Tomura Shigaraki has proven to be the most formidable final villain in My Hero Academia. And it’s all thanks to his master and mentor, All For One.
We’ve seen the guy’s jaw-dropping power right from his birth, shattering everything in his path, including his loving mother and father by accident!
While wandering aimlessly in the street with nobody bothering to even ask the boy’s condition, Shigaraki’s life changed completely as All For One took his hand and made him his vessel.
Literally and figuratively.
Shigaraki’s 1st meeting with All For One
We experience their first meeting through Shigaraki’s narration in chapter 222. After killing his family and roaming on the streets, All For One found him, damped and bleeding, holding him with love and promising a future like no other, even deciding to retain his surname while changing his first name from Tenko to Tomura.
転 (Ten), can mean a turn or a twist. 弧 (ko) can mean Arc. Shigaraki, meaning 死 (Death) 柄 (Pattern/Design) 木 (Tree). And finally, Tomura, meaning to mourn.
A pattern of death and grieving. Shigaraki’s upbringing is reflected in practically every aspect of his new surname. A figure usually misunderstood as ‘evil for the sake of evil’, who is somebody molded by the events he has had.
We have seen time and time again in MHA just how important childhood experiences can be in someone’s upbringing. With Bakugo, we see his inflated ego due to his innate gifts and privilege eventually blow up in his face and form into an inferiority complex. Same with Midoriya. Bullied from his school days by someone he looked upto, fast forwarding to become a world-class hero, inspired by All Might.
For Shigaraki, we see just how deep the hatred for heroes runs deep in his family. The abusive environment his father created that spawned due to Nana and Heroism is something that stuck with Shigaraki well into his twenties.
He is a metaphor in the flesh. A metaphor for all the problems with modern hero culture. Someone who lost out because so many people were content to sit on the sidelines and do nothing when All Might was in power. Symbolically, All Might represents everything that Shigaraki despises, which is pretty ironic, when you realise that All Might was Nana Shimura’s role model to become a hero.
Even as Midoriya reaches out to help others, Tenko Shimura, who had just killed his whole family, wished for someone to save him from the streets. All he wanted was a connection, or a link to draw him out of the circumstances he was in.
And that’s when All For One steps in, lends him a hand and hugs him tight, making little Shigaraki cry and realize that there are some “heroes” that go through extreme lengths to save people.
(My Hero Academia Chapter 222)
Manipulation at full throttle
Before All For One, Shigaraki had some hope left in the official heroes—that they’ll be there no matter what. But that hope shattered when none of them showed up in his most critical hour.
On that day, even common people on the street passed by while pretending not to notice and thinking that some hero would swoop in and save him. But nobody came.
So Shigaraki lost all hope in heroes, including his grandmother Nana Shimura and turned to the side of evil through his master All For One.
The biggest advantage of having All For One on your side is that he had the knack to turn people’s frustrations and trauma into purpose, channeling those emotions to attack those hypocritical heroes who exist just for the sake of money.
But it comes at a huge cost, as All For One used his manipulative mentality to penetrate Shigaraki’s psyche and his entire body itself!
First, he gains his complete trust by pretending to care for him.
While Tomura is dealing with the aftermath of the Kamino Incident, All For One encourages him to keep trying, saying, “Even though you failed, you need to continue and try again, because I am here to help you succeed and my actions are for you.”
And this happens throughout the series, and that’s how Shigaraki had utmost faith in his master, basically worshipping him.
However, Yoichi reveals that All For One encouraged Tomura’s hatred of the world and of All Might in order to strengthen his will, so that he would be better able to overcome the will of a One For All user and steal their power without being stopped by the power’s inherent resistance of being robbed.
Shigaraki figures that out when All For One tries to control his body and mind.
Does All For One Control Shigaraki?
Yes. But not all the time.
The reason All For One took Shigaraki under his wing was for him to become his successor. But Shigaraki was like “CAP”.
In chapter 276, All For One gave his quirk to Shigaraki just to take over his body and use it to steal the One For All Quirk from Midoriya. However, Shigaraki regained his composure and scolded his master, telling him he intended to do what he wanted to do of his OWN WILL.
(MHA Chapter 276)
Tomura loves and respects his master, but he refuses to accept All For One’s vision of him as his successor, realizing that his master merely used him as a vessel to regain power and had no true affection for him. He tells his master’s voice in his head to shut up and vows to follow his own path to become more than All For One himself.
All For One tried again in chapter 330 when Shigaraki was fighting against Star and Stripe and in the final battle against the heroes in chapter 361.
(MHA Chapter 330)
(MHA Chapter 361)
And he did succeed in taking over Shigaraki’s body, but only temporarily, and that’s because of the nature of the quirk.
Like Daigoro Banjo’s advice to Midoriya on accessing One For All’s full strength by using and channeling his fury, All For One’s Quirk thrives on sensations of powerful negative emotions like hatred and hate.
This indignance-based effect is best shown by Shigaraki’s affinity for it, allowing him to leave a portion of himself behind in the shape of his childhood self, Tenko Shimura, even as All For One took over his body. Keeping his “origins” close helps him remember why he is so dedicated to bringing down hero culture and serves as a source of strength.
Thanks to this shred, Tomura may suppress his master’s influence and make his own will the sole one residing in the Quirk, thereby establishing his authority as its wielder.
All For One’s plans for Shigaraki
Ultimately, All For One chose Shigaraki as his successor in order to serve as the next body for the villain to occupy and completely destroy the Hero Association once and for all. He has no plans to die at all.
In fact, this was All For One’s chance to become immortal, by switching from one body to another, much like Kenjaku in Jujutsu Kaisen.
All For One’s plan to control Yoichi and Shigaraki is actually foreshadowed if you take a closer look at the kanji of his name.
On the topic of All for One, he has some… interesting inspirations for names
The first is the kanji for "Younger Brother" (弟 – Otouto), the second is for "Tomura" (弔) pic.twitter.com/Bruu0UgI2V
— Rukasu (@RukasuMHA) October 17, 2022
As the final battle dawns upon us, it’s up to All Might and Deku to stop All For One from realizing his plans for world dominance. Will Shigaraki change his mind and instead attack his master or will he kill his master and take control of his powers instead?