My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission is the third theatrical release based on the My Hero Academia franchise. The film sees Izuku Midorya aka Deku and company spread out across the globe. The teams are in a race against the clock to stop a terrorist organization. Humarize plans to release chemical bombs that will kill the world’s Quirk population.
Deku, Todoroki and Bakugo are assigned to work with Endeavor’s group in the fictional country of Otheon. While there, a series of accidents and coincidental hijinks lead to Deku going on the run with local small time crook, Rody Soul. The pair accidentally get their hands on a case belonging to Humarize. The organization will stop at nothing to get it back. Things go from bad to worse when Deku is framed for a series of murders by Humarize members in the local police. Now the odd couple of Izuku and Rody must make it across the border to avoid Otheon police. They also hope to reunite with the other heroes in order to solve the mystery before it’s too late.
Over all My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission is a pretty enjoyable watch. As someone who is a casual enjoyer of the anime and manga, I ended up enjoying myself for the most part. The animation done by Studio Bones was beautiful as always. They managed to make Otheon into a rather beautiful setting, along with their interpretations of the other real world settings that appear in the film. The action is quick and at times can match the intensity and brutality of the show. I did feel at times that, even though the action looked great, a few of the fights moved a bit too fast.
One of my favorite sequences is a scene where Deku has to carry Rody while swinging around a bridge to avoid villains as they fire on them from a far. The scene feels like something out of a Raimi Spider-Man movie, with Deku using his Black Whip ability in place of webs. My least favorite ended up being a fight later in the movie between Bakugo and a couple of goons. While most of the fight was fine, there were times where things were movie so fast or there was so much happening on screen, that it became distracting.
As for the story, it’s mostly okay. The best parts are Deku and Rody’s journey. The pair’s opposite personalities and views on life play well off each other. Particularly Rody being overwhelmed by Deku’s genuine sincerity and kindness, that makes Rody lower his defenses and be earnest with someone other than his younger siblings. Despite being a one off character, Rody is written well enough that the audience can easily become invested in his and Deku’s development as friends. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was popular enough with fans to be brought back in future features.
While the race to clear Deku’s name and figure out how to stop the bombs is a good enough premise on it’s own, the film doesn’t do much with it. While the overall plot ties back into Rody’s own backstory, Humarize and their leader Flect Turn never end up being as interesting as they could be. The story has the same issue as shows/movies like Brand New Animal or Promare. A racial supremacy group is introduced who hates the fictional “other”, but (spoiler) it turns out their leader is a member of this othered group.
It’s an admittedly understandable route, given how powerful the heroes are. It could almost make sense to default to having another being from the same background turn out to be the villain. But it’s still a lazy way to use a fictional metaphor for othered groups in society. Flect ends up having a sad backstory that attempts to explain why he started Humarize and while his power that caused this, is interesting, Flect himself just seems like a stock villain among a movies worth of stock villains.
I actually ended up being a lot more interested in the archery quirk villain who hunts Deku and Rody for most of the movie. She’s the first member of Humarize, a supposedly pure human group, to have a quirk. Her introduction and attitude sets up the expectation that she’s an outlier, barring a few mercenaries. However as the film goes on, we see that there are more and more Quirk users among Humarize. Even more frustrating that she ends up literally jumping off screen to never be seen again. It kind of sours an opportunity to introduce and unique group of adversaries in a setting where most of the world’s population has a super power of some kind. If you’re gonna go for something out of God Loves, Man Kills, go for it all the way.
Despite my opinions about that, I did honestly enjoy the movie. There’s some nice bit of fight fan service where all of the UA students get a moment to show their stuff. In fact the smallest role ends up going to All Might, who mostly hangs around the hero’s headquarters worrying about Midorya like a mother hen. Which is honestly the best All Might, let’s be real. I think fans of the series will definitely walk away satisfied. As a casual view of My Hero Academia, I only found it okay, but I can see how the film will appeal to those who already love the franchise.
It’s not exactly something that hasn’t been done in other anime movies before, but it’s style over substance in a good way. The final fight is a sight to behold and conflict ends up being resolved in a way I almost didn’t expect. The dynamic between Deku and Rody is worth the watch on it’s own. If your a fan or just like well animated superhero action, then feel free to check it out in theaters. However if you want anything deeper, it’s probably better to wait till this hits online.
For more from Bobby, please see her review of the latest in the He-Man franchise here.