When it comes to Shonen anime, you can either take it or leave it. If you’re with it, there are multiple choices to pick from, such as Dragon Ball (the thing that influenced everything), One Piece (approaching its 1000th episode) and in my case, My Hero Academia. Based on Kōhei Horikoshi’s manga, which has so far been adapted into five seasons of television. There have also been three movies featuring the super-heroic adventures of Class 1-A. Though you could argue that the movies are non-canon, at least in how the TV series doesn’t acknowledge them, they tell compelling stories about how the students have grown as people and how their actions as heroes can inspire everyone else.
In the third cinematic instalment, World Heroes’ Mission, the students of Class 1-A have been split off into various teams, also comprising of veteran heroes, to apprehend the terrorist cult Humarise, who believe that Quirks will eventually become so powerful they will bring about the extinction of humanity. As the various teams search all over the world for the cult’s bombs that are made to specifically kill Quirk users, Izuku Midoriya/Deku, Katsuki Bakugo/Dynamight and Shoto Todoroki/Shoto are among those sent to the country of Otheon, the supposed main headquarters. When Deku crosses path with the thief Rody Soul, the two of them go on a run with the former being publicly accused of mass murder by Humarise.
From its villainous cult that is reminiscent of the graphic novel X-Men: God Loves, Man Kill, to the global scope of our band of young heroes actually saving the world, the elements are there for the most ambitious story we’ve seen in My Hero Academia. So why doesn’t the execution live up to that ambition? For starters, due to Class 1-A being split off for the entire movie means the dynamics among the students that has defined the TV series are non-existent here.
Despite the film’s promotion that centers on Deku, Bakugo and Shoto, the trio’s relationship is not the main focus. If this story was used in the TV series, it would allow nearly every character to have an arc, but instead the film features them as extended cameos.
Like the first two movies, the drama is more towards Deku’s interactions with characters who only appear in the movies. Centering on Rody, who has to break the law in order to support himself and his two siblings, following their father’s disappearance at the hands of Humarise, the story basically functions as a buddy road movie between him and Deku. This is certainly a change of pace from what we usually see in My Hero Academia, but does continue the upbeat, inspirational theme that has defined the franchise in how anyone can be a hero, even having the most ridiculous of Quirks.
As for the new villains, Humarise could have had a lot of potential, if again the story was told in the TV series, which could’ve had a whole season dedicated to the various dangers that the cult imposes. Instead, the villains are basically faceless minions, with the occasional super-powered allies, led by a leader who is not that interesting. In the end, they are there for the animators to show off some impressive action set-pieces that could rival the spectacle of most MCU movies. Although none of the action here reaches the emotion of the last movie, Heroes Rising, but there is enough impact to satisfy the typical Shonen fan.
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