The Anime and Manga Series My Hero Academia owes a huge influence from western superhero comics. These influences range from character designs to how the series deals with a world populated with superpowered individuals. Another element this series takes from both superhero comics and manga is the number of characters in the series with a dark or tragic past.
When compared to some other Shonen titles My Hero Academia’s cast is filled with characters with a more normal upbringing, it only makes those that have troubled upbringing or backstory stand out even more. This article will list the 10 most tragic backstories in My Hero Academia and ranked from least to most tragic.
10 Izuku Midoriya
Compared to your average Shonen protagonist, Izuku has a relatively happy upbringing. Both of his parents are still alive and there are not that many traumatic events in his backstory. What makes Izuku’s backstory considerable for the description of tragic is the fact that he was born Quirkless.
The reason that Izuku being born Quirkless can be considered tragic, is due it being revealed to him at four-years-old. This reveal leaves Izuku with having to deal with his dream of being a hero crushed at a very young age. His Quirkless nature also made him a target of bullying in his youth.
9 Eijro Kirishima
While at first Kirishima appears to be a character that would be the further from having any sort of tragic past, his personality is something he’s deliberately projecting to make himself feel less insecure. Krisihima’s insecurities are rooted in a particularly traumatic incident from his childhood.
That tragic incident was that when Kirishima’s Quirk first activated, his hardened skin nearly took out his eye. This incident gives Kirishima a very negative viewpoint to his Quirk that he has only quite recently gotten over.
8 Gentle Criminal & La Brava
This duo of fame-seeking small-scale villains has quite the backstory of two outcasts of society joining together to get back at the world. Gentle Criminal’s backstory gives a dark answer to the question of what happens to those who drop-out of UA. After dropping out of UA, Gentle briefly became a vigilante. This vocation ended with his parents kicking him out after they were bankrupted by a civilian that sued Gentle for hurting him in an attempt to save him. This and a former classmate not recognizing him left him a depressive funk until he decided to follow the path of the gentleman thief archetype.
La Brava’s turn toward villainy began when she becomes a shut-in after suffering from a false rumor from her classmates that she was a stalker. After considering suicide, La Brava came across Gentle’s video and found a new purpose for her life.
It would make sense for the series’ “tribute” to the Dark Age of Superhero to also have a tragic backstory. What makes Stain’s tragic backstory unique is that most of its tragic nature is only revealed by reading in-between the lines of his backstory.
Stain’s backstory as revealed in the series was as a former hero in-training until he learned enough about how commercialized the modern hero business was that he became a very cynical person and alienated himself from society. After failing to change the system peacefully, he decided to become a vigilante that would kill those he felt profited from this corrupt system. This established backstory combined with the issues caused by his Quirk requires him to harm people to work and led to his tragic decline from potential paragon to a raving madman.
6 Shota Aizawa
Shota Aizawa, the hero named Eraserhead, has a personality that seems to be particularly shaped by incidents of his past. His style of teaching is both very strict and makes no effort to sugarcoat the dangers that comes with being a hero. These personality traits and the fact that he spent his years before teaching as an underground hero are shaped by a tragic past.
Aizawa’s tragic past was revealed in the prequel series Vigilante: My Hero Academia Illegals. The Series reveals that Aizawa’s demeanor was shaped by the death of a fellow student while interning with a hero. Aizawa was so shaken by the attack that he went from a very positive and upbeat individual to his current personality.
While on the surface Twice seems to be a villainous homage to Deadpool, in truth he serves to be a deconstruction of the reasoning for Deadpool’s eccentric personality. This deconstruction is seen clearly by Twice’s tragic backstory.
Twice’s tragic backstory began with his parents dying during his youth. Then as an adult, he got into a motorcycle accident that left him with a criminal record. He would then try to use his duplication power to form a criminal gang. This ended in tragedy when his duplicates did not want to follow his order leading to a traumatic fight between all his duplicate that left Twice unsure if he was the original or just a duplicate. This trauma and uncertainty in who he is led to his currently mentally unbalanced state.
4 Shoto Todroki
The character from Class 1-A with the most tragic backstory would have to be Shoto Todroki. This tragic backstory is a result of his father, Endeavor, starting a family not out of love, but out of creating a worthy successor. Endeavor’s effort to turn his children into worthy successor would lead to Shoto’s older brother, Toya, apparent death after overusing his powers.
Toya’s death and Endeavor’s abuse of Shoto’s mother leads to her having a nervous breakdown that left Shoto with a permanent burn scar after she freaked out over how much Shoto looks like his father. This incident and having to live with Endeavor has left him with a more cynical worldview than his classmates.
3 The First One For All Wielder
While not much is known exactly about the first individual to use the One for All Quirk, what is known about his past paints quite the tragic one. This tragic backstory is the result of him both being one of the first Quirk users and that his brother is the villainous All For One.
The first One for All wielder grew up in a chaotic time in human history when the emergence of Quirk users caused wars and social upheaval. All for One’s treatment of him lead him to appear gaunt and malnourished as an adult. This abuse combined with a Quirk that can only be given to another person leads to him being remembered as a tragic hero who sought to stop his brother’s rise to power, only to fail.
Eri’s backstory is very much the perfect storm of the tragic elements commonly seen in a My Hero Academia character’s backstory. She has dead parents, an abusive childhood, and had a traumatic awakening of her Quirk.
Eri’s tragic backstory began with her power awakening at a young age, accidental killing her father. This incident leads to her mother abandoning her, leaving Eri with her grandfather. This grandfather would leave her in the care of his subordinate Overhaul. Overhaul would pretend to care for Eri to only drain her of blood to use for anti-Quirk bullets. Thankfully Eri was saved by a Hero taskforce and can look forward to a better life.
1 Tomura Shigaraki
The most tragic backstory in My Hero Academia belongs to its main villain, Tomura Shigaraki. His story hits all the notes of Eri’s backstory but becomes even more tragic as it adds a descent into villainy.
Tomura grew up in an abusive household, where his father beat him and the rest of his family dissuaded him from his dream of being a superhero. This environment led to the emergence of his Quirk to decay organic matter to become a tragedy with him killing his family by accident. Shortly afterward, he was found by All for One that twisted his anger and confusion against society beginning his journey towards villainy.
The hit anime franchise 'My Hero Academia' has its fair share of drama in the series. Here's a look at the saga's 10 most tragic backstories, ranked.