If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was able to go to the red carpet premiere in Los Angeles for My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, the second feature film of the popular manga and anime series. Though I was able to help a friend with her interviews at the event, I actually was not able to watch the screening as all the tickets had sold out before I was able to snag one.
Thus, I made the effort to go to the official opening night of the movie, and I was not disappointed. Upon my first viewing of the film, I was filled with excitement as to what the story was about, as I had not done any extensive research into the movie, wanting to just go in the theater with no expectations.
I did watch it the first time in English dub, because I started the series watching it in English dub and felt more comfortable being able to understand the movie without having to continuously read the subtitles throughout. I just wanted to enjoy it in my language, and because the English voice actors have done just a tremendous job with their characters through the series already. I was not disappointed. My favorite voice actor from the series is Clifford Chapin and the way that he voices Katsuki Bakugo just works so well. All of the actors did a great job, but considering Bakugo’s role in this particular movie, I believe Chapin knew how important it was to give his all for this movie, and it showed.
All of the Class 1-A characters from the series got a chance to shine a bit more than they did in the first feature film, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, as some of them weren’t even in the first one. This time around, it was nice to see more of the supporting characters do some battle scenes, like Mina Ashido, Mashirao Ojiro, and Aoyama.
The two child siblings who become the focus for hero Izuku Midoriya, Katsumo and Mahoro, are both cute and endearing as they learn what it is to be a hero and to be able to find your strength and courage, and in this case, to own your quirk no matter how unimportant you think it is. It’s a nice metaphor for many people (adults and children) struggling to find importance in their natural talents. I found them especially lovable when they each find a particular hero they end up looking up to by the end of the movie, and I’m sure there will be loads of memes on social media regarding that soon enough.
There are scenes here and there that will give you some laughs as My Hero Academia is known to do, as they do with those emotionally tearful moments in the series. However, for both this one and its predecessor, it’s the action that takes the cake in the films.
The action itself definitely was Plus Ultra, as the second half was pretty much nonstop in regards to the battle scenes, which at one point three take place simultaneously. The villains, which are scary strong and villainous, take on several of the Class 1-A students at the same time, and it makes for some pretty heavy damage all around. There’s one particular scene near the end of the film which pretty much drops a big bomb of shock and excitement, especially for fans of the series, and makes the movie that much more memorable because of it. It’s definitely the highlight of the movie and takes fans on an emotional ride for several minutes, with the music accompaniment milking it for all its worth.
Watching the movie the first two times in English dub, I still had a hard time hearing certain phrases/statements, especially during the battle scenes, and this is where it was helpful for me to watch the movie for a third time in subtitles. This also gave me a chance to listen to the Japanese voice actors do their best in giving these characters life. After knowing what happens, I was able to comfortably read the subtitles without having to feel like I’m missing some action on the screen. Some fans are more comfortable reading subtitles as they like to listen to how the original actors voiced the characters, which is fine as well. The Japanese voice actors definitely have their way of interpreting the character they voice which may be slightly different from the English voice actors, and both are perfectly fine representations of the characters.
Both subbed and dubbed versions of the film were excellent. I felt the characters were still represented as they were in the anime series, and it felt as if both sets of actors worked hard to give us the best of themselves through those characters, though if I were to mention a favorite from the Japanese cast, I’ll say I do like Daiki Yamashita, who voices Izuku Midoriya.
As for the plot, it was a well done story, with enough backstory to help those who have not read the manga or watched the series to understand the My Hero Academia universe and the major characters. Many of the characters on the anime make an appearance, even if only for a few minutes.
I know many fans were excited to see one particular hero who’s familiar in the manga, but not in the anime series as of yet, and that was Hawks. I can’t say that I felt that his character was all that important in the movie, but with all the hoopla that was surrounding him on social media, I thought he would’ve been more involved in the storyline. Still, he was likable for the short amount of time he was on screen.
There may be one slight issue that fans may have with it and it has to do with that particular bomb-drop I previously mentioned and the aftermath of it. However, according to Funimation, this film is not particularly canon to the manga or the anime, even though it takes place some time after the anime’s current season. You may notice some slight changes in uniform/gear for Midoriya, but nothing that’s of major importance to the events happening in the anime.
For that reason, the movie was more like a big “thank you” gift from the creator and everyone involved in the series to the fans that have made it as popular as it is. For that, I offered my thanks for their generosity in getting this piece of magic to us on the big screen by watching it three times (so far), and plan on buying it when it comes out on Blu-Ray.
So, even if you haven’t watched the series, but you like lots of action and/or animation, I definitely recommend My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising.