I won't deny the League of Villains is not a thing to be maintain. It is not a healthy environment for its members to heal, it was instead encouraging violence and not correctly dealing with their traumas and many other points that just held the League of Villains as an unsustainable situation.
What also can't be denied is that without the League of Villains, most of its members couldn't be saved at all. The League as a group restored the faith in humanity of most of its members, something that yes, it started with Stain as a symbol, but Stain was a celebrity inspiration, the League was the real thing, the constant support, the reinforcement.
Before the League, all its members were separated and alone. Why would you ever believe in a society that has done nothing but reject you? Chase you down for being different? Cast you away? Gave its back to you?
With the League, even as shitty and violent and toxic as it was, these members realized hey, humans are not all monsters. Hey, there's people out there willing to accept me and help me and become my friends not because I'm a tool to be used or just a step in a ladder, but because they really want to get to know me and they truly enjoy my company.
Dabi went from talking like he was the only villain that a matter to being proud of the League! And using the "us" pronoun! After what happened in Sekoto Peak, they were the first to let Dabi know he was not alone!
Society has completely giving up on Toga Himiko. You know what the League did? They say you're not dying on us. If anything, we're dying for you. While her parents treat her as she was already dead, there were a group of criminals worried about her, taking care of her, listening to her.
Mr. Compress? Twice? They had no one, they had nothing. To this day, everything there is about Mr. Compress past is a distant heritage and a dream. No one, no place, no clue. And Twice only had himself, his clones and his trauma over not being even able to trust who he was or he was even alive. And they had two of the most amazing moments in the whole manga, sacrificing themselves for the League, saying how much they felt loved and who their existences only came to matter thanks to the League.
Fuck, Magne got avenged. A woman who thought nobody cared got an entire group that came from from actually not caring, going all in and creating a crazy strategy to make sure the people who killed her suffered.
Should I talk about Spinner, who's only felt seem with the League? Who found out about how he was more than just a lizard with them?
Or should I talk about Giran? The man who underwent torture for them even if he didn't have to? The man who build that family as much as the others did?
Or about Tomura? Man, I'd probably never state enough who much Tomura meant for the League and how much the League meant for Tomura.
So what the League did was heal the distrust and hopelessness of each member, making them believe there was some future where they didn't have to be alone. So when the heroes hint they could be that, companions that would help them heal and pay for their crimes at the same time, it doesn't sound as crazy because they already know from experience there's someone who wants and can do just that.
That's why I keep repeating that waht the League means doesn't cancel out what other people means to the members of the League, and the other way around. Those are complementary relationships, they don't exclude each other.
The fact, they couldn't exist if not together.
I can write forever about beauty and evil, about how the calmness of this face and the cold stare are total opposites of the amount of emotion Tomura normally shows.
Even the smile, the way Tomura's mole gets lost in the frame, the way this is too much AFO...
Even the scars are not that relevant here. There's so little left of what Tomura truly is.................
There's something so special to me about both Touya and Tenko rejecting the idea of becoming evil at first and the way after all this time, they still don't want to be fully evil...
The fact that Horikoshi draws them as their kids version when Deku and Shouto connect with them is a symbol of their innocence not being totally lost, a symbol of how they are still able to be saved. Tenko and Touya are still... You know, Tenko and Touya. Of course they are also Tomura and Dabi, because so much has happened and they can't just stop being who they have been for the last 10 years or more. But! Tenko and Touya are still there! You can't erase them either!
And more important even, their kid versions are frozen in a particular time: they look like they did the moment their lives changed forever and things went fully wrong. Tenko still looks like he used to the night his quirk snapped and he killed the Shimuras. Touya still looks like he used to when he burned himself down in Sekoto Peak.
Which leads me to believe all those years, they fought to keep their kids selves alive. They had to fought for it, because otherwise the context around them would have just eradicate every little trace or innocence that had last. To know Deku and Shouto finally found the connection (finally found the kids within them) and either has already helped them or are on their way to save them...
I think this is one of my favorite things of bnha.
Are you really wondering why so many people like the League of Villains while totally failing to acknowledge that they are a welcoming group whenever you like it or not?
Magne is a confirmed trans character in bnha / mha.
Twice has mental issues and no one ever questioned him or rejected him for it.
Toga is a teenage girl and they never even once commented on her looks or sexualized her. Even more, they worried over her but never underestimated Toga in no way.
Mr. Compress lost his arm and they never treated him like he was less or anything.
Dabi has a bunch of issues but no one questions him or asks him about anything. He's free to come and go as he want, always.
Shigaraki never forced them to do anything. He himself never rejected someone that wanted to join the League. With Stain and Overhaul, they refused to follow him and stayed away themselves, they also looked for a fight with Shigaraki.
They never made fun of Spinner for his quirk.
Most of them are not useful to society standars and they don't care. They don't push anyone into being more than what they are.
You have at least two characters with chronic psychological and physical issues. No one rejected them or though less of them for that.
They represent minorities. Not all of them, but some of them. They are a tiny group of powerless people getting together to do something big, contrary to organizations like the Hero Comission or the Meta Liberation Army (who were people in power).
They never pushed anyone to reveal their identities. I can't stress how important this is. They never asked for anything the others were not ready to give.
They never blamed Twice for taking Overhaul to them. Shigaraki gave him the opportunity to fix it but only because he was feeling guilty, not because Shigaraki himself was blaming him on it.
They support each other a lot. They are each other's priorities.
If someone hurts any of them, they get revenge, oh boy if they didn't. Overhaul, the Meta Liberation Army and Hawks are some examples of what happens when you mess with a member of the League.
And finally, they'd gladly sacrifice themselves to protect each other. We have many, many examples of this.
*Dabi is an exception to some things over here but he's a separate case, mostly because he is very protective of the League, for whatever reason he has.
But there it is. They are a welcoming group.
I'm not saying they are a picture perfect family and I'm not excusing their behaviors. Stop seeing things in black and white. They can have good things without being romanticized and still have many many things wrong.
They are still very disfunctional and dangerous to each other, but there are also some important topics and representations in here.
Regarding Toshinori calling Dabi "insane", I just want to add that I loved Horikoshi adding that detail. Why?
Because the hero system hasn't change!
Yes, we got some emotional moments after Ochako's speech, we got Stain talking to Toshinori, we got the consequences of the War, but the problem runs deep.
Toga is "crazy".
Dabi is "insane".
Tomura is "a child".
They're the representation of how society would break you and then made everyone go against you because "you're not will in the head". They're the main three villains.
Older pro-heroes have been more exposed to the manipulations of the hero society. They are used to looking the other side with situations like the Endeavor one. And it's not coincidence that Horikoshi showed us again how much All Might's existence has hurt Tomura, just when the narrative of the villains being crazy is brought back.
Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but Toshinori doesn't know about Deku's speech to the Vestiges. I think he says that he felt Deku's resolution, but because he isn't dead yet, he couldn't be there with the vestiges, just generally feel it. In that case, Toshinori could not know what Deku is planning to do.
I want to remind everyone that we got a whole panel of Deku telling All Might he was as powerful at him in his best days. And that panel ended up with Deku going away and leaving All Might behind.
Deku is already as great as All Might. Now he's currently surpassing him by doing something All Might couldn't do: saving Tenko Shimura.
What does it matter when we talk about Dabi? Because the narrative told us the UA kids are becoming the greatest heroes. They all are going to push pass the old generations and they what they are incapable of doing.
Ochako stole the megaphone (the voice) from Present Mic to declare her intentions. Shouto saved Endeavor from dying in the War arc because Endeavor froze while facing Touya. Tokoyami had to rescue Hawks from Dabi, Momo completed the operation Midnight was leading against Gigantomachia, Deku was the one who protected everyone by facing AFO.
These kids are already more.
So while the oldest generation is still focused on eradicating the villains but not the problem (see Aizawa saying it's time for revenge andfor example), the UA kids now that if they don't fix the problem, nothing will change. There'll be another Dabi, just like Shouto almost turned to one. There'll be another Toga, another Tomura, another Spinner, another Kurogiri.
The revelation of the UA traitor came with the idea that pro-heroes are still not seeing villains as victims. So what Horikoshi did was putting a villain right among the UA kids. And what know? Is she crazy too? They lived with her all this time. They laughed with her, she's their friend, their student. Are they going to push her aside just like society pushed aside all the other villains? Are they going to try and kill her?
And that goes deeper. Didn't they help Iida when he went after Stain? Didn't they help Bakugou? Didn't they went for Midoriya went he left UA? And didn't Deku prevent Shouto becoming something like Endeavor?
We're back on Toga's question: why should the heroes decide who should be saved and who shouldn't? How do they do that?
Why Endeavor deserves to live but not Touya? Why Dabi is the "insane" one and not Endeavor, who abused his family for 25 years?
And because so much has happened, now the kids don't have the pressure to be like their teachers or past idols. Now they can identify when their mentors are wrong, now they can make their own decisions, their own futures. This goes back to Deku refusing to believe he couldn't be a hero because he didn't have a quirk. This goes back to the kids choosing to rescue Bakugou while not trusting the pro-heroes (and ultimately helping All Might win the fight by taking Bakugou out of there). This goes back to the kids defeating Stain and changing the future Nighteye had seen, to them refusing to stay back, to their desire to be heroes not matter what others say.
If the old pro-heroes think Toga, Tomura and Dabi are insane, why can the kids decide on their own if they agree with them or not?
This is all connected because it's the building of the final arc. Let's not forget it.
I really hope and I have faith that Dabi won't change immediately just because Shouto finally reached for him and they were able to connect.
What Dabi went through, what make him become the man he is nowdays, I don't want it to dissappear just with a hug. Give me the struggle, give me the ugly parts and the suffering that comes with trying to give a 360° change to your life. Give me the sadness and the anger and the hurt of not being understood, of being rejected, of people reminding you why you went astray in the first place and what made you so dark.
I want to see the process or at least I want the process to be imply, because many times people think that if victims and criminals don't change over night, they are not worth the effort. And that's a lie.
Some people will never fully recover for what they went through. Ask those who went to war and came back forever changed, unable to be what they were before leaving, unable to forget the hell they underwent. Asks those who have to deal with long term trauma, the ones who are pressured to heal because "its been so long" and they still can't forget.
I wish Horikoshi doesn't erase Dabi chronic condition with his burns and his fire problem, but he gives Dabi some relief. Because what a great character Dabi is right now, with all his traits and issues. To simplify the road to recovery would be to erase the suffering, and to erase the suffering would be to erase the entire experience and his right to be angry and sad as a victim, because it'd also erase the sins of everyone who wronged him.
Give it to me complex and raw and true, or don't give it to me at all.
Okay okay, personal reactions aside,
Aoyama being the traitor is fucking great.
The fact that his parents are at UA is great, the way Hagakure got to know it and the way Aoyama is crying is great, the way Izuku looks is great, the fact that they are surrounded by the kids from 1-A class is great.
Because now it will hurt. Truly hurt.
There's no running away or dehumanizing Aoyama, there's no looking to the other side because he's at UA, where he and his parents where supposed to be safe. Once more, a kid suffers and a family gets shattered right under the hero society's nose.
And once more, Aizawa will have to deal with the pain of seeing a kid get hurt. Once more the UA kids will stare at the cruelty of the world, the same cruelty that got Bakugo saying we can't be naive. Because the past generation was naive with All Might on his best years. Aizawa said it himself, they got too confident, too sure, too naive.
They can't run away from violence or pretend it doesn't exist. Endeavor tried with Touya, Toga's parents tried it, Kotaro tried it. When you turn blind to what's happening and expect it to dissappear, it won't.
You need to deal with it.
Shouto asking Touya why didn't he go home is so raw, it hits with maximum strength.
He's making the right questions. He is making questions! And he's engaging with Touya, he's listening.
Normally people don't listen to Touya, not even when Touya broadcasted his video explaining Endeavor's abusive behavior. They listen what they want and what works for them, or they don't give them the benefit of the doubt at all. And Shouto is there, not only giving all that to Touya, but also feeling it deep. His brother, the one who has suffered exactly like Shouto has, never went back home in around 10 years after Sekoto Peak. Why? Shouto goes as far as to wonder about the time lost, about what Touya likes or not, about how he is and why.
He ask why didn't you go home and it screams we wanted you home, we wanted you, where were you.
It is exactly what Touya deserves.
I really like the mention of Bakugo's trauma with what happened in Kamino. People would talk a lot about hud character development (totally valid, I'd too) but forgets that Bakugo was the main focus of both Tomura and AFO that day. Not only that, but he got kidnapped by the same dudes that almost killed his teacher and then was present when AFO showed up for the first time. We saw how the rescuing squad reacted (they could barely move), but Bakugo was in the middle of it.
Even worst, he ended up watching his role model retiring that day after a fight that almost killed him. Bakugo went on to believe he was responsible for what happened to All Might, when the truth is that Bakugo was the main victim of thay night. It played a lot into his trauma of seeing weakness as a crime. When he was weak, bad things happened. Kudos to Kirishima for being the only person Bakugo could be vulnerable with.
Ignoring all the other drama for a minute, I'm very proud of how Bakugo is facing both AFO and Tomura. I'm proud of how he admits how much that night in Kamino affected him.
Hot take but the people who makes jokes about how Shigaraki and Dabi are disgusting for not showering or taking better care of themselves really forget that:
At least 70% of Dabi's body is covered in burns and I'm saying this as someone who had relatives getting terrible burns: you have to be double careful with those injuries if you don't want one to get an infection.
One of the treatments for that shit involves daily peeling the burned parts to avoid them from getting contaminated and then apply the medication it needs.
By the way, I bet Dabi's inmune system sucks because he needs to take antibiotics constantly. I bet he's constantly getting sick. Someone buy this guy some multivitamins please. I'm worried.
For what we know, he's also having a terrible time processing food and getting the nutrients he needs to keep himself alive. His poor stomach.
But let's keep the focus.
Dabi probably cleans his wounds regularly. He needs to apply something to prevent infections, he needs to replace the staples, etc.
I actually thinks he needs to clean his clothes a lot because they can contaminate him too.
When it comes to Shigaraki, we have seen him changing outfits and dressing nicely as soon as he can. He's clothes are usually comfortable and practical.
I mean, he's wearing cut hands of real dead people not because he likes the aesthetic. There's a whole deal in the manga on those hands symbolizing his development and being directly linked to his traumas.
Really, for the people who think everything can be cured with beauty products: that's shit, pal. Emotions and traumas can generate physical responses. I think that's the case of Shigaraki's scratching, which means it won't go away just by applying some medicine. It can tone down, but won't dissappear.
The representation they give is amazing because it's very very important to understand there's a whole deal of people who doesn't have the time or the money to have perfect skin and it doesn't fucking matter. They deserve to live as much as anyone, they deserve love and appreciation and there are more people like that than there's people with precious wonderful skin care.
That's why it hurts so many people when artist just erase their scars and burn marks and scratches. They don't have to "heal" or "erase" those to be happy or live healthy.
Both Dabi and Shigaraki represent people with chronic conditions. It's more likely they'll never heal from it— well, they obviously can because this is fantasy and anything can fucking happen and be valid, but I guess you understand my point.
It's so funny how Dabi and Shigaraki were the two first to call out each other on their looks. That's recognition, buddy. They realized the other was dealing with something similar, even if subconsciously, and that's why it was okay at some level. They were okay with it.
The rest of the League just adapted. They even got scared when Bakugo blasted the hand off Shigaraki's face. It was Shigaraki who stopped them and told them it was okay at some level.
And oh my fucking God they are poor.
The conditions they live in are precarious as it's best, specially for people with wounds that are constantly reopening. I don't know if you know how poor people live but spoiler alert, they can't exactly pay for A+ treatment and psychological help and other stuff.
When you're living in such misery, small things like dyeing your hair or playing videogames can help a lot. You don't feel the need to be beautiful so other people can admire you, you don't own society shit, so you'll better do what you like if you want to find a reason to stay alive at all.
And don't even get me started on the jokes about them being incels or whatever. This is something way more personal for me but I'm tired of such complex characters being reduced to sexual matters. I couldn't care less about sex and being honest, knowing that the manga has said absolutely nothing about it, we're not even sure they do give a fuck either.
I apogize for my language.
Have a nice day.
And keep this all in mind.
My thing with Shigaraki Tomura is that he is, without discussion, one of the best written characters of Horikoshi.
1. He is the main antagonist, but not the main villain; that's AFO.
In other words, Tomura's goals are directly opposite to Deku's goals, which makes Tomura the antagonist. However, the big villain is AFO because he's the one holding the threads and manipulating Tomura.
2. Try and compare AFO and Tomura in terms of narrative complexity, for example.
AFO as a character is rather simple. So far he doesn't have a backstory to explain why he wants to dominate the world, outside of the whole thing with him wanting to make fictional stories come true. He is always evil and manipulative. He doesn't truly care about anyone if they don't represent some advantage to him. He's been alive for many many years now, but he hasn't truly change or grow inside the narrative of bnha.
On the other hand (pfff sorry), Tomura is quiet complex. He's the product of the hero society and he has a whole story supporting the narrative of how much he has changed and grown in the course of the manga. His intentions aren't always clear because what he wants is not always clear either. He has shown genuine affection and hatreds, has shown real concern for the people around him in contexts where they were not giving him any advantage and his reason for doing things is big enough to be the main subject of the manga.
3. AFO is the greatest evil, OFA is the greatest good. Tomura is related to both sides.
He is in the middle of a war where he represents who would win. He is a symbol just as powerful as All Might, a symbol that lives in a reversed world where the heroes are the villains and the villains are the heroes (at some extent, not completely).
There's no easy way out of his situation. Unlike other villains, he had no support and the heroes felt no sympathy towards him until later, after AFO admitted Tomura's being Nana Shimura's grandson. I think Deku is the only hero who has shown to be interested in Tomura for who he is and what he's suffering, or at least he wants to know more about him before making his final judgment.
4. Actually, we as the readers forget how little the inside world of bnha knows about him.
Tomura is for us an open book. We have heard him narrating his story, we've been in his mind, we've seen his feelings raw and bare. Not even AFO knows him as we do, neither does Deku. All the people who really "knew" him are dead.
We can even say Deku has the privilege of knowing Tomura the most. It's true that Tomura doesn't go around talking about his family and what happened to him, but let's not forget:
He didn't remember well enough what happened to him until My Villain Academia.
Since his first apparition, he had been highly communicative with the heroes, despite them rejecting him and his words multiple times.
He was willing to tell his story to the League of Villains at the beginning of the MVA arc.
Hawks couldn't find much about Tomura, which says a lot when it comes to how little the inside world of bnha knows about what happened to the Shimuras.
We don't know if All Might knows about how exactly the Shimuras died. We don't know if Gran Torino knows either, because for their reactions they didn't know about Kotaro being dead, many years after the Tenko incident.
We only know that Deku knows about Tenko because he has the vestige connection with Nana Shimura, but we don't know how much Deku is aware of when it comes to Tomura's past. How much Nana even knows?
Tomura has always been manipulated by AFO. He raised Tomura to act like he does and is constantly there to shape Tomura's path.
AFO now went as far as to possess him, restricting his actions, words and even his mental space.
Kurogiri is the only other character who knows Tomura well enough, and right now he's out of the narrative.
Deku does know Tomura better than any other hero, but he doesn't know him at all like we do. For the heroes, there's no reason to save Tomura or consider him something more than a criminal. They probably don't even know about Tomura being Tenko, or how he relates to All Might through Nana Shimura.
Horikoshi has showed us not only the story of Tenko and Tomura, but also his thoughts and feelings, his point of view, how AFO took advantage of everything. He haves us info enough for us to know that Tomura is an unreliable narrator. In complete honesty, every villain is an unreliable narrator in bnha.
5. Wherever you hate him or love him, it's easy to get invested in his story.
If he started off as someone who you couldn't understand or tolerate (not my case <3), that could have changed through the story. From his first apparition to the current arc, Tomura went from a complete stranger who wanted to bring violence and chaos to the hero society, to a character we deeply know (better than many other characters) and who is being manipulated and abused to a level that has no comparison on the manga.
We know at least three generations related to Tomura. We know his childhood and have an idea of how his teenage years went. His team (the League of Villains) have deeper backgrounds stories than many other hero students or pro-heroes. We've been on his mind and heart, enough to see through his eyes while he was killing his family and while he was getting possessed by AFO. We know almost everything about his quirk, about his behavior, to the point we don't know more because Tomura himself doesn't know more.
And Horikoshi had extensively showed us with many parallels and explicit actions how he is a victim. He presented Tomura as a victim of the violence in the current system. A young man with a great hatred capable of harming children and harming himself if that meant teaching a lesson to society. The desire of destruction went from a the typical speech of the villain, to a very saddening cry for help from a person that has been abused all his life.
Meanwhile, he is also dangerous and terrible, a cold blooded killer and a global threat. He has the biggest body count on bnha (after AFO, of course), showed no remorse or morals while facing multiple enemies and there's no guarantee Deku would be able to help him or save him.
6. In conslusion, if you want to know how complex of a character he is, just take a look.
From his character design to his voice, including his many names and the changes in his behavior, Horikoshi must have spend a great deal of time thinking about Shigaraki Tomura.
He even made the whole motive of Tomura the hands, a symbol Horikoshi likes a lot.
It's all written in the many details surrounding the character. Horikoshi probably adores showing off by giving horror elements to Tomura. You can see how Tomura is a mixture of many subjects and inspirations, which reflects on the elements of gid narrative.
That's why Tomura is also my favorite character in the whole story. At least for me, there are just a few other bnha characters that in matter of narrative can compare to him.
You all knew how much I want Endeavor to stay alive in order to pay for all he's done. I've been very vocal about it, in fact.
For me Horikoshi did something amazing with the Endeavor storyline. First of all because the sequence of Endeavor fighting AFO has little to do with action and a lot to do with self-realization.
Enji not only exposed himself. Keep in mind all I have explained about younger versions of a character appearing as a why to symbolize the character core or soul or true self. Done? Well, we saw Enji facing a younger version of himself as a graphic description of the internal turmoil he was going through. This is Enji at his absolute limit, on the verge of dying, finally admitting all the wrong he has done, how awful he has been, how much damage he had caused. Even more, he's accepting he's not truly good. Hell never be what he wishes he could be, he can't reach the 1# spot as a hero. He even recognizes that the future heroes shouldn't be like him, that the future generations shouldn't have to carry the issues and mistakes of the past generations.
And I can't say this enough: this is huge.
I don't know if you hate or love Endeavor, but that doesn't matter here. We all know he was getting a redemption arc and it starts here. Not before. Here. Redemption starts with the person recognizing they have done something wrong or been someone bad. There's no getting better without the recognition phase, because you can't fix a mistake if you don't know it exists (not in this case). Yes, Endeavor must hate the person he is right now ane that's good for him. I'm not saying he's getting forgiven and all his sins had been forgotten. What I'm saying it's that it took a fight to death with the biggest villain on the bnha universe for Endeavor to recognize he's a major bastard, that he's responsible for what happened to Touya (hey, Touya is also responsible for his decisions but that's another post), that he's an obstacle for the future generations and that he needs to be a grown ass men, do his job right, deal with his issues and stop messing with people's lives.
For me, this is perfect. Endeavor dying would solve absolutely nothing. In terms of storyline, it'd be only a wound that's there to bleed, but it doesn't furthers anyone plot, it doesn't serve an option aside being dramatic, it is useless.
Endeavor LIVING? That's the move. There's a reason why he had that vision of Shouto walking towards the future, his back to his dad, facing the light. Enji owns the Todorokis for all he has done. He needs to take responsibility for the Touya thing (Shouto had to go stop his brother, something Enji should have done before), he needs to support Shouto in his career after all the trauma he inflicted, he has to answer Rei and be there for Fuyumi, he even has to endure whatever cold treatment Natsuo give him.
And if we talk about Hawks, I guess Endeavor's redemption is the path that opens up Hawks' redemption. Hawks is still young and he projects his issues a lot in Endeavor, his idol. If anything, Hawks depends way more on Endeavor that any of the Todoroki kids.
The graphic components of the chapter (357), like Endeavor basically murdering his past self in order to fully embrace how bad he has been it's a major step. Someone probably would give an explanation based on Freud about this, but I refuse to do so. You have Hawks making wrong guesses about Endeavor, which speaks a lot about how idolized is Endeavor in Hawks' mind and how Endeavor is not exactly feeding such narrative in the middle of the fight.
And because this is an Endeavor centered post, I won't even talk about how cool it was to see AFO's popping just one eye and one ear, and amazing way of showing how he only sees and listens to one side of the story.
All you have to know if that I'm fascinated on how things turned out ane I'm ready for more to come my way.
The fact that Aizawa is very clearly explaining how society won't immediately accept the villains back, and they'll have to fight to prove they are better, goes together hand in hand with the fact that society is already undergoing the changes the League of Villains and the UA kids wanted to make.
Also?? While the UA kids still have along way to go, they represent a future where those villains can go back again to society and be heroes even. Because it doesn't matter if Aoyama can't go back to UA, that doesn't mean he can't be a hero, or he can't keep being their friend.
He deserves to live and fight for himself, for his right to exists. As well as people like Toga, Dabi and Tomura do.
Adding to this post, I think the leaks of bnha chapter 355 are a wonderful starting point to talk about humanity in bnha.
First of all, let's stipulate that AFO is not only himself in that body. The trick of being the use of OFA or AFO is that you won't be alone in your body anymore, since now you have the conscience of other people sharing that mental space with you. In the case of OFA, you have all the preview users of the quirk. In the case of AFO, you have all the consciences of all the users of the quirks you have stolen.
Within his mind, AFO is vulnerable to all that humanity. Remember what happened with Star and Stripe? How her conscience wrecked her own quirk in that mental space within Tomura-AFO? Well, she also destroyed a few quirks, in fact.
This plays into the fact that there's a special place that only Deku, Tomura and AFO can reach— and fight in. Not even Toshinori can accompany young Midoriya, and the only reason why Tomura can be there is because AFO is sharing his body.
What do I mean with all of this?
It's really powerful to leave the following message between the lines : even AFO, with all his evilness and ambition, needs humanity in order to be who he wants to be. And humanity as a whole, as a concept, at least in the inner world of bnha, can't be totally erased. If it wasn't for the quirks he has stolen, he wouldn't be the demon king. Which means he is no one without all those people in his head.
In a more symbolic way, we can even said that in last chapter we were seeing the humanity of AFO fighting to bring his whole charade apart. Now, remember, I'm talking here as AFO as the formation resulted of the original AFO (we don't know his name) + all those quirks and users in his mental space.
So yes, humanity is AFO greatest weakness because when left alone, it won't obey him. He needs control over them, he needs the upper hand, but there are things that even him can't control. For once, the OFA user has always been a problem. And now all the people following the OFA user and even more recent all the users of the quirks he has stolen.
Pay attention: It is Jirou's words what makes him slow enough for her to attack him. Her words. Her humanity of remembering the way AFO has hurt her friends.
The human experience can be a weakness (Endeavor not paying proper attention to AFO because he got distracted thinking of Touya and Shouto) or a strength (Jirou using her words to slow down AFO). The difference is in recognizing it, not denying it. If you try to hide your weakness (like Hawks, AFO and Endeavor has done, for example), it would come back to punch you in the face. If you recognize them and you work on them (like all the UA kids), it can be use against you in a battle but you'll be ready to deal with it. Prepare.
And that's a wonderful point of bnha: the difference between a generation that didn't want to recognize they were doing things wrong and a generation who doesn't want to live in a lie.
So have you ever think about how people on the manga keeps following Tomura for all the wrong reasons? Because they follow their own versions on Tomura or what they think Tomura is, instead of seeing the real Tomura?
Of course the League's an exception, because they grew to see the real Tomura and understand him, but Gigantomachia crying because Tomura reminded him of AFO? Redestro following him because he was there to destroy everything and stablish a world were the strongest was always on top? That's a big no.
The League went to Tomura to follow Stain, but they changed their minds on the way and stay with him because Tomura promised a world for the people like them, the freaks, the outcasts, the kids with problems that grew to be criminals because no one cared, the adults who were through away from not being enough, the fallen heroes, the poor, the ones on the streets, the ones outside of the standards... A world where they had the chance to be someone, to live well, to be happy.
The members of the League are twisted in their own ways, far from being healthy and seeing things the "right" way, but they all understood that Tomura was not AFO. They were his friends, his family, because they accepted him as their boss.
Just check the War arc. AFO never cared about the people he used as toys. And yet, the League agreed that Tomura would want them to be okay, to be safe. They all named Tomura on their speeches during the War arc.
Toga knew Tomura would want a world in which she could be happy. Spinner knew Tomura would want them to be alive and safe. Twice knew Tomura would fight for him against any enemy and never judge him for his mistakes because they were friends. Dabi knew Tomura was not so full of hatred and anger as people said he was. Mr. Compress sacrificed himself to save Tomura while screaming how much he loved the League. Kurogiri / Shirakumo gave to Aizawa the direction of the hospital because they were worried about Tomura.
They care. It's there on the canon. They care about him as a person, as a leader, as a friend. When Spinner says "this was not the man I decided to follow" while seeing AFO possessing Tomura, it is the specific reaction of the League. Not like that. They were willing to follow Tomura, but no AFO.
And that means a lot.
I wonder why Tomura is the man child but Dabi is the insane one, when it's pretty much the contrary.
Dabi is stuck in his childhood, unable to scape what Enji did to him, while Tomura is out there hallucinating, having zero to none self-control, destroying himself and others, blacking out with no memories, being disconnected from reality, etc.
Saying Dabi is insane takes the blame out of the Todorokis and even Dabi himself, placing it on a mind condition rather than conscious acts from Dabi to search for some release.
Meanwhile, saying Tomura is a man child puts all the blame in him, when he doesn't even control his body anymore. Most of his mass murderer acts happened when he was not mentally well and barely conscious, seeing memories from the past or hallucinating, being under AFO's control or suggestions or worst.
This is yet another instance of people misunderstanding Dabi and Tomura by placing their judgments upon them, instead of first analyzing the information to later reach some conclusions.
Some other thoughts on bnha 341:
Most villains in this chapter are one way or another masking their feelings:
Spinner is not comfortable with the plan, but he swallow down his concerns and his instinct in order to help Tomura. He knows he is a piece on AFO's game, but he can't stop it himself. He thought about it, about not helping AFO, but abandoning would mean leaving Shigaraki behind too, and if he wants to keep his friends close, he needs to go with the current.
Dabi is clearly not okay either, something you can judge by how he reacts quickly to deny Toga's compliment. He's also projecting on Toga, telling her to laugh and don't cry (we rarely see Dabi crying even if he's hurting, for many reasons), burning down her old home, but he really included himself in the mission to carry on Twice's legacy. "I want to hurt my dad" is a strong feeling, but it's not everything he feels right now.
We have seen Tomura's mind, his state, how he truly feels inside. So when he says "let's destroy", we should remember that every time he is in intense pain he wants to destroy to relieve it. He didn't even ended the phrase. Let's destroy what? Anything? Anything that makes him feel better?
And Toga, like Spinner said, is a free spirit. She doesn't hide as much as the others, so of course she went to face her past and memories, because she allows herself to feel. She doesn't smile like Dabi tells her, and all her gesture lately are rather sad.
There's a difference still between villains like Skeptic and the League of Villains. For once, Skeptic keeps on planning how to manipulate others, and he sees comfortable on his role. Meanwhile Toga and Dabi are mostly going themselves, or with the help of one of their friends, while Spinner is directly distrusting the whole process and Tomura is in no shape to think or say anything proper of him.
This chapter is also very visually speaking about how villains are demonized. Toga, who was before too a martyr to Curious' eyes, is no strange to people labeling her. Since she was a kid it has always been about what others think, how others see her. Many times it doesn't matter who she truly is, but what she is to them.
I don't think Toga will die, but for the likes of the dream she had, she's going to face some heavy injuries. And if it is not that literal, and it's way more metaphorical, it can be an image connected to the bird she bited as a kid only for curiosity. It could be about consuming the blood of someone she loves (bird to the navel) and being covered in her own blood dancing (maybe her being free to be herself). But there are more options.
I keep repeating this, but Horikoshi is making emphasis on how things can't be as before. That's not a bad thing! Quiet the contrary, it means we're not going back to the hero society we started with. Changes are hard and often traumatic, but they also make things become different, even better. Toga doesn't have a home to return to, but her parents never wanted her. Maybe she'll find a place where she's really loved and needed for what she is, for example.
AFO told Spinner "everyone can be somebody's hero". And the chapter is called "the story of how we became the greatest heroes. - 1". This is what is behind that story. It's a parallel on the other side of the spectrum. Heroic deeds can be good or bad, in terms of morality, according of how they impact society. Please remember this: if a villain can become a hero, anyone can too. And that's an idea Horikoshi has been reinforcing with Hatsume telling Deku the support classes are heroes too, for example. Or Aizawa telling Aoyama he can still be a hero with them on the next battle. Or Shinzo showing up. Next battle is a chance, for them to change things.
Remember that is resolution with changes the future, like we saw it with Nighteye. There's nothing decisive yet, because Horikoshi likes to twist things when it seems everything is decided. A change of heart normally happens on those moments: Eri jumping to Izuku, Kota defending Izuku, Bakugou shielding Izuku from AFO, etc. Those changes often imply trust between Izuku and someone else, or between two characters in the case of Kirishima and Bakugou, Momo and Midnight, Aizawa and Shirakumo, etc.
Individual battles imply individuals change of hearts. See the Overhaul arc, and how for example FatGum connected with the villain thanks to it being a one against one. In the War arc two, with Ochako and Toga facing each other and Ochako being close enough to see Toga crying. Individual means details, and more closeness. Since both sides will show their dreams and the strength of their wills, many things can happen, and there will be a lot of communication.
Finally, it is normal if you feel afraid for the villains or the heroes, or if you think the heroes are being too rash, or if the story makes you doubt. Remember Horikoshi wants it, because any good storyteller wants you to fall for the narrative. Don't be ashamed of falling! That's the beauty of a story, when you let it guide you in a rollercoaster of feelings. Just enjoy the ride and keep getting hyeo for the stories you love!