Fans of My Hero Academia experienced what has to be one of the most poignant scenes of the series when Himiko Toga sacrifices herself to save Ochaco Uraraka. It was the rare manga moment that generates intense emotions across the whole fan base, however, the sad reality is that Toga’s gesture was motivated by her belief that death was her best option, which proves just how broken the series’ “hero world” is.

In My Hero Academia, Japan has, for all intents and purposes, two levels of criminal activity. Crimes where the perpetrators use their quirks in some way, and crimes committed without a quirk being involved. “Quirk Crimes” result in perpetrators being identified as “villains” and are under the jurisdiction of the Pro Heroes. Conversely, in “Non-Quirk Crimes”, perpetrators are identified as “criminals” and are under the jurisdiction of the police. Naturally, when a villain is caught they face a significantly stricter framework of punishment than a criminal, including being imprisoned in high-security facilities without a proper rehabilitation program.

Toga Sacrificed Her Life To Escape My Hero Academia‘s Broken Justice System

MHA: Ochaco saves Toga

Himiko Toga clearly suffered from mental illness. All her life she’s had a peculiar understanding of friendship and love that came from her Quirk, which allows her to transform into other people by drinking their blood. Thus, Toga believed that if you like or love someone you want to be like them (and drink their blood). Like kissing, she sees sucking a person’s blood as the ultimate expression of love and friendship, which caused the horrified reactions of her parents and peers, who saw her as a “freak” or worse, a monster, leading her to become a villain just to seek friendship and acceptance among other “rejects”. Unfortunately, criminal justice in My Hero Academia has a hard time dealing with borderline situations such as Toga’s. The system finds it easier to label any troublesome Quirk user as a villain rather than see them as a person in need of social services and psychological assistance.

As a result, anyone who commits a Quirk Crime will immediately face the most strenuous punishment possible regardless of their circumstances. Toga has been interested in Ochaco since their first confrontation. In their final battle, Ochaco’s heartfelt expression of how she didn’t consider Toga to be a villain but rather a person in need of support made Toga realize that she really could be liked for who she is, and she regretted stabbing her. However, Toga also realized that due to her actions as a member of the League of Villains, if she simply surrendered she would be treated even more harshly than before – especially after stabbing a popular hero like Ochaco. Her fate was to be imprisoned in Tartarus for most of her life, with no hope for true redemption or rehabilitation.

Toga and Ochako metaphorically in My Hero Academia

While My Hero Academia has shown some villain redemption stories, such as those of Lady Nagant or Gentle, these always happened on an ad hoc basis, often because the Pro Heroes had need of assistance from these individuals, and not because a real system of rehabilitation for “villains” is in place in the Quirk Society. Justified by the danger of uncontrolled Quirks, the world of My Hero Academia only cares about punishing and imprisoning those who break the law. Consequently, rather than suffer that fate, Toga decided to do the only thing that could truly rehabilitate her: sacrifice her life for Ochaco. While this was an incredibly emotional moment, it also showed just how broken the world of My Hero Academia and its justice system are.

My Hero Academia is available from Viz Media.

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