What’s the Story?
It’s summer and as a treat the number one hero All Might is taking his young protégé Izuku Midoriya along with him to visit an old friend. They arrive on I-island, a floating city that houses some of the world’s best and brightest scientists and all of their miraculous inventions. There they meet David Shield, an inventor who studied with All Might back in his rookie days and David’s genius daughter Melissa, but all is not well on I-island. As they plan an expo to show off the latest tech to the superhero world, villains invade, taking All Might hostage and locking down the whole island! It’s up to Midoriya and his fellow students from class 1A to free All Might and stop the villains, but not everything is what it seems…
You know, I’ve just realised this is actually my first time talking about My Hero Academia on this blog, which feels weird ‘cause it’s actually my second favourite shonen series of all time (One Piece is number one, but I’ll be talking more about that later in the year so stay tuned). I suppose I haven’t really talked about it because, honestly, I’ve never felt like I’ve had all that much new to say about it. My Hero Academia is a well-regarded and often praised series, both in manga and anime and I wholeheartedly agree with the majority of what is said about it, but the series has a movie now and I’m doing movies this month, so let’s talk about this. Why do I love My Hero Academia?
If you were to write out the premise of My Hero Academia on paper the series is actually pretty standard, it has a lot of the typical shonen tropes and deals with ideas that have been done before in one form or another (superheroes are a well ploughed field after all), but the genius is in the detail here. What MHA has created, in my opinion, is a world and a social structure that is endlessly interesting, the series constantly exposing new facets that just get you more and more interested and asking questions about how everything works. You add on to that characters that are incredibly likeable, some crazy and creative powers and a pace that keeps things moving without missing those big emotional moments and you’re on to a winner. Remember it’s not what you do, it’s how you do and MHA does everything with style. Midoriya is one of my favourite shonen protagonists, immensely likeable and you just can’t help but root for the kid. So, how does the movie stack up compared to that? It’s good, I love it, but I do have to admit that it’s hardly breaking the mould.
Anime movies, more specifically anime movies that are tied to an ongoing series always come with problems for me (which is why I tend to go in with lowered expectations). The biggest problem is that they’re often bound by continuity, they can’t introduce any major developments to the story or characters, because the series is going to carry on without them regardless and it’s kind of annoying when important plot points are introduced in spin off media. That also means that any locations or characters introduced are likely to never be seen again, which often gives these films a whiff of the filler. MHA Two Heroes decides to get around this problem with fanservice, and the good kind too, there’s no ogling female characters here, (that’s another reason I love this series, it treats it’s female cast with respect, it doesn’t neglect them or reduce them to only being cleavage shots and revealing outfits, I’m glaring at you Fire Force). No, instead we get a brief glimpse into the early days of All Might’s career, getting a look at some of his old costumes and how he handled himself when he was just starting out. We also get a chance to see Midoriya and All Might fighting alongside one another, which isn’t something we’ve ever truly seen in the series and it’s nice to have that moment here.
The plot for the film is fairly straightforward, heroes arrive in new location, get a bit of a look around. They go to a party, villains take over and the heroes must work their way up a tower to defeat said villains and save the island. For the most part it feels like an extended episode, though I do find it funny how the film keeps trying to come up with new ways to explain why the members of class 1A all happen to be on this island when surely it would have been simpler just to make the whole class go together, it wouldn’t actually change the plot in any significant way. I do like that the plot gives the majority of the heroes a chance to show off their stuff, and Midoriya even gets a new support item that let’s him use his full power for a bit, though of course this has to break by the end of the movie. Speaking of support items, let’s talk about David and Melissa Shield. While I doubt we’re ever going to see them again in this franchise, I think that’s a shame because they’re both likeable characters. In Melissa, Midoriya gets to meet someone who was in the same spot as him, i.e. quirkless, and has found her own way to overcome that. Maybe Midoriya would have gone down a similar path if he hadn’t met All Might. I also like the way that Melissa calls out Midoriya for apologising for not protecting her, when he should be thanking her for helping save him, we don’t do woman as damsels in this series thank you very much Midoriya.
That brings me to David and, spoiler alert for the big twist, he’s one of the bad guys, kinda, sorta. See David invented something that’s very, very dangerous, a power enhancer for All Might because he knows his powers are fading (though he doesn’t know why), and he’s hired a bunch of villains to get it back from the island security that have locked it away. Of course the villains take the power enhancer for themselves and that leads to our big climatic showdown. I like David and his fear is a nice preview of the state of society after the fall of All Might. This movie works really well as a bridge between seasons two and three of the anime.
All in all, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is a fun and enjoyable film. If you’re a fan of the series definitely check this out as there’s a bunch of great moments for fans, but if you’re new to the franchise it’s probably best to go see the series first, then come back to this. The animation and music are great, the action is top notch and the majority of characters get to show off their skills all building up to an epic finale. Go beyond and be a hero!
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.