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Shoto Todoroki's Quirk From My Hero Academia Explained

The mega-popular shōnen anime "My Hero Academia" has developed one of the most inventive modern takes of the superhero genre. Focusing on a world where the majority of the human population has some kind of superpower, the show has top-notch worldbuilding and takes time to explore just about every facet of how this metahuman society functions. The result is a depiction of a superhero universe that feels surprisingly realistic despite its inherent fantastical elements.

Of course, one of the biggest draws of "My Hero Academia" is seeing these metahumans use their colorful superpowers. Fans of the series will no doubt be familiar with its distinct terminology used to describe these powers: quirks. While the series has seen all manner of different quirks ranging from Katsuki Bakugo's explosive capabilities to Ochaco Uraraka's power to make everything she touches float, few have managed to match the intensity and intrigue of Shoto Todoroki's half-hot-half-cold quirk.

How did Todoroki get his quirk?

An important thing to understand about quirks in the universe of "My Hero Academia" is that they are passed down genetically. Unless the child is born quirkless like series protagonist Izuku Midoriya was, the offspring of two quirk users will often either inherit a version of one of the parents' quirks or a mixture of both. In the latter case, the combined potential of the two quirks merging into one often gives birth to an even more powerful quirk.

Todoroki's quirk is a profound rarity, though it wasn't an accident that he got it. Todoroki's father — the ultra-aggressive superhero Endeavor — specifically arranged his marriage to Todoroki's mother to bear a child that would have a mix of his own powerful flame quirk and her ice quirk. While Todoroki's older siblings only inherited one of their parent's quirks, Shoto himself finally realized his father's dream by being born with a fused quirk. It was for this reason that he rigorously trained from an early age to be Endeavor's successor and a stronger hero than the powerful superhero icon All-Might.

How does Todoroki's quirk function?

Todoroki's half-hot-half-cold quirk is quite literally split down the middle of his body, as exemplified by his iconic red and white hair. His right side can generate ice while his left side can generate fire. The young hero's ability to control these elements allows him to do things like creating a massive wall of fire or freezing everyone in his vicinity just by touching the ground. Clearly, both of these elemental abilities are powerful enough on their own, but the hero-in-training has also recently managed to begin using both sides of his powers at once for even more diversity in his move pool. 

Despite the relatively unmatched power that Todoroki wields, his quirk does have a distinct limitation. If Todoroki only uses one element or the other for a prolonged period of time, it will have adverse effects on his body. For instance, during the time early on in the series when Todoroki refused to use his flame abilities, he couldn't go overboard with his ice quirk without risking inundating his body with frostbite.

Todoroki has come a long way since those early days, however, and he's unlocked much of his own true potential. With increasing stamina and a deeper mastery of his dual-elemental abilities, there are few that can stand in the young hero's way. Izuku Midoriya may have his sights set on becoming the greatest hero, but make no mistake — Todoroki is providing some fierce competition and making the most of his one-of-a-kind quirk.