In the simplest terms, Anime and Manga are cartoons and comic books originating in Japan with a bunch of other distinct features. I have been drawn to these amazing works for a long time for multitudes of reasons. But the main reason I grew so fond of Boku no Hero Academia (My Hero Academia) was Japan’s unique take on “Heroes” and what they stand for.
Written and illustrated by the great Kōhei Horikoshi, Boku no Hero Academia is the story of a young boy, Midoriya Izuku, who was born powerless in a world full of superhumans. Despite being born without a quirk, Midoriya dreams of becoming a hero.
It should come as no surprise that these very superhumans- heroes and villains are what keep this world going. There are so many vibrant and engaging characters to fill all sorts of roles in this eventful society of quirks. If Izuku is the righteous and kind hero, there must be a form of potent evil to counter him, and this is where the main antagonist Shigaraki Tomura comes in.
Shigaraki’s real name is Shimura Tenko, and he is the leading figure of the League of Villains. Raised by the bigger bad, All For One, Shigaraki’s primary goal is to bring down the “Symbol of Peace” All Might and uproot their current society.
As the Grand Commander of the Paranormal Liberation Front, he seeks to destroy the heroes and bring chaos to the world.
Shigaraki Tomura at a Glance
- Name: Shigaraki Tomura, Birth name- Shimura Tenko
- Birthday: April 4
- Status: Alive
- Age: 21
- First appearance: Chapter 11
- Quirk: Decay, All for one
Evolution of Shigaraki: From a Pathetic Man-child to a Terrifying Villain
We first meet Shigaraki when he attacks the USJ training facility in the U.A. High School. My first impression was that he is just a man-child with an All Might complex.
But over time, that impression has definitely changed. As the story of MHA has evolved, so has the character of Shigaraki. At this point in the manga, Shigaraki is a terrifying villain. A villain that a story about heroes and villains can boast about.
The Shigaraki we meet at the USJ attack is like a child who is used to having his urges pampered by his master. He is an incompetent leader who is incapable of strategizing and thinking ahead. He loses at USJ because of his impulsive decisions and runs away when he could have killed All Might then and there.
The Influence of “Hero Killer” Stain
The Shigaraki in USJ sought destruction just for the sake of it and was primarily directionless as a leader. He remains the same until he meets “Hero Killer” Stain. Shigaraki could not fathom why Stain was so popular when he was not. To Shigaraki, he and Stain were the same. They both destroyed what they didn’t like. But he got his answers during a fateful encounter with Midoriya Izuku.
When Midoriya told him that he understands Stain because of his ideals, Shigaraki understood that ideals and symbols are an indispensable part of their society. This was when he decided to target All Might not for revenge but to cripple society by destroying the Symbol of Peace.
A Changed Man
His meeting with Izuku changed Shigaraki’s demeanor moving forward. Instead of pawns, he considered fellow league members as comrades who shared his ambition. He became calmer and more like a leader. He started strategizing his plans. Something USJ Shigaraki would never do.
His character development is evident based on how he handled Overhaul. Overhaul or Kai Chisaki was the leader of the yakuza group- Shie Hassaikai. Not only did Overhaul possess a better version of Shigaraki’s quirk, but his yakuza group was also far more extensive and more efficient than the League of Villains.
Shigaraki used Overhaul as a stepping stone and overcame him to evolve further as a villain. The most critical moment in his journey came when Shigaraki started awakening his old memories during his fight with Re-Destro.
Shigaraki Tomura: Origin
Shimura Tenko was born to Shimura Kotaro and Shimura Nao and had an older sister, Shimura Hana. As a child, he was fascinated by heroes, and even though he had no quirk at that time, he often played games pretending to be a hero.
But his father, Shimura Kotaro, detested heroes. Kotaro hated heroes because his mother, Shimura Nana, left him to fight villains. Nana knew of the threats villains posed for her family if she stayed with them, but Kotaro could not come to terms with it.
He detested Nana for abandoning him to fight villains. He could not understand how someone could hurt their own family to save other families.
One day Hana secretly showed Tenko the picture of their Grandmother and promised to cheer him on their journeys to become heroes. But their father found out and beat Tenko. Tenko’s relatives could only watch in horror as little Tenko suffered and begged for help.
As Tenko was confiding with his family dog about how he hates everyone for not helping him, his quirk Decay activated and disintegrated the dog he was hugging. Unable to understand what had happened, he started panicking when Hana walked up to him to apologize. But she started running away as soon as she saw the dog’s corpse.
Terrified, Tenko grabbed Hana’s back to look for protection from the villain he thought was attacking the house. She also disintegrated in a moment.
Tenko’s mother and her parents ran outside to check what was happening, and Tenko ended up killing them when his quirk spread in his panic. And finally, Tenko’s father came out to witness the aftermath of the chaos, and an enraged Tenko charged at his father with full intent to kill him and grabbed his face.
After killing his family, he ran away in hopes of being saved by somebody. But even in a world full of heroes, no one came to his rescue. Until one day, he met All for one. All for one took him in, and Kyudai Garaki gifted the young boy disembodied hands of his deceased family members.
All for one began grooming Tenko as his adopted son and urged him not to hold back against killing people. Tenko did just that when he killed a couple of thugs and added their hands to his look.
This is the moment Shigaraki Tomura was born. All for One named him Tomura. Tomura comes from the word Tomurau meaning “to mourn,” signifying the sorrow of death and parting. He also gives Tomura his last name, Shigaraki.
When All For One first took Tomura in, he was so traumatized that he suppressed his memories and the powers of his quirk. It was after remembering everything about his childhood that Shigaraki was liberated. He defeated Re-Destro to become the Grand Commander of the Paranormal Liberation Front.
Current Status in the Story
Tomura’s true impact on society was felt after he obtained the All For One quirk and body enhancements. He is now largely similar to his master in terms of personality- condescending, quick to mock, terror-inducing, and has an insatiable thirst for stealing quirks.
In battle, he is calm yet menacing and displays blunt savagery towards his foes. What makes him so formidable though, is his undying determination and will to destroy society, even when he is inches away from death. His Ideology and disdain for heroes are most evident when during his fight with pro heroes, he gave this speech:
“You Heroes pretend to be society’s guardians. For generations, you pretended not to see those you couldn’t protect and swept their pain under the rug. It’s tainted everything you’ve built. That means your system’s all rotten from the inside with maggots crawling out. It all builds up, little by little, over time.
You’ve got the common trash, all too dependent on being protected. And the brave guardians who created the trash that need coddling. It’s a corrupt, vicious cycle. Everything I’ve witnessed, this whole system you’ve built, has always rejected me. Now I’m ready to reject it.
That’s why I destroy. That’s why I took this power for myself. Simple enough? I don’t care if you understand. That’s what makes us heroes and villains.”
Tomura even makes the bold statement that he wishes to carve out his legacy rather than continuing All For One’s and aspires to surpass his master. However, he starts to hate his Sensei after discovering his true intentions of using his body as a vessel.
He went as far as to attack his master’s vestige and expressed his refusal to be a pawn while fighting to get his own body back.
This shared consciousness has now led Tomura into an identity crisis between Tomura Shigaraki, All For One, and Tenko Shimura. Tomura and All For One’s minds are currently undergoing a merging process, and the combination is said to give birth to an all-new evil entity.
Despite his best efforts to fight his master’s control and his unwillingness to be taken over, his own hatred seems to be accelerating the process.
According to Izuku, there is a dormant child deep within Tomura, and this is none other than a visage of Tenko. This is iconically indicative of how Tomura still yearns to be saved, and his former frightened and lonely child self still lives within him.
Characteristics That Define Shigaraki
As the main antagonist of MHA and Izuku’s greatest foe, Tomura possesses formidable and menacing abilities. He is said to be the most powerful villain in Japan, surpassing even All For One. He is capable of going toe-to-toe with multiple pro heroes in battle, thanks to his many physical and analytical capabilities.
Tomura’s prowess reached new heights during his battle against Re-Destro. In addition to gaining control of his foe’s army, he even tamed Gigantomachia. His accomplishments are backed by his fear-inducing aura and his paralyzing gaze, making him a truly menacing villain. His mere presence is capable of instilling hallucinations of death into Izuku’s mind.
Tomura proceeded another step further with body modifications that allowed him to surpass all the pro heroes to the point that his abilities became equal to those of All Might in his prime. Currently, he is feared globally after killing Stars and Stripes, America’s number 1 hero.
Shigaraki Tomura possesses quite a keen intellect. His sharp and analytical mind is capable of figuring out how other abilities work and their weaknesses simply via observation. In addition to being proficient at abusing enemy weaknesses, he is adept at formulating unexpected plans with clear goals in mind.
After the merging with All For One’s vestige, he now has access to all of his master’s knowledge, experience, intelligence, and cunning.
The sheer strength of Tomura’s willpower is genuinely remarkable. Owing to his traumatic past, abuse, and hatred of society, he refuses to go down even against more vigorous opponents. This determination led to the reawakening of the true power of his Decay quirk.
All For One believed that Tomura’s strength of mind would be powerful enough to override the will of One For All, and even the previous users of One For All have said that Shigaraki may do so.
Shigaraki has two main quirks:
Tomura’s original quirk, this ability lets him disintegrate or “decay” whatever he contacts with all five fingers. Bearing effect on all living and nonliving things, this disintegration is fast spreading and will engulf the entire target if the affected area is not amputated. It can even extend beyond what he’s touching, as long as it’s a solid object.
The Quirk’s reawakening shot its effectiveness and range sky high, making it so that he no longer needed all five fingers. He is shown to be able to decay nearly an entire city without making direct contact using his one good hand.
At this point, even getting hit by something under the effect of Decay is enough to exert its effects. One would think he lacks control over it, but it’s quite the contrary. It is fine-tuned enough for him not to affect specific targets while decimating everything else.
All for One
Tomura possesses the original version of All For One used by his Sensei. This gives him the ability to steal other people’s quirks and use them as his own. But just like its counterpart quirk, it comes with the vestigial will and consciousness of its previous owner. The greatest flaw is its attempt to take Tomura’s body away from him, acting more like a parasite.
In addition to these two main quirks, Tomura possesses quite a few noteworthy side quirks like his Super Regeneration, Search, Air Cannon, etc.
How I View Shigaraki Tomura
The way I see it, Shigaraki Tomura is the tough outer facade of the helpless child Tenko Shimura. Even though his inner child still wishes to be saved, the hardened man on the exterior refuses to be saved. He is blinded by his pain and is driven forward by hatred. Any chances for him to make a better turn along the way were tampered with by All For One, who nurtured his hatred in the name of making a suitable vessel.
Is there still hope for little Tenko? I believe so because that is why his counterpart and foil, Midoriya “Deku” Izuku, stands strong to this day. Someday, Shigaraki Tomura, too, would be saved by the hands of a selfless and kind hero. A hero who is not All Might but his successor.
Shigaraki MHA Guide: FAQs
Question: Why does Shigaraki Tomura Scratch his Neck?
Answer: When Shigaraki was a child his parents assumed his scratching was allergies flaring up. But we later found out that his scratching is his urge for violence and destruction. His itch only ceases after he goes on a rampage and satiates his thirst for destruction.
Question: Why does Shigaraki Wear Hands on his Body?
Answer: In the early days of the story, Shigaraki had 14 hands attached to his body. These hands belong to his family members and the 2 thugs that Shimura Tenko killed before becoming Shigaraki Tomura. The hands were given to him by Kyudai Garaki to remind Shigaraki of his rage and bloodlust.