My Hero Academia

Arts Criticism writer Kevin Ferguson reviews the latest My Hero Academia film, "World Heroes' Mission" which was released on Friday, Oct. 29. 

It’s hard to keep going when the journey feels pointless. When the battle seems impossible, why keep fighting? What could you possibly change? Maybe you should just give up … Or maybe that’s the only real defeat. The temptation to quit can be immense, but the newest “My Hero Academia” film demonstrates perseverance when defeat seems to be at the forefront of one’s mind.

“My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission” is the third film in the “My Hero Academia” series. It has some of the best themes in the franchise to show for it, including perseverance, despair and capitalizing on individual worth. Izuku Midoriya, also known as Deku, and his classmates join Pro Heroes scattered across the world for their most harrowing mission yet. A powerful organization known as Humarise has detonated a bomb causing people’s superhuman Quirks to activate with enough intensity to kill its user. The attack is a precursor to Humarise’s plan to trigger similar weapons across the world to prevent the Quirk Singularity Doomsday, a theorized event when, in time, Quirks will become too powerful and lead to the end of humanity.

Despite the danger to themselves, the heroes show the importance of not giving up. When Deku and a young criminal named Rody Soul are targeted by Humarise for unknowingly carrying one thing that can stop the organization, Deku is subsequently framed for mass murder, and the duo is forced to go on the run. The odds are even more stacked against them, and several times they are given the opportunity to abandon the mission to save themselves. They refuse to back down as they are not only fighting to save innocents, but also each other. They draw inspiration from their fellowship, dig deep and keep going, even when it seems like they’re about to be overwhelmed. 

Part of why the heroes keep fighting is they know giving into despair is the only real defeat. Fleck Turn, the leader of Humarise, and Soul illustrate this for audiences. Soul and his family had been shunned by their community, and heroes’ selfishness left them defenseless against abuse. Likewise, Turn, whose Quirk prevents him from even being touched by another being, has lived a life of rejection and come to hate his and all Quirks for it. Over the course of the film, Soul’s mind is changed about heroes as he gets to know the kind and selfless Deku, and Turn eventually sees even his Quirk has a limit. Both characters have been hurt deeply, but their despair is what led them down their individual, destructive paths. While grief and despair happen to everyone, what’s done with those feelings can lead to constructive or destructive outcomes. Deku and his friends show the benefit of hanging on and continuing to take the next step toward a positive future.

The film shows a beautiful thing by taking the time to capitalize on how every individual has value. Soul is embarrassed about his Quirk, a little bird known as Pino who always reveals Soul’s true feelings. Not only is it unheroic, but it works against him when he tries to lie. Though Deku wields what Soul considers a superior power, Deku disagrees and believes Soul’s to be a wonderful Quirk. As Deku holds off Turn at the film’s climax, a severely injured Soul works to get a disarming chip to the device controlling the bombs. While his physical body fails him just short of the mark, Pino is able to carry the chip the last few feet, stopping the clock and preventing the global catastrophe. What Soul first thought to be subpar about himself turns out to be what saves everyone. The civilian, the “commoner,” as he is once referred to, is the one to save the world. When problems seem too big to handle, people will doubt themselves and their abilities and give up, believing that they can’t make a difference. In reality, what they can do might just be what’s needed to weather the storm.

Facing insurmountable odds, it often seems like the best choice to stop resisting and bow to the pressure, whatever may come, but the “My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission” film shows how critical it is to not surrender. It’s hard to keep pushing, but if you make it by a hair, you still made it. You still survived. The world has gone through its own crisis from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges that have arisen to test humanity. For certain, the temptation to give up, to disengage and despair, has been strong, but it hasn’t won. You’ve made it this far. Well done.

Now, keep going.

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