In chapter 317 of My Hero Academia, Deku undergoes a dark transformation, with civilians doubting he could possibly be a hero.
Warning: contains spoilers for My Hero Academia Chapter 317!
After All For One’s latest slew of abominable stunts, Deku has descended into a much darker place than he has ever been before in My Hero Academia, to the point where his outward appearance has changed in an ominous way, making others doubt he’s actually a hero.
Deku’s downward spiral begins after he achieves the impossible by successfully swaying the heart of Lady Nagant, an assassin who betrayed hero society upon learning of the numerous grave injustices they perpetrated against herself and the civilians who trusted them. All For One initially took advantage of her hatred for hero society to convince the assassin to capture Deku for him, claiming that her dream of bringing down hero society would never happen so long as Deku remained free. Despite Lady Nagant trying to capture Deku, Deku is able to see the good in her and tries desperately to change her mind. But just when his efforts seemed to have convinced her, All For One triggered a Self-Detonation quirk that he had slipped inside of Lady Nagant without her knowing. Luckily, Lady Nagant survives – but barely.
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Her survival, however, is all part of All For One’s nefarious plot. Before springing a trap on Deku and his companions, All For One reveals how he sullied her redemption to prove she had truly fallen. All For One’s trickery and twisted ideals undoubtedly take a toll on Deku, as shown by how he’s portrayed in chapter 317 of My Hero Academia. Not only does Deku push All Might away when the former number-one hero tries to help his protege, but Deku’s outward appearance radiates a menacing aura as a result of the blood, sweat and mud that cover his costume. And although he’s particularly driven to take down All For One, that determination is manifesting in such a way that it appears almost demonic.
In fact, there’s a moment near the end of the chapter when unidentified speakers are discussing Deku, and it’s worrisome: “They say he appears without a sound … I heard he has multiple quirks … Isn’t that ‘All for One’s’ ability? … Is he a Nomu or something? … But apparently he’s there to help … I’ve heard he’s covered in scars, blood and mud! … He doesn’t look anything like a hero.” All of these word bubbles are juxtaposed with Stain, leading the reader to believe that these comments must be directed towards the antihero – of course, they’re ultimately revealed to be about Deku.
Since the very beginning of My Hero Academia, Deku has been the wide-eyed, innocent young boy who exuded heroism and goodness. So the fact that people could ever be under the impression that he isn’t there to help them, could misconstrue him as a Nomu, or could think of him as anything other than a hero is incredibly shocking. But even more damning is the appearance of Stain, an antihero who kills any hero he believes has deviated from the path of pure heroism walked by luminaries like All Might. Upon first meeting Deku, Stain spared the boy’s life because Deku had the makings of a true hero. But now Stain’s presence suggests that he no longer feels that way, and that as My Hero Academia continues, Deku may be at risk of becoming something far darker than the hero fans have always believed he’d become.
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