Sometimes anime is meant to be stupid. My Hero Academia can’t always be highbrow and emotional, like when it tackles emotional trauma and the stress of parenting. Sometimes it’s reduced to big, shouty men punching each other senseless, like All Might yelling “UNITED STATES OF SMASH,” while delivering a haymaker to the face of his deadly nemesis.
Beginning life as a manga and transitioning to a breakout hit anime, My Hero Academia isn’t anywhere near finished. A film adaptation dubbed Two Heroes has just debuted in Japan, and now My Hero One’s Justice is set to take the sprawling world and mesh it together as a chaotic fighting game, which I recently got the chance to play at a Bandai Namco event.
It’s the characters, not the action, that always appealed to me in My Hero Academia. But when the action gets going in both the anime and the game, it gets properly going. Studio Bones lets loose an entire range of different superhuman abilities in fight scenes, which is what made the tournament arc of Season 2 so brilliant. Having kids with explosive, gravity-defying, shapeshifting, supersonic powers fighting one another was unpredictable and character-driven action at its best. This aspect is what My Hero One’s Justice captures so particularly well.
When I demoed My Hero One’s Justice on an undocked Nintendo Switch, I was pleasantly surprised. The game focuses on getting you into the action as quickly as possible, with little holding you back. Simply select your main character, select your two support characters, and you’re ready to start bludgeoning your opponent by whatever means necessary. This isn’t just another fighting game aimed at the usual crowd—it’s a chill brawler for anime fans.
I’ve always preferred fighting games that let you get down to business straight away. Having to trawl through Dragon Ball FighterZ’s cutscenes felt like a chore, while getting straight down to punching and kicking in Injustice 2 felt more streamlined. Hopping into a game after a few clicks in My Hero One’s Justice makes it feel like a lot less of a commitment, and much more like a casual game aimed at casual players, rather than fighting fanatics.
The combat mechanics of My Hero One’s Justice switch up entirely depending on who you’re playing as. If you’re playing as someone more physical like All Might, you’ll have a lot less maneuverability, and you’ll always be going for the killing blow with your fists. As a more agile character like Iida or Uraraka, you’ll instead circle around your opponent, waiting for them to make a move for you to deftly dodge and then counter. There are a lot of different play styles in My Hero One’s Justice, all embodied in different characters.
You also get the option to choose two supporting characters in each battle. You don’t actually play as these characters. You only occasionally tap either shoulder button to summon one of them into battle and aid your main character temporarily. So if I’m playing as Stain, I can have heroes like Bakugo or Kirishima come in and deliver a quick strike to my opponent before quickly retreating offscreen.
It’s a fun support system that lets you experiment and mix up the action with varying characters. It’s basically where developer Byking has given you a box of toys to play with, and the toys are all the best My Hero Academia heroes and villains. You can mix and match trios of characters together to see how they’d support one another in battle, as well as see how distinctly different characters like Ururaka and Stain would fight one another. It’s not an extension of the anime per se, but we still get to see how unique abilities can clash with one another.
Basically speaking, Byking has expertly brought the cast of My Hero Academia to life in My Hero One’s Justice. You can feel the personality of every character emanating from the screen with each attack and movement, whether it’s All Might striding gracefully towards his opponent, or Bakugo lunging forward with explosives in each hand. Personalities are paramount in anime, and the chaotic action of My Hero One’s Justice never stops them from shining through.
So far, it seems like Byking has managed to capture the world of My Hero Academia in a game, bringing the heart of the anime along with it. This isn’t a fighting game that gets tied down with how many frames an attack takes—My Hero One’s Justice is decisively aimed at fans of the anime alone, offering a more relaxed experience for a more casual audience. My Hero One's Justice will be out on October 26 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.