Chapter 289 turns the spotlight over to League of Villains member Himiko Toga, as fans learn the motivations for transforming into other heroes.
The past few chapters of My Hero Academia have spent a significant amount of time exploring the different sides of multiple fan-favorite characters. From the wholesome development of Bakugo to the rising endurance of Deku, fans of the Class 1-A students can find pride in the latest progression of their storylines. Chapter 289 turns the spotlight onto a different character, breaking the hearts of both fans of the character, and the character herself.
Himiko Toga first appeared in Chapter 57 of the manga. She found herself joining the main antagonist group of the storyline, the League of Villains. With a psychotic nature intensified by her obsession with love, Himiko is an unpredictable (yet somehow endearing) persona reminiscent of DC’s femme fatale Harley Quinn. Her quirk, named transform, allows herself to take on the appearance and powers of anyone she draws a blood sample from. Over time, she has acquired quite a fanbase from readers.
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This latest chapter gives a new dimension to the whimsical villain. It continues a battle between Himiko Toga and hero Ochaco Uraraka as seen in chapter 288. Though not the first time the two have fought, their strength has improved immensely. In familiar manga fashion, the fight is accompanied by a monologue from Toga as she explains her reasoning for transforming into other people and using their quirks; luckily, it’s not nearly as evil as one would think.
She is truly motivated by her love for others, not hatred, when using her quirk. Once she realized she could use her power to transform into the people she cared for the most, she grew to like the quirk. This overwhelming feeling fuels her uncontrollable bloodlust. However, it is the backlash from society that drove her to violence. As a child, she was told to suppress the feelings that led to taking other’s blood (rightfully so). Toga, rather than take this as a lesson of self-control, translated this into those around her trying to hold her back. Eventually, she utilized Uraraka’s quirk to take her anger out on someone who criticized her. This causes Uraraka to explode, noting that she would never harm someone else in that way, regardless of her emotions.
Knowing that her actions are driven not by anger or resentment, but from a place of admiration, makes Toga a much more sympathetic character. As someone who has shut her feelings down before, she feels a connection to Uraraka, a young girl hiding her love for protagonist Izuku Midoriya. It seems that Toga genuinely cares for Uraraka. Though they may be on different sides of the same war, she shows a deep love for the hero in her own unique way.
Learning the tragic upbringing that led to Toga feeling shut out from the world, readers are introduced to a more multidimensional character than the one they thought they knew. In similar fashion to other villains in the My Hero Academia universe, her actions may be way off, but her heart seems to be in the right place. It begs the question even further of who may be to blame for a villain-riddled world: the villains, or a discriminatory society that decides your fate based on something that can’t be controlled.
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