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My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission Review

October 29, 2021 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
My Hero Academia - World Heroes' Mission Image Credit: Funimation Entertainment
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My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission Review  

Directed By: Kenji Nagasaki
Written By: Yōsuke Kuroda; Based on the manga series and characters created by Kōhei Horikoshi
Runtime: 104 minutes
MPA Rating: Rated PG-13

Justin Briner – Izuku Midoriya/Deku
Clifford Chapin – Katsuki Bakugo/Dynamight
David Matranga – Shoto Todoroki
Patrick Seitz – Enji Todoroki/Endeavor
Robbie Daymond – Flect Turn
Ryan Colt Levy – Rody Soul
Cristina Vee – Pino
Christopher Sabat – Toshinori Yagi/All Might

Izuku Midoriya, aka Deku, and his other hero-in-training classmates of UA High School return in their latest big-screen adventure for the My Hero Academia series. In World Heroes’ Mission, it’s all hands on deck. The fanatical Humarize cult has developed a dangerous gas bomb loaded with the Trigger drug that when released can topple cities. The Humarize cult, led by the madman Flect Turn, is well resourced and has bombs embedded in key cities all across the globe. With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, all of the active heroes around the planet and the top hero students have been mobilized to stop Flect turn before he plunges the world into chaos.

With All Might directing traffic from HQ, the heroes are in a desperate fight against the clock to locate Humarize’s bombs before they go off. Deku, Shoto, and Bakugo, led by the new No. 1 hero Endeavor, are mobilized to the European city of Otheon, where it’s believed one of the bombs is hidden. Amid the chaos, Deku and his friends give chase to a group of villains involved in a jewel heist, putting Deku on a collision course with a young, blue-collar con artist, Rody Soul. After Deku gives chase, Rody unwittingly gains possession of a briefcase stolen by a Humarize defector that could hold the key to the world’s salvation. Unfortunately, Deku and Rody are framed for murder, so they are forced to go on the run together to find the secrets of the briefcase that can help the heroes stop Humarize.

This follows the pre-established formula of the previous My Hero Academia films. It’s a standalone, filler adventure that picks up about where the anime currently is. As is usually the case for an anime movie for a Weekly Shonen Jump adaptation, all the heroes get together for a one-off villain in a big fight. The good guys save the day, and everyone goes home happy at the end. However, nothing can be done that would alter the existing status quo since the anime is usually adapting an ongoing storyline from the manga series.

Thankfully, World Heroes’ Mission doesn’t have anything as goofy as the second My Hero Academia film, Heroes Rising, with Deku bequeathing Bakugo with One For All only for Deku to get it back again. It was a really, cheap and lazy way to tease a status quo-shattering event and then reset it back to normal. A memory-erasing kiss would’ve been more effective.

The major drawback is that the so-called “World Heroes’ Mission” itself is more or less a background plot for this film. The real driving plot is Deku forming an unlikely friendship with Rody Soul. After they’re framed for murder, they go on the run, evading authorities and Humarize. The bond between Deku and Rody is the true driving force of the movie. While the plot is a bit of a bait-and-switch, the tradeoff is that Deku and Rody do have a rather touching emotional arc that nicely pays off in the end.

Much like the anime series and creator Kōhei Horikoshi’s manga, director Kenji Nagasaki and Yōsuke Kuroda do well in humanizing Rody with a tragic backstory. Even the villain, Flect Turn, despite initially coming off as little more than a religious zealot and bigot, has surprising empathetic layers. That does add overall to the satisfaction of this story and viewing experience.

While this is generally the story of Deku and Rody’s friendship, Bakugo and Shoto do get a bit more attention in the second half. Bakugo provides the film’s most entertaining moments, showing that he has a surprising amount of computer expertise. It presents a humorous mental visual of Bakugo spending his spare time online or playing PC games. Bakugo does get one epic moment in one of his mini-boss fights with a great line with English voice actor Clifford Chapin, intentionally or not, seeming to channel fun Michael Keaton’s scene-chewing aggression.

The other benefit of features such as this is the bigger animation budget, to do some bigger theatrical fights and epic visuals. Studio Bones and director Kenji Nagasaki present some high-quality 2D animation here. Two different action sequences are edited as a single, ongoing shot of animation. One is during a city street chase between Rody and Deku. Another is a more dynamic, action-packed fight against Humarize when other heroes show up to help save the day.

Sequences such as this are undoubtedly one of the major reasons anime has such appeal. Western theatrical animation simply never attempts visuals or actions such as this, especially in a more traditional 2D style. The artists at Studio Bones continue to push the boundaries and limits of animation ever further.

While the other characters don’t receive as much focus, this movie is a good way to highlight Deku’s evolving One For All abilities. Now that he’s tapped into the other powers One For All has collected, he can now freely use Blackwhip and other abilities in battle.

One of the plot’s more contrived elements is how it plays very fast and loose with the ticking clock gimmick. It’s not unusual for an action-adventure story to have a ticking clock plot device, but the way it’s executed here is reminiscent of Frieza saying Planet Namek is going to explode in “five minutes” for a fight that seems to go on for hours. Ticking clock plot devices are suspenseful and all, but this version was a pretty egregious violation of suspension of disbelief, even if a big fight is simply happening at a faster rate than the human mind can comprehend.

What happened with the Demon Slayer: Mugen Train movie is not the norm when an ongoing show like this receives a theatrical movie. That was more of a special, isolated case where the movie continued to adapt the ongoing storyline from the manga. There’s nothing wrong with My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission following the standalone, isolated event story format. But the way the series handled the first movie with segments tying the stories together made the transition a lot more natural, even if the stories are technically filler.

Regardless, My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission is still a lot of fun, and a good way to see the continued development of Deku and his friends as they journey to become the next great generation of superheroes.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Overall, Two Heroes remains the benchmark to surpass in terms of the My Hero Academia films since it did add a lot of texture to All Might as a character, along with working as a much better companion piece to the show. Regardless, World Heroes' Mission features high-quality animation, the charming and likable characters of the series, a formidable villain in Flect Turn and a touching relationship between Izuku Midoriya and Rody Soul. This is the best comic book superhero movie to see this fall. These heroes make you want to shout, "Go beyond! Plus Ultra!"