Welcome back once again to another fantastic Wednesday! Today we’re going to be talking about Dabi, one of my personal favourite villains from My Hero Academia. I haven’t really talked about My Hero Academia very much as of late, but the manga focusing heavily on Dabi in its current chapters reminded me about how much I quite enjoy this edgy madman.
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*Manga Spoilers ahead!*
Who is Dabi?
Dabi is a member of the league of villains, the main source of bad guys in My Hero Academia. We first meet the character in the wake of the “Hero Killer” Stain’s imprisonment — he shows himself to be something of an anti-hero (or should that be anti-villain?) who believes that hero society was a mistake, and that the motivation for becoming a hero had become blurred, with money and fame becoming the primary reasons for people wanting to become a hero.
Stain was something of a spark that truly set Dabi’s motivations alight, with him wanting to follow through on the Hero Killer’s ideals and expose the hypocrisy of the heroes of the world. It’s this inspiration that gives reason to a lot of the odd decisions that Dabi makes throughout the series –eventually, leading to one of the biggest shocks for hero society and the one they believed was their new “Pillar of Hope”.
If you’re a fan of the series and know who Dabi, Todoroki, and Endeavor are, then you have probably pieced some of these together already. Yes, Dabi is the first son of Endeavor, the one believed to have died, and yet here he is running rampant as a key member of the most notorious villain group in Japan.
Why we love Dabi
Straight away I was definitely into the character’s aesthetic — jet-black hair, a cool outfit, but most important was his extremely distinctive burn marks. Dabi’s fire burns extremely hot, to the point where if he isn’t careful he runs the risk of burning his own skin away. As a result of his experimentation with his powers, his body is covered in burns and small metal pieces that look as though they keep parts of his skin attached. Kind of gross, but still very cool.
Next up is his power — it’s quite simply fire that burns absurdly hot. Aptly named “Cremation”, Dabi’s signature blue flames burn at temperatures of around 2600 degrees Celsius, much hotter than even his father’s Hellflame. Thanks to some of the events that lead up to Dabi being a notorious villain, his body has become somewhat numb to the pain of his own fire, which led him to use his power pretty liberally.
Finally, I love a good revenge story — especially the kinds with twists, turns and surprises; the ones that really throw your emotions for a loop. We know that Dabi’s main motivation is to get back at his father, and at the beginning of the series, Endeavor does everything in his power to make us as viewers hate him. Slowly but surely as he learns how wrong he has been, he begins to develop, and all of sudden you find yourself smiling at something Endeavor is doing.
Suddenly we’re in a situation where you can see one character’s traumatic past and empathise, but cannot condone the heinous crimes he has committed since. Meanwhile another character’s past is something you would expect from a villain, but their development is something you are enjoying and feeling good about.
Why you’ll love Dabi
If you’re looking for a character that comes packing a decent supply of edginess, you’ve found him — Dabi is your man. Outside of his initial appeal and terrifying power, his motivations and actions are always interesting. At numerous points, he does things that you wouldn’t feel fall in line with someone branded as a villain, but then he will go off and kill numerous innocents which don’t really fall in line with the ideals of Stain either.
After All Might retires and Endeavor takes up the mantle of “Number 1”, Dabi masterminds a plan to release one of the High-End Nomus to attach Endeavor. As Endeavor comes out victorious, the crowds of people watching in suspense cheer, and there’s a feeling of relief that the “Pillar of Hope” still exists even though All Might is gone. This was all a build-up from Dabi to make the shocking reveal all the more crushing to not only Endeavor but the thousands of people that saw him as a hero.
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