Todoroki Fired Up

This Latest Chapter of the ‘My Hero Academia’ Manga Has Made Me an Even Bigger Shoto Todoroki Fan

That a boy, Shoto!
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Spoilers for My Hero Academia chapter 351

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The My Hero Academia manga is currently on a break for about three weeks, giving us time to soak in one of the biggest moments that Shoto Todoroki has had in the series yet. Shoto’s been one of the most interesting characters to watch develop. When we first meet him he resents his father (Endeavor) so much that he refuses to use the power he’s inherited from him, sticking with the ice he got from his mother instead of touching the fire side of his quirk. He’s got a good reason, having grown up in an abusive household thanks to Endeavor wanting to create a hero who could surpass All Might—who was the number one hero at the time.

Shoto eventually reaches a point where he realizes that the fire he has is his own, not Endeavor’s, but in order to learn how to properly use it, he has to be trained by the very person who caused him the most pain. While this is going on, Endeavor is trying to make amends for the way he’s broken his family, leading to some excellent Shoto moments where he gives his dad his props for being a great hero but doesn’t mince words when calling him out for being a VERY shitty dad.

The way My Hero Academia has handled this is pretty great, from Endeavor becoming the number one hero due to a technicality instead of genuinely earning it (All Might retired), to Shoto constantly reminding him that wanting him as a teacher doesn’t mean he’s forgiven for what he’s done to their household. Endeavor also doesn’t expect forgiveness, either, especially when one last family secret dances into the frame.

Dabi’s feelings toward Shoto

My Hero Academia manga
(Image: © K. Horikoshi/Shueisha, My Hero Academia Project)

Dabi being the eldest Todoroki, Toya, added a lot more to Endeavor’s guilt. In the last chapter, we found out that after Toya’s quirk went out of control in his attempt to prove that he could handle it, he woke up in an orphanage years later courtesy of All For One and the doctor. Toya actually wanted to go back home right away, in fact, he DID, only to see Endeavor favoring Shoto since the other two siblings (Fuyumi and Natsuo) were also “failures” in his eyes. Even if “favoring,” in this case, was a terrible amount of abuse, Toya still saw it as his father forgetting about him and focusing on someone else. It was also very much a, “Wow, dad, you didn’t learn a damn thing,” moment because you’d THINK Endeavor would get better after losing his eldest son, but alas, that character development came way too late.

While Dabi very much hates Endeavor (understandably so), he’s got some anger toward Shoto, too. In this current manga chapter, Dabi tells Shoto that he sees him as Endeavor’s perfect little puppet, fighting Endeavor’s battles for him, and being the one who was chosen by their father to fulfill his ambitions—something that Dabi actually wanted to do himself when he was younger until it basically killed him. He goes so far as to say that Shoto won’t make anything out of himself because he’s simply following what Endeavor wants.

My Hero Academia manga
(Image: © K. Horikoshi/Shueisha, My Hero Academia Project)

Surprisingly, Shoto agrees with his brother.

Shoto’s resolve

My Hero Academia manga

What I really like about this moment is that Shoto clearly does NOT fault Dabi for being so pissed off at Endeavor. There’s no moment where Shoto tries to reason with Dabi and get him to see things from Endeavor’s perspective. If anything, Shoto actually validates Dabi’s feelings, agreeing that their family is completely screwed up so it makes perfect sense for Dabi to be against them after everything he’s been through.

Honestly, when Shoto and Dabi started fighting, I felt really bad for Shoto—I still do. He was a baby when Toya left home so he never really got to interact much with his eldest brother. Now that brother is back and wants to destroy everything Endeavor cares about. It sucks, but what’s amazing is that Shoto fully agrees that this is Endeavor’s mess. He did this to his children, and it’s fine that Dabi is so full of rage.

What Shoto disagrees with is the fact that Dabi has taken his frustrations out on innocent people. To Shoto, Dabi needed to direct his feelings toward the Todoroki family, not the innocent people he’s killed over the years. This is something that needs to be settled between the Todorokis, there’s no need to pull in other people who have nothing to do with it.

You can be mad, just be mad at the right people.

My Hero Academia manga
(Image: © K. Horikoshi/Shueisha, My Hero Academia Project)

I’m not sure how this battle is going to end. Ideally, Dabi doesn’t end up dying so Endeavor can truly face what he’s done, but I get the feeling that Dabi’s hanging on by a thread since his grudge is literally keeping him alive. The way Shoto’s approaching this shows how much he’s grown since we first met him, but damn, it’s so tragic that he’s been put in this position. Even so, I’m glad he understands what drove his brother to this point and that his issue isn’t with Dabi’s feelings, but his actions toward those who didn’t deserve to get caught up in them.

(Image: © K. Horikoshi/Shueisha, My Hero Academia Project)

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Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)