Are non-Canon animated films worth it?
Animated movies are nothing new and after distributors like Funimation, Crunchyroll and GKids popularized theatrical events centered around them, they became more mainstream. What hasn’t quite changed are the movies themselves, especially anime movies based on long-running shonen series with original storylines disconnected from the main story.
Around the time Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F made $8.4 million in North America, new theatrical releases for the anime began to grow more and more. It’s hard to imagine Jujutsu Kaisen 0 being the theatrical hit, it’s without the early hits of the 2010s that paved the way for more anime releases in theaters. Of course, many of these films are original films that are not linked to existing series, such as the success of your name Where A silent voice. However, things like the my hero academia the films, while entertaining and popular, can often receive mixed reception as they feel disconnected from the overall story and arguably unnecessary.
It’s not Canon
Whether it be dragonball, Detective ConanWhere naruto, from time to time, popular shonen series get animated films that tell new stories with often different directors and larger budgets. These are cinematic events in the purest sense, delivering an experience that’s definitely the show people know and love, but heightened because it’s on the big screen.
The problem is that very few of them are definitely canon, at least initially. dragonball might be able to adapt the same story into his later TV anime and canonize it, but other shonen just let the sleeping dogs lie. It’s even easier when the film’s stories create entirely original characters and don’t rely on existing popular characters.
The main reason why this happens is that these anime are often ongoing manga adaptations with their own main stories. These movies can’t stray too far from the main story, lest they create inconsistencies in character arcs or alter the status quo of the world. Because of this, the characters often don’t change much.
Thickest plot armor
Even though these movies are built from the start with the conceit that they’re not canon, there’s not a lot of risk taken with the story as it should still feel generally “connected”. Deku isn’t going to die or lose his powers because there are even more seasons left in the TV series, and it would be too much of an effort to say the story is an alternate universe to facilitate something like that.
What often happens instead is that movies will introduce new people and places that the characters will bond with, and they will be the source of tension throughout. The main character may not undergo huge character development, but the original characters may, and they may in fact die. But some might say that makes the main characters merely passive observers in another story.
All of this could easily be forgiven if these movies weren’t so often trying to have their cake and eat it too. The filmmakers may not change anything, but they will surely make it look like a monumental change is happening only to find an artificial way to reset everything. So yes, Detective Conan could become an adult again, but they return at the end so the series can continue. But despite all the aforementioned quirks, it’s really hard not to love these movies.
A special event
The phrase “event” is incredibly apt to capture what makes these movies so fun. At a time when animated films were beginning to gain popularity, the energy in a theater full of fellow cast members could be truly delightful. And the posters or theatrical booklets given out on opening nights beat anything the other movies gave out.
Of course, a movie being hailed as an “event” might have a connotation that the movie is more of a rollercoaster than a movie theater. And of course, My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission might not have been your namebut it was still a ridiculously well done movie, with some of the best sakuga in the series.
These films often feel like celebrations of the series as a whole, with production values that at best feel like it’s all been put on the line. Maybe the stories don’t change much, but the best of the bunch always do smart things with storytelling.
The story of My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising, like the others, was an original story concept by mangaka, Kohei Horikoshi. But what set it apart was that the Heroes Rising story was Horikoshi’s original ending. my hero academia was going to be. And that certainly comes through in the climax of this movie.
The verdict / The future of animated films
Ultimately, yes, non-canon animated movies are worth it and beyond the aforementioned reasons, the things that make these events can almost seem a little indescribable. It will always be fun to experience these events with other fans, even if the film is not the best.
Now more than ever, the types of anime movies being made, even for shonen, are evolving, and in ways that even more solve common problems. movies like Demon Slayer: Mugen Train and Jujutsu Kaisen 0 were not original stories, but adaptations of canon arcs from the source material or spin-off stories.
They got around the common problem by telling smaller stories and giving them a cinematic treatment. In the case of Jujutsu Kaisen 0, the huge box office success may lead to even more movies like this that aren’t afraid to move forward or expand the story through film. Either way, these films will continue to excite people, and for good reason.
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