My Hero Academia has quickly become one of the most popular anime around. Fully embracing the history and tropes of the shonen genre it has become a consistently entertaining anime well deserving of its praise. However there are some elements of the show that seem to illicit confusion among both fans and detractors alike. That being the nature of heroes Izuku Midoriya and All Might’s power: One For All.
Please Note: Major Spoilers for the anime and perhaps a minor spoiler for the manga.
One For All is first and foremost a special quirk being non-hereditary like virtually every other quirk in existence. Able to be transferred to other users after the current user is finished or weakened in battle. Which was the case when the prior bearer of One For All Toshinori “All Might” Yagi transferred the quirk to Ikuzu “Deku” Midoriya. Following a climactic battle with arch rival All For One, the effective antithesis of One For All.
Not a lot is currently known about the prior users of One For All save there have been seven of them in total. Interestingly, it seems All Might was the first famous user of the Quirk. Giving credence to the theory that One For All increases in power every time it is transferred. As nobody had seen a quirk much like All Mights prior to his debut as a hero.
At its core as explained by All Might, One For All is a combination of two quirks of the past. The merging of the power to transfer quirks (a useless quirk on its own as generally people only have a single quirk) and one able to stockpile and release energy. This was facilitated by All For One transferring one of his stolen quirks to his “Quirkless” brother, who unbeknownst to All For One had the transference ability. Inadvertently creating the one ability that could eventually defeat him.
All of what has previously been mentioned has been actively stated by All Might as the history of One For All. What comes next is largely speculative based on context and statements by the characters. Effectively we now shift not to what One For All is but what it can do.
Fundamentally One For All is physical ability taken to an insane level. All Might has shown no other special powers such as flight or energy manipulation. He is merely incredibly strong. To the point even a novice user of One For All can create concussive shock-waves of air by flicking their fingers.
As such actually be hit by a user of One For All can be a life threatening experience. Even quirk users such as Season Ones Nomu, who was specifically designed to fight All Might, was overwhelmed by One For All. Funny enough it was this fight that seems to have created a lot of confusion for fans of the series.
I will say this now when All Might defeated Nomu he was not using the full power of One For All. As he was at this point in the story no longer able to summon One For All’s full might. Indeed All Might himself said while it took about forty hits to defeat Nomu then if he was at his peak he could have done it in five. Implying that All Might was only using about 15% of his peak usage of All For One. Likely due to the fact All Might himself no longer has One For All at all only “embers” of its leftover power.
In short both the viewer and characters in universe (including Midoria) have yet to see the full extent of One For All and All Might going all out. This brings us to One For All’s second most notable user Izuku Midoriya.
Now while Midoriya uses One For All he has very little experience with it or knowledge of its limitations. Full Cowling for example is Midoriya’s training wheels not his ultimate form. This means literally everything Midoriya says regarding One For All is suspect. Due to his deficiency in knowledge and experience Miodriya is an unreliable narrator as he does not know what he does not know.
This manifests itself in a few key ways. Following the events of the UA Entrance Exam All Might says Midoriya is likely using only five percent of One For Alls full power. The key word is likely, it implies All Might himself does not know if this is the case. Giving the author leeway in expanding All For One down the line.
Furthermore, if one believes that One For All increases in potential with each user that leads to the inevitable conclusion Izuku Midoriya himself will one day surpass All Might in raw power. Which all shonen students inevitably do. Making All Mights assessment of Midoriya suspect as well.
This is a rather long winded way of saying anytime Midoriya compares himself to All Might or makes reference like “One For All One Million Percent!” such as in the current episode, he does not know what he is talking about. It is merely hyperbole to explain that Midoriya is going beyond. Which is not surprising as not only is that one of the main points of the shonen genre it is literally the series catch phrase.
All in I expect My Hero Academia to be a fixture of the shonen landscape for quite sometime and both Midoria and All Might will continue to show new and exciting powers during its run. After all Deku is not yet PLUS ULTRA!
I hope you enjoyed my write up on My Hero Academia if you have any thoughts let me know in the comments. If you would also like me to cover something else put recommendations too.