Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Entire My Hero Academia Timeline Explained

"My Hero Academia" is a wildly popular shonen anime based on Kohei Horikoshi's manga of the same name. The story unfolds following a worldwide event that caused 80% of the world's population to gain superpowers (called "Quirks" in this universe). The greatest hero of them all is the Superman-esque All Might, who the protagonist of the series, Izuku "Deku" Midoriya, idolizes. Unfortunately for Izuku, who desperately wants to be a professional superhero, he is one of the unlucky 20% of the population who are completely powerless. This changes after a random encounter with an injured All Might: The famous hero grants Izuku his ultimate power, known as One For All. Izuku's newfound powers allow him to attend All Might's alma mater U.A. High with other heroes in training.

One of the great things about "My Hero Academia" is that it successfully merges American superhero iconography and tropes with anime's flair for action and melodrama. The fight scenes are often visceral and brutal, with the show serving up some of the best anime battles in recent memory. And, like most superhero properties, "My Hero Academia" has a complicated backstory with dense lore. Not only is the show's set-up (the idea that most people in the world have superpowers of some kind) relatively unique, but the story also spans multiple generations. There's a lot going on, but fear not — we've broken down the entire "My Hero Academia" timeline, from the origin of Quirks to the present state of All Might, Izuku, and more. Spoilers ahead.

The first Quirks appear on Earth

Despite the majority of the population possessing Quirks in "My Hero Academia," it is surprisingly vague on when this phenomenon occurred and what year the story takes place. However, what we do know is that the first ever Quirk manifested in a baby, so it was clearly a new phenomenon at some point. Born in Qing Qing, China, the child had glowing skin and was dubbed The Luminescent Baby.

As for the exact date and time period "My Hero Academia" takes place in, there are a few theories. One such theory is that "My Hero Academia" is actually set in the far future (some fans theorize it could be as distant as 200 years from now). This theory is partly based on Episode 33 of the anime, in which Deku mentions that technology seemed to stagnate due to the appearance of Quirks. He states that interstellar travel and hyper drives would have been invented by now if Quirks hadn't come into existence.

Also supporting this theory is the fact that various people have had the One For All Quirk throughout the years: All Might is confirmed as being an active hero for forty years and he is the eighth person to be in possession of that Quirk. Even if the previous One For All users had died prematurely (like All Might's mentor Nana Shimura), that would still equate to many years of Quirks in the world before All Might's birth.

It's also confirmed to be at least four generations since Quirks first appeared, based on the fact that Deku's mother is a fourth generation Quirk user. In short, superpowers have been around for a long time when we meet Izuku Midoriya.

All For One's crime ring forms

We don't know for certain exactly when Quirks began appearing on Earth, but it seems as though the supervillain All For One (one of the scariest anime villains in recent memory) was among the first to possess one. Though All For One's full name remains unknown, it has been revealed that his surname is Shigaraki, which he passed down to his successor Tomura Shigaraki, Izuku Midoriya's main nemesis in "My Hero Academia."

All For One is named after his Quirk, which allows him to steal powers from anyone he comes into contact with, similar to the powerful "X-Men" character Rogue. Over time, he has collected such powers as super strength, invulnerability, immortality (his age is thought to number in the hundreds, though exactly how many hundreds has been hotly debated by fans), and a slew of others, including Quirks that up the strength of his other abilities.

When he arrived on the scene, the superhero world was not ready to combat his Quirk in any meaningful way, which allowed him to amass an unprecedented criminal empire in Japan. No one could oppose him, including formerly powerful criminal organizations like the Yakuza, which became practically extinct once All For One founded the League of Villains and began his reign of terror.

The origins of One For All

What some people don't know is that All For One actually had a younger brother, who he cared for deeply in his own twisted way. His brother's name was Yoichi Shigaraki, and Yoichi was a thin, sickly man with no Quirks (at least, as far as anyone knew). What Yoichi did have is a strong sense of justice — he despised his brother for his megalomaniacal pursuit of power and domination. At some point, All For One (through invasive genetic engineering) forcibly gave Yoichi a Quirk similar to his, one designed for the stockpiling and hoarding of powers.

However, unbeknown to both of them, Yoichi did have a Quirk, one that allowed him to transfer powers to other people. This is how the rare and powerful One For All Quirk first came into existence. Unfortunately, the Quirk was too much for Yoichi's frail body to handle (remember, Izuku Midoriya's body had to get used to it as well). This was the beginning of One For All being a Quirk that is passed down from hero to hero — Izuku is the ninth person to possess this unique and sought-after Quirk.

One For All passes through multiple heroes

Before his death, Yoichi passed down his One For All Quirk in the hope that someone stronger than him would use it to take down his evil brother. Not a lot is known about some of the early users — we've seen them in silhouette form and during Izuku Midoriya's vision, but that's about it. Beyond Deku and All Might, one of the other main One For All wielders is the fifth one, Daigoro Banjo, aka the professional hero Lariat. Daigoro grants Deku the power of Blackwhip, a top-grade Quirk that lets him use glowing tendrils to whip himself around his environment like Spider-Man. Prior to that there was Hikage Shinomori, the fourth wielder of One For All who trained with his Quirk in solitude. He knew that he wasn't strong enough to take out All For One on his own, so he dedicated his life to strengthening and improving the Quirk for the next user, Daigoro.

When Daigoro became trapped under some rubble, he passed on One For All to a hero known only as En, the sixth wielder of the famous Quirk. En would later teach Deku how to use One For All in conjunction with other Quirks, a valuable lesson for the young hero. After En came Nana Shimura, the seventh possessor of the One For All Quirk and the hero who granted All Might his immense power (like Izuku, the famous hero was born Quirkless). Sadly, Shimura was killed in an epic battle against All For One, leading to All Might's long-standing grudge against the villain.

All Might becomes the #1 hero

After Nana Shimura's untimely demise at the hands of All For One, the superhero All Might (real name Toshinori Yagi) took her place as the wielder of the One For All Quirk. He became the most proficient user of the Quirk up to that point, with powers that included super strength, super speed, and invulnerability. Not only that, but All Might also took on the responsibility of being the #1 hero in the world and the so-called Symbol of Peace. He set out to be a hero everyone could count on by always winning against villains and performing his superhero work with a smile.

Before meeting Shimura, Yagi was Quirkless, but his desire to save people won Shimura over, as Izuku would with All Might years later. After gaining the One For All Quirk from Shimura, Yagi then attended U.A. High to train as a professional superhero (a big reason for its current status as the best school for training heroes). All Might also trained under the tough hero Gran Torino, a former friend of Shimura who possessed the super-speed Quirk known as Jet. 

All Might even had his own sidekick during this time, the suit-wearing, straight-laced Mirai Sasaki, aka Sir Nighteye. Mirai had the Quirk Foresight, which (naturally) let him see into the future. Because of his Quirk, he was able to see that All Might would die in action if he didn't pass on his Quirk and call it a day.

All For One raises Tomura Shigaraki

One of the most tragic aspects of the "My Hero Academia" universe is the fate of Nana Shimura's family, including her son Kotaro and her grandson Tenko (later known as Tomura Shigaraki). While we've mentioned All For One murdering the superhero Nana in cold blood during a big, epic superhero battle, we left out the fact that she left behind a child. Kotaro Shimura grew up to hate his mother and her legacy, blaming her for choosing her superhero career over her own family and believing that her death could have been avoided. He thus became resentful of superheroes in general.

Later on, Kotaro's son Tenko began showing an interest in heroes. He gained a devastating Quirk called Decay, which turns whatever the wielder touches into dust. Tragically, after an altercation with his father, Tenko accidentally kills his entire family with the Quirk. He is, of course, remorseful — their deaths weren't on purpose, and only happened because Tenko didn't have control of his Quirk yet. Left alone on the streets after the incident, Tenko is taken in by All For One, who raises him as his own son. The supervillain starts grooming Tenko — now going by the name Tomura Shigaraki, in honor of his new mentor and father figure — to be his successor in the League of Villains.

All Might defeats All For One, but is weakened

About five years prior to the events of the first "My Hero Academia" story, All Might and All For One engaged in what would become an infamous battle. It seemed as though All Might not only defeated All For One, but also killed him off for good. Of course, that turns out not to be the case.

Unfortunately, the battle left All Might terribly wounded. He walked away with a painful scar as a souvenir, which is on his chest in the manga but on his stomach in the anime. The injury meant that his transformation into the powerful All Might would be limited going forward. He could no longer be a superhero 24/7 like he was prior to his fateful fight against his archenemy. Only a few other people — including his former mentor Gran Torino and U.A. High's Principal Nezu — know about All Might's true condition.

Frustratingly, All Might is forced to split his time between being the Symbol of Peace and being in his true form — sickly, frail, and wounded. His hero time allotment goes from hours to minutes to, eventually, mere seconds. And, to make matters worse, his transformations cause him great pain. In fact, his constant bleeding from the mouth (a result of him swapping between his hero body and his natural body) became a running gag on the show. The icing on the cake is the fact that it's always clear when he's about to transform back, since smoke rises from his body.

Izuku Midoriya meets All Might

In the first story arc of "My Hero Academia," Izuku Midoriya states in voice-over that he'll one day be the greatest hero of all time. It's a bold claim from a kid born without a Quirk, something his classmates tease him about, particularly his rival Katsuki Bakugo. On the day he meets All Might, Izuku bravely (or perhaps foolishly) attempts to save Bakugo from a dangerous slime-based villain, despite the fact that he has no Quirk and that Bakugo bullies him. When All Might arrives and defeats the villain, Izuku grabs onto him as he jumps into the air to take the villain into custody.

It's then that Izuku discovers All Might's secret. On a nearby rooftop, the hero changes back into his true form, that of a frail and permanently injured man. It is soon revealed that All Might is in the area because he wants to find a student from his old school (U.A. High) to take over his powerful Quirk, as he knows his time is running out. He changes his mind about the candidate being a U.A. student after witnessing Izuku's bravery and commitment to heroism. Izuku was simply in the right place at the right time, and his actions on that day changed the course of superhero history.

Izuku Midoriya attends U.A. High

After Izuku Midoriya takes on All Might's One For All Quirk, he sets out to join All Might's alma mater, U.A. High. The school's reputation at this point in the timeline is almost mythical, and there is no guarantee that Izuku will be accepted. Complicating matters is the fact that his body is initially too weak to handle the powerful Quirk. This would lead to many injuries, including multiple broken bones. He earns himself a spot at the school through heroism and dedication alone. He's not the greatest student, but his heart is in the right place — he opts to save a fellow student from a robot attack rather than finish one of his assignments on time, for example.

Izuku soon settles into life at U.A. and makes a bunch of friends at the school, including Ochaco Uraraka (aka Uravity), Tsuyu Asui (aka Froppy), and class rep Tenya Ida (aka Turbo Hero: Ingenium). They're all called into action early when the League of Villains — now headed by Tomura Shigaraki — attacks them during a training exercise. With the help of All Might and the other professional hero teachers, the League is defeated and pushed back, but it's not the last time Deku and his friends are forced to fight the evil-doing group.

The United States of Smash and the Paranormal Liberation Front

One of the most tragic events of "My Hero Academia" — but a necessary development for Deku to grow into his own hero — is All Might finally losing his powers. It begins when it is revealed that All For One survived his fight with All Might all those years ago, though he now has to wear a Darth Vader-style life support mask.

After lying dormant for many years, All For One is finally ready to strike again. This leads to another brutal battle between the powerful hero and the dangerous villain. This is also where All Might discovers the true origins of Tomura Shigaraki and his connection to his mentor: All For One reveals to All Might that Tomura is Nana Shimura's grandson. This makes All Might's relationship with Tomura extremely complicated.

Finally, All Might defeats All For One with an attack called United States of Smash (before this, his super moves were each named after individual states), knocking the supervillain out cold. However, the immense effort involved means he loses all connection to One For All forever. The world needs a new hero to look up to, and that hero is Deku — the formerly Quirkless kid has to become the new Symbol of Peace.

Before too long, a new threat emerges in the form of the Paranormal Liberation Front, the result of a merger between the League of Villains and the Meta Liberation Army. Tomura takes on the role of Grand Commander, and his power continues to grow. This new foe represents the greatest challenge that superhero society has ever faced, and Deku will have to reach new heights if he is to contain it.