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My Hero Academia or Boku No Hero Academia is a fairly ‘young’ series written by Kohei Horikoshi, starting in July 2014 as a manga. On the surface it seems to be a typical shounen manga with an interesting hook – parodying the Superhero genre most popular in western comics (Marvel & DC). But beyond just the superhero theme, My Hero Academia also throws in some tropes which make for a particularly interesting mix – the bildungsroman and the school themes. It matches this interesting setting with a cast of characters which are not particularly common among the typical shounen stereotypes either, resulting in a nuanced and entertaining universe.
The movie occurs between Seasons 1 and 2 of the anime series with the direct supervision of Horikoshi, which likely makes the movie part of the universe canon. The story of Two Heroes is set outside of Japan, where the manga primarily focuses on, and lets us take a quick glimpse of the existence of other heroes from other parts of the world, North America in particular, although one can also catch sight of heroes from South America and China. Two original characters – a father and daughter pair in the form of David and Melissa Shield – are central to the tale and also reveal more about the environment of non-super (or non-Quirk) characters in the MHA/BNHA universe.
Visually, the movie’s aesthetics follow that of the manga/anime quite faithfully. There is a noted bump in quality and detail with the animation, and there is much more visible and liberal use of CGI, especially in the action scenes. The fight scenes are a treat to see, particularly the one showing All Might in his younger years and the grand finale, where the power and impact of each blow sends one’s heart reeling. Scenery and backgrounds are competently done and don’t distract or draw away from the experience. MHA/BNHA plays a lot of borderline-cheesy scenes pretty well, and the music carries out its role pretty well to evoke a myriad of emotions.
Ultimately, Two Heroes is a movie that shows a surprising degree of nuance and depth, given the apparently shallowness that might be easily expected of the genre, but nonetheless also manages to push forth with a shining, heroic idealism. Its a movie that can appeal to those wanting a dose of grit and blood in their entertainment, yet somehow standing forth with a pure and clear-sighted hope despite the realities of the world. Definitely a must-see for fans of the series, and a workable entry for those unfamiliar with it or anime in general.