Even though I’m a manga reader, I decided in the past not to review every chapter of My Hero Academia, due to the chapters coming out on a weekly basis.
I didn’t want to get too far behind on other reviews I had planned but there were definitely some chapters I considered reviewing, especially from the most recent arc, which I can already say is the best arc of the story so far, even though it hasn’t ended yet.
And, of course, the best arc just had the greatest chapter of My Hero Academia so far, a chapter so amazing that I just couldn’t not review it, Chapter 290 “Dabi’s Dance.”
It was so amazing that I was more hyped about it afterwards than the latest Attack on Titan chapter.
And, since Attack on Titan is my favorite story, that should show you how amazing I think the chapter is.
You probably already know the big twist of “Dabi’s Dance.”
It was trending all over Twitter, during one of the most controversial presidential elections in US history, no less.
However, it’s not difficult to see why this occurred because Chapter 290 finally confirms one of the biggest My Hero Academia fan theories, that Dabi is Touya Todoroki, the supposed dead son of Endeavor and brother of Shouto.
Not only this but the reveal also comes a full 100 chapters after Dabi first met Endeavor in Chapter 190.
Now, when I started reading the manga over a year ago, I kind of fell down the rabbit hole of the Dabi being Touya fan theory community.
There was so much evidence that Dabi being Touya was basically treated as fact by the entire fandom, myself included.
So, if everyone knew that the twist was coming then it should have been pretty much impossible for the writer, Kohei Horikoshi, to amaze us with the revelation, right?
Wrong, because “Dabi’s Dance” is the perfect example of a predictable twist not being a bad thing.
I’ve always found twists that I have guessed to be very rewarding so long as they are well written, and the Dabi twist is incredibly written at that.
Dabi literally brought all of hero society to its knees single handedly, just by talking.
The revelation that Endeavor abused his family and drove his own son to villainy may be the final crack that shatters the glass holding hero society together.
The build up to this twist is incredible, as the chapter starts with Rei Todoroki seeing her scarred son when Skeptic hacks his video that reveals the truth about Endeavor onto every screen in Japan.
This is an extremely important moment because Rei was getting better and about to leave the hospital but, now that she’s learned that her son is a deranged mass murderer, this could set her recovery months, even years back, if she ever recovers at all.
Then there is Natsuo and Fuyumi, whose reactions we haven’t seen but are likely to be just as devastating, especially Natsuo’s because he was so close to Touya before his “death.”
The contrast between Dabi revealing his identity on TV to revealing his identity to Endeavor is also striking.
On TV, Dabi is poised and collective but, in front of Endeavor, he is cruel and gleefully maniacal, and dances in a moment that is extremely reminiscent of Todd Phillips’ Joker and, as someone who loves that film, I can say that this was a fantastic homage.
Dabi also reveals just how ruthlessly smart he was in preparing for this moment, sending Starservant and Ending after Endeavor, all to build him up as a hero to make his fall all the more painful.
I cannot wait until this moment gets adapted in the anime, just to see how the voice actors of Dabi, both Japanese and English, say such fantastic lines like, “The past never dies!” and, “So let’s tango, you and me – Enji Todoroki! A dance with your son, here in hell!”
Accompanying these terrific lines are some truly excellent panels that show off Horikoshi’s great art style, from Dabi removing his hair dye to reveal his identity, to his manic face, to Endeavor and Shouto’s shocked reactions, it all looks fantastic.
Along with the Dabi reveal, we also get some great moments from characters like Shouto and Nejire, who team up in the beginning to try and take down Shigaraki, before Gigantomachina inevitably arrives to rescue his master.
Bakugo is also conscious in Iida’s arms but, despite him saying he wants to achieve an “Absolute Victory”, with how injured he is, I doubt he can do much.
Yet, the end of the chapter does show that the plane which is theorized to be bringing Best Jeanist is almost there so maybe Bakugo will get to do something to show off to his mentor, before revealing his hero name.
The real highlight of this chapter though is definitely Dabi’s reveal, due to the implications it has for the rest of the story, as shown by the brief look at Endeavor’s biggest fan Can’t-Ya-See-Kun reacting to Dabi’s revelation.
I am extremely intrigued to see how the rest of the public will react not just to Endeavor’s past but to their newfound distrust of hero society as a whole.
One thing I have my fingers crossed for is that the next chapter will be “Touya Todoroki: Origin”, explaining what exactly happened to Touya and how he became Dabi in the first place.
There are a few missing pieces to this puzzle and I hope the next few chapters can resolve them as the story dives head first into the Todoroki family conflict.
“Dabi’s Dance” is my favourite chapter of My Hero Academia so far and has instantly propelled Dabi to one of the most interesting characters in the story.