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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising is a Japanese animated movie in which a group of heroes-in-training must save innocents from a horde of powerful villains. There's quite a bit of cartoon action violence, peril, and monster/demonic imagery. In one scene, one of the villains holds a young girl up by the throat while threatening to choke her to death. Characters are shown injured and bandaged after intense fighting. Mild profanity throughout includes "crap," "damn," 'bastard," and "hell." One of the more aggressive young heroes tends to call both his peers and his rivals "losers" and "damn nerds." One of the villains is never without a cigar in his mouth. One main female character is typically dressed in skimpy attire. Despite being on the edgier side, it's endlessly imaginative in its animation, its storytelling, and positive themes of teamwork and living up to your fullest potential.
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What's the story?
In MY HERO ACADEMIA: HEROES RISING, Izuku "Deku" Midoriya (voiced by Justin Briner) and the other heroes-in-training from U.A. High School are being sent to Nabu Island. With a small population and no crime, the island affords them the perfect opportunity to further develop their skills. But those skills are soon put to the test when a gang of villains arrives on the island wreaking havoc and destruction. The villains' leader, Nine (Johnny Yong Bosch), has arrived on Nabu in order to steal a Quirk (unique gift) from a young child who lives there. Once Nine has acquired this Quirk, he will amass unstoppable power. With communications to the mainland cut off, Deku, Bakugo (Clifford Chapin), and the other young heroes must fight back at the peak of their abilities, with no support from All Might (Christopher Sabat) or the other hero-mentors who've been training them. As they struggle against Nine and his vicious minions, the heroes begin to understand how their unique skills work best when they work together.
Is it any good?
In terms of animation and storytelling quality, this anime adventure is a step forward from its predecessor, My Hero Academia: Two Heroes. While both films have stories that are more focused and easier to follow than the typical hydra-headed cast-of-thousands storytelling approach so common to anime, My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising has a more sophisticated and imaginative animation style than Two Heroes, while generally avoiding the awkward attempts at humor that marred the first film. Even though it sometimes veers dangerously close to flying off the rails, in the end, casual viewers will likely be able to enjoy this movie as much as anime superfans.
There is, relatively speaking, a focus and restraint to the story and a preference for letting the chaos happen in the fight scenes rather than in asides and subplots that distract and lead to dead ends. Clunky attempts to create character backstories where they're not needed fall flat, but the movie never meanders too far from the central narrative, avoiding confusion for anyone who's not 100% familiar with the previous movie and/or the manga on which they're based. The end result is a movie with a story that's as engaging as it is visually stimulating.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about anime. How is My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising similar to and different from other anime movies and shows? What elements do they tend to have in common?
How are the female characters portrayed in the movie? Do they get to be as heroic as the male characters?
- In theaters: February 26, 2020
- Cast: Johnny Yong Bosch, Justin Briner, Felecia Angelle
- Director: Kenji Nagasaki
- Studio: Toho Company
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence and language (dubbed)
- Last updated: March 26, 2020
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