Waiting for My Hero Academia season 3 (it is going to be a long wait!), is the perfect occasion to watch the previous episodes again and focus on details we had not had time to investigate before. What makes MHA so likable, in my opinion, is its incredible range of characters with various personality traits and back stories it includes. One of the characters who particularly caught my attention – and I am probably not the only one, as he is often ranked as 2nd or 3rd favourite character of fans in the manga-, Shoto Todoroki.
What makes Shoto an awesome character?
Let’s be honest, when the character was first introduced in the series, I was a tiny bit skeptical with its development: it is clear from the very beginning that, compared to his peers, he has a powerful quirk that, on top of all, he masters perfectly. I was afraid the manga would fall into the stereotype pit of the overly powerful Shonen hero. The quiet nature of Todoroki also contributed to feeding the stereotype. Yet, all these rapidly turned into assets.
For me, the turning point is the match against Izuku, that allows to develop the character more in depths. This section/episode focuses on Todoroki’s backstory. We learn that his mother was forced into marriage with the number 2 hero Endeavor because of the usefulness of his quirk and how a child born with both abilities, fire and ice, would make the perfect hero. As Todoroki left side is so similar to his father’s face, this causes his mother an unexplainable fear and disgust towards him, to the point she purposely hurts him in a fit of panic. This is where the story becomes cleverer and more interesting. At this stage, we learn that Todoroki was never a child of love. He was surely brought up as an exceptional child, yet he could never enjoy a normal and happy childhood, as he was taken away from other kids. In terms of personality and character development, this certainly explains a lot. From this point of view, it makes sense that we have never seen Todoroki try and socialise much with the other students in his class: for him, this is not an usual behaviour. Moreover, his resentment towards his father and the hatred he shows towards him paradoxically make Shoto Todoroki more human. It becomes easier to identify with him. Besides, the relationship with Endeavor and the way they treat each other prove that Heroes are not flawless, contrary to what the literal definition of a hero would imply.
Through the story, Todoroki will prove he is extremely mature, confident and has an awesome ability to fight. Yet, the most satisfying art of the story is to see him develop relationships with other characters, such as Izuku and Iida. We all want to see this smile more in the show! Or at least, I do!
Possible future developments?
The story avoids the pitfall of turning Todoroki into a dark character thirsting for revenge, but still presents him with an ultimate goal: his motivation is “not to” become like his father. We may then wonder if Shoto Todoroki has the same character as his mother, about whom we know very little information. However, when faced with the Chief of Police after the fight against Stain, Todoroki proves he has a strong sense of justice, but also a need for his actions to be acknowledged. In looking for recognition, he shares a trait with his father beyond physical appearance.
As the story is currently unfolding, there is very little evidence as to how the character will carry on his development. It is very likely to we will see him in fights alongside the other main characters, simply because his quirk is amazing and offers endless possibility in terms of actions and visual effects to include in the anime. With such powers, it is easy to include spectacular events.
The treatment of the character is balanced and fair but does not leave much space for the unknown. In future chapters and episodes, it would be interesting to see Todoroki become fiercer and partially lose his very reserved nature, but after all, the future will tell.