundreds of times. It is also one of those Quirks that is always activated, like Froppy’s Quirk.
Unable to establish deeper connections with people, Turn blames it all on the incidence of Quirks, looking to develop the kind of technology that could release him from his anguish. Unfortunately; however, we don’t get to see much about Flect Turn before the events of the film, so his character goes severely underdeveloped, which is quite a disappointment because he’s an overpowered antagonist with reasons to change the world unlike anything we’ve seen in the series. Ideologically, he could be placed directly opposite to Destro, Re-Destro, and the Meta Liberation Army (we’d say Paranormal Liberation Front specifically; however, Shigaraki’s ideals have very little to do with Quirks in the way that Re-Destro and this film’s antagonist, Flect Turn, have ideals revolving around the incidence of meta abilities in society).
Unlike the major antagonists of season 5, Flect Turn wants to use the Quirk Factor to effectively rid the world of them entirely. While his motivations are understandable, somewhat, the film fails to give flesh to his grievances against Quirks, and as a result, we don’t really know Flect Turn aside from the fact that he’s blue, reflects attacks, and is highly charismatic, as you’d expect from the leader of a movement. This dampens the final fight and forces it to rely on the flashy visuals, high stakes, and the clocking ticking ever closer to global ruin. A lot more attention on the film’s villain would have made for a much more entertaining experience.
The antagonists are not developed much by the film, which focused its runtime more on Deku and Rody, with some interesting sequences featuring some of the more popular members of Class 1A like Todoroki, Bakugo, Froppy, and Uravity. There are loads of cameo appearances from the cast of Class 1A and 1B, as they all fought valiantly against the members of Humarise who had been doping with the same Quirk Acceleration Factor used in the Quirk-eradicating Trigger Bombs.
Rody goes from a small-time criminal to the actual protagonist of this particular story due to the immense emotional relevance it has to him. For the longest time, Rody resented his father for being such a dedicated father and then leaving him and his siblings to fend for themselves; however, being in possession of the kind of information that he finds himself entrusted with, the same information his father tried to disseminate, places him in the same shoes as his father all those years ago, creating an interesting character arc for Rody as he goes from a small-time criminal who is cynical about professional heroism and people in general, to the hero who kept trying and saved the world with barely even any time left on the clock.
The MVP of this movie; however, is none other than the petty criminal Rody, who sustains major injuries in his attempt to finish what his father started and take down Humarise for good. Rody’s Quirk also serves as the mascot of this film, the adorable pink bird known as Pino, which is the manifestation of Rody’s honest thoughts. Pino is ultimately the one who delivers the key to the mainframe operating all 25 Trigger Bombs, with less than a second to go, and it makes for a brilliant finish as Deku begins to overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacle that is Flect Turn’s Quirk.
Rody’s character arc in the film has him going from being cynical about heroes and people to admiring his new friend Deku, and carrying out what his father could not despite the personal cost to himself. Basically, Rody goes from being a disillusioned civilian to the hero of not only this story, but his family’s too. At the end of it, we come to understand that Rody’s role is central to the story and even though Deku gets the flashy boss battle, Rody’s contribution is what actually saves the day and that is the true embodiment of one of the major motifs in this franchise: anybody is capable of being the villain, but really, anyone can be the hero too.
Animation, Direction and Soundtrack
The art and animation in this film deserve all the applause as they elevate a basic story and create incredible tension at certain times, like the exciting moments of pure Deku athleticism as we see him having mastered his Full Cowling and developing his ability to use Blackwhip as well. Each fight is beautifully made, and every chase scene has incredible levels of tension bolstered by wild camera angles, insane transitions, panning, and all kinds of visual awesomeness that just make everything even better. The opening to this movie is a special rendition of “You Say Run”, whose visuals have a beautiful comic book look that show the characters featured most in the film.
Speaking of music, the scoring is amazing, as some familiar soundtracks were made fresh for the film, including the famous “You Say Run”, which was featured in its original form in the finale of the clash between Deku and Flect Turn. Other soundtracks included a remix of “Uncontrollable Evil”, which we’d recognize as the villains’ theme and the sample that was the leitmotif in season 5’s “Paranormal Liberation Front” (the soundtrack). These audio Easter Eggs helped build much of the excitement going into the film, and its first 30 minutes are especially strong for how they combine the soundtrack with the visuals to grip the viewer.
Even though My Hero Academia can take the edge off a particular moment through humour like most shounen anime do, it sometimes felt a bit forced in the movie, or a situation too serious for jokes, but Deku’s difficulty in chasing Rody around the capital of Othello makes for great humour. Even so, the attempts at humour are spread out quite thinly after the opening half an hour given that things get oh so very real after Deku’s pursuit of Roddy.
While it's great that Deku gets a lot of the runtime as the protagonist, what is really exciting about the movie is how the various heroes featured have grown, at least since the class 1A and 1B training arc at the beginning of the fifth season. Deku is now an expert at Full Cowling and can use Blackwhip to save people’s lives, while Todoroki’s Borei Neppa (Flashfreeze Heatwave) made an appearance, as well as a never-before-seen attack! Bakugo’s high aptitude with his Quirk has only gone further as he can manipulate his explosions to do all kinds of interesting things, especially his gun-like AP Shot, which can be incredibly devastating to his opponents.
All in all, World Heroes’ Mission is a great addition to the cinematic My Hero Academiverse and managed to give us what the fifth season seemed to lack: consistent levels of hype, excitement, and high stakes that do not let up until the final moment. Things felt serious in this movie, more so than they did in the larger part of season 5, and while it’s a bit unfair to make comparisons with the TV show, it’s abundantly clear that the real focus of Bones’ attention was this film. That’s not entirely a bad thing; however, it’s also a symptom of the reality that this film stands to make a whole lot of money internationally. All that aside, My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission is a great movie and fans will have an awesome time watching it!
Be sure to visit funimation.com to watch all five seasons and click, here, for tickets to My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission. The movie releases October 28 in Australia and New Zealand and October 29th in the U.S., Canada, UK, and Ireland.