Posted by Lenlo on 1 October 2018 with categories: Anime Reviews, My Hero Academia, OVAs and Movies:, Reviews by Lenlo

Ah, the movie tie in. A right of passage for all aspiring Shounen series. Some, like One Piece have weathered it and come out Golden, while others are better forgotten (Looking at you Bleach). My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, in my opinion, is closer to former. Animated by BONES , Directed by Kenji Nagasaki and advised/concepted by the original author Horikoshi Kouhei, the film checks all of my boxes. Even going so far as to be considered cannon by the Author, tieing into both the Anime and the Manga, Two Heroes is a brilliant first dip into cinema for My Hero Academia.

Lets jump in, and be warned, there are some spoilers within!

Animation/Art

Likes always, lets start with the animation. Being done by BONES , it should come as no surprise that Two Heroes is beautiful. There are a few small issues here and there, but to nitpick 2-3 second shots in an hour and a half movie would be ridiculous. Instead, I want to focus on two scenes in particular. The opening and the ending. The opening consists of a short bit about All-Mights time in America, where he truly began his time as a hero. It delves into one of the movie specific central characters, and gives us some time to feel out their relationship. All well and good, I will talk about that later. What’s really great about it, as seen below, is what happens whenever you give BONES a movie budget. Every fight, every major scene, has that level of quality and polish. Simply put, there’s nothing to hate.

The meat, the big delicious meal of the animation however, has to be the final fight of the movie, animated by BONES secret weapon Yutaka “Yutapon” Nakamura. This man is the reason I will watch every single BONES anime until the day I die, and once again now with a movie budget, he has been given free reign. Do his animations follow convention? Do they in any way adhere to reality? Of course not. But the final fight of the movie, with Deku and All-Might working together, was a feast for the eyes. A good 5-7 minutes straight of Nakamura genius, I count this movie worth the price of admission just for that. It was colorful, plentiful, well choreographed and flowed like the most serene beautiful river I have ever seen. If you don’t know Nakamura, leave this review now and fix it. Fix it right now.

Direction

As far as the Direction goes for Two Heroes, most of it is standard fare, for BONES anyway. Every shot is successful, getting across what it needs to, but outside the fights there doesn’t appear to be much interesting going on. To say its serviceable seems to undersell it to me, so it might be better to say the Direction is never detrimental. I never looked at a shot and though “This is ugly, it’s terribly framed” etc. There are some interesting decisions early on to show us the villains as they set up their plan, letting us know not everything is nice from the get go. I also enjoyed a few interesting angles or wide shots during certain combat scenes. As a whole however, it wasn’t particularly novel or experimental. Which for a first film, is perhaps as it should be.

Story/World

Now onto the story. For the most part, it’s pretty good, but there are 3 parts in particular I want to focus on. The recaps, the removal of All-Might/focus on the students and the justifications for everyone being there. For the recaps, they were sadly inevitable. As big as Hero Acadamia is, they couldn’t expect everyone in the theater to have watched the anime. I can forgive that as a required part of rebuilding the world. My personal complaint here is two fold. First, BONES reused footage from the original anime for this, and it really stands out compared to the movie’s scenes. It’s hard to accuse BONES of being lazy with Two Heroes, but its there. The second is how long they last. It felt like a good 10 minutes near the start was all recap and I feel like that could have been edited down.

For the story itself, I quite liked it. The removal of All-Might until the very end was well done and required. It gave a good reason for the 1-A students to insert themselves into the situation without All-Might having to come up with some excuse for why he doesn’t just zoom through the island solving everything. With the whole island hostage, and his time limit running out because of public appearances, there were very good reasons why he couldn’t just solve all the problems. Finally, the justifications for the students all being there, while loose in some places, all in all worked. Midoriya is All-Mights successor, Bakugo won the Sports Festival while Todoroki and Yoamomo both come from rich, influential families. All good reasons to be there and bring someone with them. The only weak ones, for me, were Kaminari and Mineta, both of which felt mostly ancillary.

Characters

Speaking of the characters, guess it’s time to finally talk about them huh? I will be focusing on a few major aspects here. Deku and All-Might, the Shields, and the final villain. Most of Class 1-A is expanded on in the original anime, and so don’t get much development here. Surprisingly, Two Heroes went to great lengths to build on All-Might and Deku’s relationship, showing them interacting in private without any more evils or school in the way. It spends a lot of time not only building up their relationship but showing us and the other characters how similar to two are. Contrasting their personalities, while also showing Deku in a variety of scenes or pictures similar to the earlier scenes of Young All-Might. I figured their relationship would stay mostly static, but was pleasantly surprised throughout at the depth given to the two.

As far as the movie specific characters go, David and Melissa Shield, I honestly loved them. The relationship established between the Shields and All-Might, with him being Melissa’s “uncle”, and her relationship with Deku. I hope they get brought into the main series, because Horikoshi must have a gift for creating lovable female characters. Their chemistry was fantastic. My favorite part of these characters however was their motivations and how consistent they were. The entire movie is based on David Shields admiration and undying focus on All-Might. Ultimately everything that happens does so because David wants to help All-Might, setting him up less as a villain and more a good man willing to do bad things for the greater good. I was prepared for his twist, but was not expecting how sympathetic Two Heroes had made me feel towards him, or how Deku would renew his hope for the future.

Really, the weakest part of Two Heroes is the “Main” villain, whom David hired to be a fake villain. He isn’t the central part of the story, we barely even hear his name or see his face under the mask in the movie. But seeing as he is the final confrontation for our heroes, I can’t just let him slide, and his subordinates aren’t any better. They have little personality and while they are valid threats to our heroes, the final fight being bombastic proof of that, he doesn’t challenge their characters in any way beyond the physical. Even the villains from the opening Young All-Might scene, as seen above, had more personality than Wolfram. It’s a true shame that he is the one black mark on an otherwise fantastic movie.

Voice Acting

Finally, since this is a review of the dubbed version, it’s time to talk about Two Heroes voice acting. For me, this was my first experience with the English cast for Hero Academia, and I was impressed. It has made me seriously consider watching the anime over again Dubbed just to get new experience. Christopher Sabat as All-Might and Justine Briner as Midoriya were both fantastic. Erica Mendez as Melissa Shield also tugged at my heart strings a few times with her great voice work. There were a few Japanese leftovers, such as Kacchan, the felt awkward to me but that most likely has more to do with hearing it in surrounded by English. Overall, I loved watching it in English and only wish my audience knew better than to scream in the middle of a movie.

Conclusion

So, to close out, if you enjoy My Hero Academia in any way, Two Heroes is worth it. It’s cannon, it’s well made, and there is everything we love about the original series in spades. Action, humor, interesting quirks and situations, and most of all Yutaka Nakamura. I personally think this was a fantastic start for Hero Academia in the movie sphere and look forward to many more in the future. With any luck, it will get a bit of the One Piece treatment and go on to many many more. So what are you waiting for? Go out and watch it if its still in theaters! And if not, wait for the dvd like I am.

See you in the next review!

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