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My Hero Academia's Strongest Villain is Actually Deeper Than Most Think

Warning: Contains spoilers for My Hero Academia chapter #358

The hit manga My Hero Academia gave the strongest and most deranged villain in the series, Shigaraki Tomura/All for One, the task of explaining the most powerful messages that mangaka Kohei Horikoshi wants to convey to his readers. Shigaraki’s words in chapter #358 prove that he is a much deeper character than most fans think.

Tomura is one of the two main villains in the series. He grew up with an abusive father and when his quirk, Decay, manifested he accidentally killed his entire family, unable to control his power. Alone and desperate, Shigaraki was picked up by All for One, the greatest villain who ever lived, and raised to be his disciple and future “vessel”. The connection between Tomura and All for One is particularly meaningful for the story. The boy’s tragedy represents the shortcomings of the hero society depicted in My Hero Academia. All for One’s teachings and goals shape Tomura into the perfect instrument to destroy that society and impose his own, twisted ideal.

Related: My Hero Academia Finally Admits Its Heroes Are As Bad As All For One

Chapter #358 of My Hero Academia focuses on Tomura during the final battle between the heroes and the villains. While All for One is busy with the top 2 Pro Heroes, Endeavor and Hawks, Tomura has to face a larger group of enemies, who are baffled by the weird and sudden changes in his body, which is mutating at an alarming rate. Tomura explains that it’s all because All for One is finally taking control of his body, and control is the most important thing in the world. He says that having control over something is ideal, and the rest of the world is falling apart because the elements that make it up are losing their established shape and becoming more confusing as time goes on. Differences that are too big lead to a lack of understanding, and this lack of understanding results in fear and rejection. Therefore, the solution is to let All for One dominate everything. In the world he will create, all people will be equally exploited, which will be the closest thing to the peaceful world the heroes want.

Because Tomura is now engaged in a battle of will against All for One’s “spirit” (contained in his quirk which Tomura inherited), it’s hard to determine who is in control of his body at any time. During the speech, however, Tomura uses the pronoun “boku” to refer to himself, which implies that All for One is in control. The villain’s creed is thus exposed in the clearest way, making readers understand what All for One represents. Despite their best efforts, heroes are unable to create a peaceful world, and Tomura’s personal tragedy is proof of this. The world is chaotic, hero society is broken, which results in suffering, pain, and fear, so the best solution is to take freedom away in favor of control.

All for One is the personification of the obsession with control, but he is also a powerful metaphor for how societies have reacted to crises and dangers over the course of centuries. Some people are always willing to give up their freedom in favor of a false sense of security, and this is the danger that All for One represents, while Shigaraki is the perfect victim, exploited at the time when he was weakest. By giving his strongest villain such a profound meaning, My Hero Academia proves the reason for its success is the ability to mix classic manga action and excitement with more serious themes that are able to resonate with readers on a deeper level.

Next: My Hero Academia Prequel Ends by Proving How Hero Society Is Broken

Read the latest chapter of My Hero Academia on Viz Media’s Shonen Jump app!

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