My Hero Academia is one of the frontier shonen series that has won the hearts of its audience as a new-gen. Building upon the predecessors of One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Dragonball Z, etc, MHA does not do anything out of the ordinary. Yet the beauty of the shonen series is how the same formula is reused again and again to tell profound stories. Today we venture into the enigma that is All for One and the light that was born from the darkness, One for All. 

Introducing the origin story of My Hero Academia

Boku No hero Academia explained
All Might explains One For All to Deku, Snap grab courtesy of Crunchyroll

For the uninitiated, One for All is the name of the main quirk possessed by protagonist Izuku Midoriya. All Might – the greatest No. 1 Hero of the world of My Hero Academia had bestowed Midoriya his quirk. Yes, it’s a passed-down heritage. Originally Izuku was born quirkless, something that is rare in fiction imagined by Kohei Horikoshi.

All for One on the contrary is the arch nemesis of One for All, introduced as the series’ greatest villain. As the series unfolded – particularly in My Hero Academia Season 2, we were introduced to All for One’s origin story. Remember that All for One is both the name of the villain and the quirk he wields.

One for All and All For One fulfill each other

My Hero Academia

So here’s my premise – the very point of One for All is that it is passed down. The reason why All Might even enlist as a teacher in UA academy was to find a worthy successor. The entire lore of One For All being passed down as a beacon of light is very alluring. Even more so when there is this absolute force of contrast named All for One.

In some sense, both One For all and All For One fulfill each other. Both are the light and darkness, the good and evil of the story. And there’s always been something profound about such stories. We all have grown up hearing about the triumph of light and truth over darkness, in some sense or the other.

How One for All came to be

My Hero Academia One For All
Yoichi, image courtesy of Crunchyroll

A long time ago existed a man with a quirk that allowed him to steal that of others. Named All for One, he was capable of transferring people’s quirks to others by first stealing them.

  1. All for One had a younger brother who was born, much like our present protagonist, quirkless. Having mercy on his younger brother, All for One passed a special quirk down to Yoichi. This quirk allowed him to culminate intense power within his body.
My Hero Academia Season 6
My Hero Academia Season 6 Ending Song snippet, courtesy of Crunchyroll
    1. That is primarily the quirk that you may have seen All Might and Izuku Midoriya use since the beginning. It’s a huge congestion of energy build-up that is released on impact. The quirk allows intense superhuman strength and speed but also asks for a capable body. Hence why it is so necessary to have a strong and developed body to wield One for All.
  1. Unbeknownst to All for One, however, his brother did possess a quirk. It was useless because his quirk was the ability to pass his quirk down to others. The passing down cannot be forced and must be a voluntary choice of the owner. What was originally useless turned out to be Yoichi’s greatest strength – to pass his will down.
My Hero Academia All for One
All for One, via Animeiko Youtube Channel

He was not capable of beating his brother with his then-current abilities. Yet he believed that if he passed it down, someone somewhere along the lines will become capable. Someone who would have manifested and perfected a heritage of powers collected for this one goal. To be the beacon of light, to defeat the nemesis – All for One.

The linear moral philosophy in My Hero Academia

  1. Heroes, villains, and extreme polarization of these have always made the ideas of good and evil simple to us. I mean, of course, as we traversed through life we may have understood that life is not black and white. That there are fifty shades of grey in between these black and white, ahem. Jokes aside, it is true that life is not polar or linear, or one-sided.
  2. One of the things that My Hero Academia does is polarize good and bad. There’s a definitive answer to who’s good and who’s bad. The world itself is divided into heroes and villains. The only time it came close to doubting its own moral philosophy was with the hero killer stain.

With stories like these, there’s a lot to explore really. And we have to forgive My Hero Academia’s linear morality on the basis that it’s a shonen series. Unlike Attack on Titan where you cannot really call it which person is the bad one, MHA tends to a more young audience. Boys, primarily. In some sense, it works really.

All for One is the extreme representation of evil. There is no grey line here. All for One is purely evil. Yoichi, and luckily all his successors including Deku have a strong sense of justice. Simply said, they are good. Iconic and ironic, that from within the helm of darkness arises justice and good.

Also Read: Will Adam And Eve Be Nier: Automata Anime’s Main Villains?

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Rhytham is a Philosophy graduate who founded a state-level organization that promotes anime and Japanese culture in his home state in India. He is also an ardent writer, poet, musician, vocalist, graphic designer, and photoshop artist. He has worked on multiple state and national level conventions. Other than anime, catch him watching western series that really have in themselves the solidity to catch his attention.