There might barely be someone who hasn’t heard of one of the most popular shoujo mangas, Boku no Hero Academia. Let’s admit it, we have all had a crush on at least one of those characters at least once in our life. However, one character that left the fans in awe was Dabi. Ever since he debuted in episode 31 of the anime series, there has been a tremor in the fanbase. He is portrayed with several scars and staples on his face and the rest of his body.
While some might argue that his appearance is scary, Dabi happens to be one of the favorite characters in the anime community, thanks to his rugged bad-boy looks. Dabi started off as a typical sadistic villain, with a strong determination to end every hero’s career. He is arrogant and rude but more than that, he is manipulative with no sense of emotions. Dabi’s introduction to the series brought in many questions related to his identity. In 2018, a popular fan theory on Reddit suggested that Dabi is the long-deceased son of Enji Todoroki, the number one hero himself. This theory was finally confirmed to be true in the latest chapters of Boku No hero Academia. However, the story of how Endeavor’s eldest child, Touya Todoroki, became Dabi is not all spring and happy colors. His journey from Touya to Dabi has left fans filled with mixed warm feelings for Dabi.
“First thing we have to do, is take away their sense of peace” – Dabi.
Here is everything you need to know about Dabi and his journey from being Touya Todoroki to Dabi. If you haven’t read the manga and don’t want the series spoilt for you, I recommend you stop scrolling because there are some major spoilers ahead!
Dabi is a major supporting villain in the series. What has he done, you ask? Well, he is a mass murderer who has admitted to killing about 30 innocent people. He joined the Villain’s League and also led a team of elite villains called the Vanguard Action Squad to attack the students of UA High School, where he kidnaps Katsuki Bakugou. He follows in the footsteps left by Stain’s ideology. He believes that only true heroes should exist rather than people who become heroes solely for fame and money. However, Dabi seems particularly interested in the next number one hero after All Might, Endeavor. Later, in chapter number 290, Kohei Horikoshi finally revealed that Dabi is, in fact, the long-deceased (or assumed deceased) son of Enji Todoroki himself!
Dabi seems indifferent to death and shows no remorse when he kills Snatch. Not only does he admit to not caring about his allies, but later in the manga, he does not even feel remorse over the death of Twice. Although, he does feel rather disappointed since he planned on using Twice to achieve his goals. He carries a pale blunt face most of the time, like nothing interests him or makes him sad. However, his face is filled with enthusiasm when he faces Endeavor in the recent chapters and reveals his true identity, which is probably a point where all his crazy emotions burst out. Although many fans had already assumed this twist, the confirmation still did not fail to surprise them. While Dabi has done some serious damage, his story is, in fact, pretty sad. The story of Dabi is the story of a child who was lost amidst mental abuse and terrible parentage on the part of his father.
Dabi owns a quirk named “cremation”, a devastating blue flame. Even with his given list of crimes, it is still difficult not to sympathize with Dabi’s past. While Endeavor was battling his own insecurities from being overshadowed by All Might’s power, he ended up being a villain to his own family while trying to be a hero to the world, which explains why little Touya would start hating heroes in the coming future.
Touya Todoroki – Birth
Endeavor married Rei Todoroki to conceive a child that would gain a fire quirk from him and an ice quirk from Rei. After Touya was born, Endeavor acknowledged his power and admitted that his flame power was higher than that of Endeavor himself. He felt no despair even though Touya had gained only one quirk instead of two as he desired. He was not as abusive to Touya as he was to Shoto. However, Endeavor’s selfishness exceeded to a point where he burdened a child’s shoulder with his own dreams of becoming the number one hero, which was quite toxic for young Touya. While Touya as Dabi has turned into a rude, foul-mouthed adult, as a child, he was sweet, innocent, and playful, which makes Touya’s story more depressing. Touya trained with his father as his mind kept filling up with nothing but only the obsession to be the number one hero.
Although things seemed to be going well in the beginning, Touya started getting burns from overheating eventually. Using too much of his power was starting to take a toll on Touya’s body. While Touya had gained a brilliant fire quirk from his father, he also had gained resistance towards low temperature from his mother, rather than the resistance from fire and heat making it difficult for his body to protect itself from his own powers. Endeavor instantly gave up on Touya and stopped training with him as he marked him a failure. By the age of 8, Enji snatched away every dream he had ever shown to Touya and refrained him from training further for his own well-being.
Dabi – Awakening
For a child, who only wanted to be the world’s greatest hero for his father, this felt like everything he had was taken from him. Five years after Shoto Todoroki was born, Endeavor’s negligence towards Touya grew. Shoto became a victim of Endeavor’s abuse while Touya of his ignorance. However, Touya was still very close to his siblings and was often seen playing with them. Touya would ask his father to train with him, to which he was only harshly told to stop training at all, as a result of which Touya started training alone in the Sekoto Peak.
At the age of thirteen, Touya’s growing mental instability was starting to show. He had been training hard despite the limits of his powers and risks that came along only to prove to his father that he was not a failure. He was, after all, only a child, craving for his father. The rage inside him would often come out in harsh words to a point where he even taunted his mother while she tried to console him, saying he could stop being so hard on himself and try to be anything else other than a hero.
He would often cry in front of Natsu, the brother that he was closest to. Natsu was often worried and suggested that he should talk to Fuyumi about it. Touya’s abandonment issues had reached their peak at this point, and he cried out, thinking Natsu was also pushing him away. What’s even sad is that Endeavor was unknown about any of these disasters that were born from his arrogance.
Any Dabi fan would cry knowing the hell that his childhood memories carried.
Dabi – Creation.
As he hit puberty, somewhere amidst this emotional rollercoaster, Touya’s red flame turned blue. The blue flames were stronger, and it took no time for him to realize that his emotions were the very trigger for him that he needed to grow his powers. He found a new hope to gain his father’s acknowledgment again. To show his development, Touya asked Endeavor to come to Sekoto Peak to witness his quirk. Endeavor knew the risks that his quirk followed and immediately disapproved of Touya’s training. However, Touya was adamant and wanted his father’s appreciation at any price.
Touya waited for Endeavor to come to Sekoto Peak, but the latter never showed up. This was perhaps the point when his strings completely snapped. Touya had learned how to turn on and how to develop his power, but he had never learned to control it properly (or more like he was never taught). Endeavor’s abandonment filled his little heart with rage. All his emotions turned into flames he could no longer control. Endeavor was told that even the bones of his child must have been incinerated to dust, leaving back nothing but his jaws, and this is what Endeavor believed until it is revealed that Touya had infact survived.
Yes! Touya was only thirteen when he had faked his own death. Imagine the kind of stress and pain that a child’s mind has to be into fake their own death and escape. Touya renamed himself Dabi and disguised himself by dying his hair black. There are multiple burnt marks all over his body, probably from overheating as he uses his quirk.
Dabi – Confrontation
Dabi went on to join the Villain’s League, despising heroes wholeheartedly. He does not only want to kill heroes but also wants to take them out of people’s hearts by defaming them. He has come a long way in a path filled with bloodshed only to exact revenge on both Enji and Shoto Todoroki. He broadcasts a revelation video telling the world of his true identity. Dabi clearly intends to sabotage the image of heroes and completely lift the faith that people have in them. He even goes to the extent of claiming that Hawks had killed Best Jeanist as well as Twice. He also reveals Hawk’s past in front of the whole world. He furthermore goes about telling the world about Enji’s abusive behavior towards his own sons.
When he reveals his true identity to Endeavor, he is shocked beyond limits and loses his senses. He stands there, frozen as Dabi prepares to attack while Shoto begs his father to move and protect himself. However, Best Jeanist arrives on time (to the shock of Dabi as he thought the hero was dead) and saves them. After some very interesting fight scenes, Dabi escapes with the help of Mr. Compress.
Post-war scenes show a very injured Endeavor in the hospital along with Shoto and the rest of the Todoroki family. Endeavor finally reflects on his mistakes and realizes the trashy father he has been. Rei however, strongly says that their child’s suffering was not just his fault but hers too and adds that he must fight Dabi. Shoto extends his hand towards Enji and states that they will stop Dabi together.
The journey from Touya to Dabi was a tragedy that resulted in the creation of a flaming monster. I am very curious to know how Kohei Horikoshi is going to take it from here. Will Dabi miraculously have a change in heart, or will he meet his end through the hands of his own father and little brother? Either way, I have a feeling that the chapters after this are definitely going to be a teary ride. Knowing Dabi’s past has brought him to a very soft corner of my heart, and although he has been a very harsh character throughout the manga, I would still want to see him change or at least have an ending that calms his pain.
Quick fact: Dabi happens to be voiced by a very famous voice actor. Shimino Hiro, who voices Dabi, also happens to voice Zenitsu Agatsuma from Kimetsu no Yaiba. Yes, the very deep-voiced Dabi and the very loud Demon Slayer happen to share the same voice actor.