Me seeing this movie came as something of a surprise to even me. I never really had any intention of searching it out, mostly because I’m predisposed to not expect anime movies to come out near me. It was only when looking for something else that I noticed there were a few screenings of this My Hero Academia movie near me. I guess it’s just a sign of the times changing considering how empty this screening was compared to Demon Slayer earlier this year and how difficult finding a screening of the Broly movie was for me before that.
Full disclosure; I’ve never been too fussed about the My Hero Academia movies. Like the Dragon Ball Z movies of yore, they’re all side stories, ones that take place outside of the main continuity of the series. Thus not actually “important” for keeping up with the main story. Not like Mugan Train seemed to be before they went and just retold that one at the beginning of the second series anyway.
While I saw the first movie; Two Heroes on a whim a year or so ago, I’ve still not seen the second movie; Heroes Rising. But like I said, these movies take place outside canon, so I don’t feel like I’m particularly missing out on anything coming into this one without the full back-catalogue behind me. And oh boy is this movie non-canon.
I could have also had the added benefit of not having to worry about the movie potentially spoiling future events by jumping ahead in the timeline like the second movie apparently did. Because this one takes place after the events of the most recent season.
World Heroes’ Mission takes place in a world where apparently no nations in the world seem to have any heroes of their own, and all of our memorable favourites, and their student learners are dispatched around the entire world to deal with a terrorist organisation called Humarise.
This organisation believes dearly in the theory of the Quirk Doomsday Theory. A concept that I’ve found super interesting since it was introduced in the anime. The idea that as quirks mix and become more complex across generations, there will eventually come a point where people’s quirks become too powerful for them to control.
Humarise and their leader Flect Turn start planting “Trigger” bombs around the planet. Bombs that release a gas that cause anyone who inhales it to lose total control of their Quirk, as well as empower it dramatically. Causing enough destruction to total a city. Little groups of Japan’s heroes are sent all around the world to collaborate with the (what two?) local heroes of those nations to bring the organisation down.
I guess this is where I talk about how non-canon this movie is again. One of my favourite things about Horikoshi and the world he was created within the world of My Hero Academia is how much thought and planning has obviously gone into creating a world in which most of the population have superpowers.
So much time in the anime is dedicated to talking about laws, licences and litigation behind people being able to use their quirks in public or not. So much so that the Meta-Human Liberation Front existed. Plus, through the events of the Vigilantes Manga and the recent events of the manga proper, it’s obvious that the rest of the world has their own heroes with their own laws keeping them from just doing whatever they hell they want.
Which is why this entire plot makes me think that the writers just thought it’d be something cool rather than something that makes sense in Horikoshi’s world. I mean, yes, I know I’m being a kill-joy nerd here, the worst kind of movie critic. But considering it’s Japan here jumping in to protect the world makes me snicker even more, y’know; Japan: a nation famous for being super insular and generally xenophobic by nature.
Okay, I had to get that out of the way. Because in all honesty, this was a fun movie. I didn’t dislike it at all, but it just feels so simple and straight to the point compared to the style of storytelling we normally see from the actual source material. Because as a movie on purely its own merit, this is a pretty good film. Unlike the first one, which I felt cast its net far too broadly and tried to have too big of a cast, this movie spends the majority of its time with just Deku and the new character created for the movie: Rody Soul.
As we arrive with Midoriya, the Endeavor Agency has been assigned to Otheon; the fictional island nation off the coast of France. While there; Deku, Bakugo and Todoroki get themselves mixed up with a scientist on the run from Humarise while pursuing some jewel thieves. Again, the diplomatic situation that could come from some underage heroes acting in another nation makes my head spin. But it’s not really worried about here.
While saving the life of Rody; a petty criminal who was acting as a mule for the thieves, both Deku and Rody find themselves wanted internationally as mass murders. Thus we spend a lot of the movie with them both on the run from both the Police and the assassins of Humarise who’re both after the briefcase of secrets that Rody accidently grabbed a hold of instead of his jewels.
Which is probably the strongest aspect of the movie for me. The pair disguise themselves and try to make a run for the border to a neighbouring country. During which time we learn about Rody, his drives and his past and how heroes are uncommon in his country, meaning he has been left to fend for himself and his two younger siblings when their father went missing after being associated with Humarise.
Over the course of their journey together, Deku’s incessant positivity and selfless desire to protect someone who tried to betray him on numerous occasions ends up rubbing off on Rody. It reminds me a lot of Kota Izumi during the Forest Training Camp Arc. He’s a guy who has become disillusioned with the structure of society and heroes as a concept, considering there are very few heroes in Otheron. Because it’s not a lucrative place to be a hero apparently? It looks like a beautiful place though, a combination of every continental European city at the same time. But I’ll take his word for it I suppose.
Rody comes to respect heroes, but Deku specifically, who is as mindlessly optimistic as I’ve ever seen him in this movie. Later, thanks to a coded tip from Deku; Todoroki and Bakugo meet our other duo at the border and help fight off the last of Humarise’s assassins only for them to realise the case they’ve been carrying contains a USB stick that could shut down the bombs that are planted all over the world, as well as the location of the main base.
At which point this turns into a full-on Shonen anime movie and we get a prolonged action sequence that ends off the movie. The trio and Rody fly to the base and they get split up right away, Bakugo and Todoroki fighting against Flect Turn’s biggest henchmen while Deku faces off against the big man himself.
Which is where I’m going back to being the nerdy killjoy again when talking about this movie. These sequences are super impressive looking, with Studio Bones on the case to make these look as cool as possible. But, to me, they just don’t feel especially like My Hero fights. I mean, they do and they don’t.
What am I trying to get at here? Okay, the big bad; his quirk is reflect anything that comes in physical contact with him back to the source. It’s a quirk that Turn sees as a personal curse, as being unable to touch anyone has driven people away from him, his family, his friends and his lovers. Thus, he feels this twisted desires to remove all quirks from the world so that nobody ever have to suffer in the same way he has to.
It’d be a cool motivation for his character if any of it had been revealed earlier than the final act of the movie. He’s a villain of necessity, just there to be someone for Deku to face off against in the movie’s finale. The movie spent its time and its efforts in developing Rody and his story, which just came at the expense of having the villain be anything than just an obstacle.
Anyway. How this doesn’t feel like “My Hero”… Deku comes up against a guy whose quirk is to reflect his power back into him without any seeming cost to his own body. So what’s Deku’s solution to combating this enemy? It’s to just attack him over and over and over again. Y’know that major defining character trait of Izuku Midoriya: the fact that he’s a huge Hero Otaku. To the point that he ends up getting lost in his own head and muttering about how quirks work.
Well, yeah, that Deku is pretty absent from this movie entirely. If there was one villain that needed to be defeated with intelligence rather than raw power, this would be it. He’s perfectly crafted to be a villain that Deku could beat while All Might’s approach would leave him second best. It would be a perfect approach to a villain Deku is perfectly equipped to combat while also showing how he had surpassed All Might in certain ways.
But that’s not how the movie deals with this guy. Instead, they have Rody show up to take the USB and shut down the bombs himself while Deku holds off Flect Turn. Culminating in three simultaneous endings to fights that end with moments of breaking through one’s limits and digging deep. I’m not going to pretend that My Hero hasn’t been littered with these moments already throughout it’s run, nor am I going to pretend the ending to Deku’s fight wasn’t hype as fuck. But it was a little unearned to me.
It’s one of those classic anime paradoxes though. You might have issues with the build-up and narrative of a single fight, but if the ending was hype enough, you tend to forgive it. And Deku going 100% again like he did in his fight with Overhaul and then defeating Turn in a way that is obviously paying homage to how All Might defeated the Nomu from the finale of the anime’s first season, it was a great moment. But right now, in the sober light of day, I would have preferred Deku to actually have used his brain, like at all.
Or at least have tried.
I feel pretty bad to be honest. This was a perfectly serviceable anime movie. The narrower focus on just Deku amnd Rody worked for the movie’s narrative much more than having a wider cast. And while Deku’s development was always going to be stunted by the fact that this was a movie that wouldn’t have any impact on the series proper, the journey Rody went on made up for it by taking his character and making him into a real likeable father/big brother future you wanted to see come back and prove himself in the end.
I guess this review could have very easily come across as a somewhat random smattering of thoughts, but in the end I didn’t feel super strongly about it in a way for me to really want to dig any deeper than I have here. I’m not sure if that’s a result of this movie “not mattering” in the grand scheme of things, or if it’s a reflecting of my current feelings on My Hero Academia as a whole following the end of Season 5.
My incessant nitpicking aside; this was a fun movie. One that looked great and did the characters justice. Even if it took a few liberties with them and how their Quirks even worked. Seriously, I’m pretty sure Bakugo can’t fire his explosions like he’s got assault rifles in his palms. Also, they went to the effort to design those cool stealth costumes for the main trio, why the hell don’t they wear them again after that first tiny scene?
It’s fun at the end of the day, and much like every other great side character in My Hero Academia; Rody is a new favourite of mine who isn’t going to get anymore focus ever again. And not just because that’s how Horikoshi like’s to write, but because he’s a non-canon ass movie character who we’ll never see again despite Deku’s promise to visit.
And herein lies the predicament I find myself in to end this review: as much as I thought it was good fun; I’m not going to stop thinking of new things to nit-pick about it. Seriously, I could go on for longer if I had a mind to, but I feel like I’ve done more than enough of that for one day. If you get the chance, I’d say go and see World Heroes’ Mission, by no means is this a bad movie. But if you’re sick in the head like me, don’t expect to come out of it with a long bullet point list of really unimportant complaints that you need to come onto a blog and delve into in a level of detail nobody asked for.