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The My Hero Academia Moment That Changes Everything For The League Of Villains

While the League of Villains may not have the most inspiring or imaginative team name, no hero in the My Hero Academia universe can deny just how dangerous the group is. Founded by All for One (voiced by Akio Ōtsuka) — quite possibly the most feared villain alive — and led by his protégé Tomura Shigaraki (voiced by Kōki Uchiyama), the League's large, rotating roster is stacked with villains of the highest caliber. Bicker though they may, they initially set out on a united front to achieve one thing: kill the world's greatest hero, All Might (voiced by Kenta Miyake).

The students of U.A. High School are caught in the crossfire during the League's first attempt to take All Might down, used as bait to lure the hero in. The students more than hold their own for a time, but All Might's arrival is when the tides really begin to turn. Shigaraki is startled by All Might's violence at first, only to realize that he's no different than the League in that respect, stating the only disparity between them is that the government backs All Might. Regardless, the hero comes out on top, sending the League back into the shadows for a time.

Interesting though it is to see someone as powerful as All Might kept on his toes, Shigaraki and the League don't exactly have the most fascinating reason to want to kill him. They mostly just... want to kill him, proving to the world that violence still exists. As MHA fans discussed on Reddit, however, there comes a point when Shigaraki solidifies his conviction — and the conviction of the whole League, by extension.

Spoilers for My Hero Academia ahead!

Shigaraki and the League are tested

The shift doesn't happen overnight, of course. After the League's failed attempt on All Might's life, a new villain named Stain (voiced by Go Inoue) catches the group's attention. Stain lives up to his nickname of Hero Killer, going about and ending those he deems "false heroes" — that is, those who don capes for the fame and money the profession often leads to. In his mind, that means pretty much every hero but All Might is up for slicing and dicing. His violent and consistent track record intrigues the League, and they make contact.

Stain throws a targeted question at Shigaraki, since he's the League's leader: What motivates the League to do what it does? Shigaraki's answer — which boils down to "kill All Might" — underwhelms Stain. He accuses the League of lacking true conviction. When Shigaraki later tries to steal Stain's spotlight with his genetically-engineered monsters, the Nomu, Stain's own conviction proves more powerful than anyone realized.

Indeed, even in defeat, Stain's legacy grows, inspiring villains of all sorts to emerge. They all assume Stain had connections with the League, and so they surge in the villainous team's direction. The criminal organization opens its doors to new recruits, which Shigaraki isn't happy about. He considers the newbies Stain's runoff, and wants nothing to do with them. His second-in-command, Kurogiri (voiced by Takahiro Fujiwara), believes change could be good, but Shigaraki doesn't buy it. The League is his operation, and only he should dictate how it runs.

A not-so-fun day at the mall

Off to clear his head, Shigaraki bumps into MHA protagonist Izuku Midoriya (voiced by Daiki Yamashita), AKA Deku, in a crowded mall. Threatening the young hero-in-training with his Quirk (that is, his superpower), Decay, which allows him to disintegrate anything he touches with all five fingers, Shigaraki asks Deku what he makes of Stain's popularity. What makes the Hero Killer so special? Why does everyone seem so attached to his ideology even though he's behind bars? And what's the real difference between Stain and Shigaraki himself?

In a nutshell, Deku answers that — despite not agreeing with the villain's goal or methods — Stain swung his blades with purpose. His motivation is tangible, whereas Shigaraki acts more like a child with a grudge. All of this, Shigaraki realizes, ties back to All Might, who inspired Stain in the first place. The Hero Killer considered All Might the only "real" hero, and set out to silence the "pretenders" in the latter's wake. Deku and his fellow trainees are also inspired by All Might, aspiring to live up to and possibly exceed his legacy.

"These guys," Shigaraki says while surveying the various mall-goers, "are able to smile thoughtlessly because All Might is smiling thoughtlessly." Viewers know All Might's side of the story, but to Shigaraki, this is nothing short of an epiphany. Yes, he and the League will continue to gun for All Might, but with renewed purpose. It's not just about ending the hero's life anymore — it's about knocking out the very foundation of society itself, about watching heroes and citizens alike stumble and suffer amidst the debris left behind. Without All Might, there is no society.

From that point forward, Shigaraki and the League ascend the staircase Stain built. In applying their newfound conviction to their original hatred of All Might, the group achieves successes the likes of which it never would have dreamed of. It's a lucky break for the League when you really think about it: none of its actions have to fundamentally change, but the drive behind those actions is far stronger. It may not seem like much, and that's because it isn't — ultimately, it's a small step. That small step, however, brings the League into a much larger world.