‘My Hero Academia: Two Heroes’ Review: A Worthy One-Shot for Fans of Deku & Co.

     September 25, 2018

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Over three seasons, the uber-popular anime series My Hero Academia has seen the rise of Izuku “Deku” Midoriya from Quirkless wannabe hero to a capable fighter, leader, and strategist in his own right. But as Deku and his fellow heroes-in-training continue to get stronger, the shining beacon of hope, All Might, is rapidly losing his ability to battle the world’s deadliest villains. The secret of his malady, and of Deku’s sudden strength, is known only to a few, but as the anime’s first feature film reveals, there are a couple more confidants in All MIght’s inner circle than we might have expected.

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, arriving in theaters for a limited time only starting today, spends a little time in All Might’s even more heroic past in order to introduce Dr. David Shield, a tech wizard and support partner for the hero himself. So when All Might and Deku take a trip to I-Island–a floating city that houses the world’s top scientists and has a security system rivaling even that of the villain prison Tartarus–they get to visit with David and his daughter Melissa, but also find themselves in the middle of yet another villainous assault. And while Deku and All Might are more than strong enough to take on most enemies, they’ll need the combined efforts of the U.A. High School Class 1-A students to take down these foes.

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is a fun side-story from the main narrative of the anime series, one that stands on its own while also folding in the quirky nature of the show and its characters who fans have come to know and love.

Before we get into the review, be sure you’re up to speed by checking out Funimation’s official sub trailer:

Here’s the official synopsis for My Hero Academia: Two Heroes:

The climactic finals are over, and U.A. is getting ready for the summer training camp. Deku and All Might receive an invitation from a certain person to go overseas to a giant artificial moving city called I-Island. This island, a kind of “science Hollywood” that gathers the knowledge of scientists from around the world, is holding an exhibition called I-Expo showcasing the results of Quirk and hero item research. In the midst of all this, Deku meets a Quirkless girl named Melissa and remembers his own Quirkless past. Out of the blue, the impregnable security system the island boasts is hacked by villains, and all the people on the island are taken as hostages! Now, a plan that could shake hero society has been put into motion! The man who holds the key to it all is the number one hero and Symbol of Peace, All Might.

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Image via Funimation

If you’re the sort of MHA fan who’s always wanted to see more of All Might’s past, then make sure you’re in the seats early for this movie. The opening sequence flashes back to Toshinori Yagi, a.k.a. All Might’s time in America as an exchange student, but it doesn’t take long for Japan’s rising hero to show why he deserves to be #1. It also serves as an introduction to David Shield as All Might’s partner, shedding some light on their history together. This backstory is peppered in throughout the telling of the “Two Heroes” tale–my favorite part of which is probably the various costumes Shield designed for All Might during his Young, Bronze, Silver, and Golden ages of heroism–and proves to be quite central to the contemporary story.

The movie is set between the second and third seasons of the anime, so it’s set a little behind the current timeline of the show. In fact, the Season 3 episode “Special Episode: Save the World with Love!” set up the I-Expo that Melissa Shield invites All Might to, who subsequently invites Deku to as well. (Don’t worry, most if not all of your favorite heroes will get a chance to shine in the feature film.) In other words, the heroes have yet to receive or even compete for any provisional hero licenses and All MIght’s condition is not yet known to the wider world, and the super-villainous All for One is still scheming from the shadows. But if you’re new to the story of MHA and this is your first foray into the series, that’s okay too; a good chunk of the beginning of the movie serves as an exposition-heavy catch-up for newcomers.

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Image via Funimation

The things that make My Hero Academia so compelling to watch as an anime series–the pacing, the dedication to character development and relationships, the Quirks that are just as strange or powerful as the heroes and villains themselves, and the emotional resonance that surrounds the characters’ decisions and actions–are still here in the movie, just pared back a bit. Two Heroes pretty much assumes that you’re already invested in these heroes and doesn’t spend any time at all exploring motivations, powers, or backstories of new characters save for the Shields. The villains are there for villainy’s sake (they’re even just referred to as “villains” in the dub, at least, without any clever names) and it takes a long time for their true intentions to become clear. The ultimate reveal is both a fine storytelling twist and a nice tie-in to the series itself, but it’s really the animated action that makes the movie worth watching.

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is a little thin on character, surprisingly, and even light on the action until about halfway into the movie. Once Deku makes friends with tech genius Melissa, and once his friends show up to join the literal party at the I-Expo, things soon go south as the villains arrive to take the entire island hostage. With All Might and other licensed heroes neutralized for the time, it’s up to Deku and his buds to save the day. Fans of Kacchan and Todoroki will get to see them battle side by side, along with Ochaco Uraraka, Momo Yaoyorozu, Tenya Iida, Eijiro Kirishima, Kyoka Jiro, Minoru Mineta, and Denki Kaminari; the others may not be featured in the fight but they do get a couple of scenes here and there. Ultimately, it comes down to the tech skills of Melissa, the raw power of Deku, and the cooperative and collaborative nature of the young heroes-in-training to save the heroes and save the day. You won’t want to miss the final fight that not only lets the wielders of One for All fight side by side, but also lets them go all-out against a powerful opponent in satisfying fashion.

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Image via Funimation

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes is a worthy one-shot for fans of the anime franchise and a satisfying side-story for those who have been following Deku’s journey. The last half of the movie goes further beyond when it comes to action animation, and it’s a battle that begs to be seen on the big screen.

My Hero Academia: Two Heroes soars into theaters starting today! Get your tickets here! Presented in Japanese with English subtitles Sept 26 & Oct 2.
Presented in English dub Sept 25, 27 & 29.
Canada—please check your local theater for dates and language.

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Image via Funimation

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