Character Analysis, Manga, My Hero Academia, The Mind of a Character

Shigaraki Tomura: When the System Fails

Manga spoilers! If you’re not caught up on the My Hero Academia manga, don’t read this article! There are some massive plot spoilers in this thing!

Shigaraki was the first big bad introduced in MHA. But honestly, when he was first introduced, he wasn’t all that impressive. The spotlight was pretty thoroughly occupied by the first Nomu and Kurogiri. Then, in season two, he was basically shoved entirely aside for Stain.

And then the mall scene happened. After that, Shigaraki was like “Move, bitch! I’m the bad guy! Look at me go!”

For a long time, he was shrouded in mystery. Why does he hate heroes, specifically All Might, as much as he does? Why has the big bad All For One put him in charge? What are those freaky hands he’s always wearing? Just who is this freaky bastard?

Well, we finally know all the answers to those questions. At least if you’ve read the manga. So I’d pull out now if I were you, anime-only fans. This is your last chance.

The Wound: No One Was There

I’ve seen some dark shit in Shounen anime. But this? This is pretty high up on that list.

Like most kids in the MHA world (and the real world), Shigaraki admired heroes. Unfortunately, his father, the child abandoned by All Might’s predecessor Nana Shimura, didn’t share that sentiment, which led to the two often conflicting. One night, this conflict came to a head as Shigaraki spontaneously developed his Quirk: the ability to destroy anything he touched.

And as he was soon about to figure out, anyone he touched. First it was his dog. Then his sister. Then all the rest, ending with his father.

That one event would be traumatic enough for any backstory. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of Shigaraki’s plight. Now orphaned and homeless, Shigaraki wandered the streets with a haunting look in his eye, certain that a hero would come to save him. Everyone else took that same mentality, choosing to ignore the clearly desperate child and justifying that negligence by telling themselves that a hero would come to save him.

But no one did. Not even the weakest jobber hero came to him. Nobody was there to help him.

No one, that is, but All For One.

The Want and the Lie: Burn it All Down

It’s party because of what happened to him. It’s partly because of AFO’s horrific influence. Which factor is entirely responsible isn’t clear. But I suppose it doesn’t matter.

Shigaraki became embittered to the world. He grew to loathe the system of heroes and how it built such a carefree and negligent society. So, he came up with the only logical solution possible: to burn it all down. To destroy the world in which a lone child can be left to a grim fate on the streets.

I hope I don’t have to explain why I’ve lumped these two categories together.

Simply tearing a broken system down isn’t the healthiest approach. Rather, one should strive to improve the system. To iron out the flaws so that it helps as many people as possible. Now, I’m not suggesting that this is easy by any means. But it is a much better alternative to just ‘tear it apart’.

Not that Shigaraki would notice. Or care. He’s far too gone at this point, drowned entirely in his hatred and madness. He is driven entirely by emotion rather than logic.

The Need: A True Hero

Shigaraki’s past has disillusioned to heroes. He sees the good they do as a roundabout evil, as it’s made the masses lazy and dependant. It’s now impossible for him to understand the necessity of them.

Enter Deku. Deku is the hero that Shigaraki needed all those years ago. Someone who charges in to save anyone at any time with a strong and kind heart. This is why the current Shigaraki hates him so much. Yes, he frequently thwarts the Prince of Evil’s plans. But he is living proof that Shigaraki is wrong. That the system’s flaws don’t negate the positives.

It’s still yet to be seen whether Deku’s nature will be able to invoke a positive change in Shigaraki. All things considered, however, I sincerely doubt it. Shigaraki’s negative character arc is all but complete at this point in the story. A Shigaraki redemption isn’t off the table, but it is unlikely.

Not that it would do him much good, considering all the horrific things he’s done.

Conclusion

Shigaraki is a perfect villain for My Hero Academia. He is the perfect foil for Deku and an extremely interesting example of how a hero-based society could end up being a bad thing rather than a good one. I can think of no better nemesis for our hero.

Where the story goes from here is still yet to be seen. Will Shigaraki further fall into madness and become a completely irredeemable monster (more so than he already is)? How will Deku’s personality be challenged by him and vice versa? What will their clash mean for the world as a whole?

Only time will answer all these questions. But given how insanely good the story has gotten in the last few arcs of the manga, I have no doubt they’ll be satisfying.

That, or Horikoshi could just rush to an ending to spite all the people that keep harassing him over every little retarded thing. Seriously, stop abusing the author. People that do that are the reason people steer clear of this series.

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