Shoto Todoroki is on fire in 'My Hero Academia'.
(image: Bones)

My Hero Academia’s Shoto Todoroki and the Evolution of a Hero

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My Hero Academia is set in a world where most of the human population has gained the ability to develop superpowers called Quirks. There are nearly infinite types of Quirks. These abilities have allowed the development of a new category of people: Heroes, who face the evil-voted individuals who use the Quirks for selfish and criminal purposes, commonly known as Villains.

The series focuses on Izuku Midoriya, a young man who dreams of becoming a Hero despite his rare predicament of not being born with a Quirk. He eventually gains powers from the hero All Might and starts on his journey to becoming a Pro Hero. One of the promising young Heroes that he meets along the way is Shoto Todoroki, the son of the number two Hero, Enji Todoroki/Endeavor.

In any other series, Bakugo would be the Shoto—the bully whose traumatic past is used as a way to help him grow and move forward. Instead, My Hero Academia uses Shoto as an example of how this society has corrupted the people living within it through generational trauma and the desire for power.

When being a hero is a job that comes with brand endorsements, fans that worship your every move, and a constantly evolving landscape of Quirks, it makes people push themselves hard.

Enji Todoroki/Endeavor is very much a foil to Bakugo, with an obsessive drive compete with a Quirk that is in the elite levels. Enji strived to become the absolute strongest Pro Hero in the country, but the figure of All Might created a wall he could never overcome because All Might knew that being a Hero in the public eye is also about making people feel safe.

Despite having a Hellfire Quirk, Enji turned into a cold, callous person who didn’t care for anything or anybody—including his own wife and children.

Without getting into manga spoilers, Enji wanted to marry someone with an Ice Quirk to have the perfect child that would be able to balance out his own physical limitations as a fighter. The result of that, after three children, was Shoto Todoroki with his Half-Hot Half-Cold Quirk.

Enji placed all his hopes on Shoto, training him brutally and separating him from his siblings, who Enji called  “failures.” When his wife succumbed to a mental breakdown and attacked Shoto, Enji sent her away to a psychiatric ward just so she wouldn’t impact Shoto’s growth. 

As a result, Shoto grew to resent his father and only used his ice powers, in a form of protest against being his father’s tool. It also made him cold and distant from others—until the U.A. Sports Festival and Izuku Midoriya gave him an empowering speech of friendship (#TodoDeku), which started him on a path of reconciliation with himself.

Within a short period of time, Shoto slowly started to melt his heart and remind himself of the heroic values he learned from watching All Might. Slowly, he has learned to have friends, a trait Enji once attempted to beat out of him.

In many ways, Shoto is a rejection of the blind strive towards excellence in a society that literally wants to breed perfection. When having an ideal Quirk can help craft your path as a Hero or Villain, it is not surprising that someone like Enji existed. Since becoming #1 in the last season and attempting to slowly change his ways, Endeavor has been speaking with Shoto more. But that doesn’t mean the pain is gone.

During the fight between Endeavor and the Nomu, when it is clear his father could die, Shoto is scared for his father—because yes, they have a lot to deal with, but it doesn’t mean Shoto wants his father to die. Even among the other Todoroki children, there is a larger conversation about how to work towards forgiveness without asking for it directly. Enji doesn’t deserve to be forgiven, but it doesn’t mean he can’t or shouldn’t work towards it, especially for the sake of his children.

**Spoilers for My Hero Academia Season Five, Episode 8: “Match 3 Conclusion.”**

Right now, the students of 1A and 1B are in team matches against each other, and Shoto is usually a key player in every team, but he is hindered by still always using his ice powers first, even when fire would be stronger. It is embedded in him from years of hating his father and the abuse he faced. That rejection of a part of himself is still something he is overcoming.

I love that Shoto’s softening happened so early in his story because he wanted to be a Hero. He wanted to be better than his father, but also found himself being driven into that same dark place. Thankfully, Midoriya saved him from that, but now his reality is trying to come to terms with the fact that trauma doesn’t heal overnight.

Shoto is still working to become the hero he wants to be, and the journey has been wonderful so far.

(image: Funimation)

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Author
Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.