The WASTED Potential of Shigaraki Tomura

Key points for The Waster Potential of Shigaraki Tomura:

  • I believe Shigaraki’s strengths lie in his personal connections to Class A, parallels with Deku, and being a victim of the hero society. These elements make him a compelling antagonist.
  • In my opinion, the storyline where All For One takes over Shigaraki’s body was a missed opportunity. I express dissatisfaction with All For One as the final villain, deeming it a dumb idea that didn’t capitalize on Shigaraki’s potential.
  • Despite the disappointment, I still hold hope for Shigaraki’s character in the remaining chapters of the manga. I believe there’s potential for his redemption and a satisfying resolution to his arc.

Before we start, I would like to clarify that this article does not come from hate. This article has my honest feelings on Shigaraki Tomura and where My Hero Academia has been going. I don’t think the series sucks, I don’t hate the series even though hating MHA seems to be the cool thing to do these days, The only thing I actually hate about the series is its community. You probably know why. But we are not here to discuss the community today. We have better things to talk about and that is exactly what we are going to do.

So welcome to my first character deep dive article. In this article, I’d like to discuss what made Shigaraki a great villain, why his character was great, and how the series ultimately failed to capitalize on it. I truly believe Shigaraki was on the verge of something special till the “plot” happened and stripped all of his character away, only to bring it back later on. So let’s get started with why he was so good as a villain.

Oh and, spoilers for MHA ahead. I am pretty sure all of these are common knowledge now but still, you’ve been warned.

What made Shigaraki Tomura great?

Let’s divide this section into sub-sections.

Personal Connections

Tomura had personal connections to Class A ever since that incident in the USJ. He and The League had been targeting Class A repeatedly throughout the series and that gives all students of Class A a reason to strive to defeat him once and for all. So it makes sense for someone like him to be the final antagonist of the series. All For One, on the other hand, has no personal connections to anyone in Class A. He is just a stereotypical bad guy.

The same goes for The League. Even though All For One was the initial leader, the League members know and respect Tomura more. I think Toga even outright says at some point that they are in the League for him, not All For One.

Parallels to Deku

In many ways, this is an extension of the previous point. But Deku and Tomura’s journeys are similar, albeit opposite. Both of them grow stronger with every arc. Both of them lost their masters at the same time, and both of them struggled for a while after that. I think Tomura and Deku both realize how similar they are, which is why Tomura targets Deku in particular every chance he gets and this is also why Deku thinks that it is important to save Tomura.

A layer of personal connection between the protagonist and the antagonist of a story is important for their conflict to feel deep. It should be more nuanced than “You are evil so I am going to fight you”. Deku and Shigaraki had that personal feel down perfectly since they were kind of mirror images of each other. What connection does Deku have to All For One, other than an indirect one through All Might? Are you starting to see why All For One being the final villain of the series was just Dumb? I think that the author realized this part way through the final arc as well.

Victim of the Hero Society

One of the key themes in MHA is how the heroes are the only ones allowed to use their Quirks openly and how that is affecting society. And how people without Quirks are treated by people with Quirks. Up to a certain point, the series does a great job of handling the social consequences of the hero system. And Shigaraki is a direct victim of that society.

Shigaraki Tomura, originally known as Shimura Tenko was a kid who admired heroes too. But his father hated heroes and everything to do with them because his grandmother was a hero and as a result was often away from home when his father was young. His father would treat him very harshly whenever he brought up heroes. Beating him harshly, locking him out of the house in the cold, etc. and his relatives couldn’t do anything to stop his father. One such day, because of his mental state, his Quirk, Decay activated and he accidentally killed his whole family further breaking him.

An orphaned Tenko was later picked up by All For One, who further twisted his mind and finally turned him into the Shigaraki Tomura we know today.

How was his potential Squandered?

I think this is pretty obvious. For a good stretch of the story now, his body was completely taken away over by All For One. And I think I already explained why All For One as the final villain is a dumb idea. All For One, just like All Might was a good idea for a symbol of the past. That is all he should have been. Because almost everything bad in the series can be traced back to him and his character isn’t deeper than “some dude who wants world domination”. I am glad that the author realized this issue and brought back Shigaraki.

He was so close to the peak of his character development in the Liberation War arc but well, we didn’t get it that time, unfortunately. That was one of the most frustrating moments in the whole series for me. And watching it back, I realized I really don’t like the Liberation War arc. MHA really dropped the ball with his character and everything after the War arc, in general.

Is there Still hope for Shigaraki Tomura?

Of course, there is. The manga still has a few chapters left and now that he is back, there is a good chance that he may get his peak moment. The only reason I have doubts is that MHA’s final arc has been the definition of “this is cool so logic doesn’t matter”. A lot of the nuanced story beats and character beats have been abandoned or sacrificed for the cool/shock factor in these last few arcs. Especially in the final arc. That being said, I still hope that Hirokoshi gives him justice. He’s too good of a character to be wasted like this.

That is all for now!

Let me know what you guys think in the comments! This was my first time doing a deep dive into a character. A lot of time went into this and I’d like to do another one in the future. Those were my takes on what made Shigaraki a great villain and how the story failed to capitalize on his character when it mattered the most. With that said, I will take my leave here. See ya!!

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