My Hero Academia Chapter 334 foreshadows the ending of the series

Deku reaching out to Shigaraki (Image via Viz, color: AMBSLUMIA)
Deku reaching out to Shigaraki (Image via Viz, color: AMBSLUMIA)

My Hero Academia Chapter 334 has given the readers many things to theorize about, chiefly the ending it hints at. With Star and Stripe’s declaration to All for One that someday a hero will defeat him, and the consequent panel of Shigaraki calling out to Midoriya hints at what Horikoshi has been setting up since Deku’s meeting with the vestiges, Deku’s attempt to save Shigaraki.

My Hero Academia Chapter 334 makes readers skeptical

In My Hero Academia Chapter 305, Deku was charged by the vestiges to kill Shigaraki Tomura. Still, he refused, claiming to have felt a lost child within Shigaraki, a child often represented as Shimura Tenko, Shigaraki’s child self, before he was found and trained by AFO. Deku vowed to save the child, much to the relief of Shimura Nana, the seventh holder of OFA and Tenko’s grandmother. This promise was validated in My Hero Academia Chapter 334.

Shigaraki calling out to Deku (Image via Viz)
Shigaraki calling out to Deku (Image via Viz)

In My Hero Academia Chapter 334, as soon as AFO finishes his disdain about heroes, Shigaraki seems to contemplate the word "hero". Then we see Tenko Shimura, surrounded by hands so that only his eyes are visible, uttering the name Izuku Midoriya (he only says Midoriya in the Japanese original, but the English version has Deku’s full name).

Since the release of My Hero Academia Chapter 305, many people have been skeptical of Horikoshi trying to get Deku to save Shigaraki despite everything he has done. One side was vocal about how the hero society had failed Shimura Tenko, leading to his involvement with AFO, and how having Deku save him instead of just killing him would make things come full circle. The other side was adamant that Shigaraki’s later actions were his own, and he has admitted to taking pleasure in the destruction too many times for him to be just a product of his upbringing.

In the middle of this ongoing debate, My Hero Academia Chapter 334 seems to have made a clear declaration that Shimura Tenko is very much alive inside Shigaraki Tomura and is in need of a hero who will save him. This hero is, of course, Izuku Midoriya.

So, while My Hero Academia Chapter 334 sets up the final battle quite nicely, it also foreshadows the diplomatic ending Horikoshi is planning for the My Hero Academia series. There will be an epic battle, and Deku will try to save Shigaraki, who also wants to be saved. While there is room for doubt as to whether Deku will succeed, or if everything Shigaraki has done so far will finally convince Deku that some people are beyond saving remains to be seen.

My Hero Academia Chapter 334 also marks the last appearance of Star and Stripe. After Lady Nagant, Star and Stripe became the second character in the span of 30 chapters to be introduced as a barely disguised plot device. All the speculation about her being actually integral to the plot comes to naught. Horikoshi reveals in My Hero Academia Chapter 334 that not only did she not destroy any quirk inside Shigaraki, but she did not help the heroes any more than delaying Shigaraki’s completion for a week.

On top of that, her fate only stopped any help from coming to Japan at all, fulfilling AFO’s plan of isolating Japan. A powerful and versatile character like Star and Stripe, who shared history with all might, as well as was considered the world’s strongest woman, was reduced to a stepping stone for the protagonists after My Hero Academia Chapter 334.

While My Hero Academia Chapter 334 was an interesting chapter, it raised several questions and answered a few. It might not be the most controversial My Hero Academia chapter so far, but it was definitely a little disappointing. However, Horikoshi Kohei has turned readers’ expectations on their heads many times before, and perhaps he will do so again.