Ever since the Forest Training arc, My Hero Academia has hinted at a hidden connection between Shoto Todoroki and Dabi. The way Dabi said Shoto’s name made it seem like he had a personal investment in the student.
As the users of two of the strongest fire-based emitter-type quirks, Dabi and Shoto are often pitted against each other in fan speculation. Any fight between them would be a display of naturally destructive powers, and if they were to fight in the canon, it would be difficult to guess who would win.
[The article contains major spoilers for My Hero Academia manga and reflects the writer's opinion.]
Has My Hero Academia foreshadowed who would win in a fight between Dabi and Shoto Todoroki?
Dabi, or Toya Todoroki, and Shoto Todoroki are sons of Enji Todoroki, who had hoped for an offspring with a quirk that can surpass All Might. Neither brother holds any warm feelings for their father.
Toya had suffered from unfair expectations and rough neglect, and Shoto from downright psychological and physical abuse.
Endeavor’s influence caused Toya to develop a resentment towards Shoto during childhood. In order to prove to his father that he was a better weapon against All Might, he over-practiced with his quirk despite his father forbidding it. It resulted in a fire that presumably claimed his life.
Shoto had scant few memories of his older brother, but was as shocked as their father when Dabi revealed his identity during the Jaku hospital raid. Unlike Dabi’s all-consuming hatred for Endeavor, however, Shoto has been making some concessions for the man once he started to atone for his crimes.
Endeavour’s redemption is one of the most controversial developments in My Hero Academia, and most readers believe it to be a little problematic.
Toya Todoroki was born with a quirk that allowed him to wield flames that are so hot that they burn blue. The quirk is called unofficially called “Cremation” by fans, which is the English translation of Dabi’s name.
It is likely the most powerful fire quirk in My Hero Academia universe in terms of temperature and destructiveness.
However, Toya’s body was incompatible with his quirk, leading to the tragic accident where he was presumed to be dead. Even when he emerged as Dabi, his skin remained burnt, indicating that his quirk was burning up his body from the inside. In recent chapters, his burns seem to have spread further.
Dabi has been shown to be able to generate a vast amount of flame, but his control over it is fairly shaky. His flames can burn bodies that are naturally heat resistant, like Shoto’s during the Paranormal Liberation War arc.
Additionally, because he has never received extensive training and is physically not sturdy, Dabi’s combat abilities are mediocre at best.
Shoto Todoroki, on the other hand, was born with a perfectly balanced ice and fire quirk, “Half-cold, Half-hot (Hanrei han’nen)”, which is considered to be two quirks by many.
He generates and controls ice from his right side and flames from his left. His quirks are two of the most naturally powerful quirks in My Hero Academia, and he has recently been trying out a lot of combination attacks.
However, due to neglecting his fire-side for a long time out of resentment towards his father, Shoto’s control over that side is far inferior to his control over his right. Despite being proficient in hand-to-hand combat, Shoto is used to relying on his vast reserve of power, which is why he comes up with the bare minimum of super-moves.
Additionally, using both sides simultaneously tires him out faster, although the recent chapters have stated that he has gotten a lot better at it. While his right side frosts over after excessive use of his ice, his left side has not been seen to burn or smoke when over-used. However, due to Shoto being less adept at fire, he has never used it to a similar extent.
What can be gathered from My Hero Academia so far
In My Hero Academia, two prominent instances give us a clue about the outcome of Dabi and Shoto’s fight. First is Dabi’s fight with Geten during the Meta Liberation Front arc, where the latter wielded an ice-quirk similar to that of Shoto Todoroki.
While the fight was interrupted by Twice’s Sad Man’s Parade, Dabi was equally matched, some would even say outmatched, by Geten. After a while, Dabi’s arms began to smoke from overusing his quirk, and Geten rightfully deduced that he had a very limited reserve of energy.
The second incident is the reveal of Dabi’s identity as Toya during the Jaku raid. Dabi caught a shell-shocked Shoto in an embrace and unleashed his flames to the maximum degree.
Even when Shoto’s body was resistant to heat to a level, with his left side being fireproof, he suffered from severe burns. This indicated that Shoto could not handle the heat of Toya’s flames.
The recent My Hero Academia manga chapters have suggested two things: that Shoto Todoroki has become more proficient in using both of his quirks, individually and together, and that Toya’s body is becoming increasingly more damaged every day.
Along with this, Dabi has been shown to become more and more out of control lately, both mentally and with his actions. Contrarily, Shoto has been shown to become more collected and mature, in control of himself and what he must do.
After My Hero Academia chapter 344, it can be expected that readers will get to see Shoto Todoroki vs Dabi, especially if the isolation-plan succeeds. With his current expert control over his ice, which he has already used to halt Dabi’s flames in chapter 344, and decent control over his fire, Shoto can defeat Dabi, in theory.
With the way the Todoroki family dynamic is set up, it seems less likely that it would be a one-on-one fight that would end in a decisive victory. Horikoshi is more inclined towards fragmented confrontations, and Endeavor is almost certain to play a large part in the face-off between his sons.
The mangaka does have a knack for making his other characters interfere with every Todoroki family confrontation.
However, if it were to be an individual fight, the foreshadowing so far indicates that Horikoshi has set Shoto up to win, or at least emerge as the survivor. Many have speculated that Horikoshi does not intend for Dabi to survive the Second War.