My Hero Academia: Confronting One For All’s Dark Origin Is Key to Deku’s Growth

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for My Hero Academia Season 5, Episode 12, "The New Power and All For One", now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation and Hulu.

Since the beginning of My Hero Academia, One For All has proven to be an incredibly powerful Quirk. This is due to it being cultivated by each of its users as it's been passed on through the generations. But it also has some less enviable features, such as its dark origin -- something that Izuku Midoriya has been grappling with after the abrupt appearance of a new Quirk, Blackwhip.

During a conversation with Katsuki Bakugo and All Might in Episode 12 of Season 5, the former #1 Hero explains that he's never heard of Blackwhip's original wielder and that his mentor, Nana Shimura, also did not know that Quirks of OFA's previous users can also be passed down through it. However, it is Bakugo who makes the chilling connection that OFA is more like All For One -- All Might's greatest enemy -- than any of them originally thought.

OFA's origin dates back to AFO's younger brother. Seemingly Quirkless, AFO forcefully implanted a stockpiling Quirk into his brother. It was also in that moment that it was discovered that the brother did have a Quirk -- a powerless ability that could be transferred to others. Thus, the merging of these two Quirks created OFA.

Since then, this unique ability has evolved tremendously. After obtaining a second Quirk that was carried through the vestiges of OFA, Izuku has been informed that he has the potential to inherit all of the Quirks of every previous user (those who had Quirks, that is), which could one day enable him to wield a total of seven Quirks. This creates a dangerous parallel since the possession of multiple Quirks has only been seen in one other character: All For One, the Symbol of Evil.

Drawing on this connection, and the fact that Izuku has been the only known user to unlock multiple powers, Katsuki suggests that AFO likely triggered this resurgence. What specific action of AFO's caused the awakening of these new Quirks is still up in the air, though.

While a shocking revelation, by the episode's end, Izuku decides that it doesn't matter where his Quirk comes from because it is "his ally" now. OFA began with malicious intent and therefore comes with a heavy burden. But its purpose has evolved with each of its users. Izuku has trained extensively and followed strict regiments to even hold it. Influenced by his own goals and the people around him, he has found new ways to utilize this power and has made it his own. It's not the Quirk that makes a hero or villain, it's how it's used that turns it into something great... or bad.

This idea is quite literal with OFA. As a stockpiling Quirk, what matters is what you put into OFA, not how it began because, at this point, OFA is completely different than what it was at its inception. Initially, it was a very weak Quirk held by a fragile user, the younger brother of AFO. It stood no chance in defeating AFO back then. Because of this, the younger brother was forced to entrust his Quirk to future generations, allowing them to cultivate it in their own ways until it had the potential to permanently take down AFO.

While the hard work and hopes of eight previous users now reside within Izuku, it's important that he recognizes that he is separate from his predecessors and that his actions alone decide the fate of this long-running battle. This is also reminiscent of Izuku's own origin as a Quirkless kid dreaming of becoming a hero. Despite being given a Quirk by someone else, Izuku has spent the past five seasons of My Hero Academia making OFA his own. Accepting and redefining the dark origin of OFA is another catalyst in his personal journey to one day earn the title of 'greatest hero.'

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