by Cameron Smith
The second film installation from the popular anime from Japan arrived in the United States with “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising.”
In a world where people are born with “Quirks,” powers that can make them superheroes, Izuku “Deku” Midoriya (voiced by Justin Briner) was born without one. When the #1 hero, All-Might (voiced by Christopher Sabatt) transfers his Quirk “One for All:” a physically enhancing power, to Deku, he must learn to control this immense and delicate power while being the new beacon of hope for the world.
U.A High, a high school formed to train superheros, sends the bright and talented students of Class 1-A to Nabu Island for the summer to act as heroes. Nabu Island, the small, remote island off the coast of Japan, hasn’t seen danger in decades. However, the calm of the resort island is soon shattered with the arrival of villain Nine (voiced by Jonny Yong Bosch). With the power to steal multiple Quirks to use as his own, Nine has strained his body’s cellular composition to its limit. The only way Nine can stay alive is by stealing a healing Cell Activation Quirk from Katsuma, a small child, on Nabu Island.
Nine and his troupe of menacing villains attack and destroy Nabu Island while looking for Katsuma. These villains tactically cut off communication and escape routes from the island. The classmates of Class 1-A take on Nine’s subordinates while Deku and his egotistical childhood best friend/rival, Katsuki Bakugo (voiced by Clifford Chapin), must take out the menacing and power-hungry Nine.
The climax of the movie leaves Deku and Bakugo fighting Nine in his most powerful state yet. On the brink of death, Deku transfers “One for All” to Bakugo in hopes of defeating Nine. This power up changes the tides of war for the citizens of Nabu Island. The duo briefly share “One for All” and become enriched with power and speed. They move accordingly, and in sync, taking turns attacking Nine despite not talking to each other. The natural and raw chemistry shocks and baffles the audience, due to the lack of synergy the two show throughout the series. Deku and Bakugo unleash a flurry of smashes and explosions to contrast Nine’s lightning and lasers, ultimately landing them the victory,
Director Kenji Nagasaki does something in “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising,” that I’ve never seen in any animated movie. At the beginning of the movie, the art style and dialogue are more character center-based. It’s focused on playful character design and beautiful, realistic scenery. However, as challenges and threats arrive, the artistic design and scenery change, shifting into an abstract masterpiece. The fights rage with wisps of color and light, while the scenery remains a solid color. These bright colors bounce and reflect off the eyes, leaving you on the edge of your seat while the dialogue invades your ears with cries and screams of triumph and victory.
Overall, “My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising” is arguably one of the best animated movies that has come from Japan in recent years. The vibrant color schemes and fluid animation, along with a brilliant story line and talented cast, leaves aftershocks that will have you talking about it endlessly. With all that in mind, I give it a 10/10.